Has Joe Carroll lost his mojo?
The serial killer at the heart of Fox's The Following seems to have been taken down a few notches this season. On last week's episode, Carroll (James Purefoy) began to question his talents as a writer, and even his No. 1 devotee, Emma (Valorie Curry) is starting to see cracks in the pedestal on which she's placed him.
"She knows now that he is fallible, whereas before he was very godlike to her," Curry tells TVGuide.com. "Now, she's borne the brunt of his mistakes, of his weaknesses. ... Their relationship is going to be different going forward, [with Emma] knowing now that he is capable of making mistakes. He also admits that he needs her ... as a partner, not so much as a follower."
How will that dynamic serve them now that they're out on their own? Emma, for one, has "a very surprising place in the violence" on Monday's episode, titled "Sacrifice," Curry teases.
Read our full interview with Curry below to get her take on the power struggle between Joe and Lily Gray (Connie Nielsen), as well as Emma's connection with Mark (Sam Underwood) and new perspective of her mentor.
TVGuide.com: How would you sum up Emma's journey so far this season?
Curry: She's been through a lot emotionally. ... She was in this place of real grief still over Joe — and over her life that she had, that she'd lost because of him — and hadn't really picked up any pieces. She was holding it all together really, really tightly. So, when Lily and her crew, the twins and whatnot, came out of the woodwork and approached her and tried to win her over, she still had to have that façade ... until she finally sees Joe and everything falls apart.
She decides to forgive Joe for not telling her he was alive and for sleeping with Lily.
Curry: He had to win her over. I'm glad it wasn't just that easy, that he could show up and she would fall in with him again. He had to win back her trust and her loyalty. It's going to be a very different relationship now moving forward between them.
Does Emma see Joe as infallible?
Curry: No. I don't think he's infallible in her eyes at all. I think if anything, that's one of the keys to her forgiveness of him and to the change in their relationship going forward. ... I don't think it's necessarily that she quickly forgives the fact that he sleeps with Lily. [Rather] she's not the same person that she used to be. She can't afford to be this territorial, petty child that she used to be. Their relationship is going to be different going forward, knowing now that he is capable of making mistakes. He also admits that he needs her because of that. He's willing to admit he can make mistakes, and that's why he needs her as a partner, not so much as a follower, per se.
Do they view each other as equals at this point?
Curry: Definitely as more human, to begin with, and then more as peers. They both had unclear perceptions of themselves in the past, in terms of being capable of making mistakes. They both made mistakes. They both saw their own weaknesses. And they know that they're stronger together than they are apart. They both know how much they need each other. So, they do see each other more as equals.
It was pretty surprising to hear Joe admit that he's not a very good writer in last week's episode.
Curry: I think that was a huge signifier of his willingness to bring his weakness to [Emma], because that's how she connected to him in the first place. Before it was ever her crush on him or anything to do with the cult, she was a fan of him as a writer. So, to come to this girl and say, 'I'm really not good at that,' and then for her to not argue with him is huge.
At the same time, Emma's starting to revisit her own artistic talents.
Curry: I think if anything, her sort of rediscovery of her artistic talent is about her seeing herself as a more complete individual. And that is part of her power that she gains, and the position she gains in his eyes. She has not just artistic talents, but as a person she has talents and skills that make her valuable and necessary to him and to other people. She's not just a conduit to Joe. That's not the only reason somebody like Lily Gray or the twins would have gone after her. She has an objective value.
Mark and Emma seemed to have a connection, but now they're separated. Will there be any more developments with them?
Curry: I think there was a bit of a mirroring, in terms of [Emma] abandoning Mark, the way that she kind of left Jacob in Season 1. ... Mark and Emma share an understanding of each other that no character has had for them in this world. They both have that callousness, that inability to empathize, the ability to manipulate but not really experience human emotion and normal socialization. And they recognize that in each other and it's comforting, I think, for both of them to be in the other person's presence, to relax and be themselves in a way that they can't [with other people]. That hasn't changed and there is still the possibility for them to connect. I think no matter what happens moving forward, they're always going to share that.
Luke and Emma seem like oil and water, though.
Curry: Luke is kind of everything that Emma abhors. She has no patience for people who don't have control over themselves. The classically impulsive, narcissistic violent psychopath is not her cup of tea. Except in the case of Joe Carroll. He's the eternal exception to that rule. But that kind of guy is not her type at all. She's more into the sensitive, brooding sociopath, not the impulsive, narcissistic sociopath. (Laughs.)
So now Emma and Joe are out on their own. Can she trust him?
Curry: I think she's choosing to trust him. And I think she's forgiven him, but she's never going to forget what's happened, and that's always going to be something that she's going to be looking out for. ... She's seen his ability to manipulate people. She's seen his ability to abandon people when it suits him. And she kind of sees him more honestly for who he is now. That's not going to change moving forward. But she does choose to trust him. She also, given that, is able to question him in a way that she never was before, and sort of challenge him.
Is Lily the biggest threat to Emma and Joe going forward, even more so than Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon)?
Curry: [Lily] is much more organized than Joe and has the resources to be that way and to kind of do whatever she needs to do. ... Joe has always been great at charming people, manipulating people and gathering followers, but he doesn't have that [now]. That's his greatest asset, but he's on his own. He just has Emma right now, and Mandy. He tends to get himself in situations where he gets a little in over his head and sometimes loses track of what's important, whereas Lily is calculating in a way that Joe kind of wishes he was. There's a weird sort of competition between them.
There also seems to be a sense of competition between Emma and Mandy (Tiffany Boone).
Curry: Mandy is in many ways like Emma 2.0 in that she is a young girl who killed her mother and she's on her own. She and Emma are very different people, and Emma's not the person that we knew her to be last season. So there will be competition. People are always vying for position in Joe's eyes. Moving forward, Emma's not the same kind of territorial girl we saw before. At the same time, Mandy is a teenager who is nothing if not petty and maybe a little territorial. It doesn't mean she's not willing to pick a fight.
The Following airs Mondays at 9/8c on Fox.