Bringing Joe Carroll Back To ‘The Following’ is Monumentally Dumb

James PurefoyFOX Broadcasting Co.

The other day, there was a teaser ad for the upcoming second season of The Following. It showed Kevin Bacon‘s character, Ryan Hardy, sitting in a chair in the middle of a fairly dark room. The camera began revolving around him from his left side while I was saying, “No, please, don’t be what I think it is…don’t be…” Of course, it was. It ended up with a bearded Joe Carroll, played by James Purefoy. This made me want to whack my head against the wall, since I thought Carroll was the lamest cult leader ever in the history of ever and FOX is making the biggest mistake ever bringing him back rather than trying to salvage something plotwise and move on.

The whole show just got incredibly stupid each consecutive episode. Honestly, the show probably only got good numbers due to people hate-watching it just to see how much sillier it could get. There was a sense of relief when it looked like Carroll apparently got burned into a crisp in a lighthouse fire in the first season finale.

If Carroll is back, the law enforcement people have to stop drinking the Kool-Aid of Stupid. Let’s put it this way: if Raylan Givens from Justified could cross over into this show (hey, both are owned by FOX companies), he’d have found Carroll about 30 minutes in and then shot every one of his followers after that. People are that dumb in the show. They did things like turn their backs on someone who had admitted she was a follower of a homicidal maniac (someone got a hairpin in the eye for that). There were also times when the communications systems JUST happened to cut off at a certain point or someone happens to run from safety into the arms of the cult. (Natalie Zea’s Claire, I’m looking at YOU.)

The problem is not Purefoy himself; he’s a good actor who is saddled with some really truly terrible lines and actions. Bacon sometimes seems to have an expression on his face that says, “This two-year contract is guaranteed, right?” The writers don’t DO anything to show why Carroll is such a charismatic person who has a following that makes Charles Manson’s look like a tiny Boy Scout crew. When Carroll was trying to play charming, the words out of his mouth and his expressions would have made most people want to punch him. Well, me at least.

So, next year, we’ll see what happens. Maybe the scene will turn into a dream sequence for Hardy and Carroll will be dead. But remember, show producers, if that’s not the case, it’s still not too late to bring in Givens from Harlan, Kentucky.