The Following Recap: Be Our Guest

The Following Season 1 RecapClaire finally gets to see her long-lost son in this week’s episode of The Following, and the reunion is as touching as you’d expect it to be. The circumstances surrounding it, though, are 10 kinds of messed up (and the forecast only calls for even more “What the?!” in the weeks to come).

See, abrupt shirts of power never go well, especially when you’re dealing with a band of lunatics whose coping mechanisms are particularly sharp and pointy. As members of Carroll’s “family” begin to doubt him – a conclusion that, based on this week’s events, seems forgone — the FBI may just have a shot at taking him down. That is, if Ryan can crawl out of the bottle and keep his heart ticking until then. (Based on this episode, that may be a tall order.)

Let’s review the major developments that take place in “Whips & Regret.”

RELATED | The Following Renewed for Season 2

UP AND AT ‘EM! | Claire is on her way to Joe’s country loony bin, and he’s super excited about that. The episode opens on Carroll taking a literal victory lap around the estate, then using his satellite phone to offer Ryan a chirpy good morning. Our hungover hero isn’t psyched about this wake-up call; in it, Joe basically calls him lazy, slow and a dysfunctional alcoholic. But it’s all very psychotically good-natured and therefore funny — when he admits that he wants to “gloat a little,” the combination of James Purefoy’s reading and clipped accent reminds me of Stewie Griffin. Joe hangs up, all “toodles!,” and of course he feels productive: He’s done more before 9 am than most sociopaths will do all day.

Downstairs, Roderick and Vince pull up to the house, take Claire out of the backseat and pull the hood from over her face so she can meet Jacob. He unties her hands and leads her to her room, calmly sidestepping her demands to see Joey and locking her in until later.

MOURNING GLORY | Back in Brooklyn, the TV news is recapping all of the FBI’s – and therefore, Ryan’s – failings in the Carroll case. I can’t blame Hardy for wanting to sleep in; I don’t think I’d be too chipper if I had to rise and shine to a public play-by-play of my shortcomings. (“Well, Bob, last night Kim totally meant to order a grilled chicken salad for dinner but caved at the last minute and polished off a pizza by herself, then shame-spiraled for the better part of an hour. Oh, and she skipped doing her laundry again and is therefore wearing a bathing suit bottom as underwear. Back to you!”) Debra shows up at Ryan’s place with coffee and concern. He decides pants aren’t necessary for the visit – opening the door to his de facto boss wearing his boxer briefs and a t-shirt – but she immediately asks him to rectify that situation. Ha!

The important information exchanged in this scene: His pal Tyson (who was injured when his home was infiltrated in last week’s episode) is going to be OK, and the FBI has traced Joe’s secret server to somewhere in lower Manhattan. After Debra eyes an empty jug of spirits on his table, we get this fatalistically awesome exchange:

DEBRA: You an alcoholic or just a problem drinker?
RYAN: Yes.
DEBRA: That can’t be good for your heart.
RYAN: It’s not.

She makes her case for him pulling his stuff together – namely, she needs his help – and I can’t help but wonder: If people as polar opposite as an FBI agent and an insane cult leader both agree that your life is in the crapper, Ryan, maybe you wanna take it as some kind of sign?

WHIP IT GOOD  | The FBI tracks Joe’s Internet server to an S&M club called Whips & Regret. Lovely. Ryan and Debra accompany a SWAT team as it busts in; among the moaning and flogging (some of which is illegal), they find the owner/manager (played very well by Afton Williamson, late of Nashville) in a back office, where we learn Joe’s followers are using her bondage-business computer set-up to mask their own recruitment communications. The club owner isn’t a Carroll acolyte, but she knows one… and is willing to sell him out in exchange for a deal. She dons a wire and calls Vince (aka not Roderick and not Tom Pelphrey) to come meet her to pick up some explosive chemicals he’s had shipped to the club. But when he gets all grabby and then forces her into his car, her use of the FBI’s secret rescue-me code word doesn’t save her – Ryan’s decided that it’s more useful to tail Vince and his hostage straight to Joe.

