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Plot: In order to break Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon), one of Joe Carroll’s (James Purefoy) followers sets out to kill anyone named Claire Matthews. Her main objective is to show Hardy how much love hurts. Meanwhile, Jacob (Nico Tortorella) and Paul (Adam Canto) take refuge in a relative’s home.
The majority of this first season saw Hardy and the FBI combat random Carroll followers each week with a main story wrapped around it. Even though each episode was special in its on way, this cookie cutter way of telling this story started getting on the nerves of some fans. Last week’s episode “Welcome Home” bucked this trend by throwing Roderick (Warren Kole) in the spotlight and having the FBI combat him instead. I had high hopes that The Following would start creating more original stories after that episode and wouldn’t continue to be a “revolving door of followers” so to speak. Unfortunately, “Love Hurts” doesn’t continue off the change of its predecessor and it falls back to the same story lines that everyone already knows.
The killer in focus this week was Amanda, a woman who killed her cheating husband and his mistress and fled to Carroll for protection. She presents Carroll with the idea that her chapter of the story should be about her killing women who are named Claire Matthews as a means of torturing Hardy. Even though she never actually tries to kill Carroll’s ex-wife, the fact that Hardy has to watch women with the same name of the woman he loves constantly die is enough to hit him hard. Despite the presence of Amanda simply being killer filler, I will say that her goal was original and definitely unexpected. Instead of causing a lot of physical pain for Hardy like Roderick did to Weston (Shawn Ashmore) last week, Amanda wants Hardy to feel like his heart is getting broken multiple times. It truly was a test of how much pain a man can take before he cracks, and I felt it was a very fresh twist in this show. Plus, it helped that Amanda was overly brutal with her methods. Shooting a harpoon gun through a woman in the middle of a diner? That’s insane.
I really like how we got to meet Jacob’s mother as well. So far, the only character to actually have a family member appear in present day was Hardy. Now Jacob’s mother has entered the show and it definitely provided some nice depth into his character. Not only did we get to see how Jacob fulfills his first kill, we also got to see how much his actions have negatively affected his close family members. Hell, the Mom herself flees to a cabin by Lake Arrowhead in Pennsylvania to hide from the public ridicule. It’s so easy to forget that characters like Jacob, despite all he has done so far, are still young adults and have very close family members who suffer because of what he does. It was a great addition and I hope we see more of her, or at least some other family members of the followers.
Surprisingly enough, the scenes with Carroll were actually the least interesting parts of the entire episode. Despite how major his role is, Carroll this week didn’t go above the “man who is awkward around the nanny he had an ‘affair’ with” level. The majority of scenes he was in focused on the fact that he recently slept with Emma (Valorie Curry) which ultimately felt unnecessary. The two characters didn’t need to sleep together to begin with, and now we have to deal with Emma’s longing glances as if she was a high school girl admiring a football star? No thanks, I’ll pass. At least Roderick was there to save these scenes and keep them interesting by interrogating Emma about Paul and Jacob.
Speaking of Roderick, I was disappointed that he was pushed into a background role this week after how exciting he was back in “Welcome Home.” His character is obviously very interesting and a strong, stable antagonist on par with Carroll who is also a man of action. To have him sit back and let another follower terrorize Hardy and subsequently get arrested felt a bit out of place, especially considering next week’s teaser has him on the front lines again. I’m all for introducing some more of Carroll’s followers, but don’t let them take center stage in place of other, more interesting characters.
Despite the sudden diversion back to a typical single episode story of The Following, “Love Hurts” was still an entertaining episode overall. It was great to have some focus back on Jacob and Paul after so long, and I’m eager to see what happens next week with Jacob and Emma coming back together. I just hope that Hardy and the FBI are able to get something out of Amanda now that she’s in custody and she doesn’t end up killing herself like everyone else they’ve arrested before. Elaborate suicide to escape interrogation can only be so shocking after so long.
All Photos: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Brothers