[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Monday's episode of The Following. Read at your own risk!]
Is it possible to feel even dirtier after a shower? The Following put that notion to the test this week, ratcheting up its creepiness quotient with a three-way love scene at the end of Monday's episode in which kidnappers/Joe Carroll devotees Emma, Paul and Jacob (Valorie Curry, Adan Canto and Nico Tortorella) solidified their sadistic bond with a group shower.
Earlier in the episode, appropriately titled "Mad Love," Paul revealed Jacob's deep, dark secret — which was not, as the show had led us to believe, that the pair's romantic relationship ended up being more than just a ruse. (That was also true, but Emma didn't care about the two "getting their gay on," as she put it.) Rather, the source of Jacob's shame — and appalling news to Emma — was that he had never actually killed anyone, even though he previously shared with the other Followers an elaborate story about murdering a girl in high school.
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That revelation prompted Emma to give Jacob a test: killing Megan, the stock girl Paul kidnapped in Episode 3 who's being held hostage in the trio's basement. When Jacob can't go through with it and instead helps Megan escape, Emma and Paul go in pursuit and eventually tackle her. As they cleanse themselves of their muddy efforts, the shower quickly evolves into kissing despite Emma initially teasing, "Don't freak out. It's not like we're gonna get it on."
But the scene has a deeper meaning beyond pure titillation, the trio of actors involved tell TVGuide.com. For Emma, it's partially a power play of trying to control Paul, who seems to be coming unhinged, but also a reflection of the fact that she and Paul have finally formed an alliance over their love for Jacob after butting heads up until now. "More than being a sexual scene, it's an emotional scene," Curry says. "It's this moment of vulnerability on [Emma's] part and acceptance of [Paul]. ... It's not a pure manipulative move. It's true as well. And her making herself vulnerable like that is a big risk."
Canto agrees. "At this particular point in the story, Paul's mind is probably thinking, the more the merrier," he says. "If he can feel connected and embraced, accepted by Emma or anybody else that seems to be a challenge for him ... it's better for him. He just wants to be part of a big, happy family. He wants to feel a piece of that."
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The shower scene, however, changes the dynamic of the love triangle. Up until now, it's been Emma and Jacob as a couple, with Paul as the third wheel. And now, based on their differing violent histories, it's Jacob (who's previously acted as a mediator between Emma and Paul) who finds himself on the outside looking in.
"It's always been a struggle for [Jacob] because [Emma and Paul] never really got along too well," Tortorella says. "It's kind of just the two of them accepting each other, and me walking in in a time where I need so much love, and I have the two people I love the most in the entire world with open arms, just letting me in. ... It's not necessarily based in sex as much as it is based in love and acceptance, as a whole unit now."
So, where will they go from here?
"Everybody's going to have a different reaction to that moment and that decision and that step in our relationship, between the three of us," Curry teases. "Of course, it's never going to run smoothly, but we will be dealing with the aftermath of that big decision."
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And as for Jacob's virginity when it comes to killing, Tortorella hints that it may be short-lived. "He's definitely still in the training process," Tortorella says. "[But] he's definitely a member of this big band, and he's going to have to find his way."
What did you think of the shower scene? And how do you think the love triangle will play out for the rest of the season?
The Following airs Mondays at 9/8c on Fox.