Why I Love The Following


In 2003, FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) captured Edgar Allen Poe obsessive, Briton and serial killer, Joe Carroll (James Purefoy).  He was also stabbed in the heart and banged Carroll’s wife.  Carroll has become the leader of a cult from behind bars, and when he escapes to pursue his homicidal hobby, Ryan is drawn back in to hunt Carroll and his disciples down…

Episode 4: Mad Love

At the house:

Emma: Paul, you and me got some serious sexual tension to go with our inexplicable mutual jealousy over Jacob even though he looks like his own waxwork figurine and is totally wet.  Also, you shouldn’t go round kidnapping and gagging random young women even if that’s what we do as members of a deranged death cult because, y’know, standards. Oh and we’ve got Carroll’s idiot son running about the place and even he might get suspicious if he sees her.

Kidnapped woman: Mmph mmph mmph.  (“Yes, Carroll’s boy does appear to be unusually stupid.”)

Paul: Fuck you Emma.

Emma: Not ‘til the end of the episode.

Paul: Jacob, I got this woman for you because you’re a killing virgin, and frankly it’s a little embarrassing.  I don’t judge but Emma definitely will, because that girl is all kinds of crazy and I definitely don’t want to have sex with her in a shower.  You should stop lying to her.

Jacob: Wait, I’m confused, lying about not having killed anyone, or lying about how our make-believe relationship involves a lot of real man-on-man action and a genuine emotional connection?

Paul: Yes.

Jacob: Come to think of it, do you not think that our relationship is a little demeaning to the gay community?

Paul: You mean how we’re two murder crazy straight guys who have to pretend to be a couple for no logical reason particularly while we were engaged in a highly sensitive, heavily pressured surveillance mission and as such our relationship is almost entirely gratuitous and one of us could have easily been played by a woman and kept the kinky love triangle thing with Emma and how implying a link between homosexuality and murder craziness is perhaps insensitive given the relative paucity of gay couples on the tv?

Jacob: Yes.

Paul: Can’t say I’ve thought about it.

Jacob: Well that’s fair enough.


At the FBI:

Ryan gets a call from his sister but ignores it.  There’s a flashback to 2009 to remind the audience that Ryan’s totally an alcoholic, which helps him self-medicate his emotional issues even though both ideas are massively cliché.  In the present Ryan goes to talk to Carroll in a nod to Silence of The Lambs.

Ryan: You look like shit in orange.  How’s the hackneyed Edgar Allen Poe obsession going?

Carroll: Don’t be silly, Bacon – I’m quite literally the sexiest serial killer ever.  I don’t even need charisma because I look like James Purefoy.  That’s why you spend so much time flirting with me despite me being almost entirely useless as a source of reliable information.  You’re not bad yourself considering you’re an alcoholic with a literally broken heart.

Ryan: Yeah you got a good pouty squint going, and ok maybe we’re getting a bit homoerotic, but you can’t out-intense-eye-acting me – I’m Kevin Bacon.  Tell me about Maggie.

Carroll: Didn’t she shoot Mr Burns?  She’s very special – I’ve got very high hopes for her, Bacon.  Thanks for killing her husband by the way, now she can really flourish even though she’s an established serial killer in her own right.  Oh damn, I totally didn’t mean to let that slip.

Ryan: Ha! I’m going to take your info leak at face value even though that would never happen.

Carroll: Cough-ARKANSAS-cough.  Sorry, bit of a tickle in my throat.


Ryan receives another call from his sister, which he ignores.  There’s another flashback to 2009 to remind the audience that Ryan has a pacemaker fitted as a result of being stabbed in the heart and is an alcoholic with emotional issues, which is impacting his health.  In the present he gets another call from his sister.  He picks it up.

Ryan: Go for Bacon.

Maggie: Tricked you! If you want your sister back, you have to come to her restaurant that is the first place any investigator would probably look.  And you have to come alone and unarmed.

Ryan: Sounds reasonable.  Bacon out.

Mike: Bacon, I’m YOUR creepy follower, so I know who Jenny is and what you look like when you’re sleeping.  Don’t worry, I didn’t tell anyone at FBI though – they just think we’re going for ice cream or something.

Ryan: I’m pretty sure that Maggie’s insane and I shouldn’t risk my sister’s life by breaking her rules needlessly.  But what the heck, it’ll be nice to have some company on the drive over.


At the house:

Emma: Look Paul, I know your secret – I know that you’re totally gay for Jacob.  I get it, he has a face like an unlit candle, you guys were always gonna’ get your gay on.

Paul: That’s a surprisingly crude way of putting it, but actually that’s not the secret.  The secret is that Jacob is a killing virgin.

There is a flashback to 2009 when Jacob tells a spectacularly unconvincing lie about his ‘first time’ which they all believe because they’re exceptionally dull-witted. Paul has curlier hair and wears glasses to emphasise that he’s a total loser-outsider.

