The Following: Are You There Professor Carroll? No, You Aren’t, Because You Escaped!
[This is the latest in a series of letters sent by writer Jason Reich to Prof. Joseph Carroll, the imprisoned serial killer played by James Purefoy on FOX’s The Following. The character is fictional. That Reich believes himself to be among Carroll’s fervent acolytes is not.]
Dear Professor Carroll,
WOW! All is forgiven, Prof. Carroll. Any doubts have been completely washed away. This was, by far, the most exciting episode yet, by which I mean that something almost happened. And about time, too. Every week you taunt Agent Kevin Bacon with hints of how you’ve “just begun,” tormenting him with “all that’s going to happen” and letting him know there’s “so much more to come.” Protip: next time you meticulously plan a bloody murder-by-proxy kidnapping plot, you might want at least something to happen before half the season is over.
First, let me just say that my plans to form my own Following didn’t quite pan out.
Seems that everyone who replies to a post on Craigslist expects some used stereo equipment or free handjobs, and after a while I was just exhausted. You know, from carrying all the speakers around. But that’s okay, because I am 100% back on Team Joe. This week you managed to finagle a prison transfer, which, by the way, was so unnecessary because I would have totally put you up at my place. It’s not much, but it’s home. Specifically, my mom’s home. But I have a separate entrance! And the fold-out couch sleeps two comfortably. Just think about it, is all I’m saying.
Anyway, I was hooked from the moment Agent Debbie, who is supervising the transfer, tells Agent Bacon, “I’ll make sure nothing goes wrong,” thereby guaranteeing something will go wrong. And it does! Instead of leaving on the prison truck, you escape in the trunk of your lawyer’s car! I can’t imagine how you pulled that off. No, quite seriously, I can’t imagine how in any conceivable reality this could actually happen. I can only assume in your genius you arranged for her to get a reserved parking space deep inside your maximum security prison.
Meanwhile, Nanny takes Little Joey to some kind of creepy garage (note to Hollywood set designers: random chains hanging from ceiling = always creepy) and tries to make small talk with the proprietor, not realizing that small talk is generally not a common habit among bald dudes with neck tattoos. Sorry, Nanny, but you’re in the big leagues now. No more get-to-know-you murder parties where you all sit around playing drinking games like “I Never” and “Pin The Tail On The Couple Of Indeterminate Sexuality.” Naturally, Little Joey sneaks away while nobody’s looking. No offense, Prof. Carroll, but how did this lady get the nanny job in the first place? If she were watching any other kid, that child would have drank several liters of paint by now.
But the best part is…now you’re free! Agent Bacon and Agent Mike managed to track you to an office building, but you got away by exploiting their strict use of FBI protocol, which is to make a lot of noise, create panic and run blindly up isolated stairways while unarmed. Then you got into a helicopter and took off, soaring into the sky like my spirits as I watched you fly to safety. It was so inspiring to see you welcomed home by all your dedicated acolytes, who have given their lives to obeying your every command because you…wrote a book or something? Sorry, that part still isn’t quite clear to me. (I mean, for me it’s the rakish stubble and devil-may-care twinkle in your eye, but I can only speak for myself.)
Whew! What a mildly thrilling week! Now I know it’s only a matter of time before you come knocking at my door in your form-fitting Edgar Allen Poe mask that accentuates your devastating dimples. I’ll invite my sister and the kids over for Frito Pie. They’d love to meet you! Enjoy freedom, Professor, and see you soon.
Your devoted servant,
P.S. I noticed the letters on your lawyer’s license plate were FGUE. A subliminal message to the FBI? Or perhaps viewers of this show?