A Simple Trade

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Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Three seasons ago the FOX network aired a limited episode series entitled “The Following,” a gory, yet intelligent cat-and-mouse game centering on two characters. The bad guy, a brilliant psychopathic college professor who also enjoyed serial killing, had escaped federal custody. The former FBI Agent, who put the killer behind bars, got contacted by the Bureau to help recapture him. However the former agent Ryan Hardy was far from the All-American-Boy, hiding demons from his boyhood within him. The serial killer Joe Carroll, realized that he and Hardy were far more alike than different and used that knowledge to get deep inside the agent’s head.

The first season of the series, hit all the right buttons, a gripping suspenseful and taut tale, which seemed to end with Carroll’s death in a fiery explosion, in the season finale. However the ending was not filled with sunshine and rainbows, Hardy and Carroll’s ex-wife now Hardy’s girlfriend, got stabbed by one of Joe’s followers, before the screen went black.

That is where the series should have ended, however ratings rather than logic drove the decision-making and The Following returned for a second season and surprise, Joe Carroll wasn’t dead. Turned out he got rescued from the shack, seconds before it exploded and was living down South. The first portion of that campaign was underwhelming, but when Joe Carroll once again took center stage, the season ended strongly.

Unfortunately, the network refused to read the writing on the wall, which clearly told them without Joe Carroll, you don’t have a series. So they brought the show back for a third season, in which Carroll was in a Virginia Correctional Facility, awaiting execution. Then they went and killed him with a third of the season left.

The FOX network announced that they have decided renewing The Following for a fourth season and have seemingly given up on the current campaign, as they are running the last four episodes in two-hour blocks. This has resulted in fans of the series literally watching the show stripped of every aspect of the show, that once made it so enjoyable.

Joe Carroll lives on, as we see him appear each time Hardy gives him into his demons, primarily drinking heavily. However Joe also encouraged Ryan to water-board his prisoner in an effort to extract information. This was after the prisoner and her brother, threw acid in the face of an FBI agent and subsequently killed him, while kidnapping another agent. The agent they killed, had accidentally killed a fellow agent last week when she realized he possessed a laptop, that should have been in the evidence room. The Agent Tom Reyes, kept the laptop to spy on his girlfriend Max Hardy.

Here is the scorecard for those who still care after episodes Twelve and Thirteen aired on Monday night. Besides the death of Reyes, Hardy killed Penny the sister of Theo Noble. Just after telling Max Hardy she’s the love of his life, Agent Mike Weston received multiple stab wounds in his back, from Mark Gray. Gray died seconds later as he attempted to kill Max, but Mike shot him to death. It appears that Weston’s on life-support, from the brief clip of him they showed in the previews for the final two episodes.

Theo and Daisy escaped from the theater where they attempted to set up Hardy’s death. Noble’s told Daisy she had her chance to escape, now he’ll let her go when he’s ready. Hardy’s estranged-girlfriend Gwen, told Ryan that he’s going to become a father and if he wants to be part of his child’s life, he needs to get his act together. He attends an AA meeting at the end of the episode and it appears that Joe’s spirit, respects his move and has left him.

Some shows stay on the air too long and that’s the case with The Following, which actually should have stuck with being a one-time event.