Paul: Man I was such a loser-outsider then before I met you guys and formed this weird threeway thing.

Emma: Threeway comes later.

Paul: What?

Emma: Nothing.  I can’t believe Jacob lied to me – that is so not cool.

Paul: I know, right.

Emma: Here’s a knife, Jacob, go into the basement alone and kill the girl.  We don’t need to be there, we’ll just take your word for it that you killed her and didn’t let her escape.

Later Jacob will go to the basement, find that he’s unable to kill the girl and instead help her to escape so she can hide in the barn.


At the restaurant:

Ryan: Wow I can’t believe that after I read the note and put on the blindfold like you wanted, you hit me in the head and tied me up.  They don’t train you for this at FBI.

Maggie: I know about your pacemaker, here is a magnet, which will totally kill you.  The likelihood of you actually coming here alone without alerting anyone at all is vanishingly small, but I’m going to accept your word at face value and kill you in a slow, James Bond villain sort of way.  By the way I’m totes off message on this, so don’t think I’ll let you live just cause’ James Purefoy gives me a total lady boner and he wants you to suffer at least until the end of the series unless we get picked up for another one.

Mike: By the power of FBI I demand you stop this nonsense.

Maggie: You really want to go, kid? I’ve got a knife.

Mike shoots her with his gun.


At the house:

Emma: Wow.  I am totally turned on after killing that girl.  Look Paul, I know you love Jacob and I know this is hard for you.

Paul: You mean I’m hard for you.  (he raises a hand for a high five which will never come)

Emma: Let’s wash this mud off in the shower together.  But we’re definitely not getting it on, ok?  By the way, I’m sending mixed messages here.

They start going at it.  Jacob shows up, also a bit muddy.

Jacob: Guys I’m feeling a bit emotional right now, I’m properly sorry for lying to you guys, lying is pretty much the single most awful thing anyone can do. I’m also pretty sure I should be upset that you’re both cheating on me with each other.  Wait Paul – I thought you’d gone straight up gay?

Paul: It’s ok Jacob, we don’t need labels – this is the 90s.  Now get in here so the three of us can do some kinky porno stuff to each other.


Ryan: Claire, we traced Maggie’s phone call to upstate New York so I’m going up there even though I probably need some medical attention and time to recuperate, having a pacemaker and an alcohol dependency problem and all. But the Bacon won’t rest until he’s saved your son.

Claire: I appreciate that, but things have been pretty tough for me since my serial killer ex-husband set his cult on me and kidnapped my boy.

Ryan: With hindsight you should’ve known he was a bad guy in the first place – he is British for Chrissakes.

Claire: You’re right…I could really do with some company and support, just someone to reach out to even just for one night because I’m terrified and emotionally wrung out.  Please stay with me – we don’t need to talk because I know you’ve got emotional issues and you’re trying to be a modern twist on the stoic John Wayne type.  I, I just need someone to hold me close, even if just for five minutes because it’s been so long since someone reached out to me and, I’m really struggling.  It, it feels like I’m drowning.  Please, I’m literally begging you.

Ryan: No can do, babe, Bacon’s gotta’ do what Bacon’s gotta’ do.

Ryan leaves.


The end.

3 thoughts on “Why I Love The Following

  1. So I’ve had zero interest in watching this Kevin Williamson created drama. As he is the creator of illustrious shows such as The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, and Dawson’s Creek (which I initially refused to watch because I was convinced they were all pretentious assholes, only to later realize that I am exactly what I was avoiding, I’ve now seen every episode), I’m wary. However, you’ve nearly convinced me (though probably not).

    1. It’s fun schlocky trash – the writing is dreadful at best, the plot rarely makes that much sense but at least they seem a little aware of it, or at least pre-empt criticism by referring to how much of a hack Purefoy’s character is as a writer.

      It’s also ridiculously violent for a tv show aiming vaguely at mass appeal.

      Totally loses it towards the end – completely jumps off a cliff for the last few episodes, which is a shame, but hey they got picked up for another series so go them.

      I liked Dawson’s Crack for about 5 minutes when I was younger. Strangely enough I’m pretty certain that out of all of them, even though everyone liked Pacey, Van Der Beek is the one you’d want to go for a beer with.

      1. I’ve decided that the better the show is, the more likely it is not to get renewed. Grey’s Anatomy? Still on. CSI: Whatever? Still on. True Blood? Still on. Deadwood? Gone. Rome? Gone.

        Dawson’s Creek ran almost concurrent with my teenage years (maybe 12-17?), so I do not hold myself responsible for watching it. Where else could you find the smart girl from the wrong side of the creek, a love triangle, very little teen drinking, and absolutely no drug use where nearly everything worked out perfectly? I still love that show. And I liked Pacey, he mocked Braveheart.

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