Network TV’s most charming serial killer is back. Or is he? Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) may have lost his followers and his freedom at the end of last season’s “The Following” but there’s a new leader in town, ready to take up the job of making FBI agent Ryan Hardy’s (Kevin Bacon) life miserable. It’s crazy evil twin Mark Gray (Sam Underwood), nuttier than before and calling the shots on the ultimate revenge plan. Or is he?


The primary mystery of “The Following” has always rested on one question: Which innocent bystander and/or person Ryan Hardy cares about is going to die this week? It’s how the show creates tension and it does a great job most of the time. Like any good horror story, the show builds the anticipation. Waiting for the horrible crime to take place is what really gets you. Where this show often loses its way for me is the other question it asks week after week, namely: Will Hardy and his team make it to the abandoned mine/factory/warehouse/ammunitions depot or coffeehouse/bookstore/charity gala in time to save the victim or catch the killer? The victims seem to have a 50/50 chance. The main killers almost always manage to escape despite the skills of their pursuers until the end of the season, that is. Then one or more of them gets caught.


Ryan and company went rogue at the end of last season however, and shot Carroll disciple Lily Gray (Connie Nielsen) when they could have arrested her. This makes her son Mark, whose twin brother Luke is also killed (although that was more by the book) plan his version of a reckoning. But Mark may be a pawn in a larger plan.


The idea that Mark has followers is a narrative reach in the wrong direction but bigger things seem to be at play, suggesting he won’t be the main story arc for long. Some of the lines in the first two episodes are so obvious I hope they’re meant to be a wink and a nod to the audience. Consider these two: “A new threat could expose itself at any moment,” and “The killing is only beginning.” Um…yes. This is “The Following.” Those two sentences are pretty much the show’s subtitles. On a positive note, Bacon has more to do this time around as Ryan starts to trust again.


Where previous seasons focused on Ryan’s guilt and the consequences of his obsessive pursuit of Carroll, this season has Ryan facing the terrible fallout from his role in covering up how Gray died. He conquered his darkness when he chose not to kill Carroll. Will his lie about Gray’s death end up destroying him? And what’s the larger mystery? Last season, this show pretty much lost me as a viewer. (See previous reference to creepy killers’ oh-so-convenient escapes). This season, I think I’ll stick around to find out the answers—as long as Mark stops escaping from tight situations.


Season three of “The Following” premieres Monday, March 2 at 9 p.m. EDT on Fox.


Network TV’s most charming serial killer is back. Or is he? Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) may have lost his followers and his freedom at the end of last season’s “The Following” but there’s a new leader in town, ready to take up the job of making FBI agent Ryan Hardy’s (Kevin Bacon) life miserable. It’s crazy evil twin Mark Gray (Sam Underwood), nuttier than before and calling the shots on the ultimate revenge plan. Or is he?

The primary mystery of “The Following” has always rested on one question: Which innocent bystander and/or person Ryan Hardy cares about is going to die this week? It’s how the show creates tension and it does a great job most of the time. Like any good horror story, the show builds the anticipation. Waiting for the horrible crime to take place is what really gets you. Where this show often loses its way for me is the other question it asks week after week, namely: Will Hardy and his team make it to the abandoned mine/factory/warehouse/ammunitions depot or coffeehouse/bookstore/charity gala in time to save the victim or catch the killer? The victims seem to have a 50/50 chance. The main killers almost always manage to escape despite the skills of their pursuers until the end of the season, that is. Then one or more of them gets caught.

Ryan and company went rogue at the end of last season however, and shot Carroll disciple Lily Gray (Connie Nielsen) when they could have arrested her. This makes her son Mark, whose twin brother Luke is also killed (although that was more by the book) plan his version of a reckoning. But Mark may be a pawn in a larger plan.

The idea that Mark has followers is a narrative reach in the wrong direction but bigger things seem to be at play, suggesting he won’t be the main story arc for long. Some of the lines in the first two episodes are so obvious I hope they’re meant to be a wink and a nod to the audience. Consider these two: “A new threat could expose itself at any moment,” and “The killing is only beginning.” Um…yes. This is “The Following.” Those two sentences are pretty much the show’s subtitles. On a positive note, Bacon has more to do this time around as Ryan starts to trust again.

Where previous seasons focused on Ryan’s guilt and the consequences of his obsessive pursuit of Carroll, this season has Ryan facing the terrible fallout from his role in covering up how Gray died. He conquered his darkness when he chose not to kill Carroll. Will his lie about Gray’s death end up destroying him? And what’s the larger mystery? Last season, this show pretty much lost me as a viewer. (See previous reference to creepy killers’ oh-so-convenient escapes). This season, I think I’ll stick around to find out the answers—as long as Mark stops escaping from tight situations.

Season three of “The Following” premieres Monday, March 2 at 9 p.m. EDT on Fox.