THE FOLLOWING: Brett Mahoney on Ryan's Spiral, Theo's Rage, Mark's 'OMG'-Worthy Return, and More - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE FOLLOWING: Brett Mahoney on Ryan’s Spiral, Theo’s Rage, Mark’s ‘OMG’-Worthy Return, and More

April 20, 2015 by  


THE FOLLOWING’s Ryan Hardy is in trouble.

Though Ryan started off the year in a better place, his composure has been gradually slipping…and having to reunite with Joe Carroll for his current case only accelerated the process. And now with Ryan struggling to maintain his composure (no thanks to some very unsettling Joe-centric dreams) while there’s a new madman, Theo, on the loose, his sanity is very much in jeopardy. Plus, Theo is very unhappy with Ryan being so close on his tail (and for “forcing” Theo to get rid of his family to go on the run), and Joe is not pleased that Ryan refuses to come to his execution, so poor Ryan has a lot on his plate.

I spoke with THE FOLLOWING co-showrunner Brett Mahoney about Ryan’s spiral (and how it impacts his ability as an agent), the return of Mark, Theo and Joe’s anger, the “very big and cinematic” finale, and much more…

Now that Theo has been forced to kill his wife and drug his children in order to escape, what can you say about his current mindset?
Brett Mahoney: Actually, what happened in [“Flesh & Blood”] was a turning point in Theo being discovered. Theo has been so under the radar in working his magic and working his killings without anyone ever getting close to him. So now, it’s totally unfamiliar to him, and it’s rocking his world, so he’s really angry. And the focus of his anger will be Ryan Hardy, because Ryan Hardy is the man that discovered him. And the fact that he had to take out his family and give up his cover life is really something he wasn’t prepared for, and makes him furious.

Theo had the chilling line about all the futures he had to give up. Will we see anymore flashbacks of what he had to do to get to this point in the upcoming episodes?
BM: I think it’s the matter of moving forward. Now we’ll see some of the other identities and lives Theo has had, and how they play out in real time as we move forward.

Ryan isn’t doing so well post-Joe. What would it take for him to get back on a saner path?
BM: That question is very telling, in that that is exactly what we’re going to see. That question is going to be answered as we move forward. When Ryan let Joe back into his life, when he went to visit him in prison — which is something he definitively did not want to do — that was a crack in the armor Joe was able to infiltrate. And that’s really affected Ryan’s psyche, and that’s taken him down. He’s going to go into a downward spiral. And that’s exactly the question you’re asking: what can bring him out of it?

How is it impacting him as an agent?
BM: It’s not something we normally see in network TV, and we’re so happy to explore here. As he goes into his downward spiral, it will affect his judgement as an agent as we have not seen before — that will have real ramifications.

As a writing team, what is the balance you’re trying to strike with putting Joe and Ryan in scenes together versus these Joe and Ryan dreams? On one hand, it’s understandable why they shouldn’t be in scenes together, but on the other hand, Kevin Bacon (Ryan) and James Purefoy (Joe) have such a great rapport…
BM: That was certainly the challenge, and the challenge of having Joe behind bars. And Ryan really resisting seeing him — for very good reason, not wanting to see him. But when we finally put them together, it gave us a way to explore these two together. But more about what they are in each other’s heads, and how they view each other, and how those things are a parallel, and how those ways are different in some ways, and how one views it versus the other. It’s like putting the two psyches against each other.

Joe seemed to handle his upcoming execution well…until he heard Ryan isn’t coming. How is he handling things going forward?
BM: You will see Joe act out in a way as a result of the fact that Ryan says he’s not coming. Joe likes to get his way. He is not one who is going to take anything lying down. So, he has a little bit of of a flip-out…it does not go well. That’s exactly what episode nine and leading into episode ten is about. In ten, we really see Joe taking action and reacting to the fact that Ryan isn’t coming.