CHANGE OF PLANS | Problem: Vince isn’t going to the estate, at least not directly. He brings Nosering McLeatherpants to an old armory, which Joe’s group is using as a weapons depot/follower boot camp. He gets frisky and finds her wire, which sets off a whole lot of running around in dark tunnels with bouncy flashlight beams and nearly getting killed. (Seriously, the amount of plot-dependent stuff that happens in the dark in this show makes Mulder and Scully seem like they were frolicking under floodlights in the midday sun, no?) The authorities come across a cell of people who at first seem like Joe’s prisoners but who turn out to be followers undergoing a “deprivation” test – they all go down, but they take out two law enforcement officials in the process. And Ryan saves Debra’s life, for which she is incredibly grateful (though seriously shaken).

At home once more, Ryan is surprised to find neighbor (and ex and, unbeknownst to Hardy, Carroll acolyte) Molly in his kitchen. While they chat, Joe watches video of one of their past hook-ups, courtesy of the lovely psycho. We learn a lot about her during the episode, but here are the key takeaways she’s a nurse on a terminal ward who engages in mercy killings – and also offs those who just kind of tick her off. She moved to New York on Joe’s orders, she’s spunky (I love her bragging that she’s killed more people than Joe has) and she has just one condition for her mentor: When Ryan dies, it’s going to be at her hand.

WHO’S DADDY NOW? | Remember when Roderick said that having Joe around was “different”? He doesn’t mean “exciting and new.” He means “I can’t believe that after years of calling the shots, I have to kowtow to this slow-acting showboater.” When Vince gets away from the FBI and calls Joe to shut the server down, Joe wants to know who gave the minion permission to go into New York City. That would be Rod-man, who gets a punch in the face for his troubles. “You don’t make decisions anymore, Roderick. I am here now,” he purrs, warning the blonde not to “ruin this for me.” Even though he’s copiously bleeding from the nose, Roderick shoots back, “Don’t you mean ‘for us’?'” Based on Roderick’s incredibly mercurial emotional state – his pull-a-gun-laugh-sob-punch-someone-for-no-reason moment earlier in the episode is truly scary – I’m thinking he’s not long for a command post in Joe’s army.

BEASTLY BEHAVIOR But who might take his place? How about the manned-up Jacob, who brings Claire a dress and instructions for dining with Joe that evening… then body-slams her to the floor when she mouths off. (Side note: Special thanks goes to my fellow editor Meg Masters, who forever tarnished Disney’s Beauty and the Beast for me by noting the parallels between this scene and the one where Belle is being led to her room. Now whenever I watch the animated classic, I’m going to see Something There That Wasn’t There Before.)

Claire, appropriately freaked, plays along and shows up to dine with her ex-husband in hopes of seeing Joey. Joe knows she doesn’t love him now, but is pretty damn smug in his assurance that she will. “Human emotions can be conditioned, Claire,” he says, chilling me as I imagine the experiments he must’ve conducted to be so certain of that fact. “You will love me again.” He moves to kiss her but stops when she commands “Don’t” – interesting, right? When has a victim’s pleas ever stayed his hand before? – and later buys a little goodwill by bringing Joey to his mom’s room. Aw, Natalie Zea gives some great, gulping sobs as Claire hugs her son. I know it’s not going to go well for either of them, but let’s ignore that fact for now, cool?

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of Jacob’s “It’s just me now” line to Emma? What do you think is really going on in Molly’s pretty little (crazy) head? And is it just me, or is Debra’s gaze at Ryan turning a wee bit less-than-professional? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Para says:

    Since you didn’t write a recab last episode, I’m going to say this just for the record, I can’t believe jacob said Paul is his best friend( again this happened in the last episode) !
    Please who sleeps with their best friend and had threesomes with his best friend and girlfriend ?????

    • “Who sleeps with their best friend?” Is that even a question? I know plenty of people who do.

      Anyway, blah. I’m losing interest fast. This has got to be the worst FBI team ever. They never do any progress and the bad guys always slip through their fingers.

      • A says:

        haha that’s funny i remember him saying that but wasn’t thinking about all of that. anyhow jacob.jacob,jacob………..WHEN IS HE GOINGTO GET RID OF EMMA!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Roger says:

    This show is getting too predictable. Found myself flipping stations. Don’t think I’ll make it through the rest of the season. Too bad because I really liked it when it started. Now it seems like the same old thing every week.

