A lot of people have a lot of issues with The Following. It’s too violent. There are too many twists for the sake of twists. The premise can’t hold up. Edgar Allan Poe’s work is being used … why? The list goes on and on.
While the first season wasn’t perfect, it was, for the most part, enjoyable. Television is in a time when every show has to be top-notch and award-worthy every step of the way. Why? What if this show is just meant to entertain like an action or horror film franchise? Sometimes entertainment can just be that: mindless, gratuitous entertainment. We all wanted the Kevin Williamson creation that starred a big name like Kevin Bacon to be cable’s big answer to the dominance of premium channels, but when that wasn’t the case a lot of people turned on the show. However, the show is still worth watching if you’re into the whole gratuitous violence and thinly veiled mysteries thing. Which a lot of people are.
“Resurrection” begins with a quick recap of mostly scenes from last year’s finale leading right up to when Ryan’s ex-girlfriend Molly shows up, reveals she is a follower and stabs him and Claire. This transitions into scene number one on season two. We learn Claire dies from the attack, but Ryan lives. A year later, he is sober and healthy. The time jump is a little jerky, but it works to set up the new premise for the new season. There’s a new book out about Carroll’s death, there’s Ryan’s niece (90210’s Jessica Stroup) who was never ever mentioned before but will obviously play a major role this season, and Ryan is now teaching a criminology course and seems to be enjoying it.
The violence returns 10 minutes into the show when cult members step onto the 6 train in New York wearing Carroll masks and stab everyone within sight. So, don’t worry if you thought the show would take a less gratuitous approach because clearly the cult members shouting “the resurrection is coming” really means, “we’re going to stab a lot, and there will be a lot of blood.”
This event brings Ryan and Mike Watson back into the FBI’s hands even though both are no longer active with the bureau. The two are working together again, but first we are treated to a flashback from a few months after Claire’s murder. Ryan is drunk, and Watson is trying to cover up the fact that Ryan shot a handcuffed cult member. We also learn that Joey—Carroll and Claire’s son—is in witness protection now (a simple way to wrap up that loose plotline).
It turns out there are eight known Followers on the run, and it is now the FBI’s job to figure out if this is “old cult, new cult, fan club, or groupies.” Which really introduces us to the second season plot; we are able to see that the season is going to deal with the aftermath of Havenport, but in a slow, methodical way. Initially, Watson gladly jumps back into the investigation while Hardy seemingly runs as far away from the FBI as possible. Except he doesn’t. It is revealed that he has a secret room in his apartment filled with boards filled with photos and evidence. Ryan Hardy will never let Joe Carroll go.
His niece, Max, is a part of the NYPD but also involved with Hardy’s secret investigation. Hardy tracks down Carlos, a cult member who was on the train, and (PLOT DUMP ALERT) Carlos just instantly tells Hardy that Carroll actually escaped the boathouse explosion and Hardy isn’t even remotely shocked by this news. Watson is angry at Hardy for being so secretive, which will allow for some good character development and interplay in the season to come.
Speaking of interesting characters, Sam Underwood (who played Zach Hamilton, Dexter’s protégé on the ill-fated final season of Dexter), brings his creepiness to the show as a cult member. His performance is reminiscent of Christian Bale in American Psycho. He kills a girl and spends the afternoon talking to her, making her food, dancing, and it seems as if he is falling in love with her. It’s eerie, but one of the most intriguing plots of the episode. It turns out Underwood plays twins, Mark and Luke, and they are working with Carlos. Joining them is a French girl named Gillian. Missing in all of this is Emma—Carroll’s love interest from last season—who is hiding out in NYC looking all Lisbeth Salander with pink Mohawk and piercings all over. She does not seem to have a clue what Carlos and his gang are up to.
Except it turns out Luke, Mark and Gillian brought Carlos into their group, and he’s just a pawn in their “resurrection” to lure Carroll out of hiding. We find out that Carroll is living bearded in the woods and has no idea about what had transpired on the subway.
All in all, this episode really does feel like the beginning of a sequel to a film (like Williamson’s Scream, in fact). It’s the same story, most of the same characters, a similar premise, and we can sort of guess where things will go from here. If the “Resurrection” is coming, the show needs to step up its game if it wants to keep viewers invested.