The penultimate Season 2 episode of The Following went to black last week with one big death and one (possibly?) on the way – and stars James Purefoy and Valorie Curry tell TVLine the Fox drama is just sharpening its knives.
Here’s the thing: As Curry recently tipped us off, the thriller shot multiple versions of its second season finale ending; neither she nor Purefoy know which one will be used. But that didn’t stop the stars from teasing what might happen come Monday night (9/8c) and one possible direction Season 3 could take.
Read on to see what Curry and Purefoy, in separate interviews, divulged about Emma’s “angel”-ic final moments, how Joe will handle the news of his right-hand woman’s death and why a Ryan/Joe partnership would make for a great (albeit messed-up) buddy movie.
TVLINE | When did you find out that Emma wasn’t going to last the season?
CURRY | I found out while we were in production on Episode 13, which was about two weeks before we shot it. It was Valentine’s Day and Marcos [Siega], our executive producer, kindly waited two days after he found out because the 12th was my birthday… It was early in the morning, and I was in my dressing room before a big day of shooting. I get the knock on my door, and he’s standing there, curled in on himself, looking very apologetic. I’m like, “I know. It’s fine.” I ended up comforting him for half a second. [Laughs] I was expecting it, honestly, at this point.
I was really happy with what they wrote in the episode – especially that monologue about death and about it being silence and peace, because what I remember when I was reading that I was like, “She wants to die. OK.” She had such a miserable time of it since Joe came back… I wanted her to have some peace.
TVLINE | Emma’s relationship with Joe changed a lot from the pilot to her last episode. She was far less adoring.
CURRY | She loves him, but she’s not the adoring child that she was in Season 1, blinded by love. That’s what’s harder and more tragic: She knows who he is. She knows he doesn’t really love her. She knows he’s using her, and she has to accept the charade and accept those things in order to be near him because as awful as it is to be with him, it’s worse to be without him.
TVLINE | The audience saw Joe manipulating Emma hard – I’m thinking of the scene where he pretends to be all broken up about her being the force behind him – but did you play it as though she knew?
CURRY | I think she did. It was kind of funny, because when we shot that scene, we shot that two different ways: one where he was genuine and he hugged me and you know and he was in tears at the end, and then one where he was going cold like that. [Purefoy was] like, “I want you to guess which one I’m doing,” and it was so clear. [Laughs]
PUREFOY | She did work it out! She said, “Your body went a bit soft on the nasty one. I could feel your body go when you were over my shoulder, I could feel you relax.”
TVLINE | Does Joe find out about Emma’s death in the finale?
PUREFOY | He does, but you know – I think it’s quite interesting. Recently there’s been some reports in British medical journals that psychopaths may be able to feel empathy. They may be able to turn it on and turn it off at will. With Joe with Emma, he kind of turns it off when he finds out. He cauterizes in that way, emotionally, because she served a purpose to him. While she’s alive, she serves a purpose, which is she is a 100 percent loyal follower… As soon as she’s dead, she’s useless to him. It’s sad, but true.
TVLINE | Emma had a very Following-esque death – it seemed like she was just going to keep going, despite getting stabbed… and falling…
CURRY | [Laughs] It was like a zombie death, like ‘Remove the head or destroy the brain!’
TVLINE | And it was at Claire’s hand, which brought things full-circle.
CURRY | I always, personally, wanted Joe to be the one to kill Emma, but I understand why it was Claire… It’s a boon for the fans, that it’s Claire and that the good guys get a win.
TVLINE | Did you know you’d get that lingering shot at the end of the scene?
CURRY | My weirdly angelic… snow angel? No, but of course, I was happy to have had it.
TVLINE | A sneak peek at the finale shows that Joe and Ryan have to work together to thwart Luke from hurting Claire. What can you tell us about that partnership?
PUREFOY | What’s that movie with Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin? [Editor's note: Midnight Run] It’s a little bit like that: There’s an element of ‘Your enemy’s enemy becomes your friend’… If Ryan needs to rescue the woman he loves from two equally appalling serial killers, then, hey – who’s to say you shouldn’t team up with somebody who might know a thing or two about serial killers?
TVLINE | Plus, the series has often reminded us of how much Ryan and Joe – if the circumstances were vastly different – could be great friends.
PUREFOY | When [Ryan] got caught at the Corbin compound, I felt that Ryan actually admired Joe in some way and enjoyed his company. Joe certainly enjoys Ryan’s company. If the writers were looking for a thread to play for Season 3, I certainly wouldn’t be averse to, every now and then, them teaming up together… if they both survive the end of this season.