  3. George2k says:

    This show could be the worst garbage I have seen on tv in a long long time.
    Bad plot point writing
    Bad Bad acting
    Bad Story
    and I hate tv shoes that make the cops look dumb as hell so the “bad guys” can look good … aka

    This is why Its off MY DVR

  4. Clare says:

    The only reason the series can go 15 episodes is the FBI in this show is the worst example of stupid available. Last week, they hide Claire in a Ramada Inn where a keycard and a shotgun can get the killers right to the (hollow) door protecting her. This week despite the fact that 100 FBI agents appear to have descended upon the place, a teenage agent is alone when he finds three people in a cell. Does he call for back-up or get help, or ask permission to do something? No, that would be following protocol, would be sensible and appropriate. And that’s just silly. He opens the door so he can get killed. Nevermind the part where Ryan lets an informant be driven off in a car with a killer so he can track the car. Like nothing can go wrong with that plan since everything’s gone so smoothly so far. At this point the show’s like a train wreck. I want to look away but for some reason I just can’t.

    • EMO says:

      I feel like it’s a train wreck too and wonder if I can keep watching it. In last week’s episode, the bad guys showed Ryan how to stop someone from getting away — puncture their tires! Why couldn’t they do that to the Vince guy so he didn’t escape? And when you’re in a creepy, poorly lit building, why would you “fan out” as Ryan suggests? It annoys me that they keep showing these little insider videos about how they shoot certain scenes — like how they shot the scene of the hotel door being shot through in last week’s episode. Please spend more time writing than worrying about effects; for example, if you know someone is blowing away your fellow agents with an oozi (sp?), don’t stand in front of the door! Maybe I should just read the recaps…

    • Kim R says:

      I have to agree. We (hub and I) are still watching, of course, because we can’t look away either. :) But this has to be the worst writing for law enforcement. I was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that Debra and others in charge must be “in on it” and that is why they are so ridiculously incompetent. Alas…I do not think they are all Joe’s. Please fix the writing people!

    • The Beach says:

      It’s become a great drinking game show. Everytime the FBI/Ryan does something really stupid (agents crawling all over Vince’s car but nobody plants a GPS tacker, Using an old-fashion “wire” instead of microchip earrings, etc) we do a shot. You can get pretty wasted by the end of this show.

  5. N says:

    I liked it…..Love the recap!

  6. N says:

    Love that the bad guys win!!!!!!

  7. kavyn says:

    Worst. FBI Team. Ever.

  8. DiMi says:

    How could our so-called “hero” let that poor woman say the code word for “help!” over and over without doing anything and then let her get beat up by a psychopath because they ignored her? Then, how could he barely apologize to her as if he hadn’t just royally screwed up? Why did they entire FBI act like that was okay? It just makes me irritated with the whole show.

    • kavyn says:

      She said it three times and they ignored her. Pretty unbelievable, aren’t they supposed to act as soon as she says it? Instead they let him KIDNAP her and threaten her when she clearly did not want things to escalate.

      If I were her I would have been beyond furious with them after they ‘rescued’ her (although they didn’t actually rescue her; Vince spared her). She would have been killed had Vince not needed a distraction, and they let it happen. Horrible, HORRIBLE FBI members. I have absolutely no respect for the FBI Team, and they’re letting these cult members get away with EVERYTHING they do. Not a single one has been captured.

      Like I said before: Worst. FBI Team. Ever.

    • Kim R says:

      I may have yelled at the TV at that point. :)

    • kirads09 says:

      Keep in mind, they would have NEVER known about the armory and training. I was scared dfor her too, but actually Ryan’s instincts panned out in the end. It got them more information and clues into the cult. Albeit, at a cost.

      • EMO says:

        Maybe they wouldn’t have found out about the armory just then, and they’re showing he plays his instincts, but I still think it’s sloppy writing. If Hardy is so tortured after every life lost, why would he insist on putting that woman in danger? And when are they going to do some actual detective work and go back and investigate every single person who ever visited Joe in prison, and maybe say find out, hey that’s my neighbor/ex-lover?

      • kavyn says:

        Who cares what they would or would not have known. The girl didn’t want to go through with it and said their code word THREE times, and they ignored her for selfish reasons. They could have found out about it some other way, and there’s no excuse to have let her get kidnapped like that. They should be fired but they obviously won’t be.

  9. B says:

    I loved this show at the start of the season, but with every episode I am losing patience with the FBI idiots. And people say Homeland got a bit far-fetched? This takes the cake.

