This Monday at 9/8c, Fox’s The Following turns the page to “The Final Chapter” — as in the title of its freshman finale. But is Joe Carroll (played by James Purefoy) truly ready to close the book on his and Ryan Hardy’s (Kevin Bacon) game of cat-and-mouse? And whom among the good guys might he take out along the way to his killer coda?
Not that the FBI has many players left to lose. When last we tuned in, Agent Parker (Annie Parisse) had been nabbed by a band of followers and buried alive, her frantic breathing playing over an especially eerie closing title card. Meanwhile, Joe, with his cult’s compound comprised, dragged Claire (Natalie Zea) first to a safe(/stolen) house, then ultimately to the docks, where he plans to finish his and Ryan’s story. “Joe is unhinged, for sure,” Bacon tells TVLine.
When we suggest that Agent Weston will lead the search for Parker, conveniently leaving Ryan to hunt down and confront Joe by himself, Bacon responds, “That’s not exactly what happens, but I can say that as is necessary, Ryan’s got to go out on his own. It’s got to be mano a mano — and we definitely do that.”
Teasing the inevitable clash between protagonist and antagonist, Bacon says, “In terms of the psychological kind of mind games that go on between me and him, like where he gets under my skin or I get under his, there’s a scene where I get a chance to really, like, mess with his head.”
Circling back to the question of, “Who’s gonna die?”: Parker’s subterranean sitch, coupled with Carroll’s growing disregard for his ex-wife’s life and his determination to have a deadly denouement with Ryan, suggests that at least one more major casualty is on the way — in the wake of the show snuffing Paul (Aden Canto), Jacob (Nico Tortorella) and Roderick (Warren Kole) in recent weeks. To that, Bacon advises fans with a chuckle, “Hold on to your hat! Because I will tell you that there is…. I mean, I don’t think anybody has job security, including me. That’s just the way we roll.” (The willingness of series creator Kevin Williamson to drop people like flies when story dictates, Bacon observes, “is exciting on one hand, but it’s also kind of sad when you have somebody like Adan or Nico doing great work.”)
Although the finale, all told, packs in “a lot of tragic elements,” “many shocking moments” and “a very explosive ending,” Bacon says it is also a “very emotional” final hour for the dark drama’s freshman run.
“I’m always interested in where can we go emotionally, because that’s the stuff that I’m more drawn to,” the film vet says. “I found it very moving when I read the script, and as I was in the scenes, and when I watched the finale. It’s kind of epic in a way — epic and gothic — and at the same time personal.”
Will the events of the finale pave a clear path for The Following‘s already ordered Season 2? Or might they raise questions about how the show can go on?
“Let me put it this way…,” Bacon starts. “I think the ending is going to be shocking, but like with all good cliffhangers, there is also some stuff left up in the air.”