The Following: Are You There, Prof. Carroll? It’s Me, Jason (Still Waiting)

[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 Prof. Carroll,

Well, it’s been yet another week spent all alone by the telephone. No calls, no messages, no texts. You didn’t even send me a LinkedIn invitation. Stop fighting it, Professor. We are kindred spirits. I understand your well-laid plans. I have been with you every step of the way, often able to predict what you and the FBI will do before you do it. In some respects, it’s almost as if this show is telling your story in a wholly uninteresting way, with absolutely no suspense or surprising plot twists whatsoever.

But I am getting increasingly furious with you for letting the psychosexual shenanigans continue in the “House of the Occasional Gays.” (Pretty sure that was a Poe story.) Jacob wakes up feeling some threesome regret, and his maybe-gay counterpart tells him the only thing missing from their bizarre arrangement is for Jacob to suck it up, be a real man-who-sometimes-sleeps-with-other-men, and finally kill someone. I admit, that relationship advice makes a lot of sense to me. One time I told my wife I wanted to have sex with other women, and she got so mad because I hadn’t killed enough people to earn the privilege.

While everyone is talking about their feelings, Little Joey manages to escape. At this point, the kid probably could have ridden a circus carnival wagon out the front door and the kidnappers wouldn’t have noticed. Frankly, Little Joey is the smartest character on this show by a factor of about 14 Federal Bureaus of Investigation. Still, they find the kid hanging out with some kindly old neighbors, who unsurprisingly wind up murdered in the next two minutes. Turns out there’s a trick to knowing who’s going to die in each episode, and that trick is: if they are introduced as a new character.

Why do you insist on using unreliable people to deliver your messages? I was super impressed with how you got your lawyer to quote a line from Poe during a press conference. (“That’s Poe,” said one of the agents watching TV, but he was drowned out by the sound of the entire FBI rolling their eyes.) But even I know you obviously can’t trust her, even though you sent a goon to cut off two of her fingers, a punishment obviously inspired by Poe’s “Night of the Ill-Fitting Mittens.”

Things ended this week with a shootout at the Threesome B&B in Duchess County, where the local cop (who was introduced this week) and the grumpy cult member (who was introduced this week) were both killed. Seriously, Professor, how many more of these completely predictable shocking twists need to happen before you finally admit you need my help?

I am going to prove my worthiness to you, Prof. Carroll. I am going to start a cult of my own, and then you’ll see what a team player I am. I’m not sure who will follow me, but my sister and the kids said they would help out if they could. (Not sure they were really listening to me at the time.) I’ll tell you all about it next week. Until then, stay handsome, handsome man!

Your devoted (but impatient) servant,


P.S. Have you ever been to the Duchess County Fair? It starts August 20 this year and will apparently feature a performance by Hilby the Skinny German Juggler. If you are out of prison by then, maybe we can go together.