TV Review: The Following 3.12 “The Edge” & 3.13 “A Simple Trade”
By Dr. Zaius
Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 at 2:00 pm
The Following Season 3 Episode 12: “The Edge” & Episode 13 “A Simple Trade”
Created by Kevin Williamson
Directed by Nicole Kassell (12), Marcos Siega (13)
Written by Jeff Eckerle, Marilyn Osborn (12), & Liz Sczudlo, Mary Leah Sutton
Starring Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Shawn Ashmore, Sam Underwood, Valerie Cruz, Jessica Stroup, Michael Ealy, Zuleikha Robinson FOX
Air Date: Monday, May 11th, 2015, 8:00pm
This is a sad week for us followers. We learned that this season will be the final one for Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and his group of FBI agents, as Fox has cancelled the series after this, its third season.
Last week, Team Hardy found out the truth about Theo’s bloody childhood, and went after a long thought cold case to discover his murderous origins. When that killer, The Madman, was caught, we learned that Theo (Michael Ealy) is so evil, he scares serial killers! Meanwhile Mark Gray (Sam Underwood) and Daisy (Ruth Kearney) hatch a plan to hook up with Theo and his sister Penny (Megalyn Echikunwoke). It’s shaping up to be a battle royal between Team Hardy and the bevy of bad guys. Of course there is the little issue of jealous FBI agent turned accidental murderer and future bad-guy conspirator, Tom (Gbenga Akinnagbe).
It’s less than a minute into the 2-hour event, and all 4 bad guys are together. The mention of an FBI rogue perks Theo’s interest and meanwhile Tom is in cleanup mode, trying to erase all evidence of misdeeds. Just think, a simple “I caught my girlfriend cheating on me, and I flipped out” could’ve spared so many people!
I like the tension between Mark/Luke and Theo. Theo is so calm and cool, while Mark’s personality keeps flipping from tentative to crazy and ruthless. After helping with a “team building exercise,” the slaughter of several guards, Luke takes over and informs Daisy “After I kill Mike, I’m gonna come back and kill him.” Underwood has been great now for two seasons, seamlessly alternating between Luke and Mark. When he and Daisy surprise Tom standing over Agent Sloan’s corpse, he is absolutely delighted. His facial expressions make the scene.
Penny proves not as shrewd as her psycho older brother and she walks into an ambush. Ryan and Max (Jessica Stroup) lose her, or so we think. Turns out Ryan has her and sneaks her back to his apartment and into the quiet room she goes. Finally, Joe (James Purefoy) shows up to help Ryan deal with his new problem. The solution involves downing a load of booze and waterboarding her Gitmo-Style! Except before she can squeal, Theo calls to arrange a meeting for a potential trade as Mike (Shawn Ashmore) is, as usual, caught in the wrong place and the wrong time. Mike was trapped when Tom, desperate to escape the guilt of killing Sloan tricks Mike to Mark’s hideout. Thankfully, and I know this sounds horrible, but they’re only TV characters. Tom is killed by the old “acid to the face” trick. He REALLY didn’t know who was dealing with.
As we enter the second hour we are at an old Mexican standoff. Max gets Agent Campbell to assist, and they show up at Ryan’s only to find him drunk and stumbling. Max catches him hiding Penny and she’s quickly roped into an “us against the world” scenario by Ryan. When Theo and Mark are out, Mike gets the upper hand on Daisy and sets off a chase through the hideout. Daisy sees the writing on the wall. If Mark kills Weston, Theo will kill both of them. She acts and shoots Mark in an act of self-preservation. Mark runs off, and god knows who he’ll be gunning for when he gets back. He’s officially now enemies with EVERYONE!
The spot is picked for the prisoner exchange. It’s showdown time and Mike is center stage”¦ literally, in a theatre. A showdown and shootout follows and Penny strays from Theo’s advice one time too many, and is shot by Ryan. Theo escapes to fight another day and maybe out of fear or necessity, Daisy is still with him. Theo though is changed. He’s killed his own wife and left his kids for dead, but Penny was all he cared about. He will NOT take this lightly and Hardy knows it.
Mike and Max take a waaaaay tooooo long walk to her car, confessing their love in a scene that is literally screaming “MARK IS GOING TO KILL YOU!” The scene ends with Mike lying bleeding in Max’s arms and Mark shot dead. After 2 seasons of awesome, Sam Underwood and Mark Gray deserved a better ending. For all the HOLY SHIT moments The Following has provided, this felt anticlimactic.
At least next week’s finale, the series finale, gets us back to the bare bones elements that made The Following great from the beginning. Ryan Hardy vs. Ultimate Evil Bad Guy. Theo is far and away the best of this season’s non-Joe villains, and a worthy adversary for Hardy in the show’s finale. I wonder if Fox had made the announcement about the cancellation a few weeks earlier, they probably would’ve held Joe Carroll’s death till the finale. I imagine they thought Ghost Joe could get them through future seasons. I really hope that the Hardy/Theo storyline ends with enough time for Ryan to have one more quiet moment with Joe. As Joe said, they’re soulmates.
The Following‘s three year run on FOX concludes next week with a 2-hour series finale starting at 8:00 pm EST.
Mike shares his concerns for Ryan’s drinking problem.