How The Following is Changing How We View Bisexual Relationships
Is everyone watching what’s happening on Monday at 9pm on Fox? Who knew that along with a spine tingling cult mystery from the creator of Scream and The Vampire Diaries that we’d also get one of the most comprehensive and complicated looks at bisexuality committed to screen. The love triangle on The Following between Emma, Will and Paul has become just as fascinating as the premise of the show. To catch everyone up to speed, Will (Nico Tortorella) and Emma (Valerie Curry) were dating before they met serial killer mastermind Joe Carroll. Eager to help him catch a victim that got away, Sarah Fuller, Emma convinces Will and fellow acolyte Paul (Adan Canto) to pretend to be gay lovers in order to ensnare her. However, in last week’s episode, it was revealed that the act had turned into a genuine relationship, which has complicated the threesomes present day dynamic.
Now before we go into any further analysis, it’s important to note that there may be a screw loose with these people considering how far they’re willing to go please a serial killer. Furthermore, that mental instability could certainly lead to some heightened emotional states, making it easier for the “Act” of playing gay to feel real. But creator Kevin Williamson and the actors embodying the characters are smarter than that, tapping into the confusion of someone torn between the sexes. They let us see the shifting power dynamics, Emma is clearly the ringleader and often leaves Paul to feel like the third wheel, while managing to comment on the nature of the twisted relationship. In a revelatory scene in Monday’s episode, Emma finally admits to Paul that they both love Will. It’s a delicate scene that announces that the show understand that in everything, let alone sexuality, things might not always be as clean cut as one thinks. That it comes on the heels of Paul and Emma committing a murder together and before Will, dejected that he couldn’t kill a woman, comes into the shower for a threesome, just adds to the complexity. What any of their true natures are is never put up for debate, nor are they judged for their actions.
Television has proved an amazing way for LGBTQ characters to seep into mainstream consciousness. From Kurt, Santana and Brittany on Glee to Thomas on Downton Abbey to Walton Goggins transgender character on Sons of Anarchy, there’s been a wide range of portrayals. You can add The Following to the list of shows trying to break down barriers.
– Terrence Johnson