luke kalamar enjoys a good love story…
Plot: Following her husband’s death, Maggie Kester (Virginia Kull) goes into hiding from the FBI and drops contact with her fellow Followers. She only makes herself known when she captures a close relative of Agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and demands that he come alone. Meanwhile, Meghan Leeds (Li Jun Li) is kept in the basement of the Follower house while an upsetting secret about Jacob (Nico Tortorella) is revealed to Emma (Valorie Curry).
How often is family used as a crutch for the main protagonist of a story? I feel like it’s an unwritten rule at this point that all works of fiction must have to deal with the main character trying to save a family member at one point. This isn’t always bad mind you, but it is very interesting to see the same theme recycled and reused everywhere. In the case of “Mad Love”, Ryan’s sister Jenny is held captive by Maggie and the only way he can rescue her is if he comes alone. Obviously, he doesn’t come alone because who ever does that in these situations? Honestly, this plot wasn’t bad as it provided some great insight into both Ryan’s past and his family, but I can’t help but speculate how unoriginal the whole situation was.
However, there were two things that I really enjoyed with this plot. One is that it introduces the idea of a buddy cop relationship appearing between Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore) and Ryan. This episode really hammered home that Ryan is the type of guy who doesn’t like to form any relationships with people, so Mike’s attempt to crack that shell is enjoyable to watch. It’s obvious his character looks up to Ryan, almost as much as the Followers look up to Carroll. I really hope Ryan takes in Mike as a sort of apprentice and they fight the Followers together.
The second aspect of the plot I liked was Maggie’s creativity in torturing Ryan. Sure, capturing his sister and holding her ransom isn’t original, but forcing Ryan’s heart to stop by messing with his pacemaker definitely is. The sounds of a slowing heartbeat provided that extra effect that the scene really needed too. Maggie looks like she could have been a really creative Follower and done some pretty insane stuff, so I’m actually upset that she was taken out so soon.
What I can’t help but question though was why it took so freaking long for Mike to enter the restaurant and save Ryan. The buddy cop thing is great, and so is how Maggie almost finished Ryan for good, but the restaurant scene really should have realistically ended sooner. Think about it: Ryan and Mike arrive at the same time, and Mike is told to enter through the back. He leaves, and then Ryan enters the restaurant to get his sister. Ryan is promptly knocked out by Maggie, is taped to a table, and Jenny is brought in to watch him get tortured. This was definitely a several minute process, and despite this Mike still wasn’t there! Hell, he didn’t even enter the restaurant. He didn’t show up until Ryan’s heart completely stopped, which is less realistic and much more scripted. It really wasn’t necessary to keep that going as long as it did.
Also, what is going on with Emma, Jacob, and Paul (Adan Canto)? I understand they’re close, but the decision to create this long triangle amongst them felt really out of left field. They all seem okay with the idea of all three of them being romantically connected, but then that kind of defeats the purpose of all that tension before. It went from something that created some nice drama to something that could’ve already been in place at the beginning but we instead got a really roundabout way to reach it. I hope the writers are using this to provide even more depth and tension with the trio and not so we can just have three characters fooling around.
I can’t help but comment on how easy it was for Meghan to leave the house too, and how stupid she was to let the door slam. First of all, why was no one watching the basement to make sure Jacob actually did was he was supposed to? We learn he never killed before, and it’s obvious that he isn’t ready to do it now. Secondly, if you’re being so careful to sneak out without making noise, why slam the front door? Meghan could have been safe and sound without any word, and yet she got careless and is now back where she started. With the exception of the love triangle that popped up, this whole thing felt like one big circle.
Circle plots and unoriginal themes aside, “Mad Love” was still a solid episode for The Following. The previews are showing that next week is bound to be pretty intense, so I’m officially looking forward to it. I also hope that Ryan learns how to love again. Everyone loves a good romance!
All photos by David Giesbrecht/FOX