Following Recap: Easy Come, Easy Poe

The Following Joe Dies Dead Recap Season 3

The following recap contains spoilers from Monday’s episode of The Following.

“Quoth the raven: Nevermore.” And boy, does that bird mean it in regard to this week’s episode of The Following as in, “Nevermore will Joe Carroll terrorize Ryan Hardy, because he’s very, very dead.”

After three seasons, many victims, countless liters of blood and one risen-from-the-ashes comeback, the Edgar Allan Poe-quoting serial killer made like Annabel Lee and died.

For good, this time. Here’s how it all goes down.

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On the morning of Joe’s execution, he wakes grasping the glasses-turned-shiv he grabbed off last week’s victim. Once transported to the room where he’s scheduled to die via lethal injection, he uses a moment of distraction to kill two guards (one by exuberantly tazing his eyeball) and take three hostages: a doctor, the governor’s chief of staff and Joe’s young lawyer.

Joe broadcasts his demands directly into the FBI command center, because apparently everyone can do that: If Ryan doesn’t arrive at the prison within two hours, Prof. Carroll decrees, hostages will die.

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So of course, Ryan hightails it the Virginia penitentiary. Gwen — whom last week we learned was pregnant — calls and tearfully begs him not to acquiesce to Carroll’s demands, but Ryan assures her all will be well… and hangs up before she can tell him she’s got a little Hardy in her oven.

Joe releases the doctor in exchange for Ryan’s entrance, but after tazing Ryan into unconsciousness, Joe strings him up with wire and demands that he admit that Joe is “the only one who knows the real you.” After all, “You have always been my most devoted follower.”

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There’s some threat of violence and a lot of manly whispering, then pretty soon Ryan is admitting that he dreams of Joe and that he felt satisfaction when he killed his father’s murderer and Debra Parker’s killer. Both men are near tears as Joe releases Ryan and surrenders, saying he can die now that he knows they’re bosom friends or something like that.

Elsewhere, Theo rescues his sister from a drug den. Once she’s conscious again, he tells her he’s trying to decrypt one of Strauss’ notebooks to get the name of someone who can help him disappear again. But first, he needs to take out Ryan. Sis thinks this is a bad idea, so she uses his computer to hack into the prison mainframe and unleash all of the other inmates on death row — hoping that they’ll finish off Ryan so Theo can stop obsessing, I guess?

A lot of bloody fighting later, Ryan has felled all of the other inmates except one: the one who’s choking Joe to death in his cell. Though Ryan hesitates, he stops the choker, then guards rush in and grab Joe. Ryan says he’s fine. I’m no doctor/psychiatrist/pacemaker expert, but I’m going to wager he’s not.

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Ryan decides to stay for the execution, after all. And because he’s a glutton for punishment, he visits Joe one more time. “I can die, knowing that I will live on through you,” Joe tells him. Then, all that’s left is for Joe to be strapped to the table, where he gazes at Ryan as he utters his last: “Quoth the raven: Nevermore.” (C’mon, what else would he say?) When it’s all done, Ryan — a recovering alcoholic, you’ll recall — visits a local bar and orders two shots of whiskey, sends a call from Gwen to voicemail, and slugs back the drink while imagines that he’s hanging out with Joe.

I leave you with the words of Following showrunner Alexi Hawley. When I spoke with him earlier this year, I couldn’t stop myself from asking whether all of these nods at the Joe-Ryan relationship — the dreams, the language Joe used to talk about Hardy — were building to something bow-chicka-wow-wow-ish. “I do know what you’re saying. We are conscious of that idea, and yes, there was a line about foreplay if I remember right in [one] episode,” Hawley told me. “Look: These people are incredibly connected in a way that makes Ryan Hardy uncomfortable, because Joe’s not wrong. There is a special relationship between these two guys.”

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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59 Comments
  1. Valac says:

    I don’t think the writers planned on joe caroll being as big as he was. But shxt happens. The show is destined to fail without him. I don’t know if they picked up for a fourth season but if they are lucky enough for a fourth. it will be the last.

    • winnie says:

      Ratings and opinions are evidence that the show has failed WITH him. Without him maybe there’s a chance.

      • Valac says:

        Joe isn’t the reason for a decline in viewers. Proof will be in a rapid drop in the already low ratings for this season as they slowly veer away from his character. compare tonight’s ratings with next weeks and tell me I’m wrong.

    • Joyce says:

      I agree. If Joe is really dead I am no longer a follower of The Following. He carried that show.

