The Following Episode 4: “Mad Love”

Kevin Bacon


Okay, now that I’ve gotten my inner sixteen-year-old boy out of the way, let’s get into it. This episode definitely didn’t have enough Carroll in it for me. I might have toyed with waffling over how I feel about him, but let’s face it—I love the man.

I also love how his (maybe) perfect plan is spiraling into chaos. First off, let’s get to my favorite part of the episode. Maggie. Good lord, the woman really is a “very special girl” (as Carroll puts it). Apparently she’s taking it rather hard that Hardy killed her husband, so she’s all about some revenge via his sister. I was really, really happy that this didn’t take the traditional “I’m going to kill the last person on this earth related to you” route. No, Maggie was quite a bit more original than that. She lures Hardy in because he can’t resist acting as the white knight (more on that later), and then proceeds to pretty much disrupt his pacemaker. Though she’s been instructed not to kill Hardy, she reasons that this isn’t her killing him—this is her allowing the wound Carroll made all those years ago to kill him.

Brilliant. Just BRILLIANT.

And having him blindfold himself beforehand? Watching that wasn’t easy, because I can imagine all too well the feeling of total loss of control he was feeling. Sitting in a room, unable to see, waiting to hear if his sister will respond to him yelling her name… Yikes. Also, Hardy seems to get knocked out a lot by Carroll’s followers. They better be careful or they’re going to seriously damage his brain. Not that Maggie was particularly concerned about Hardy’s ultimate wellbeing. No, she wanted to see him dead and have his sister watch it happen. Because, you know, what’s a little emotional trauma among family? Again, I say BRILLIANT. My only complaint is that Maggie was shot (dead?). She’s such a fantastic character and, in my opinion, we didn’t see nearly enough of her.

Hardy just keeps getting better for me. He’s the ultimate tortured hero. I still maintain that I don’t like the idea of him and Claire together, but seeing some of the nuances of their brief relationship delights me to no end. Because he couldn’t just accept the happiness she offered—and he would have been happy with her. No, he left. It might have been under the excuse of allowing her to move on with her life, but I kind of think it was more his inability to let people close. He’s systematically driven away everyone who cares about him (as we see in the flashbacks of his sister trying to take care of him while he’s sloshed). This makes me think—along with some of the history he shared with Claire during a flashback—he was pretty freaking messed up even before Carroll’s case (or, rather, the case of the serial-killed-coeds). Really looking forward to seeing that drawn out a bit more.

Emma was, as always, a delight. I still can’t get over how terrifyingly cold she is while still looking so pixie-like. Casting for that role gets an A+. Anywho, the initial conversation with her, Paul, and Jacob was priceless. She’s standing there in front of this terrified woman who’s bound and gagged and nonchalantly saying that someone needs to kill her and bury her out by the old barn. You know, how things played out makes me wonder if Paul hadn’t kidnapped that girl solely to force Jacob into the position where he has to tell Emma the truth… He’s never killed anyone. Which I did NOT see coming. Yes, there was idol-worship in his eyes when Emma killed her mother, but I guess I had just figured that all Carroll’s followers were budding serial killers or, like in Maggie’s case, successful working serial killers.

But not Jacob, apparently. He’s never killed anyone. And watching him confess that to Emma like it was a bad thing—and her responding as if he’d just told her he’d been sleeping with her best friend or something—was one of the more surreal conversations I’ve seen in this show so far. She was HEARTBROKEN.

That girl was an idiot, though. I’m sorry, but she was in the room with these people. Terrified or not, I can’t imagine how she’d think they were good in the country. She should have just started running and not stopped. No way they would have found her if she got far enough away. But no, she had to hide and then get caught, stabbed, and brought back to be tied up again. Methinks this is going to end up being a huge test for Jacob. Both Paul and Emma are more dominant than he is, and now that they’re apparently making out in the shower, it’s only a matter of time before they align their wills to press him into submission (which, in this case, I think means killing that poor, idiot girl). Who knows, though? Maybe he’ll surprise all of us.

All in all, this episode might not have been as filled with insane plot twists as the last few, but the character development is just as compelling. I. CANNOT. STOP. WATCHING.

Katee Robert is the New York Times bestselling author of the Come Undone series. She is zombie-prepared.

Read all posts by Katee Robert for Criminal Element.


  1. Dorothy Hayes

    I love Kevin Bacon, he can do anything. I’ll be checking out the show, sounds captivating. Kevin sitting on the bed with the forelorn expression did it for me.

  2. Saundra Peck

    This show is SHOCKING and GREAT…. Every new ep makes me cringe every minute as I watch enthralled!!! Love Kevin Bacon, but I have to admit that so far EVERY character seems perfectly chosen, and as each new one is added you just wonder if they will live for even ONE day!!!

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