An angry Mike Weston returns to the action in this week’s The Following, only to end the hour once more in an ambulance. Elsewhere, a potentially very satisfying girlfight between Claire and Emma is thwarted (stupid Roderick) and Joe’s writer’s block nearly gains a body count. Let’s review the major developments that take place in “The Curse.”
NICE TRY | Early in the morning, Claire grabs Joey and walks out the front door. They make it all the way to the estate’s iron gates, which are chained shut, before they’re intercepted by Roderick and a bunch of random followers. The move earns Prof. Matthews an electronic ankle bracelet; that, as well as the gajillion cameras strung up all over the property, should teach her to stay put. Or, as Joe phrases it, “Trust, I’m afraid, must be earned.” (Side note: Anyone else notice the sheer height of Jacob’s hair in this scene? Impressive.)
Later, Roderick interrupts Emma spying on – my bad, trying to be “respectful” of – Joey and Claire. “Like when you slept with her husband?” he quips? I dig how quickly he can infuriate her. Any scene, she holds it together for about two sentences, then she’s threatening him and stalking off. And he’s even crazier than she is, so I don’t even really fear for him. When Roderick and Claire later share a few minutes together, she asks if everyone in the house is a deranged lunatic. “There’s a few hard-core psychos, some first timers, groupies,” he replies in the same tone you might use to discuss tomorrow’s weather. But the former Mrs. Carroll has some intel for the not-so-good sheriff, too: “You know Joe can’t be trusted, right?”
B—-, PLEASE | Using little Joey as a lookout, Claire pokes about in Joe’s office. The Internet access on his laptop is locked. However, she is able to pull up a working draft of his new book. “This is a story about,” it begins — and I am pleasantly surprised to learn that Joe is taking literary cues from Britney Spears’ early oeuvre – “death.” (Oops. Maybe not so much.) Before Claire can read more, Emma pops in, all smiles and “remember how fun it was when I lived with you and then kidnapped your only child?” Claire orders her to stay away from Joey. “Or what?” the nanny sasses back, earning her a punch. (If there were a Batman-style on-screen graphic to accompany that haymaker, it would say, “Deserved!”) But Emma gives it right back to her former employer (on-screen graphic: “Elfin Rage!”), and stuff is about to get awesome but Roderick steps in and breaks it up. (Side note: I love the gentle way he says “Ladies, ladies” as he does it.) Don’t worry Emma; you’ll get your sloppy second chance later.
THE RETURN OF BOY WONDER | When we catch up with Ryan and the FBI, they’re all over the armory. Nick and Debra are there, as is a barely-out-of-the-hospital Mike. It’s OK; even though Joe’s followers beat him into a pile of goo a few days earlier, he’s now being held together with surgical tape and fiery hatred. Or, as he shorthands for Ryan, Dana Scully-style, “I’m fine.”
The FBI quickly puts together that Carroll’s group has overlap with a disbanded militia organization run by a black market arms dealer named Daniel Monroe. Mike’s very gung-ho about tracking down a lead that might bring them to Monroe, and maybe even Carroll’s camp. But his exuberance (breaking and entering into one of Monroe’s men’s homes, pummeling that man with little cause) earns him a time-out from Debra. Literally. She actually tells him to go stand in the corner!
CHANCE ENCOUNTER | Ryan finds Monroe hiding in the basement; with Mike’s help, he disarms him. But the agents don’t know that Joe, Jacob and Vince are on the premises, too. Carroll and his men know that Monroe can lead the FBI to the followers’ estate (which he kinda does when he slips that he doesn’t know where Joe’s “house of psychos” is), so they go about eliminating him and his militia pal. (Important to note: Jacob’s definitely over his fear of killing now.) Ryan takes out Vince, but Joe gets a hold of Mike and holes up in a room with giant, windows that can withstand bullets but apparently can also allow people on one side to hear something whispered on the other.
Ryan quickly establishes that Joe won’t kill Weston because otherwise he won’t get out alive. (OK, I guess; are we to read Joe’s compliance with this theory as proof that he doesn’t think Jacob’s capable enough to have his back?) So Joe does a lot of threatening and prodding, and Ryan settles in for this week’s heart-to-heart with a nutjob.
MORE ALIKE THAN YOU KNOW | Earlier in the episode, we saw Carroll having trouble writing his book — Joe wants backstory that will make Hardy a compelling, flawed hero. So he gets Ryan to talk about his father’s 1983 death in a convenience store. (Kudos to the show’s casting and hair staff, because the actor playing young Ryan in the flashback is very Kevin Bacon-reminiscent. And his hair truly looks like it’s about to cut loose, footloose.)
Good God, Bacon always manages to make me hurt for Ryan during this kind of conversation. It’s worth a rewind to hear the way his voice breaks as he says, “I just… watched” when remembering his dad’s final moments. Joe natters on about how they’re both driven by death, but then Jacob comes in with Debra at gunpoint, and the pair of crazies run off after Ryan gives up his gun. Later, as Mike’s being checked out in the back of an ambulance, he and Hardy commiserate about circumstances making them harder people. Ryan says Mike just has to make sure he doesn’t do something he can’t live with, and we watch a flashback to kick-off-your-Sunday-shoes Ryan forcing the junkie who murdered his father to OD on heroin. At gunpoint. Interesting.
Ryan’s reverie is broken by Debra calling him over to meet local law enforcement… and Sheriff Roderick smiles broadly as an oblivious Ryan says hello.
LOOKING FOR SOME SYMPATHY | Back at Casa Crazy, Joe brings some wine up to Claire’s room and wants to debrief about his terrible day. She’s not in the mood, so she kicks him where she knows it’ll hurt – his ego – by telling him that she saw his book and it’s the same old stuff he’s always churned out. That makes him really mad (it’s humorous to watch this cold-blooded killer get truly unsettled about someone trashing his writing), so he finds Emma alone in the kitchen and prepares to dip his quill in her inkpot. (Side note: I feel bad for whoever pulled kitchen cleanup on the chore wheel this week. Hope there are some Clorox Wipes under that sink!)
Now it’s your turn. What did you think about Jacob’s tearful (and aborted) call to his dad? Is “Carrollism” the name you would’ve given Joe’s religion? How much longer do you think Roderick will be able to stand being around Joe? Sound off in the comments!