When "The Following" season 2 begins, we'll see a Ryan Hardy who seems to be in a much better place than he was when we first saw him in the series premiere, hungover in bed. Ryan has a nice apartment, a new job teaching criminology and forensics, something Bacon wasn't so sure about at first. "Then I thought about the fact that I do have this obsession with Joe Carroll," he explained. "One of the things I always kind of admired about him is his – there were scenes last year where I was sitting there watching him teach and was like, "Wow, this guy is good," so now I'm attempting that myself." Ryan has also stopped drinking, is going to meetings, and is running and working out, with his heart in better shape.
So what does this new Ryan mean for his journey this season? "It's a question of, I would see it as a question of am I going up or am I climbing myself back up. Last year I was at the bottom, kind of rock bottom, and the involvement with the case almost started to heal me in a strange kind of way because I needed this, I feed on this," Bacon said. "[In season 2], I'm more together but I have to get pulled back in and I have to go down to the bottom again and I have to be confronted with very, very serious questions of morality and right and wrong and doing the right thing." That leads to a few questions for the season: "Are you going to do the right thing or are you going to do the wrong thing? Do you have the wherewithal to know what that is?"
As we know from James Purefoy, Joe Carroll is all about making Ryan suffer. But is Ryan thinking about Joe all the time or has he moved on? Bacon admitted that's a bit complicated. "I have moved on to a certain extent," he said, but that doesn't mean he's not still thinking about Joe after what he did.
Connie Nielsen is coming in as Lily Gray, a potential love interest for Ryan, a survivor of a "really scary attack on the subway." "She is, in a lot of ways, similar to the way I feel about Joe. She's everything I'm not," Bacon teased. "She's worldly, speaks a million languages, has an appreciation of art, is just kind of this dynamic creature. I'm not out looking for love, but something about her just kind of draws me in."
Check out the video interview above (or here) for more from Kevin Bacon.
"The Following" season 2 airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on FOX, with a special preview airing Jan. 19 after the NFC Championship Game.