I begin this having not watched the latest two episodes, because I am afraid that, once I do, I’ll have to delete its recording status every Monday from my DVR timer list and lose out on something amazing, simply because of what makes it amazing. Let me digress slightly by saying I love this show: Kevin Bacon turns in an amazing performance as Ryan Hardy, a disgraced former FBI agent turned alcoholic, and James Purefoy is deliciously evil as the charismatic, engaging, Poe-channeling serial killer Joe Carroll. The supporting roles are done superbly well, and the story is all too easy to lose yourself in, sitting on the edge of your seat while holding your breath, waiting for the next twist to wrench your heart.
After the episode, The Poet’s Fire ended, I sat in my chair for a good five minutes, disbelieving what I’d just seen. Joe’s followers Paul, Jacob, and Emma had absconded with the son of Joe and his ex-wife, Joey, at the end of the pilot episode and now a message had been sent to Ryan containing a video of the followers encouraging Joey to make his first kill by tightening a lid on a jar with a mouse inside – obviously beginning tutelage in the art of death, to attempt to make Joey into his father’s heir apparent. The physical harm or death of a child is enough to bring tears to my eyes, unable to separate myself from the fact that it is fiction and it hasn’t actually occurred. This was something altogether all the more painful… the willful destruction of a child’s innocence, all while trying to play like it’s something normal and beautiful, a necessary part of their upbringing.