Q&A: Natalie Zea Teases Future Face-Offs on 'The Following'

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"The Following" -- "Whips & Regret"
Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) dines with Claire (Natalie Zea) in the "Whips & Regret" episode of "The Following."

When we last saw Natalie Zea's Claire Matthews on "The Following" at the end of last week's episode, she was trapped in the cult home with her ex-husband, finally reunited with her son, and rockin' a seriously hot dress. Of course, only one of those things was of her choosing.

This week, we know we're going to see Claire come face-to-face with her son's kidnapper, Emma, and we're guessing that creepy serial killer of an ex-husband (James Purefoy) is going to continue to try to win her heart again. And, yeah, her lost love, Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon), is going to continue to try to find her and – we assume – hit the bottle.

We caught up with Zea to try to weasel a few more hints at what's to come this week … and leading into the finale on April 29. (Thankfully, that won't be a series finale – Fox has already picked up "The Following" for a second season). Believe it or not, she was able to answer a few of our most pressing questions.

Last week, we saw Joe try to wine and dine you by firelight and gift you with a gorgeous dress. Does he have any other big romantic gestures up his sleeve?

They're really lame. They're super-lame. I mean, he needs a lesson. He's been out of the loop for a little while so I guess maybe he thinks the slightest little thing will do it. It must be hard when you're surrounded by people who tell you that your charm and your charisma and your presence is enough. I'm sure you start to believe it at some point. He certainly has consumed the Kool-Aid. Obviously, Claire's like, "Really, dude? You're kidding right?"

You looked smokin' hot in that dress, by the way. Are we going to get to see you all dolled up again anytime soon?

It was nice to do it. I know that people think that dress was black, but it was green and that's too bad. The actual glory of the dress was hidden behind the glory of the show.

I don't think this is giving anything away – I decided that I wanted her to make a very definitive choice to not take any of the clothes that they've provided for her. So, when next you see her, she has her old clothes on. Aside from taking down her hair, she has not washed her face, she has not brushed her hair, and that continues on until the very end. So, by the end, it's a crunk show – her hair and makeup is just everywhere. It's just this progression of watching her appearance slowly go from bad to worse.

So, does Joe even have a shot. Would Claire ever consider him again romantically?


[Related: Exclusive Clip of Ryan Hardy and Agent Parker Talking 'Carrollism']

Ryan and Claire seem like such an unlikely romance – they were together for a short time a long time ago. Do you believe that they're really in love?

I recently found out that Kevin Bacon thinks that Claire was a mistake on Hardy's part, which was news to me. I think if anyone made the mistake, it would've been Claire … I always saw Claire as the one who had a lot more at stake by getting involved with him. Certainly, he had plenty at stake, but I think the repercussions of it could be a little longer-lasting with her, just given everything she's been through.

If they did get together, Claire would have some serious work to do.

Yeah, she'd have to dust him off and clean out the crevices for sure.

What can you tell us about your face-off with Emma (Valorie Curry) this week?

Well, there is one.

I sense that Roderick (Warren Kole) is about to snap and everything is going to go haywire.

Yeah, you're correct.

Do Claire and Jacob (Nico Tortorella) have any more big scenes together?

We do, actually. We have a tiny thing in episode 14, I believe. It's not a lot but it's enough. We kind of come face to face a little bit.

[Related: James Purefoy Teases 'The Following' Finale]

OK, so I know you can't give us anything specific about the season finale, but can you at least tell us something vague.

Well, there's an explosion.

Oh, we love a good explosion. Now, inevitably there will be a cliffhanger – on a scale of 1 to 10, how much pain are we going to be in all summer while we wait for the show to come back?

10. For sure.

"The Following" airs at 9 PM on Mondays on Fox.