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“We can only disappoint, can’t we?” Purefoy asks rhetorically during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “That’s a frightening thing. I feel it’s almost impossible to top ourselves at this point, but we will try and there’s certainly lots of things in this episode that are gripping and explosive. There will be more twists and turns.”
He adds: “The world never stops.”
The events of the penultimate episode saw Jacob (Nico Tortorella), one of Joe’s loyal followers, bite the dust at the hands of Emma (Valorie Curry), along with a slew of Joe’s minions. As Purefoy hints, it’s just more evidence that death lurks around the corner for anyone involved in the Joe Carroll case: “Nobody in this show that is safe.”
In a chat with THR, Purefoy previews Monday’s season ender (it’s “bonkers,” he promises), a potentially deadly final act and why he isn’t 100 percent sure who will survive the hour.
The Hollywood Reporter: How bonkers will the finale be?
James Purefoy: As bonkers as possible. One of the things that people say to me about this show, “It’s mad. It’s absolutely mad, but I can’t stop watching it.”
THR: There have been many sacrifices and deaths thus far this season, especially in last week’s episode, where it felt like followers were just getting killed left and right.
Purefoy: Dropping like flies?
THR: Was there a death that affected you the most or that you were most surprised by?
Purefoy: I was surprised when they killed Jacob. I thought that he was a character that added a lot of layers and Nico [Tortorella] was doing a really lovely job and had lots of light and shade. Getting inside the mind of that mischievous imp, [creator] Kevin Williamson, there’s no telling what he’s going to do next. Nobody in this show that is safe. Nobody at all.
THR: Speaking of, are there more losses to be had in the season’s final episode?
Purefoy: The trouble is, I don’t know how many of us actually know what happens in the final episode because the scripts I read were in fact different than the one that Kevin [Bacon] had and I think Kevin’s was slightly different to the one Annie Parisse (Agent Debra Parker) got. There are moments in all of the scripts that are constant but then some [moments] seem to be different for others. I had to go do some ADR the other day here in London, which could have easily sent the story off in a completely different direction. That might just have been Kevin Williamson f—ing with me.
THR: He’s definitely the type to play mind games.
Purefoy: I certainly would not put it past him to do something that’s a complete red herring to me, so I would start talking about it. I’m not going to take his bait because I’m not going to tell you what it was about, but it was certainly enough to make me feel like [there] was a whole different idea going on.
THR: Agent Parker is buried alive. What can you say about that new wrinkle?
Purefoy: If you are any way asthmatic you might really need to consider making sure that you got your puffer and your inhaler with you when you’re sitting on the couch Monday night because just reading the script, it made me very short of breath.
THR: It seems she’ll be going through every bit of torture as possible.
Purefoy: Every twist and possible turn and I don’t know whether she lives or not. I really don’t. I’m not s—ing you. I don’t know whether she lives or not.
THR: We also saw Joe lose control, especially after Claire’s (Natalie Zea) recent attempt at killing him.
Purefoy: The stab wound he received from Claire was the missile that finally penetrated the force field around Joe Carroll and suddenly we now see this chaotic [monster] — which is what he’s always been but he’s managed to cover it up so well. He’s insane. He’s a great flip-flopper. He’ll be one thing one minute, one thing the next and the next. You’ll always see different sides to him which is what makes him A) an interesting character to watch and B) such an interesting character to play.
THR: Emma and Joe’s bond has evolved so much since the start of the season. What makes them so in tune with each other?
Purefoy: She feels very, very, very strongly for him. He is her lover, her father, her friend. He’s an abuser of her, but she loves him and hates him for that at the same time. Joe Carroll is a psychopathic, sociopathic, egomaniacal narcissist. It’s not a very attractive thing to say, but he really is all about Joe and his relationships with everybody else are all about what they can give him.
THR: Describe the big finale showdown between Ryan and Joe.
Purefoy: Obviously there will be some moments in the final episode where Claire, Joe and Ryan find themselves in this secret location Joe is taking them to. All the loose ends do get tied up and it’s a satisfying conclusion to the season. There’s no question that Kevin Williamson will want to keep that fish hook firmly implanted in the audience’s imagination in order to drag them on to the second season.
THR: Will you be back in the second season?
Purefoy: Make no assumptions. As I say, Kevin Williamson is a mischievous imp and anything can happen, so you have to wait and see.
The Following wraps up season one at 9 p.m. Monday on Fox.
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