  10. Tina B. says:

    OMG! I said the exact same thing on Get Glue about the parallels to Beauty and the Beast! Belle gave herself up for her father, Claire gave herself up for her son, the dress and joining the beast for dinner?! I love this show and it was nice to see Claire get knocked off her high ordering people around horse. We are not in Kansas anymore Toto.

  11. Para says:

    Hardy is really really not good at his job is he…..

    He is so stupid…

  12. kirads09 says:

    Love how people come to the recaps to do nothing but slam the show and Tuesday morning quarterback. For everyone saying how much they hate it and will never watch again, sure seems to be a lot of you still tuning in.

    I for one love love love this series. Purefoy simply owns every scene he is in. Last night’s episode was excellent. What is this cult really planning with the armory and strict training? What was Roderick so anxious to get started? Joe made it clear he is in charge and Roderick demonstrated he has major impulse control issues. From previews looks like Claire will try to use Roderick’s issues with Joe to her advantage? Also mega showdown btwn her and Emma coming. There has to be a plan brewing by the FBI to send someone undercover to join the cult now that they found the recruiting portal.

  13. kirads09 says:

    I was surprised by much of the honesty between Claire and Joe at the dinner table. I thought he might toy with her a great deal and try to make her frightened of him. Or try the “I am not the monster you think I am” routine. But neither beat around the bush for long when they were talking. Him talking about his “monomaniacal” need to kill – and that it will only get worse (chilling). Claire being strong, not intimidated, not returning his love, just insisting she see Joey – and Joe finally lets her.

  14. WilW says:

    This show is starting to tank big time. I loved it in the beginning, but losing interest in it because of how easily the bad guys keep getting away. It’s just getting ridiculous. Between this show tanking and The Walking Dead’s worst season finale ever, I may need to find some new TV shows.

  15. Pat D. says:

    Reading some of the above comments about the kidnapper escaping…

    1. I’m pretty sure that the militia guy did not escape with his car—otherwise the FBI would have been able to track him via the planted GPS tracker although he got away from Ryan.

    2. If he DID escape with the car— the people suggesting that Ryan slash the tires, or disable the getaway car—I’m pretty sure that Ryan knew this was not the place where Joe and the cult were hiding, and doing so would have prevented them for tailing/tracking him after whatever was about to occur in the Armory.

    Honestly, I think the show has been getting better overall since the disastrous Farmhouse episode. Sure, there are still those moments when you say “Who on earth approved this script?”, but far less times IMHO, than earlier. This week we got our first glimpse of doubt from Joe—for the first time it seemed he was seriously worried that his plan was compromised.

    • Kristen says:

      @Pat D. The FBI didn’t plant a GPS tracker on the car (can’t fathom why not, but they didn’t). When Ryan told Debra to hang back while they were tailing he said, “we have the GPS in the WIRE,” that the dominatrix was wearing. I do agree with your second point, though, about the slashed tires. By the time they figured out they wouldn’t be able to follow the militia guy to the cult house they didn’t have time to stop and slash tires, they were rushing to save the girl. I still like this show, too. Sure there are things that drive me nuts (not putting a GPS on the guy’s car, using a 1980’s wire instead of a button mic or something) but overall the show keeps me interested, never sits on my DVR more than 24 hours.

  16. GS says:

    I love the show. Yes you have to suspend belief that the FBI can be as stupid as they are on this show but I love James Purefoy! He is just delicious as Joe Carroll! It’s going to really get good when the “family” splits and are against each other. I can totally see Joe and Hardy teaming up against the rogues. I watch tv to escape….doesn’t have to be perfect. Just entertaining and this is!

  17. Ashley says:

    I’m hanging in there, but its getting a little frustrating. I feel like the show, the premise, etc. has great potential (I mean, the pilot was fantastic, yes?), and I love me some brooding Kevin Bacon. But at this point I feel like I could head down to VA and join the FBI, no problem. I know they’re making progress — apparently finding that camp is a huge blow — but it feels like everytime they find a new clue, it’s because the stumble across it, not thanks to amazing detective work. And seriously, you can inspect Vince’s entire car, and not put some kind of GPS tracker on it? You just rely on the one in the wire?? WHAT IF HE DIDN’T KIDNAP HER!? Good lord, Veronica Mars was a better detective than these people. But, like I said, I’m hanging in there. I’m willing to suspend reality for 42 minutes a week, mostly for the eye candy, and because it’s fun.

