After the explosive season 1 finale, The Following
returns and it is more creepy and gruesome than ever. However, it is certainly not the same show we left in season 1 in the wake of Joe Carroll's alleged death and new cult followers coming out of the woodwork. In creepy masks, no less. The FOX hashtag throughout the show was #dontwatchalone, and they weren't kidding because after the first 10 minutes, I made others watch it with me it was so freaky.
The Followers are Back
We pick up right where the season 1 finale left off: with the brutal stabbing of both Ryan and Claire by one of Joe's followers. In under one minute, we find out that Claire has died and we fast forward to one year later with a fitter, sober Ryan Howard. He has a niece, he has a sponsor, he is teaching and things seem to be going well. So, of course, terror lurks just around the corner.
With the one-year anniversary of Joe Carroll's death, his followers reveal themselves by conducting a stabbing attack on the subway while wearing the creepiest "Joe Carroll" masks, killing six people, though one survivor escapes. All the while, they chant about how Joe Carroll lives.
Of course, Ryan and Mike are both called back in to consult on the case. We get some flashbacks to show that Ryan, as expected, went on a serious bender after all was said and done. Mike hasn't dealt with it all that well, either. They haven't seen each other since and it's uncomfortable.
It is definitely a sleeker operation (FOX must have upped the budget for season 2) and the FBI has every resource available to work on figuring out if this is a new cult or an expansion of the last one we all know and loathe.
The Ryan Hardy Task Force
Ryan tells Mike and the FBI multiple times that he is strictly civilian and wants no part in the case, when in fact he has been working on it nonstop, vigilante-style. His detective niece, who I like a lot already, has all the inside info and has been helping Ryan. Ryan is one step ahead of the FBI and tracks down one of the followers who tells Ryan he got Joe out of the house before it exploded and that Joe is alive. Is this true or is this a ploy to play with Ryan's (and our) head?
Despite Ryan getting all of this information, he still refuses to share it with Mike or the FBI. This can't last long; they'll have to team up at some point.
The Creepy Twins
After the subway attacks, we see a young woman get murdered by creepy twins. This is the portion of the show that I needed reinforcements. In addition to the subway attack, they use her as a way to send a message to Joe. They really like sending messages. Creepy, creepy messages.
We discover that this rogue crew is in fact run by this set of creepy twins and they have a few of their own followers in tow. The now Punk-Rock Emma and her killer besties have no idea who is behind the attacks and they are wanting to be a part of it. The twins have taken the crazy to a whole new level, which is no small feat after the followers of last season.
Joe Carroll Lives
In the last scene, we discover that it was not a ploy, but in fact Joe Carroll is alive and well, sporting a serious beard. He is delighted to see his followers have returned to send him a message.
This was a pretty great season premiere. It's true that it has deviated a lot from season 1 in style and look, but it is a good change. The writing is better, the acting is better and it still packs a gruesome punch for all the Kevin Williamson fans. Plus, they have carried over the essential parts with Ryan and Joe, Emma, Mike and, of course, the followers. I will be very interested to see how it plays out.
moves to its regular day and timeslot next Monday at 9pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)