With episode ten around the corner — and since co-showrunner Alexi Hawley had mentioned the season was broken into three five-episode arcs — do you feel like the events of the hour feel more like a finale, or like a launching pad for the final five hours of the season?
BM: Episode ten feels like an arc ending; it feels like a climax to an arc. But it doesn’t feel like a season-ender, because there are so many issues still out there — Theo’s out there, and you still have Mark and Daisy to deal with. So it doesn’t feel like all of those things are tied up, but it is a huge climax in the Joe/Ryan story.

What can you share about how Mark pops back in to the story?
BM: He is back in the next episode. I really like how we brought him back; I think people are going to be scared and frightened. it’s definitely an OMG moment when he shows up again.

How has he changed, given everything was stripped from him again?
BM: That’s exactly right. And the other person who is in a similar boat to that is Daisy, who has also lost everything that’s important to her. And with Mark, we will see a different Mark at this point, after A) losing his mother and his brother was terribly traumatic, and then [B)] to have been betrayed at the beginning of this season. He’s in a darker place. And he’s in less of a place to compromise. He truly wants revenge and he wants it now. I think you’re going to see more of a vengeful Mark when he returns.

There have been less deaths on the show this season. As the second half of the season gets underway, will the body count increase?
BM: Hm, that’s a good question. I was discussing this with Michael Ealy (Theo): Michael Ealy has the big body count, and it’s going to go up.

Will we be losing any of the regulars?
BM: Um. [Long pause] That I can’t say, but I will say the body count is going to go up, and it’s going to have a visceral impact.

Max and Mike haven’t really been on the same wavelength since their hookup. Where will that relationship be heading?
BM: I think they’re two people who are really attracted to one another, who really have feelings for one another, and the whole thing has been complicated by their jobs. I think it might take sort of a life-or-death circumstance for them to realize they should be together.

Mendez said goodbye in the last episode, but is she really gone?
BM: She’s not gone. I think what we really tried to do this season is that even though someone may try to leave a job, these are still people whose lives have been intertwined, and they have friends, and they have relationships. So don’t be surprised if you see Mendez again.

And there are a few new people who will be popping up soon. What can you say about them?
BM: Diane Neal is someone who is coming. She’s someone who has a history with Ryan Hardy. They went to the academy together, and they came up together, and she will come in as a partnership and then a supervisory capacity in the FBI.

Annet [Mahendru] from THE AMERICANS is going to join us for a few episodes, and all I can say about her is she’s shrouded with mystery and dangerous and lethal. And she will actually be someone who will be both a foil for Theo and Ryan.

What can you preview about where the season is ultimately going?
BM: There’s been a lot of speculation about the idea that some people are representing themselves differently than who they are. And, you know, someone may be pretending to be one way, and they’re the other. I hear a lot of speculation regarding that about Gwen. I will say that in the finale, characters’ true nature will be revealed.

Gwen specifically, or will there be other characters in play?
BM: In general. There’s been a lot of speculation about people pretending to be good when they’re actually bad, and I’ll just say, in the finale, you’ll see the true face of someone.

And in terms of the finale, we just got back from shooting it. It’s really big: [we normally have] a nine day shoot, and it was an eleven day shoot. It was very big and cinematic. We tie up a lot of the storylines, but at the end, we really send the show in a new direction for what would be season 4, and we’re really excited about it.

THE FOLLOWING airs Mondays at 9 PM on Fox.


THE FOLLOWING: ‘Flesh & Blood’ Photos
THE FOLLOWING Exclusive Sneak Peek: Producers, Michael Ealy Tease Theo and Ryan Meeting
THE FOLLOWING: ‘The Hunt’ Photos
THE FOLLOWING: ‘Funny AND Die’ Parody Brings in Dean Winters, Michael C. Hall, Kyra Sedgwick, and More as Kevin Bacon Tries to Survive Joe Carroll

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2 Responses to “THE FOLLOWING: Brett Mahoney on Ryan’s Spiral, Theo’s Rage, Mark’s ‘OMG’-Worthy Return, and More”

  1. Katy on April 20th, 2015 6:04 pm

    If Joe goes I really will stop watching. I dont care for direction this show has taken. The story does keep you on your toes but Joe’s charm is not there.

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