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THE FOLLOWING: “Mad Love” S1E4 (review)

By Steve Ahlquist

The weird serial killer trinity of Jacob (Nico Tortorella), Paul(Adan Canto) and Emma (Valorie Curry) gets weirder this episode. Jacob and Paul, you might remember, spent three years pretending to be gay as part of Joe Carroll (James Purefoy)’s big plan, only, as we found out last episode, they weren’t always pretending. Emma and Jacob are in love, and Paul loves Jacob too, only Paul hates Emma.

The love triangle went bad when Paul went out and kidnapped Meghan (Li Jun Li), a nice Asian girl with bad taste in men. Paul brings Meghan home and ties her up in the basement. Emma doesn’t want Joey Jr. (Kyle Catlett) to find her, so she tells Paul to kill her and dump the body. Paul tells Jacob to do it. That’s when we learn that Jacob has never killed anybody before! He’s a serial killer wannabe.

Unable to kill Megan, Jacob lets her go. Emma and Paul hunt Megan down, stab her a bit (“It’s only a flesh wound!” says Emma, inadvertently quoting Python) and tie her up in the basement together. Hunting Megan allows Emma and Paul to bond, and when Jacob tearfully apologizes for being afraid, their mutual love of him brings Emma to say, “We’re not giving up on you.” The three hug in the shower, with their clothes on.

I’m not making this up.

Meanwhile, Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) is getting flashback inducing calls from a woman named Jenny (Susan Misner). He ignores the calls, but when he eventually answers, it turns out that not only is Jenny his sister, she’s being held hostage by serial killer and Joe Carroll cult member Maggie (Virginia Kull)!

Last episode Ryan shot Rick (Michael Drayer), the guy who wears the rubber Poe masks and lights people on fire. Maggie is an experienced serial killer who now wants revenge for her dead husband. She lures Ryan to his sister’s restaurant, subdues him, and places magnets on his chest to mess with his pacemaker.

Ryan protests that Joe Carroll doesn’t want him dead yet, but Maggie has gone “off-book” and is doing whatever the hell she wants. So I guess technically she’s out of the cult.

Fortunately Ryan let Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore), the young FBI analyst, in on his whereabouts, and after way too long Mike rescues Ryan and his sister Jenny, finally bonding with Ryan in the process.

We find out in this episode that Ryan’s mom died of leukemia when he was 14, his dad was a cop who got shot during a robbery and that his older brother was a firefighter who died during 9/11.

Death haunts his family, but it didn’t take his sister, at least not in this episode.

The high death count in the show is pretty interesting. Every episode so far has presented a big death of one sort or another. This begs the question of where the story will go in season two, but like all good shows, they’ll worry about that when they get there.

One small plot point of interest: Joey Jr. is a very sound sleeper. When Meghan makes her escape, there’s all kinds of shouting and screaming and stabbing, but the kid doesn’t wake up, and he’s unaware of the Asian girl in the basement.

On the other hand, he knows where there’s a cell phone now, and the FBI have finally traced a call to his location, so things should start getting hairy pretty quick next episode.

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