'The Following' threesome: 'She has to use them, and she has to break them'

Add to Favorites | The Following
×
Remove from Favorites
The Following has been added to your favorites.
OK
CANCEL
the-following-threesome-emma-jacob-paul.jpgBefore its premiere in January, "The Following" came under fire from critics who found the violence in the show to be gratuitous and alarming, particularly given that it's on a broadcast network at 9 p.m.

This week, though, it's not the violence that has driven watercooler conversation -- it's the sex.

Or, perhaps, the insinuation of sex. In the closing montage of last week's episode, killer cult members Paul ( Adan Canto) and Emma ( Valorie Curry) welcomed Jacob ( Nico Tortorella) into the shower with them.

Both of them had previously had relationships with Jacob, and the three of them hooking up wasn't just about sex -- it was about Paul and Emma promising to help nurture Jacob into the murderer he'd always hoped he could be.

The scene almost didn't happen. "In the script version, they said, 'Can we lose the ménage à trois?'" executive producer Kevin Williamson tells us.

FOX president Kevin Reilly admits that even in a show ridden with graphic violence, the bisexual love triangle has been the only point of contention. " We have Puritan roots in this country," he explained at the TCA panel last month. "We're more tolerant of violence than sex on TV."

For a hotly anticipated and debated scene, though, the threesome was surprisingly tame. Jacob got into the shower fully clothed, and Emma and Jacob were still wearing underwear as they cleaned up after a muddy, bloody romp around the farm. As the clear leader of the trio, Emma took on an almost maternal tone as she promised Jacob that she and Paul wouldn't give up on him. What the audience saw was closer to a group hug than a sexy shower scene. While it was certainly provocative, it clearly wasn't meant to titillate.

"It was more about caring than sex," Williamson says. "Emma laughs, in that scene. They're disrobing, they kiss, and she laughs. I love her, and I love when she laughs as he pulls her in. I wanted it to be impulsive."

In tonight's new episode, the first time we see the trio, they're all in bed together, and a certain amount of conflict grows from the new turn their relationship has taken.

"There are constantly power struggles going on within the cult, even after the threesome," Valorie Curry says. "Emma has emerged as the ringleader, and she knows her place, as far as seniority. Nico and Adan and I joke that we're like 'The Wizard of Oz.' Jacob is the heart, Paul is the courage, and Emma is the brains." She laughs. "That might make Kevin Bacon Dorothy. I'm not sure. Obviously, James Purefoy is the man behind the curtain."

The question, now, is about the new bond between Emma, Jacob, and Paul, and whether or not that's genuine. In order for Carroll's plan to be exacted, Jacob must become a killer -- and he wants that, he just hasn't been able to summon the courage yet. Even as her romantic entanglements grow more complicated, Emma's priority is always Carroll, and she's willing to do anything to set Jacob on what she believes is the right path.

"I had a struggle with myself as an actor in the early stages of this, because I wanted to understand what Emma was doing for real and what Emma was doing for Joe Carroll. What's true?" Curry says. "What I realized is that it's all true. It's just that the truth changes from one minute to the next. She loves Jacob, and at first she loved him because Joe gave him to her, and that made him precious. But she's also a human being, a girl who has been with him since she was 18 years old, and she does love him. She loves Paul, and she manipulates him, but she loves him too."

The foundation of her character, though, is an unwavering, unrelenting obsession with Carroll. Where other cult members might go off-book or falter in their loyalty, Emma never does. "The most important love is Joe," says Curry. "That's what makes my heart break for her, and why I don't see her as this monster that other people do. She's a girl who loves this one man, as a father, as a lover, as a god, as everything. And he just positions her however suits his needs. She has true feelings for Jacob and Paul, but she has to use them. And she has to break them."

Tune in to "The Following" Monday nights at 9 p.m. EST on FOX.

Photo/Video credit: FOX