Despite her genuine feelings for Jacob (Nico Tortorella), it certainly seemed like all Emma (Valorie Curry) wanted on FOX's The Following was to make Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) proud enough that he would love her the same way she loves him and so they could build a life together. After delivering his son to him, Emma should get her wish, right? Maybe if this were a series finale or a fairy tale, but it's a Kevin Williamson thriller-- and only half-way through its first season-- so there is no concrete "happily ever after."
"[It] could have been a finale in a different writer’s hands, but Kevin Williamson, part of what he’s done so brilliantly with the show, it keeps turning and reinventing itself and the context keeps changing. It allows him to develop the characters in different ways, and it allows [us] to see these other sides to them—by putting them in these wildly different circumstances. So I don’t think it’s wrong to say we’re almost about to get a second season in the second half of this first season. The show changes wildly, and everything just kicks up a notch; you see more depth, more dimension everywhere," Curry said to LA TV Insider Examiner about the mid-season episode, "Let Me Go."
And along those lines, things are about to take a new turn for Emma, who became accustomed to being a figure of authority in the house when there were just three psychos and a kid. Now, she's in a compound with literally dozens of psychos-- all of whom are unknown to Emma, and that sense of unknown comes with a reserve since she's not sure just of what any of them are capable.
"It's a scary place!" Curry said of the compound. "She’s definitely about to start a new chapter in her life, but she doesn’t know what it is yet because she has completed that part of the mission, and now she has to find her place within this group of strangers. And she has to sort of reestablish her relationship with Joe, who she hasn’t seen in years. They have this history, and she has this obvious all-consuming devotion to him, but she hasn’t actually been able to visit the man! She’s an adult now, and they’re both in completely different places."
Joe has also kept Emma just as in the dark as he has his other followers. He has doled out information only as necessary, and because of that, Emma has no idea how big Claire (Natalie Zea) fits into Joe's overall, master plan. Her focus right now is on being "a mediator between Joey and Joe, to try to bring the two of them together." While that is certainly still a very important role, Emma, and the audience by extension, will see just how important some other people perhaps previously written off are, as well.
"We’re going to find out more about Roderick, and we’re going to learn more about the hierarchy and the pecking order of the group, and she does have to find a place within that. It’s one thing to be out of the house and taking orders and dealing with the FBI and other things when somebody’s standing between her and Joe, so interacting with the cult and trying to carve out a path and carve out, ideally a place of authority, is what she’s dealing with in the upcoming episodes," Curry said.
"I don’t think Emma would ever think anyone means as much to Joe as she does. If anything, they’re just interlopers! But she is very competitive, and everybody is vying for attention and for status with him, and she’s jealous of his attention."
And then, of course, there is the question of what happened with Jacob and Paul (Adan Canto). While Emma learned they survived the raid on the farmhouse, that doesn't come without its own emotions. Emma thought she had left them for death, which she was working on processing as just part of the job, but to learn they're still alive and now disappointed in her is a different story.
"There is that guilt that she’s going to try to push to the back of her mind and just put all everything on Joe. There’s a lot competing for her mental energy right now, but that’s definitely there. All of those cracks and all of that vulnerability that we established in the last few episodes, it’s only going to deepen. We’ll see more of her vulnerability being this fish out of water in this group of people, without the guys, without Jacob who she loves," Curry said, noting that there will be further resolution to where Jacob and Paul stand coming soon.
Jacob was certainly hurt when he called her, but will that be enough to push him to the edge and finally cause him to lash out violently-- especially against someone he loves? Curry justified Emma's behavior:
"She was following orders! She had a job to do, and obviously it wasn’t ideal, and it wasn’t necessarily what she wanted to do, but it was what she had to do. Within this group of people, I think the repercussions are probably worse if you don’t follow orders," Curry said.
Whether or not Paul or Jacob can see it that way, or if recent events have caused their emotions to get in the way more than expected, remains to be seen. Regardless, there's a whole compound full of followers now, and Joe himself, to clean up such petty messes. In the grand scheme of things, such a personal problem is barely a blip on the radar of what's to come.
The Following airs on FOX on Monday nights at 9 p.m.
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