FOX’s The Following finally sorta gives us a reason to watch people stab one another.
First, The Following made us believe1 the series’ primary antagonist was dead. And, in his stead, they introduced The Family, including a set of wonderfully twisted twins and a French psychopath who could both spell garotte and use one.
And things kinda drifted there for a while.
But then they introduced a Creepy Cult! Like an actual robes and masks and compound deep in the woods kinda cult! And that cult actually did – wait for it – blood sacrifice! Like a real Creepy Cult and everything! And they sacrificed – waaaaiiiit for it – Emma! Yes, that Emma, she of a pretty spooky intensity for one with such a small frame.
Except it wasn’t a real sacrifice sacrifice, more of a ritual bloodletting, but that’s totally okay. Why? Well, Emma’s kind of necessary to grounding the (actually alive) antagonist, and we haven’t seen The Family in a while and there’s just not enough spooky coming out of the Creepy Cult.2 See, there’s spooky, there’s creepy, and there’s scary, and this season has been dipping its toe into the water of all three; odd given how willing they were to go brutal all of the first season.
The Following has done this weird thing where they took Joe out of power but only sporadically replaced him with any sort of real threat. Episode nine finally gave us a good old fashioned bit of public mayhem (sporadic with the family, non-existent with the creepy cult) and ten has put a version of the scary machine – charismatic leader, unhinged followers, a careful game of cat and mouse between the good guys and the bad – back together. Both were positive turns for an ambling show. That said, both were thin episodes, and come on the heels of a generally ‘meh’ first half of the fifteen episode order.