The Following may not have won over everyone during its debut season but it pulled in impressive ratings and we were hooked. With Kevin Williamson (Scream) at the helm, the show was criticised for stretching plausibility a fair amount as former FBI Agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) was locked in a battle against escaped serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) who had galvanised an army of followers to carry out his work. Tonight the second season arrived in the UK, two days after the US, and we almost squealed with excitement when the show started.
At the end of the first season Ryan was left lying in his own blood next to girlfriend, and Carroll’s former wife, Claire (Natalie Zea). The shock ending of the first season saw Carroll follower Molly (Jennifer Ferrin) stab both Ryan and Claire making it pretty clear that whilst the cult’s leader may (or may not) be dead, the following are still raging strong. In the opening moments of season 2 opener Resurrection the fate of Claire is revealed and sadly she doesn’t make it. Ryan on the other hand does and time leaps forward a year. Seemingly off the Carroll case for good, through choice we might add, Ryan is now teaching in New York and spending time going to AA meetings, focusing on his health and reconnecting with niece Max (Jessica Stroup) an NYPD officer.
Just when you think Ryan’s life has returned to normal, a violent stabbing takes place on the subway by a group of followers wearing Carroll masks and chanting ‘resurrection’ in one of the most chilling scenes from the show to date. There is one survivor in the shape of Lily (Connie Nielsen) who escapes the massacre and heads straight to hospital.
This of course is the catalyst to bring Ryan back onto the case along with Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore) who is on rest from the FBI following the events of the previous year. Mike is brought to New York and is willing to help whereas Ryan point blank refuses to get involved saying his Carroll chasing days are over. Do we believe him? Do we heck and with good reason as it’s later revealed that Ryan has a room dedicated to Carroll under lockdown in his apartment and Max is in on it too although she insists Ryan should pass over what he knows to the FBI.
As FBI Agent Gina Mendez (Valerie Cruz) tries to bring Ryan back on board, it’s revealed that there are 8 known followers still at large, one of which is Emma (Valorie Curry) who Carroll heartlessly manipulated throughout the first season. After matching the video footage from the subway massacre with the photos of the yet-to-be-captured followers, Weston identifies Carlos Perez which sets Ryan off on his first mission to locate him without the knowledge of the FBI. With Max’s help Ryan finds an address for Carlos and holds him at gunpoint as he gets the information he needs from him. Ryan learns that Carroll is indeed well and alive and in hiding. Carlos manages to escape and Ryan chases him only to be knocked down by a taxi and is miraculously absolutely fine.
In this first episode we’re introduced to twin killers and Carroll followers Luke and Mark (both played by Sam Underwater) who kill student Heather. The reveal of the twins is cleverly handled and was pretty surprising we must admit as you only see Underwater on screen alone until a scene after the murder which sees the twin step out of the shower after he is asked for help to move the girl’s body. After the murder Luke and Mark meet up with Carlos and fellow follower Giselle and discuss Ryan finding Carlos’ apartment. In rage Luke smacks Carlos in the throat leaving him gasping.
Heather’s body is left strategically placed in an upright position on a public bench with Carroll’s book in her hands. Ryan ends up at the crime scene after finding information about Heather circled in Carlos’ apartment. He learns from Max that her body has been found and he heads down to the crime scene where Weston is already assessing the crime scene. Weston appeals to Ryan to help him with the case but is refused once again.
What about Emma then? She appeared a little bit in the episode and is now in hiding and sporting a rather epic pink mohawk. Secretly living in New York with fellow followers, Emma is alarmed to hear the news of new followers attacking the subway. She heads over to Carlos’ apartment to find out if he was in on the attack and narrowly misses Ryan. How long can she stay in hiding? Not too long we don’t think.
As the episode drew to a close we see a bearded man called into a house to watch a news report about the subway murders. As the camera pans around we see Joe Carroll and finally have it confirmed that he’s far from dead.
Well we’re hooked already and we don’t care what the nay-sayers have to say. Is the show the most intelligent and believable on TV? No it isn’t. Is it one of the most addictive, intense and consistently surprising? Yes it most certainly is. We’re back in the saddle and ready to go on another mission with Ryan Hardy.
The Following continues in the US on Monday 27th January on FOX and in the UK on Tuesday 28th January on Sky Atlantic. Watch the trailer for the next episode below: