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The Following 1×08 “Welcome Home” Recap

the following

In which there is a whole lot of blood, sweat, tears, and murder

Last week’s episode left us with Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) finally getting out of his boring little prison cell and out in the real world wreaking serial killer havoc. I mourn the loss of inappropriately sexually charged confrontation scenes between him and Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon), but otherwise embrace the change in scenery, because having him sitting around “Muahahaha”-ing all the time was tedious as all get out.

This week, Carroll gets nice and comfy with the rest of his cult members at their swanky mansion. How did a group of 30+ serial killers, some of them offputtingly young-looking (I’m talking teenage years) manage to afford this mansion in the middle of nowhere without anybody realizing it? No one knows.

The notable followers of this week are Emma (Valorie Curry), Charlie  (Tom Lipinski), and Louise (Annika Boras).

Emma’s mood seems to have brightened up considerably in Carroll’s presence, and after an emotional night and a whole lot of booze, the two of them end up in bed with each other.

Charlie, on the other hand, is avoiding Carroll, apparently feeling bad for having failed to kidnap Carroll’s wife Claire (Natalie Zea) a few episodes ago. He ends up failing his mission again in this episode, and offers his life up to Carroll as some fucked up version of an apology.

Carroll is a bag of dicks, so he takes it (Fuck you, man, I liked Charlie. Also is it just me or does anyone else think it’s dumb to be killing off your own cult members every time a plan of yours gets thwarted? Because I predict Ryan is gonna be doing a LOT of thwarting in upcoming episodes. If Carroll keeps pulling that shit, his cult is gonna dwindle into nothingness and we won’t have a show to watch anymore).

Louise is so far inconsequential besides the fact that she keeps popping up in scenes, so I assume she’s gonna play a bigger role in later episodes. She’s characterized as particularly bloodthirsty and vicious. I like her, oddly enough.

We also finally get to meet Roderick (Warren Cole), Carroll’s steely second in command. In a creepy flashback sequence, we learn that Roderick was an accomplice in several of Carroll’s murders, which Carroll oh so generously took the blame for so Roderick could stay free. That explains why Roderick is so hell-bent on following Joe’s every order, at least. This week, said order is, “Find my wife, goddammit.”

So, that’s the run-down on what’s happening with the cult; on the other side of the fence, the FBI are being way less useless and idiotic than they were in the last episode, which you have no idea how happy I am to see. The higher ups are getting frustrated with the lack of progress in capturing the cultists, so they’ve sent in Nick Donovan (Mike Colter) to supervise and lead the FBI in finding these people.

Nick and Ryan Hardy clash at first, and Nick ends up sending Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore) home for the day because Ryan had asked him to hack into secure files for him and Nick wasn’t putting up with none of that shit. Unfortunately, this leads to Mike being kidnapped by cult followers Louise and Charlie. Poor baby.

Mike gets dragged to some sort of abandoned warehouse where Louise, Charlie, Roderick, and several other unnamed and thus unimportant followers play a twisted version of a boxing match with him. The rules go like this: Roderick asks Mike where protective custody placed Claire, and Mike answers or he gets his face bashed in. There are three ’rounds’ to the boxing match, and each one gets steadily worse – going from throwing punches, to swinging heavy metal pipes, to stabbing with unnecessarily large knives.

Mike refuses to answer, so he loses every round. And, okay, it was gruesome to watch and I was very sad for Mike and everything, but those scenes were awesome. I don’t know why, I think it’s the Fight Club fanatic in me, but fight scenes that are laid out that simply and shot that well are the best thing ever.

Anyway, Ryan and Debra Parker (Annie Parisse) end up rescuing Mike just in time. Ryan holds Mike’s broken body and weeps as they wait for the ambulance to come and then later waits anxiously by his hospital bedside for Mike to wake up. It’s all very tragic, but the doctors assure Ryan that Mike will make a full recovery, so it’s all good.

Overall, this episode was leagues better than the previous one, and one of the better episodes of The Following so far. The “oh no our friend was kidnapped we must find him!” storyline might be super overdone, but it was executed well here, and I was engaged for most of the episode – and not in the “JFC what are you doing you are all being idiots” kind of way. More of an “interesting shit is happening on my TV screen” kind of way.

Rating: B+

The Following airs Mondays, 9/8c on FOX.