This week’s Following is back with some whips and regret, also some scary serial killer training camps, but sadly no Mike Weston. This episode is a very character growth centered episode. There’s not as much intense action as we had in the past weeks, but is building up to what we know will be a crazy second half of the show.
We kick it off with some pretty heavy gloating on Joe’s behalf. He’s finally gotten what he wants, Claire, and can’t wait to shove that in Ryan’s face. Sadly, Ryan’s turned back to the drink and wakes up smelling like the alcoholic he used to be. Unable to cope with his failure he’s waking up late, finishing off bottles, and not wearing pants. Well ok, most people don’t wear pants to sleep, but in his boxer shorts Ryan has got some pretty thin chicken legs. Just saying. Thankfully, Debra manages to get her ass into his apartment and yank him out after a good shower and a pair of jeans to go track down where Joe is holed up. They’ve got a ping off of an IP address from his creepy cult video and need to check it out.
Back in the creepy house, we are met up with a new and maybe not so improved Jacob who has a handle on Claire’s arrival. What once was a kind and soft spoken caterpillar has now creepily transformed into a psychopathic angry butterfly. He locks Claire in a room and despite her desperate pleas to see Joey, she’s made to prepare herself for dinner with Joe. At the first sign of resistance, Jacob lays down the law with some physical violence. As long as he doesn’t ruin the face, he can do what ever he wants to make her comply, and we believe it.
Meanwhile, Molly is working on the Ryan front, secretly. We find out that she’s been having a relationship with Ryan on the side, moving in as a neighbor in his apartment complex, pretending that it’s a surprise, while she’s actually lusting after his death. Her flashback reveals she’s killed more men that Joe has. Being a nurse in a hospital makes her into an angel of death, basically a person who decides based on their own beliefs and convictions that a person deserves to die and then pulls their cord either figuratively or literally. She has one condition in joining Joe, she wants to be the one who kills Ryan. Well we know if anyone was going to get that right it would be Joe, but he agrees anyways and we’re left with the truth that that’s never happening. Oh also, she’s got a camera in her apartment room that basically records everything. Including her sexing Ryan. Which Joe watches. Yup, that’s happening. I’d say Joe is projecting some urges onto this scene, but I’m not psychologist.
What has finally arrived is the tension between Roderick and Joe. Roderick is tired of the talk, and after capturing Claire wants to go ahead on the assault. I’m not actually sure what this assault is suppose to be, but it concerns Ryan Hardy and his FBI group. Roderick is more than eager, but is silenced by a furious Joe for his impatience. I think we actually realize how much of a fucking basket case this guy is. He’s all smooth and smiling on the exterior, but he’s got an uncontrolled rage as well as a need of attention and approval. Two things that don’t go well together. In a moment of weakness, he lets Vince, one of the paramilitary dudes, go on a work run.
Meeting back up with Ryan and Debra, they have tracked the IP to a BDSM club where they meet Vince’s sometime fuck buddy, a BDSM chick named Hayley, who is definitely not into the cultist life. She complies pretty easily to Ryan’s investigation once she realizes what it’s about, and also when they find a bunch of plastic explosives in her club that she had no idea about. Making the set up with Vince in order to trick him into revealing the mansion’s location, she’s given a wire and a safe word and the promise that she’ll be safe. However when the time comes, the guy arrives and instead of just taking the explosives, he wants her to come with her. She fights back, yelling the safe word a couple times, but Ryan holds back. After the loss of Claire he knows that if the FBI rush in to help her, the guy isn’t going to be able to lead them back to anything. So he lets them go, much to the protest of Debra and tails them.
Instead of being led back to the mansion, they are led to an abandoned house that has a maze for a basement. Dragging Hayley down with him, Vince tells her this is a safe place but right after saying that yanks her wire out of her accidentally and realizes his folly. From here on out, everything goes south. Ryan and Debra rush in but the labyrinth of a building hinder their senses and they make it to the girl in time to make sure she’s alive, but Vince has disappeared. The armory that they’ve walked into is actually a training camp with cultists who have been hardened through military training and possibly some torture. Locked in a cell for a few days, Debra realizes this, but is a little too late telling one of the FBI agents who frees them only to be killed instantly. In a shadowed showdown, Ryan manages to save Debra from the three cultists who all go down and they barely leave with their lives. I feel like there should be more of these training camps and that this was a rather anticlimactic lead up to something that could have had potential. I was expecting more than I should have and I hope that Roderick has more of these places stashed up somewhere and we get to have a better look.
Finally, back in the mansion, we find Joe and Claire at dinner. He’s got her all gussied up and sits her down at dinner in hopes that they can start to reconcile their relationship. But she’s only concerned about their son. Obviously kidnapping your own wife and forcing her to dinner is a little heavy handed, but Joe persists on. He holds back on letting her see Joey, calling him the last card he has left to play. After a disastrous dinner, Claire is left back in her room. But later in the night, Joe comes over and reveals his hand. He says that he believes she will love him again, and then brings Joey into the room to see his mother again. A heartwarming moment between Claire and Joey happens, which is great, because I was not sure when they were going to have this little reunion and I know it would only drive Claire insane.
Like I said, anticlimactic and a little bit slow, but the interactions were great. Debra and Ryan’s little banter was fun, especially since Mike’s absence there’s been a little lack in the FBI bonding department. Vince’s confession that all he ever wanted was a friend in Roderick leads to some pretty weird shit as he punches one of the cultists but immediately comes to his aid, apologizing after breaking down laughing. We’re seeing a softer side to Joe, though with his sociopathic mind who knows how long that will last. All that I ask for from the coming episodes is a little more Mike! Also maybe a showdown with Joe and Ryan leaving them both licking their wounds and questioning themselves.