The Following, Season 2, Episode 11, “Freedom”
Written by Kevin Williamson
Directed by Liz Friedlander
Airs Mondays at 9pm (ET) on Fox
“You tell them not to confuse the man I used to be with the man I am today”.
The beginning of The Following’s second season was ultimately a great improvement over the first season but over the last several episodes the show has fallen back into the issues that plagued the show the first time around. “Freedom”, like most of the later episodes of season 2 has its good moments, but it’s mostly a tedious affair.
By and large the season 2 has been quick moving, dark, strangely charming (thanks to James Purefoy), and twisted. It was pretty much everything that we wanted the first time around. And then somewhere between Lily Grey (Connie Nielsen) disappearing and Claire (Natalie Zea) returning the show messed up, mostly because it returned to storylines that got it in trouble. Its biggest problem has been an abundance of stories. There is just too much going on that the show now feels listless. That’s why it’s so frustrating when we get a good episode or two; we’re getting a chance to see how great this show could be.
“Freedom” has some really great scenes, the hospital escape, Ryan’s (Kevin Bacon) ensuing chase and his talk with Mike (Shawn Ashmore) about the universe owing them a happy ending, are two of the night’s finest moments. There are no real stand out moments, nothing to catch the viewers’ attention. Especially for Ryan, at this point it seems like Ryan is content to explore his new relationship with untrustworthy Carrie (Sprague Grayden) and be all Zen rather than catch the serial killer who has tormented him for years. Mike has been one of season 2’s best characters, endlessly compelling and tortured by Lily Grey. Ashmore has done an amazing job at making Mike a powerful character but “Freedom” gives him nothing to do.
Mostly, for this reviewer at least, “Freedom” stands out because it highlights just how much Luke (Sam Underwood) was missed, even if the same can’t be said for his mother. In all honesty the whole Lily Grey saga has been underwhelming to say the least. Are we supposed to be moved or terrified by her tearful reunion with her son? The problem is we’ve just seen so little of them to care.
“Freedom” suffers from a lack its best character, Joe (Purefoy) and even worse it’s setting him up for a revenge style confrontation with Lily. Both characters deserve better than that. At the beginning of the season Lily had the potential to be either a great help to Joe or an even better enemy. That this is where the characters are going is a great disappointment, unless it’s an outstanding and well executed confrontation the whole storyline will be a waste.
The Following’s second season certainly hasn’t been a loss but with only four episodes left it’s clear that there has been no real direction for the season. It’s not that “Freedom” is bad but given the caliber of the first half of the season, it just leaves a lot to be desired.