The Following Season 2 Interview: Kevin Williamson Talks the Return of Joe, Starting Fresh and More

The Following Season 2 Episode 1 Resurrection (2)

The Following season two begins tonight, Sunday, January 19th at 10:30pm ET/PT on Fox, with a special preview episode following the NFC Championship Game. Before returning to the serial killer infested world Ryan (Kevin Bacon) must protect, TV Equals chatted with his (and the series’) creator, Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries, Scream) during a conference call. Williamson discussed the changes ahead in season two, why Joe will be back and much more.

Season Two is a Fresh Start

The Following had a tumultuous first season as it balanced procedural elements with serialized storytelling in not always successful ways. The series is unique for being one of the first true attempts by a network to run a series with a limited number of episode (15) uninterrupted– following the model favored by cable channels and British television. Season two will also be uninterrupted, but Williamson emphasized that there will be a “reset” as the series moves forward.

With the story jumping forward one year in time, Williamson said, “It’s like the story is complete— I don’t know, it’s all changed.” Those changes include less of a procedural aspect as Ryan is no longer an official consultant for the FBI in the middle of hunting down Joe. Instead, the series will shift gears to become “a character thriller and a relationship thriller.”

On Why Joe Had To Come Back

If you have seen the teasers, then it will come as no surprise that Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) is not dead. There is a good reason for that: his story isn’t complete. With so much of the focus on finding Joey last season, Williamson laments all the avenues that he didn’t get to explore with the character of Joe. Season two gives him a chance to delve deeper into the killer’s psyche.

“What Joe Carroll is about this year and what he’s doing is completely different than last year,” Williamson said. “It’s sort of an escalation and sort of an evolution of his character; so it’s kind of cool, and it’s really been a lot of fun.”

Joe and Ryan’s Growing Obsession

Joe and Ryan have been playing a cat and mouse game with each other for years. Their twisted relationship provides The Following with its driving force, so it makes sense that the mutual obsession will continue to grow in season two. Williamson calls season two a “full on love story.”

“You’ve got these two men who are 100% obsessed with each other,” he elaborated. “Certainly, Ryan is, and as we set up, and I think it was Episode 12 of last year, they need each other. They fuel each other.”

Ryan in particular is motivated by revenge: “he wants a bullet through that guy’s head” as Williamson puts it.

Mike’s State of Mind

On the flipside of Joe and Ryan’s relationship is Ryan and Mike’s (Shawn Ashmore). The young FBI agent sought a mentor in Ryan last season, but the dark case has left him filled with rage and guilt. Because Mike has now been through a situation that so closely mirrors Ryan’s, Williamson revealed, “I think that Mike and Ryan’s relationship is a key focal point of this entire season, because it’s such a great parallel.”

Mike wants Ryan to return to the FBI as a central figure again, but Ryan is more committed to doing his own thing this season, which is unfortunate because Mike is going to need all the support he can get. “He really does get pushed to the absolute limits of his sanity and his ability to cope with something,” Williamson said. “He has a quite an interesting journey.”

However, Ryan pushing Mike away only means that he cares for the young agent. Ryan believes that everyone in his life is in danger and “it would kill Ryan if something happened to Mike; it would just be the end of him.”

On the Dark Nature of The Following

The first season set a precedent for the series to constantly become more brutal and more shocking, until the darkness eventually became unrelenting. While Williamson insists the show won’t lose any of that edge–it is a serial killer tale, after all–it won’t be about constantly pushing the gore factor farther and farther.

“The show doesn’t feel as violent as it did last year,” Williamson insisted. “There are some of the later episodes of last season where you sort of remember just, sort of, the brutality and I think of, just sort of, the body count. That’s not the show we’re telling this year. It’s just different, but I’m not going to pretend it’s not scary and violent, because it is. It just has a different tone and feel to it this year, which hopefully, that every season can just be a brand new show.”

The Following Season 2 Episode 1 Resurrection (9)

If you need more season two scoop before tonight’s preview episode and the Monday, January 27th official premiere at 9/8c on Fox, check out TV Equals’ The Following Season 2: What You Should Know feature.

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