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The Following - Boxed In - Advance Preview

The heroes of “The Following” are feeling “Boxed In” this week – figuratively and literally – as evil continues to chip away at their hard-earned happiness from all sides.

Picking up from the premiere’s finale scene, Mark plans to make good on his promise to murder a member of Ryan Hardy’s FBI team. Andrew’s arrest does put a snag in things, as does the discovery of one of his safe houses by the bureau. But he and his followers succeed in their abduction scheme and deliver a familiar face into the hands of Neal (Glenn Fleshler, “Boardwalk Empire”), a torture expert who scares even hedonistic sweethearts Kyle and Daisy. As he lays out his gruesome design to his captive (the title’s a big hint), Mark issues an ultimatum – if they want their colleague to be spared, the Ryan/Mike/Max trinity must go public with the truth about his mother’s death.

It’s concealing that truth that might end up doing the most damage to the team. Max in particular – perhaps because she has the least amount of blood on her hands – is uncomfortable gambling with their friend and co-worker’s life when there’s something they can do. But Ryan and Mike rightfully argue that Mark is unhinged and playing his game won’t actually keep him from killing his captive. The scene poses an interesting moral question and I suspect these cracks in the foundation will keep widening as the season progresses.

The one advantage the FBI has is Andrew, who they already know is connected to Mark. But what Max discovers is that there’s also a connection between Andrew and Joe Carroll, an odd coincidence given the bad blood between Joe and the Grays. Ryan is asked to visit Joe and pry answers out of him, an idea Ryan is naturally adamantly against. But in the end, he does pay a visit to an inmate. I won’t spoil the exact details of the scene, but if you read my reviews last year, you won’t be surprised that I am very excited about the direction the show seems to be heading in with this reveal.

On the relationship front, we learn some more about Ryan and Gwen’s as flashbacks reveal how they first met. It’s the work the show needs to do to get us invested in their romance and I like Gwen okay. But I feel like I’m holding my breath for the inevitable, that Gwen is either going to be kidnapped/targeted/tortured to get to Ryan or she’ll turn out to be a follower planted in his life. Also, Max’s new beau Tom is clearly not happy about Mike sticking around NYC and there’s some tension in the forced marriage between Mark, Kyle, and Daisy.

The new season of “The Following” continues this Monday on FOX. As always, fire away with your thoughts and speculations in the comments section.