    • Audrey Strickland says:

      That was the stupidest thing the producers could of done, killing Joe off. I was so disappointed. The show will not be the same without Joe. Please don’t kill him off. Him and Ryan’s relationship, keeps the show interesting. It will be boring now. May quit watching the show.

      • wow says:

        It does not take a genius to realise that Joe won’t be leaving the show. He will probably play a role as Ryan’s sub conscious. If you are confused on how this will work, I won’t spend time explaining it you.

        And fyi this was the most impressive twist this show has seen.

        • Tom says:

          It also doesn’t take a genius to realize that she’s upset about the fact that arguably the biggest character is dead. And the fact that there’s obviously going to be an end to Ryan’s already played out hallucinations of Joe. Make no mistake. She doesn’t need any explanation so stop trying to make yourself sound smarter by pointing out flaws in somebodies statement when you can’t even do it correctly.

  2. zac says:

    It’s time to pull the plug on The Following. 1st season was bearabe but it has gone downhill since then. Maybe Williamson can return his focus on TVD and inject life to it’s (Hopefully) final season.

  3. Gerald Jeranka says:

    Did anyone else notice how the twist in the wire around Ryan Hardy’s neck kept changing from left to right of his neck?

    • giblets says:

      No. Because you’re an idiot and weren’t watching the show but were paying attention to stupid detail.

      • Chris says:

        There’s nothing stupid about being observant, Giblet. If you tried it, you might observe the show pretty much sucks.

      • Nic says:

        It was a continuity error that should have been caught by production.

      • Dysturbed says:

        You make it sound like they were actively looking to pick apart as opposed to happening to notice. Being observant doesn’t make someone an idiot, it makes them normal.

  4. Dustin Hague says:

    Yes I agree. Joe to me was the main character and now that he is gone, I don’t think they will find another villian character worthy enough.

    • paul says:

      I disagree i think this Theo if show isnt canceled will be an awesome villain a true bad ass! Mark/Luke also isntdead apparently. Joe had to die it would keep being TOO UNBELIEVABLE if he kept escaping death overand over again. as far as my take on show now.its been much better and more excitting with Micahel Ealys character Theo and i want to see whether Hardy can bounce back from Joes death and still hang onto everyone he knows and loves..or become a killer like Joe!

      • Gman32 says:

        I agree. I like Michael Ealy’s character and I think if the writers give Theo the proper respect in terms of story he may well be a worthy replacement for Joe.

        Season 1 was good in my opinion, season 2 didn’t deliver at all but Season 3 has restored my faith in the following.

      • MLO says:

        To be a good villain you have to inspire sympathy and Theo does not inspire sympathy. Joe did.

  5. Dave says:

    I think the original writers had a great vision of exciting, cult type murderous fun and games. For whatever reason ratings dropped in the second season and the writers left. So in attempt to attract new viewers this third season the NEW writers failed miserably.

    • Chucho says:

      You’re spot on!
      i WAS a huge fan of the Following until last night’s show. WTF!! How do you kill off the star of the show and try to continue on. It is like the old writers bailed and the new writers thought lets totally sabotage what’s left of this piece of sh@@!!!

  6. jerrired says:

    I’m in the minority but I always hated Joe. I’m glad he’s finally gone but I can admit that this season has been a bit lackluster because it lacks compelling villains like Joe. Theo, Kyle and Daisy have all been boring. Mark is the only interesting one. I do wonder though if the series is renewed for a fourth season, if Ryan might become the serial killer and Max and Mike might be trying to take him down.

    • paul says:

      I disagree i think theo has breathed life back into the show that was suffocating..he is truly a force to be reckoned with and i believe in him so much that he may even end up killing Ryan, if not, someone hevreally loves before being brought down

      • jerrired says:

        Theo isn’t as bad as Kyle and Daisy but so far he was hyped a lot and didn’t live up to it. I was actually really looking forward to Michael Ealy on the series but the character has been a let down, to me.

  7. Pam says:

    I think it was a mistake to kill Joe. Season 3 has been flat out boring to me so far until this episode. This was honestly the first episode I have liked all season. Theo doesn’t interest me at all.

    • Joyce says:

      I agree. Theo could NEVER replace Joe.. I don’t even know why they brought this THEO character in — he’s not that good an actor. I’ll miss you Joe.

  8. Jason says:

    Idiots put JOE DIES in the title….They have one job, an easy one at that, and they cant do it properly

  9. niloofar says:

    I would like more imaginary conversations with Joe and on the bow-chicka-wow-wow-ish subject i was expecting Joe to kiss Ryan, i also enjoyed Joe’s dream escape attempt with Ryan’s help in a previous episode.

