In my “searching for an explanation” mind, this is the conversation that could have happened in the writers room between The Following showrunner and head writer Kevin Williamson and Rebecca Dameron, a staff writer whose previous credits include Army Wives and Dirt, after last week’s “viewer discretion is advised because it is terrible television” episode titled “Mad Love”:
RD: Hi Kevin, do you think I could talk to you?
KW: Of course, Rebecca. What is on your mind?
RD: I have been working on writing next week’s episode and I was hoping to run some of my ideas by you. Some of them may be a little dramatic.
KW: Ooh, more drama? Like another shower scene for Paul, Jacob, and Emma? Will there be more amazing senseless and unjustified violent scenes? Will Meghan, the store clerk hostage, have another opportunity to cry? I can’t wait to hear your ideas!
RD: Actually, I wanted to try something a little new…
KW: Ok, I mean are we talking about showing Ryan Hardy using a bottle of soda instead of a bottle of water as an alcoholic container because we haven’t tried that yet?
RD: Hmm. Not that.
KW: There are several of Poe’s short poems that we haven’t used…
RD: Yeah, so I was kind of thinking that it might be time for the whole farmhouse plot to reach a climax.
KW: Rebecca, this show is on Fox at 9 PM so although I would love to show more of the Emma and Paul sex scenes…
RD: No! I was talking about having Ryan and the FBI find the farmhouse and attempt to rescue Joey.
KW: Hmm. Has Joey even had enough time to check out all of his toys yet? It seemed like he just got to the farm?
RD: Yeah, so I was going to call it “The Siege” and Ryan and some local police are going to find the farmhouse just as Joey is realizing that this whole experience is not really what it seems. I also thought I would end the episode in a little cliffhanger with Ryan being caught by Paul in an attempt to rescue Joey. The last shot would be a gun to Ryan’s head. Hopefully this will set-up a standoff between the FBI and the “followers” with Ryan and Joey stuck inside.
KW: Wow, there is a lot to consider. So your cliffhanger is not going to involve the reveal of a new follower and a showcase of an awesome violent act?
RD: No, I was just thinking that you would be left with the uncertainty of Ryan and Joey in danger?
KW: Well, if you are going to call it “The Siege,” there must be some wonderful opportunities for the most violent casualties along the way. I mean, unjustified and gratuitous violence is our brand!
RD: Yeah, I thought about making the casualties come across as justified and real. I also wanted to introduce a new layer to the plot involving Joe Carroll’s lawyer sending a message through the media that sets the next group of followers into action.
KW: More followers? I always just assumed that Emma, Jacob, and Paul would be enough?
RD: I just thought that since the show is called The Following, maybe Joe Carroll’s endgame has to be a little bit more involved than just these three and the memories of Rick and Jordy?
KW: Alright, Rebecca Dameron. Go for it! I am off working on a new screenplay called “I Know What Dawson Did Last Winter” anyway. Best of luck with your teleplay!
My crude attempt at satire notwithstanding, “The Siege” (actually penned by Rebecca Dameron), was definitively the best episode of the series to date and really found its way in the 24 model. The suspense and pacing were on point, the plot actually thickened with productive forward movement, the “lawyer message/unleash the twins” subplot took the show in an appreciative new direction, and, although there were still deaths on this murderous trail, they were within the construct of the story and did not present as gratuitous for violence’s sake. This was riveting TV and represents a respectable high ceiling for what The Following could consistently be. I hope Rebecca Dameron gets more opportunities (or writers like her) and that next week’s “The Fall” is finally the fall of the farmhouse follower love triangle of Emma, Jacob, and Paul.
What do you all think? Did “The Siege” deliver some new hope? Are you excited for another episode devoid of violence for violence’s sake? Does Joey get some revenge?
David Bloom can be reached on twitter at @davidbloom7. He writes about pop culture and the NBA for Bishop and Company.