Who would’ve guessed that The Following‘s murder guru would choose to lay low in Armpit, Ark., all gussied up for some Duck Dynasty cosplay and posed as surrogate daddy to a hooker’s impressionable teen daughter?
This week, Joe’s true nature peeks out from behind his Dale Earnhardt Jr. shades and takes its first victim since the boathouse explosion – or, at least, we think it’s his first kill since the events of last season. The murder itself is fairly standard Carroll fare, but the show’s choice of witness to the crime adds an intriguing twist to how life may unfold for Joe in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Ryan meets the twins, Emma has a rude awakening and Mike is thisclose to cueing up some Alanis and throwing all of Hardy’s stuff in a box while belting out “And I’m HERE to REMIND YOU of the MESS YOU LEFT when you WENT AWAY.”
Let’s review what went down (and who got stabbed) in “For Joe.”
#GOTBEARD? | We pick up in Boone County, Ark., in the trailer-y community where we saw Joe at the end of the season premiere. The very pretty young girl who called him “Darryl” is named Mandy; her mother, Judy, is the redheaded prostitute also introduced last episode.
Judy was one of Joe’s groupies – not a killer herself, as far as I can tell, but an admirer who sent him letters in prison and bragged to her daughter that she could “fix” the psychopath. Lovely. So when he needed to disappear for a while, Joe grew out his beard, went on a little Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and wound up as “Uncle” Darryl, whom everyone except for Mandy thinks is Judy’s just-back-from-Afghanistan brother. (I assume those people have not seen the pair making out in front of the kitchen window, then?)
“Y’ain’t getting’ itchy, are ya, baby?” she asks him, snuggling him close. Joe swears he’s not going anywhere — “I own you everything,” he states – but the look on his face as they embrace is not the stuff of which Hallmark movies are made.
BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN | Joe’s affection for Mandy, at least, feels genuine; he’s been helping her with her homework, and she’s been helping keep him abreast of what the cult is up to in his absence. One night when they’re alone, Mandy works off his instructions to bring up a phone number from a Baltimore newspaper’s classified listings.
As they nosh pretzel sticks and watch a TV special about his year-old killing spree, Mandy (sprawled out innocently with Joe on the couch) asks, “Did you play too many video games growing up?” (heh). The cozy moment is interrupted, though, by a local reverend who likes to make frequent pastoral visits to Judy’s bedroom. When he hears the lady of the house isn’t around, he says he’ll wait… and when he sees Joe’s mugshot on the special, his recognition is instantaneous.
The sleazy reverend makes a beeline for his car, so Joe picks up a garden gnome (awesome) and bashes in the window. But the man of the cloth socks Carroll right in the face, temporarily blinding him. Good (?) thing Mandy’s there to brain him with a shovel!
WAS IT GOOD FOR YOU? | When he comes to, the pastor is tied to a chair in the house, and Joe is delivering a tearful ramble about how he’s clinically depressed and “rather off my game.” (James Purefoy excels at these moments when the worn patches of Joe’s psyche peek through, no?) Thinking he has a chance at survival, the reverend tries to appeal to Joe’s better – and when that doesn’t work, smarter – nature. But Prof. Insaneo’s lecture is over. “I am inevitable!” he shouts, ramming a kitchen knife into the minister’s midsection multiple times and finishing with an orgasmic “Yes! Yes! Yes!” as the man dies.
From the couch, Mandy cries as she watches in horror. When he recovers himself, Joe comes to her and envelops her in a hug, cooing that it’s going to be OK. “Mama’s gonna be home soon,” she says, staring ahead. “She’s gonna be mad.”
Will Mandy narc on the “uncle” for whom she clearly cares? Or have we witnessed the birth of a new little criminal? And if the pair keep the death a secret between them, how likely is it that mama is long for this world? You got me, Following; I wanna see how this plays out.
DOUBLE DOWN | Twin followers Mark and Luke break into a brownstone, murder the parents of a young boy and then lock him in his bedroom closet while they cook dinner and stage a family meal. I giggle more often than I should while the young men insert themselves into a disturbing tableau that involves telling “Mom” and “Dad” about the dancer they snuffed out in the previous episode. It’s just so bizarre!
For dessert, the boys lure Ryan (with Max’s help) to their location, where he finds the son unharmed upstairs. The FBI eventually shows up too, and there’s the usual grumble-grumble-not-your-case-anymore-grumble… and Mike’s even more ticked off at Hardy’s rogue policework.
But not even his former partner’s disapproval can stop Ryan from taking the twins’ bait and showing up at a benefit where Lily is speaking. He barely stops her from getting poked to death with an icepick; her driver or whoever that other guy is isn’t quite so lucky, though he survives.
At the end of the night, Luke and Mark get away (though Ryan shoots Luke in the arm), but Ryan now knows they are a pair of psychos instead of a lone killer, and Lily grabs his hand as she tells him she’s grateful he was there to save her life. Mike, however, is hella unimpressed. When Ryan makes an attempt to apologize/explain himself, Weston ain’t having it. “Tell it to Mendez. I’m done with you,” he snarls, then walks away. Break-ups are so hard, aren’t they?
CALL AND RESPONSE | Emma, too, finds the phone number in the Baltimore paper… and when it rings, the other end is the cell phone in follower Gisele’s hotel room marked “Joe.” Carlos, aka “I am far too goofy and too big of a screw up to ever be taken seriously as a Joe Carroll acolyte,” picks up and asks if Joe is with Emma. Emma nearly chokes on her lip rings as she realizes that her mentor may not be as ’86ed as first thought. (Side note: Who else wants to see an Emma-Gisele cage match? Worth the price of admission, methinks.)
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!Follow @kimroots