Kevin Williamsons’ dramatic serial killer drama The Following returns Sunday night with a special preview of Season 2’s “Resurrection” following the NFC Championship Game, after which it’ll resume January 27, taking up residence in its regular timeslot on Monday nights. We took a peek at the season premiere episode and came up with five reasons why fans won't want to miss the first episode of Season 2!

Before we get to that, just a little catch-up on where things left off when Season 1 wrapped up. The first season brought Kevin Bacon’s Ryan Hardy out of retirement to track serial killer and cult leader Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) after he escaped from police custody. Joe’s influence proves to be particularly useful in rallying a devoted following of emotionally vulnerable (and occasionally melodramatic) young and pretty followers who are willing to do anything for their leader including kill or die. As you may recall, the first season ended with Joe Carroll presumably dead, having gotten blowed up or burned to death in a fire. Meanwhile — cliffhanger — Ryan’s neighbor Molly surprised Ryan and Claire during the final moments of the episode and went on a stabbing spree, attacking both Ryan and Claire. Where does Season 2 pick up? Read on and rest assured, there are no major spoilers ahead.

Ryan Hardy is a man on a mission.
Season 2 begins by immediately addressing what happened to Ryan and Claire, after which we jump a year into the future to find Ryan Hardy doing his own thing. He’s teaching a college class and he seems to have distanced himself from the FBI or anything related to Joe Carroll. Between a flashback and some of the events in the episode, “Resurrection” fills us in a bit on what’s going in with Ryan now. But has he really moved on from Joe Carroll? Given how connected Carroll was, it seems only fair to entertain the thought that maybe — just maybe — he’s not as dead as he wants people to believe. Ryan is presenting himself as a man who’s moved on from the whole ordeal, but he hasn’t entirely given up his suspicions that his nemesis may still be out there and that his followers may still be active. Running a bit solo, and not necessarily within the bounds of the law brings a new layer of unpredictability to Hardy, which I think could be a great thing.

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