In which Stage One of Joe Carroll’s master plan comes to fruition
We left off last week with a series of (semi) shocking twists – only semi because I called half of those “plot twists” right from the beginning, go me!
Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and his FBI entourage finally discovered the cult threesome’s secret country home hideaway, Emma (Valorie Curry) grabbed Joey Carroll (Kyle Catlett) and ditched her lovers Jacob (Nico Tortorella) and Paul (Adan Canto) to the mercy of the Feds, and said lovers barely escaped with their lives thanks to some
extremely contrived well-placed fellow followers.
This week, everything is escalated as the characters start moving around, both physically and emotionally.
And so. Much. Shit. Goes down.
When we first see Joe Carroll’s ex-wife, Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea), in this episode, she is reporting to Ryan and Agent Debra Parker (Annie Parisse) on the guy that kidnapped her last week, Charlie (Tom Lipinski). When she’s asked to not engage with followers anymore, she’s upright and honest about her refusal to do so, which – although it wasn’t the smartest choice for her to y’know, go chasing after a crazy lead given to her by her crazy ex-husband on the off chance it would lead her to her son in the last episode- I understand her motivations. You go, girl. Assert your intentions.
Parker also understands and respects her motivations and just asks her to keep them in the loop the next time she plans on running off so they’re better equipped to find and help her.
There’s tension between Claire and Ryan now, less of the trust that had existed before as she’s starting to lose her faith in them ever finding her son again. Claire ends up going into protective custody at the end of the episode, but neither she nor Ryan know where she’s going. Poor bbs.
Emma and Joey
After escaping from the country house, Emma brings Joey to meet with a mysterious “friend” of hers. When we finally meet the guy, Bo, he is creepy and intimidating as all hell, but fierce HBIC Emma doesn’t let herself get intimidated (she’s seriously my favorite of Joe’s follower groupies. Completely batshit insane, but somehow she just owns it).
On the way to the “little boy’s room”, Joey overhears (yet another) girl kidnapped and trapped inside a cage in a back room of the warehouse. Seriously, again with the kidnapping? What is it with the violence towards women in this show? Ugh.
Anyways, little Joey goes running off to Emma and tells her about what he saw, begging her to help the woman. Unfortunately, Bo overhears him whispering, and totally freaks out – screaming at Joey that he wasn’t supposed to go back there and to never do it again. Joey is obviously frightened as fuck, and Emma looks downright murderous.
The next time we see them, Joey is hatching a plan to rescue the kidnapped woman, with Emma acting as the unintentional distraction as Joey snags the keys. The plan goes off without a hitch, but Joey hesitates before escaping with her – presumably because he doesn’t want to leave without Emma – and that gives Bo enough time to find him standing in the empty room, keys in hand, and the woman named Dana missing.
Bo completely loses it, and starts chasing after a terrified Joey. Right as Bo grabs Joey and starts shaking him, Emma rushes in with gun in hand and tells Joey to run. A brief scuffle occurs where Bo is able to gain the upper hand over Emma, and just as he’s about to kill her, Charlie marches in and demands to know what’s going on.
The arrival of Charlie seems to calm everyone down. Dana’s put back in the cage, Emma’s nursing her injuries, and Charlie bonds with Joey by promising to bring him to see his mother and that Dana will be unharmed.
In last week’s episode, Mike (Shawn Ashmore) was hurt when a local cop he’d been working with revealed herself to be a follower and shot him to help Emma and Joey get away. He ended up being miraculously okay because he was wearing a vest the entire time.
This week, Ryan puts him to the task of investigating the prison Warden, whom Ryan suspects is involved somehow with the followers. Turns out he’s right, because the kidnapped girl in the warehouse, Dana, is his daughter, and he was pressured into releasing Joe Carroll to be moved to a different facility. Oooh, drama.
Joe Carroll and Ryan Hardy
Meanwhile, Joe has enacted his master plan of getting his lawyer to have him moved, citing police brutality at the hands of Ryan Hardy as his reasoning for why he no longer feels safe. He’s entirely successful in his bid, and the Warden begins Joe’s transfer to Georgia – to the utter dismay of Ryan and Parker.
Ryan immediately rushes to see his star-crossed lover/nemesis off (I crack!ship it, okay) and gets weird vibes about the entire situation.
With the help of his fellow FBI peoples, Ryan discovers that the video feed of Carroll’s prison transfer had been edited, and that an escape is underway. He calls Parker and tells her to stop the prison truck and check the back – and true to his word, Joe Carroll is not in the truck. Surprise, surprise.
Ryan’s first thought of Joe’s location (the trunk of the Warden’s car) is wrong, however; he’s actually in the back of his poor, sweet, manipulated lawyer’s car, and she’s just delivered him right to another batch of his followers.
Along the way, Joe instructs his lawyer, Olivia Warren (Renee Goldsberry), to call Ryan Hardy, and then kills her while he’s on the phone with Ryan to psychologically torture him some more before running off to meet with yet another follower.
Ryan and Mike arrive just in time, but then completely screw over their element of surprise by announcing their arrival to everyone in earshot, which includes Joe Carroll and his newfound friend, David (Arian Moayed). Why you gotta be so freaking dumb, FBI.
So, yeah. Joe escapes, but not before having one last face-to-face confrontation with Ryan Hardy – this time at gunpoint. A “moving” speech full of threats and metaphors is offered, and then Joe magically gets away in a convenient helicopter – leaving David behind for the cops to apprehend.
Frustrated at being thwarted at every turn, Ryan resorts to torturing David, which, what the fuck? Police brutality, much? How is this at all okay?
Ryan gets what he wants though, because David eventually coughs up the location of the warehouse. By the time the cops get there, Emma, Joey, and Charlie have gone, leaving behind an unharmed Dana and a shot-to-the-head Bo.
The last scene shows Joe pulling up to a huge mansion in the dark of the night, as scores and scores of his followers pile onto the front yard to meet him – and we’re given a glimpse of just how huge this guy’s following really is.
Overall, the episode was very action-packed, but with so many things happening all at once it felt more awkward and rushed than I think it was supposed to. Also, with the constant portrayal of violence against women and people of color – whether those characters were the “good guys”, the “bad guys”, or the “morally grey” guys – this episode definitely left a bad taste in my mouth.
Agent Parker: Ms. Matthews, can I count on you not to engage with any more of Joe’s followers?
Claire: No, you can’t. Not any more than I can count on you to find my son.
Joe: We have only just concluded the first part of our novel. Yes, Ryan. For nine long years, I have sat in my prison cell outlining this entire story in my mind. I’ve meticulously planned all of it.
With a little help from my friends … that’s a Beatles reference, by the way.
The Following airs Mondays, 9/8c on FOX.