by Ruby Gay-Magnet Chingu
[This post is about the First Season of the Series]
 @Following_S1_Keyart_-1“Your love overwhelms me.” – Joe Carroll
“Don’t you dare take responsibility for my actions. I own them. I earned them. They are mine.” – Joe Carroll
I love literature. I love men. I love the British accent. And gentle men with great smiles. Then, we have someone like Joe Carroll, a literature professor who possessed the features mentioned, plus the fact that he is a serial killer who leads a massive cult of serial killers wrecking havoc in America by killing people mercilessly in the name of God-knows-what.
To have a crush on such a character is officially the most twisted thing I have done for the past year.
The Following revolves mainly around two central characters, the serial killer in hiding, Joe Carroll and his pursuer, Ryan Hardy, a former FBI agent who had once put him into prison and will stop at nothing to do it again. Moral codes that should have been exercised by the legal authorities has been blurred as the series progressed as Carroll’s cult members had violated all limits of humanities by committing abductions, murders, mass murders – all in the name of the cult leader and also to satisfy their mountainous murderous urge.
The-Following-Reasons-16x9-1Through pure charisma and criminal history as a ruthless serial killer, Carroll had succeeded in gaining more than 100 followers, devoted to his work and vision. He provided them with an emotional haven and accepted them for who they were, giving them the illusion that they should never be ashamed of it and that their tendencies – to cause hurt and death – elevate their life experiences.
Twisted shit, I must say. Brutal, gory and ironically helpless in a way. For if you are capable of killing another human beings for no reason, why the fuck are you in need of the world’s approval?
But then, I’m no psychopath. So who am I to comment?
ustv-the-following-s01-e10-1When my sisters first told me of the series, I was quite skeptical. But as I watched the series, I can see why our cult leader had amassed that many followers – and powerful ones at that – from his little room in prison. He established a connection with his followers, letting them now that they mattered. He then charmed and seduced them until they gave in to his dominance, albeit in a subtle manner. His deep blue eyes, his soft expressions, his friendly smiles, his polite voice, his persuasive manner. Truthfully, it is difficult to resist the man like Joe Carroll. A killer who is never ashamed of it and encourages you to do the same. And he does it with such poetry of words that literally makes you fall to your knees.
Nevertheless, beneath that strong ruthless facade of a criminal mastermind was really a pathetic man who refuses to accept defeat and failure. In his ex-wife’s words, he is a brilliant teacher but a lousy writer. Joe Carroll’s murderous rage really began after his novel, The Gothic Sea, inspired by his obsession with Edgar Allen Poe, came out and failed miserably. It became a bestseller only after Joe’s murders went public and people bought that novel, I think, not because it’s good but because they were curious about him. He loves literature, he breathes literature and he is so passionate about it. He lives for his work. However, that does not change the fact that his novel did flop and he was publicly declared as a wannabe. That, I think, decreased his self-esteem to a new low and he hit rock-bottom, able to rise and gain his confidence again through the act of killing his female students. I think he was desperate at that time to the extent that he’d pretty much do anything to have that sense of control and to feel that he was above everyone else. He wanted power and fame. And by being a serial killer and consequently, a cult leader, he did obtain it. It was a sad tale of how a good man turned into a demon of death due to his failure and his failure to accept that failure.
Our pursuer, Ryan Hardy, was the good guy, the ultimate hero. Having lived his life through the death curse – where everyone close to him died one by one – he was a righteous man with a cold unfriendly demeanor. He had been beaten again and again and again by his archnemesis, Carroll, only to rise up again to challenge him and his ego like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Many people had been killed in the process – including those close to him – but he did not really waver. The deaths drove him even more, made him determined.
A major plot which linked our two main characters during the first season happens to be a beloved of both Ryan and Joe – a beautiful woman by the name of Claire Matthews, whom Joe married and divorced later on. After Joe was incarcerated for the murders before the series started, Claire later had a love affair with Ryan, the FBI agent who was investigating her husband. It was kind of cliche, in my opinion, to put Claire – an intelligent, feisty and somewhat unattainable beauty – between our two very strong characters. As much as I would like to think the show is a justice/revenge/evil-centered drama, LOVE remained the focus of season 1. Joe Carroll loved Claire, who loved Ryan, who loved Claire as well. After establishing his following, Joe wanted Claire to re-unite with him, making her some sort of his queen. Which made perfect sense, for Claire was the only woman he claimed to ever have loved.
Though I am sure a serial killer’s definition of love somewhat differs from mine.
When Claire died at the end of Season 1, I was kind of glad. Not because I dislike the character. Hell, I think Claire Matthews is an outstanding woman. She is intelligent, she is fierce, strong and has a very strong sense of morality. It was obvious that she was in fear throughout Season 1 as Joe, her ex-husband kept trying to hunt her down by murdering those trying to protect her. However, she never let fear intercepts with her will to see her son and secure him a safe environment. In many many times, she attempted to kill Joe, pretty much without any hesitation, quite ruthlessly. Hahaha, it was expected of her. To be the love interest of two obsessive men at the same time, she should have that X-factor that pulls the audiences towards her. I was ambiguous to Claire at first but grew to like her.
But as Season 1 ended, it is quite obvious that the love-triangle must not be dragged onto Season 2 of the series. With the issue of LOVE out the window, I am terribly excited to watch how Ryan and Joe fight each other in the name of criminal justice. The enmity between them has and will always been about good and evil. Ryan is the guardian of good whereas our Joe is the lord of evil. Heaven and hell. Survival of mankind or the destruction of it.
Gaaah!! I am being over-dramatic and I love it!
I have to be honest with you – it did not take me more than 48 hours to finish the entire Season 1. I was hooked, fatally and severely to the point that my life was completely stalled to devote my time to this series. God, the series is so psychotic and gory, it feels so wrong to enjoy its portrayal of evilness. But then, why am I so turned on by the characters? Hehehehehe.
Don’t judge me. I know you find the cult a bit immorally sexy, too.
P/S: Am falling superbly in love with Luke and Mark, our psychotic murderous twins in Season 2. Hello, hello.

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