FOX’S THE FOLLOWING returns at a special night and time tonight with “Resurrection.” It’s been a year since Joe Carroll’s (James Purefoy) death, as well as Claire Matthews’ (Natalie Zea) and Debra Parker’s (Annie Parisse). Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) has moved on, settling in to a teaching job, going through AA with the help of a sponsor (Keith Carradine, Dexter), and spending time with his niece, Max (Jessica Stroup, 90210), who is a cop. It seems the nightmare is over.
It’s nice to see Ryan happy and building a life for himself. He’s self-destructive by nature, and the Joe Carroll case did a number on him. He killed in cold blood and lost people he cared about. It will give fans hope for the future to see Ryan in a good place, not drinking, not dwelling on the past, finally finding an existence that he can be at peace with.
Of course, this lasts a scant ten minutes before the sinister happenings begin again. THE FOLLOWING is not a happy-ending show, and until the series finale’s credits role, no one has a chance at bliss. Followers of Carroll’s re-emerge on the anniversary of his death, beginning a new killing spree in New York City, where Ryan lives. They must be stopped.
Ryan is reluctant to get pulled back in, of course, and who can blame him? The damage done to his psyche won’t ever heal, and why would one want to put oneself back in those circumstances? Law enforcement pulls inactive agent Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore) in to consult, so Ryan may not be technically needed, and while Mike certainly thinks Ryan could help, he won’t force the man.
But all is not as it seems. Much of what appears known about a couple of the main characters early in “Resurrection” simply isn’t true, and there are some cool twists in the premiere. Without giving anything away, it’s safe to say that Ryan will be back on the case quite soon, some people are just putting on a face, and at least one death may have been faked.
THE FOLLOWING continues to be scary and magnetic. A cult of serial killers who can hide among us and strike at any time is a frightening thought, and this show serves up a huge conspiracy of such. The danger lurks everywhere from many bodies, and there doesn’t seem to be any clear way to stop it. Every time one branch is dealt with, another takes its place.
This series is anything but boring. There’s action almost immediately, with an exciting chase, a number of victims killed, creepy masks, and someone gets hit by a car. The pacing is as break-neck as ever, with no one seeming safe, and a guarantee of much more blood as the season plays out. In short, year two promises to be just as good as year one, if this episode is consistent with the ones that follow.
“Resurrection” introduces us to some new murderers, the ranks of Carrollers (love that name!) having been depleted in season one. The most fascinating thus far are a pair of identical twins (Sam Underwood, Homeland), one of whom is very mentally unstable. The hideous things he’s responsible for in this first hour alone will make your skin crawl.
Of course, Emma (Valorie Curry) is still around, too. She isn’t involved in the events that play out in “Resurrection,” but if Carroll or his followers poke their heads up, she’s quickly drawn back to them like a moth to a flame. One never knows whether she will fall in line or slice the throat of the leader, taking over, but Emma is a compelling character, and an essential part of the show, so she’ll make her presence felt. At least until they decide to kill her off.
“Resurrection” is everything I was hoping for from the return of THE FOLLOWING, easily one of last year’s best network programs, and meets all expectations. It is back tonight after the NFC game, approximately 10:30 p.m. EST, and will take over its normal Mondays-at-9 p.m. timeslot starting next week.