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The second episode of FOX's new show The Following ended up being a more even affair after last week's too busy "Pilot." Slowing down definitely helped the she infant show maintain a solid pace, improving the show. However, some of the problems from "Pilot" still popped up in the uneven doling out of quick flashbacks and the overall simplicity of thought that the characters display.
"Chapter Two" helped establish Carroll's followers, mainly the nanny who is discovered as being named Emma and not Denise. Emma, a loner with a bit of a schoolgirl crush on Carroll when they first met, is revealed to have not only visited Carroll multiple times in jail (why no one found this odd at the time doesn't make much sense) but also allowed herself to be set up by Carroll with Jacob, one of the fake gay neighbors of Sarah. Emma has taken the role of the leader in the kidnapping of Joey while clearly favoring Jacob and constantly reminding Paul, the other "fake" gay neighbor (although it seems that he has in fact developed feelings for Jacob over time), that she is in charge. She treats Joey well but is capable of dangerous things as is revealed in a flashback where she kills her floozy of a mother in front of Jacob.
Meanwhile the FBI is still leery of Ryan. Ryan's treatment by his superiors doesn't seem to make much sense. They feel as though it'll only be a matter of time before he cracks under the pressure and they don't see much use for him but, for some reason, they still allow him to work the case without a gun. This is one of the many examples in which The Following seems like a freshman writing composition class while pretending to be a graduate English symposium. The Poe connections, the explanations of the followers treaing Carroll/Poe as a religion and even the way the FBI team not only detects but also protects Claire seem incredibly simple and mismanaged.
After Ryan flauts the laws of illegal searching by breaking into the newly discovered house of Emma, which looks like a base for Carroll's followers, he discovers that Claire, Carroll's ex-wife and Ryan's former fling, is a targer of Carroll's cult. The entire FBI team rushes to Claire's house to make sure she is safe. Unfortunately no one decided to check any of the items discovered in the house before it is too late, which makes them rush into the house again as they find rudimentary blueprints for Claire's basement, to find that Jordy has already killed Claire's guard and has taken her hostage.
Forget the ridiculous fact that the overweight Jordy somehow went undetected through Claire's house and was hiding in the ceiling waiting to strike (who knows how long he was up there). How does the FBI not discover the blueprints earlier? How do they not have someone on the team sifting through all of this new intelligence they have discovered right as they discover it? Clearly The Following seems to be taking a less believable juvenile approach that breaks the suspension of disbelief all in order for cheap thrills and melodrama. Debra's constant refusal to call Carroll's following a cult until she makes a very simple explanation of how Carroll's followers are treating he and Poe's works as religion is another example.
Another follower named Rick was introduced wearing a Poe mask. He was living in Emma's house and attacked Carroll before setting an innocent civilian on fire at the end of the episode. Carroll was also perturbed that Ryan did not kill Jordy but only injured him but ultimately said it did not matter much to his ultimate plan. Lastly, there is some very clear dissension between the kidnappers Emma, Jacob and Paul due to their love triangle so it wouldn't surprise if Paul doesn't make it out alive. The Following still shows promise as an entertaining show but it does not look as though it will offer up much more than that.