"The Following" season 2 premiered Sunday, Jan. 19, with a special episode after the NFC Championship Game. "Resurrection" kicked off the new season with a horrific event with an old connection, and yes, it was so much more disturbing in a completely good way.
"The Following" season 2 premiere picked up right where last season's finale ended, with Ryan and Claire bleeding out on his apartment floor, and while both were rushed to the hospital, only Ryan survived. One year later, Carrie Cooke had a book coming out, "The Havenport Tragedy: The True Story of Joe Carroll and His Blood Cult," and Ryan was a new man: healthy, running, five months sober and going to AA meetings (but not sharing yet), and living in a really nice apartment.
He had reconnected with his niece, Max, an NYPD detective in the Intelligence division who thought Melissa from AA would be the perfect distraction for him, and spent his time teaching criminology. It looked like he had moved on, but it became very clear that he hadn't, despite what he told Mike Weston and anyone else who asked who wasn't his niece.
It all began when three people wearing Joe Carroll masks, which were scarier than the Poe mask, stabbed passengers on a 6 train after it left Union Square Station, shouting and chanting, "Resurrection!" and "Joe Carroll lives. Ryan Hardy can't stop us. The Resurrection is coming." Lily Gray was the only survivor. The next day, it was all over the news, with speculation that Joe's cult was responsible.
Mike, still suspended after the events of Havenport, was brought in as a consultant, and while a flashback to eight months before showed that Ryan had been drowning his feelings in booze and telling Mike not to bother covering for him when he tried to get their stories straight about what had happened, that Alex wasn't cuffed, Mike wasn't coping very well as he waited for his review in January. Their relationship in the present was strained as Ryan was also brought in on the case, even as he told press and his class that he wasn't involved.
Upon reaching FBI Headquarters in the city, Special Agent Mendez explained that the men wanted to be seen; cameras were only in every other subway car. Thanks to FBI resources, they were able to do body scans and comparisons with the eight known followers still at large, and one matched Carlos, who had been MIA for the year following Havenport. But were they looking at all old followers or new recruits as well? Ryan bowed out, claiming it was over for him as Mike argued they didn't catch all of Joe's followers, but when he returned home, he went into his Joe Carroll Obsession Room, which had a keypad lock, because Ryan was "done" like Joe Carroll was dead. He wasn't working alone; Max was also part of the Ryan Hardy Secret ask Force, so she hadn't signed up for the official force.
They traced Carlos to Avenue D, and when Ryan found him, he forced Carlos to tell him what had really happened that night at the lighthouse. He had picked Joe up on the beach, but with all the roadblocks and cops everywhere, Joe had gotten out, and he didn't know where he was. Carlos did escape, thanks to a well-timed cab hitting Ryan, but Ryan returned to his apartment, found a Joe Carroll mask and Heather's name circled in a Playbill, and packed a duffel bag before calling Max, only to find out Heather had already been found dead.
When the FBI and the consultants had first visited her in the hospital, Lily had asked Ryan why it had happened, and when he returned near episode's end, she knew the answer herself: his followers were made he killed Joe. But why was he visiting her? She was the only one he could apologize to since everyone else was dead. From there, he returned to his obsession room, took out the Joe Carroll mask from Carlos' apartment, and put it on.
Meanwhile, we were also introduced to something creepier and crazier than everything from last season in the form of Sam Underwood's character, as a woman first noticed him upon arriving home in the lobby, and then found him waiting at her front door when she got off the elevator. Later, they were lying in bed together, and he seemed to be really sweet, talking about how he didn't want to have sex, that it wasn't as important as people said, but then we saw the girl was dead and his monologue just became really disturbing…and that wasn't even the worse part.
It got worse the more he spent time with her, offering to make her an omelet, propping her body up on the couch while he danced to her iPod, slow dancing with her, doing her hair and makeup, and finally dressing her. It was when he turned to the person in the shower for help moving her body that it was revealed that there were two of them! Yes, twins, because he didn't seem creepy enough without a double. How awesome was that reveal? Sam Underwood delivered the best performance(s) of the episode.
Heather's body was found posed as the character based off Claire from Joe's book, on a park bench across from her apartment, Joe's book in her hands. Mike again tried to get Ryan to talk, trying to appeal to the side of him that cared, but Ryan kept insisting he didn't know anything, even when Mike asked why he had requested Joe's DNA records six months prior and told him he needed to talk to him. "Take care of yourself, Mike," was all Ryan said before leaving.
The twins tracked down Carlos once he hid out in the Midtown Motel, and as Mark stood back and only chimed in occasionally to try to keep Luke in check, Carlos insisted that they wouldn't find much at his place. Carlos promised he'd get them Joe, like they wanted, and Luke was all, "fine, I overreacted, now hug me," and it was clear he meant the complete opposite because that "huggy hug" could not have sounded more ominous. After their hug, Luke hit him in the throat and sent him to the corner to think about what he'd done while Mark sat and read Cook's book.
As for Emma, she had a new look, one we absolutely loved, and she was hiding out with other cult followers in Burlington County, New Jersey, when the report hit the news of the subway attack. Suspecting Carlos was behind it, she went to see him, only to see Ryan leaving his apartment. She returned to report back to the others in her group, and none of them knew what was going on.
Finally, it wasn't until the final minutes of the episode that we got to see Joe, who had grown a beard and looked like a mountain man under the name of "Darryl," but that didn't mean he didn't take note of Ryan on the news.
While the first season had its problems and we don't expect the second to be flawless, "Resurrection" was a strong start for the FOX thriller. It set up the players, both old and new, for what's to come, and it began with an event that wasn't unbelievable to draw returning characters from last season back in. Waiting until the final moments to bring Joe back into the picture was very predictable, as it was clear the episode was not going to end without a look at where he was.
The season 2 premiere also set up the changing dynamic between Ryan and Mike, which should make for one of the most intriguing relationships for the rest of the season. They have come a long way from being the Mike and Ryan we saw in the pilot, and it won't be so easy for them to move past the events of the end of last season, especially with Mike still facing the repercussions, suspended, waiting for review, and still thinking of the "what ifs?" of that day, even as he was brought in to consult, while Ryan fought being involved, denying it to the press and his class and contributing nothing when the FBI asked if he had anything to add when it came to the case. Instead, he chose to ignore Mike's argument that they needed to bring down the followers they hadn’t caught and put a stop to them recruiting more to resurrect Joe's legacy, and instead, only Max knew that Ryan hadn't moved on.
"The Following" season 2 airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on FOX. What did you think of the premiere "Resurrection"?