Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore) has gone through more than his fair share of traumatic experiences on “The Following.” But unfortunately for this FBI agent, his troubles are only just beginning.
Zap2it caught up with Ashmore to wrangle all the spoilers we could get out of him before Monday (March 3) night’s all-new episode, “Sacrifice,” and he revealed that both Mike and the audience haven’t seen anything yet. “Despite what Mike has gone through, in prior seasons and episodes, the last moments of this episode will push him to the edge in a way that most people couldn’t even fathom,” Ashmore warns. That sounds appropriately ominous.
It’s not like Mike can even handle any more drama after the year he’s had, and he even makes a mature decision to take a break from the FBI at the beginning of the episode. “Mike wants to take a step back after almost beating Luke to death,” Ashmore reveals. “He realizes that he’s on the edge.”
So what exactly is Mike’s emotional state at the beginning of the episode? “It’s not something we’ve seen too much of but it’s understood that the idea is that Mike has a certain level of PTSD after seeing Debra killed and having been in a coma in the first season,” Ashmore explains. “We’ve been playing that under the surface, that Mike is a little more fragile and volatile this season. The straw that broke the camel’s back was being in proximity to Luke and Mark and Lily.”
Ashmore warns that the events of “Sacrifice” will forever alter Mike, and not in a good way. Eek.
But enough about the doom and gloom on “The Following” … let’s talk romance! Fans have been clamoring for a Mike and Max Hardy (Jessica Stroup) hookup ever since their intense first meeting a few episodes ago. “Yeah, the ‘Maxton!'” Ashmore says with a laugh. “I’m hearing all sorts of weird names and combinations of Mike and Max. It’s great, and I think Jessica is so amazing on the show.”
Why does Ashmore think the fans connected with Mike and Max so quickly? “I think the immediate charge between Mike and Max from when they first meet each other is that Mike rubs Max the wrong way,” Ashmore says. “But these characters are arced together because they deeply care about a person that they have in common. That brings them together and connects them. They worry about Ryan and they’re protective over him. And then I think that Max realizes that Mike is doing the same for Ryan and looking out for him, and they have this immediate chemistry and attraction in a certain way.”
But don’t hold your breath for a Mike/Max relationship to bloom in any conventional way on the show. “It’s difficult on a show like this because there’s no time for them to go on a date,” Ashmore says. “There’s so much going on that with their heightened emotions always there all the time, it’s difficult for either one of them to even talk about let alone try and pursue. For me, it’s hard to say exactly how these character will interact in the future but I think there’s chemistry there. People want to see that.”
He continues, “I think there’s romance missing a little bit this season because there was such a great love story between Ryan and Claire and Joe last year and we lost that aspect of the show. I think people are really attracted to the idea that maybe there’s a romance between Mike and Max. That’s definitely a relationship that starts to develop but it’s not as easy as them just getting together. There’s definitely a lot going on for both of them.”
Ashmore understands why a relationship between Mike and Max would make sense. “It’s very similar like on medical shows. You experience life at such a heightened state with people that it’s hard to explain it to anyone else,” Ashmore says. “That’s why on medical shows there’s always romance going on at a hospital. A, you’re spending so much time there and B, you can’t really go home and explain that to somebody.”
He continues, “When you don’t have to explain that to someone, when there’s this unspoken understanding of what you’re going through emotionally, it makes sense why you would date people like that. There’s a similarity there. In law enforcement, there tends to be those immediate bonds that are formed in life and death situations.”
Will Max and Mike finally act on their sexual tension? Find out when “The Following” airs Monday at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.