With this past week came another episode of the serial killer thriller show, The Following. First off, I want to apologize for not getting this recap sooner, the crimes of procrastination caught up with me, but here it is.

I have to say that the Romantic scholar in me loved this episode the most. Like most episodes, there is a heavy laid over arching theme and it is interlaced with bits that the writers pull from Romantic scholars and put in there for Joe to say, but in some ways this week’s episode perfected it. I have said this and I will say it again, if I was ever to be in a cult it would be one run by a hot Gothic romance English lit professor. Anyways, the episode starts with the government people yelling at Ryan and blaming them for letting Joe go, and it’s clear that the media and the upper echelon of law and justice do not take Joe as seriously as he should be.

Meanwhile, Joe is surrounded by crazies and zealots all with the similar characteristic that they are malleable to Joe’s personality. Using a subject like Gothic Romanticism, an area surrounded in the macabre made up of feelings of intense emotions in the sublime, is fodder to the followers. Joe’s charisma and experience as a professor makes him a great public speaker to them.

But my favorite part of this episode was the reintroduction of Paul and Jacob to the audience. Nearly two episodes ago they were left behind by Emma, Paul wounded and Jacob scrambling for help. We are brought back to them, taken up in one of Jacob’s family homes. The two are clearly committed to each other, and it seems like there’s more love here than either could have with anyone else, namely Emma. Jacob finds solace in his mother’s arms, there is suggestions of a disastrous father/son relationship, but nothing is explained in detail, the only thing cleared up is that Jacob hadn’t killed anyone yet, a fact that we already knew.

So back at the house we meet Amanda, a woman turned insane by the unfaithfulness of her husband. Initially she’s taken as mousy and squirrely, though we quickly learn that she’s a ticking time bomb, ready to go off at any mention of infidelity.  It’s the most ironic thing when we know that after last week’s episode, Joe has slept with Emma, making him just as much of a cheater as Ryan was. Amanda operates on the idea that she wants a happy ending, and Joe can give it to her. Completely devoted to her cause, she executes Joe’s plan without much question. Desperate to get his wife back, Joe starts calling attention to the media, and Amanda and Louise start killing women with the same name as his wife, Claire Matthews. Call me crazy, but there’s some major obvious undertones of a man trying to get his wife back by killing those with her name. This, of course, leads to a rush to protect and save all of the Claire Matthews in the area, failing most of the time.

We learn several things about about Paul and Jacob’s relationship as the episode progresses. The first time they meet, Paul realizes before Emma that Jacob has never killed anyone, and after Paul gets the job done proceeds to comfort Jacob in his manly embrace, and we start to see the blossom of their relationship. Personally, I think that they were some sort of soul mates, or at the very least tragic lovers.  Despite Jacob’s mother’s warnings that his father will be back, both stay at the house until the very last minute possible. It’s clear that as the night progresses, Paul is not going to make it. His wound has gone too long untreated, and he is going to die. In what might be one of the most beautiful scenes in the show, Jacob is forced to do what he could never do before. Determined for his life to have meaning, Paul sacrifices himself for Jacob, reiterating the phrase that has been abused in the episode “Love Hurts”. In going through this trial by fire, Jacob is able to harden himself to whatever insecurities he once held, and in the final scene, faces Emma with a look akin to fury and rage.

The final nail in the coffin of “Love Hurts” is the big reveal at the end. Roderick has tracked down Claire via her protective agent, and they’ve got a signal on her location. It’s on the same night that Ryan basically confesses in front of his whole team that he’s very much in love with Claire Matthews still and it seems like no matter what happens, he’s going to do everything he can to protect her, rules be damned.

Given the number of Claires that died in this episode, I would say Louise’s death and Amanda in custody was not exactly an even trade, but it was definitely a step towards a good thing. Finally, I’m calling it now, Roderick is going to try and take over Joe’s position. It’s obvious he’s as power hungry as Joe is, he manifests the same feelings of domination while at the same time being one of Joe’s earliest recruits he feels like he holds seniority over the others. He’s confident he can rule the cult, and has been shown to do it without much support from Joe, when he was in jail. We’ll see what happens next week, when Claire is found and brought back to the Following with Joe.

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