    • Pat D. says:

      I could be wrong, but didnt they put the tracker on the car? What were they doing in his car and trunk while he was in the club?

  18. RichieS says:

    Bacon should recruit his wife aka The Closer to come in and kick some cult ass.

    • drhenning says:

      Absolutely… I’m sure the LAPD will loan her out!!!

      or go over to CBS and get the Criminal Minds guys…. they get these serial killers every week… obviously a smarter FBI…

  19. Tinzel says:

    Thanks for the great recap! I was so upset last week when there wasn’t one. I need a recap to help digest all the crazy this show puts out. I too think that the FBI has been a bit inept, but if they weren’t, the show would be over. Watching the FBI creep around the armory gave me some serious heebie jeebies (you never split up!). Glad nosering girl wasn’t killed after Ryan let her get kidnapped. One more death on his hands would not have helped his drinking problem. After Jacob and Emma talked, I was thinking about what her end game might be now. Certainly she won’t be with Joe again (although I’m sure she wants to be), she won’t be with Jacob again (and he’s the best looking guy she could ever get), and she’s not made any other friends here. What is left for her? Roderick too. He’s lost his power and is finding out the hard way that this is Joe’s operation, not his. I think that if he doesn’t kill someone soon (or be killed), he’s going to go off the deep end and that’s not a far trip for this lunatic. I feel a cult implosion coming.

  20. Sara says:

    I loved this episode and love the fact that the bad guys win. i think too many people are used to the CSI s or criminal minds or ncis whatever where they get that last little clue at the last second and solve it when that’s far from the reality of life. I think Jacob is going to eventually kill Emma. How could he not? Her betrayal led to so much emotional change for him. which i am all for. i love Roderick and hope to see him develop more, i thought they really got rid of Louise too soon.
    Im very excited to have Weston back next week!!! I love this show.

  21. Whatever says:

    I love that Roderick is going off the rails and Jacob is giving Emma a hard way to go.
    The creepiest part of the episode for me was Joe sitting there watching Hardy’s sex tapes with a glass of wine. Like he would see what his wife saw in Hardy or something.

  22. MB says:

    I have to agree with most here. I keep saying to myself, no FBI agent is that stupid let alone ALL of them. It really is getting hard to watch. It is all Joe and his crazies getting the upper hand every episode. Always a step ahead. I can’t see them bringing this back. How do you change this story line to keep people interested? Can’t see it.

  23. Clare says:

    I also have to question Ryan’s “great instincts” regarding his neighbor/former lover. He knows that Joe planted members of his cult in Claire’s life (her neighbors and her nanny) and they were there for several years before making their move. Given that Joe is almost as obsessed with Ryan as he is with Claire, wouldn’t a really smart guy who understood Joe start to look around and wonder if Joe planted anyone close to him?

    If you’re going to build an elaborate cat and mouse game as the premise for the show than the cat has to be at least as smart as the mouse.

  24. K says:

    This actually happened: Vince arrives at the destination and the club owner asks him what is this place and he says it’s an old armory. Then moments later Ryan and Debra arrive at the same place and Ryan asks what is this place, EVEN THOUGH HE JUST HEARD THE SAME CONVERSATION OVER THE PLANTED WIRE ON THE CLUB OWNER. Interestingly enough, as soon as Vince discovers the wire, Ryan and the FBI are still listening and know right away that she’s been made, BUT COULDN’T HEAR THE EARLIER CONVO WHEN VINCE AND HER ARRIVED AT THE ARMORY?!

  25. kirads09 says:

    For those constantly bemoaning FBI actions. Yes, Joe’s cult always appears to be 3 steps ahead of them. But it is my firm belief most of that isn’t incompetence. It is due to a mole(s) inside the team chasing the cult. I particularly think the new head FBI guy is a follower or being controlled/manipulated by them. That would explain a great deal. He is having everything go through him in regards to the investigation now. He was the one tapped by the cult to find out Claire’s “safe” location. He had Amanda taken away uber fast so Ryan couldn’t interrogate her. All very suspicious.

  26. Barry miller says:

    I am sure people just keep watching because the story involves a child . Children in danger tug at our heart strings. Everyone would like to see the good guys gain a toe hold now and then. Not a whole lot of other stuff on tv to watch right now anyway.. Hope the good guys win and story improves or I for one will not continue to watch.