These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: The Following
Anticlimax Boss: The fight between Joe Carroll and Ryan Hardy ends abruptly when Ryan traps Carroll inside a ring of fire and leaves him to presumably die in a giant explosion.
Foe Yay: Carroll and Ryan. It's heavily implied in the flashbacks that their relationship became extremely close before Ryan figured out that Joe was the killer he was looking for. Ryan states about Joe: 'Charm and Seduce. I know what his followers feel. I fell for it. And five more girls were murdered.' Wordof God states that Ryan fell in love with Joe and Joe became obssessed with Ryan. And Joe has stated that everything he's doing is for and about Ryan.
Also, the whole "love at first sight" exchange in the season finale pretty much elevates the subtext to main text.
Fridge Horror: According to Charlie, the mercenary Bo is not part of the cult. He has "useful skills," but he's too unstable to be an actual member. Think about that. There are people out there that the Carrollists consider too crazy to join them.
Genius Bonus: Many of the main characters share the last names of classic authors (Hardy, Carroll, Parker, etc.). What significance this has, if any, has yet to be demonstrated.
Carroll gives his mission statement at the end of the pilot; his ode to Poe, ''The Gothic Sea", was "clearly too avant-garde. Lost in literati pretense. Now my new story... will play to a much wider audience." On April 4th, 2013, The Following's rival showCult was cancelled due to a perceived lack of viewership, while The Following was renewed for a second season, thus demonstrating the validity of Carroll's belief that a straightforward tale of sex and violence would appeal to a much wider audience than something requiring much more investment. Meta beyond imagination.
Not only that, but its other rival show, Hannibal, which is getting praise from critics for being more "avant-garde" than a lot of broadcast shows (including The Following), is doing rather poorly in the ratings itself, even for NBC.
Ho Yay: Ryan Hardy and his old friend Tyson; their episode is practically dripping with Ho Yay. Tyson even refers to them as "married"!
HSQ: Reaches epic proportions in the second half of "The Siege".
Idiot Plot: The success of Carroll's followers is largely reliant on both local and federal law enforcement being unbelievably incompetent.
Paranoia Fuel: From what the show implies, anyone could be part of Carroll's cult. They are also terrifyingly good at getting into people's homes, even if police are stationed inside.
The Scrappy: Emma. She's a Manipulative Bitch who has no problem having sex with virtually every man she runs into, including Carroll. She leaves Paul and Jacob to die after the FBI storms their hideout, she doesn't give a damn about anyone except Carroll, and she's more than okay with doing anything he tells her to do, even if she knows it's not right. But what really turned her into The Scrappy was when she slashed Jacob's throat, even after he practically begged her to come run away with him.
Uncanny Valley: Those Poe masks. Given the genre, it's probably deliberate.
Viewers Are Geniuses: You were all paying attention the day they discussed Poe in American Literature Class, right?
Villain Sue: Carroll; so far everything seems to be going exactly as he planned.
Ryan himself definitely qualifies, with his dark and troubled past (even before he ever met Joe Carroll), his guilt at not catching Joe sooner, his inability to save Sara, his reputation as a loose cannon amongst law enforcement, his alcoholism, and his inability to let anyone near him demonstrate how utterly broken he is
Possibly Fridge Brilliance: the "interesting" ones are the ones whose unstable personalities are causing conflicts with Joe's Master Plan. Getting rid of them steers things relatively back on track, and leaves Joe with people he can more easily control.
Special mention to Jacob's death. He spends the entire first season trying to decide if he really wants to be in the cult, and then, when he finally leaves, Emma unceremoniously kills him for no reason other than pure shock value. Waste indeed
Too Dumb to Live: A common problem with Carroll's followers: due to being sadistic and insane, they can't help but gloat and be smug about their murderous plans, and as a consequence they end up making fatal mistakes and trolling people they reallyshouldn't be trolling. But Alex from the First-Season finale takes the cake. Let's review: you've been captured by Hardy and Weston, and they would really like you to tell them where Debra Parker is. Hardy's a certified Bad Ass not above Jack Bauer-ing suspects if the situation calls for it, and Weston's a recovering torture victim who is looking for some payback. Then, after they fully demonstrate their willingness to beat you to death, by breaking your leg and gouging your frigging eye out, you decide to taunt them when they don't get to Debra in time. At what point in your thought processes did that seem like a good idea?