'The Following' EP Previews Season 3: 'We Went Too Far Last Year'

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·New York Bureau Chief, Yahoo Entertainment
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When Monday night’s premiere of The Following kicks off, you may think you’ve stumbled onto the wrong show. Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and friends are smiling, in love, dancing — heck, there’s even a wedding. It’s a rather seismic tonal shift, one that executive producer Marcos Siega assures us is intentional.

“We wanted to really make the show accessible to an audience that hasn’t seen Seasons 1 and 2, but also give the real hardcore fans a satisfying entry point,” he explains to Yahoo TV. “We decided to go back to what I thought were our best episodes in Season 1, which had more suspense and less on-camera violence. I think we went a little bit too far last year.”

Siega lists the massacres in the bookstore and bakery among those scenes from Season 2 that may have crossed the line, and promises they won’t be going there again.

“If we do have a killing spree, I don’t need to see all the stabbing and the blood… You kind of expect it, and sometimes when you don’t see it, it’s maybe more impactful,” he confesses. “I didn’t want people turning away from it or turning it off because it was too much. So there is a lot more compelling character stuff and a lot more suspense and less gratuitous violence [in Season 3].”

With all the blood and guts out of the way, we were able to get Siega to spill a few details about what to expect for some of our favorite characters:

Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon)

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“We pick up one year later, much like we did between Seasons 1 and 2. Our entry point is, where is Ryan Hardy? We see he’s a new man, unlike last year. We opened last year, and he was healthy, running, taking his meds, and teaching, but we discovered that he had the secret, which was that he was still hunting and still obsessed and had the secret room. This year, it’s a year later, but he really has kept all the promises he made. He’s gotten past Joe, and he’s doing well and everything in his life is good. He even has a new love interest [played by Zuleikha Robinson, pictured].”

Joe Carroll (James Purefoy)

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“We do see him, and he plays an important part this season, but the show has to evolve. … There’s so much story we can tell with Joe without treading in the same story, so, again, we’ve come up with a really good way to keep him active. But he’s just not coming up much because we do have to move forward. The idea of the show always had legs beyond Joe Carroll, so we need to plant those seeds and then cultivate those stories.”

Max Hardy (Jessica Stroup) and Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore)

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“Max is great, although we will see in Episode 1 that a few things have happened between Max and Mike that start them off in different places this year. I don’t know that it’s fizzled, it’s just there are some obstacles to overcome. … So many of our fans were rooting for them to get together in the end, and they really do have tremendous chemistry and it’s fun to play with that. We’ve kind of earned that dramatic arc between the two of them.”

Psycho Twin Mark (Sam Underwood)

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“We do find out who picked him up — we find out in Episode 1 — and it’s someone new and someone that plays a big part in the setup of Season 2.”

Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea)
“Claire is with her son happily and with her mom. We may or may not see Claire this season. … She’s definitely part of the past.”

New Characters
“We have a lot of new characters, and I wouldn’t want to spoil it. … I will say [Michael Ealy] is one of my favorite characters in all the seasons. [He’s] this killer who is a bit of a chameleon. It’s almost like he can borrow from all serial killers. It makes it impossible to find him.”

The Following airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on Fox.

Photo credits: Fox