'The Following' Season 2 spoilers and first look photos: Is Joe Carroll really dead?

the-following-season-2-premiere.jpg

After the (literally) explosive Season 1 finale of "The Following," fans were left gasping along with Agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) who was lying on the floor of his apartment, stabbed by his neighbor -- who was actually a follower of Joe Carroll (James Purefoy). When Season 2 picks up, despite a year time jump, fans will finally get an answer to what happened to Ryan and Claire (Natalie Zea), who was stabbed as well.

While we can't reveal whether or not both Ryan and Claire make it through the stabbing unscathed (well, obviously Ryan does based on the fact that he's the main character of Season 2), we can reveal that a year later, Ryan has appeared to move on with his life. He's a professor who has crafted what seems to be a healthy life. He's working out, he's living in a new apartment, has weekly dinners with his niece, is back on the sobriety wagon after a brief time off ... but underneath that facade is a man obsessed with exacting revenge on Joe and his followers for ruining his life.

When Joe's remaining followers commit a grisly mass murder on the one year anniversary of Joe's death, Ryan is pulled once again into the world of the FBI ... but will he keep up his facade of being done with Joe and his followers, or will he join up with the task force again?

And is Joe really dead? It certainly doesn't seem that way from the Season 2 premiere photos ... but the Joe lookalike pictured is actually a follower wearing a scary good mask. The answer of the real Joe's fate will be given once and for all in the premiere, "Resurrection." Until then, see the first look photos from the episode, airing Sunday, Jan. 19 immediately after the NFC Championship Game (approx. 10:30 p.m. ET) on FOX.

Check out "The Following" Season 2 first look photos gallery

Photo/Video credit: FOX