The first season of The Following felt like a surprise hit. A show that initially felt like a middle of the road venue for an aging mostly forgotten actor turned out to be so much more. Sure the show suffered from Kevin Bacon being the worst actor among the ensemble, but he quickly found his feet and his ironic way of portraying Ryan Hardy soon became the only sane hub in a wheel of crazies.
When the first season ended with the death of the serial killer Joe Carroll and the seeming end to his cult many questioned what a new season would entail. It was easy to guess that the bad guy survived only to go into hiding.
As the second season begins this is indeed the case. Carroll is in hiding in hillbilly country with no thought of letting the world know he is still alive. Hardy is the only one who refuses to believe in Carroll’s demise, concocting a harebrained theory where his enemy was replaced by his dead half-brother’s body.
Carroll is forced out of hiding by his ego and need to be immortalized when a group of people donning masks portraying him attack people on the subway. Ryan Hardy is reluctantly thrown into the mix again, most of the time refusing to work with FBI and mostly relying on his niece to do a lot of the legwork. The cult follower Emma also comes out of hiding to find these new followers and maybe Joe.
The first season was a constant game of finding Joe Carroll and constantly being thwarted by his followers. The second season is more of a race against time for both Hardy and Carroll, but also new antagonists who are pitted against the main characters.
The strength of the show is that Hardy and the FBI don’t come off as super heroes. Hardy and Weston are even more broken in the second season than in the first and this influences their decisions, both expressed in a sort of devil may care attitude, albeit Hardy’s more comical and Weston’s more brutal. The same goes for Carroll and Emma, both damaged by what happened in the first season and they both seem defeated by it.
In the end the second season of The Following was everything the first one was and they managed to reinvent the story and build the characters in a very solid way.
Let’s see what the next installment might bring…
C.M. Marry Hultman