    James Purefoy was great in this episode.

  10. Terri says:

    Joe was the Best One on the Show. Totally. Without him the show will go down hill. Ryan Hardy is so boring ! Joe Carrol made this show great !!! I personally won’t probably watch it without Joe. So sad. That they took him off.

  11. Jimmy_Jimmy says:

    I am not entiredly convinced that they killed Joe. So what, Ryan is the last of the Followers?
    Could be that the people injecting him were followers and they will bring him back next Season. Stretches believability, but the show started right off doing that. It’s TV it’s not real. Relax

    • Jess1381 says:

      I thought that too. I’m hoping that maybe Joe’s death wasn’t real. Maybe the two in the room were followers of Joe’s. It’s hard to guess as there’s so many twists & turns with this show. I’m saddened by the loss of this character & am glad to know he’ll at least be in the next few episodes but I’m hoping they revive his character by showing his death was all an act and didn’t really happen. James Purefoy was brilliant in last nights episode. It was epic and showing Joe at his best… Until the end that is…. :( #nevernore

  12. Terri says:

    I loved Joe. He was great. Without him. This show will not last. Ryan is so boring !! I don’t want to watch it anymore without Joe !!!

  13. kirads09 says:

    I don’t know what to think after this episode. Great performances by both Purefoy and Bacon. Will we still see Joe in flashbacks/hallucinations? If not he needs his own series – ASAP. Such an incredible talent. I have always had personal reservations about Gwen. She has been way too insistent on getting information and the “truth” from Hardy. I think Gwen may be the evil woman that has been hinted at (Evelyn or whatever her name is?). I’ll bet she is also the one in Strauss book that Theo needs to find to assist him. What better way than to get THAT close to your target? Perhaps the pregnancy was an unexpected hiccup…who knows. I have no idea where this series can go IF it gets another season. They could’ve had Joe quote something else from Poe rather than the super predictable “nevermore” line. Felt a bit cheesy.

  14. Tamara says:

    I absolutely love Joe Carroll, he was the main reason I stuck around this long. Big mistake killing him off. BIG, HUGE!

  15. ken c says:

    Does anyone remember the coordinates that Theo figured out from the code. Didn’t like the 2nd season and bringing Joe back. Liked Joe this year though. Can’t stand the Luke Mark thing. Don’t find him a compelling character. Theo is interesting. You never know. With Joe’s connections he may not be dead.

    • Will says:

      I’m not convinced that Joe is dead at all. I think the doctor Joe was holding hostage is one of his followers, and he injected him with some bs that made his heart rate slow down, and pronounced him dead. He’ll be back next season. Alive and ready to terrorize

      • alan says:

        too predictable but you know with this show. I watch it but I hate it at the same time and I’m tired of Joe. I actually thought I read after the season 2 finale that his character was finished by that time and he would not be coming back. Of course that didn’t happen.

  16. Will says:

    I’m not convinced that Joe is dead at all. I think the doctor Joe was holding hostage is one of his followers, and he injected him with some bs that made his heart rate slow down, and pronounced him dead. He’ll be back next season. Alive and ready to terrorize

    • Ooh – nice, I didn’t think of that! Would be awesome.

      Also, I know nothing of actual executions, so can’t gainsay any criticisms of it on this comment list, but for me personally it was a well-done scene in terms of pacing and impact – for a show that has so many casual deaths, it was powerful to show one in such a detailed and gripping manner.

  17. lee says:

    I am not surprised they killed Joe did anyone see the alternate ending for Season 2. He was shot and killed by Mark/Luke. The show cam go on without him you still could focus onTheo and Mark /Luke that they could focus on.

  18. spdavid says:

    Ok Joe’s death scene was ridiculous,six people could have died from lethal injection in the time it took him.

    By the way,there is no “Virginia Penitentiary”,the closet real institution is Greensville Correctional Insitution located near the North Carolina line in Greensville county.That’s where Virginia’s death row is located (not in Richmond,not anymore,the place it was at was torn down years ago).

  19. S Moon says:

    I agree with those who say Joe Carroll carried the show. But I also saw the hints of his remaining on the show as a figment of Ryan Hardy’s imagination. Theo is a good villain, but I’m not sure the show can be sustained with him or without improving the writing so it is not always a series of crazy last-minute correct guesses by the investigators.

  20. I’m not sorry that Joe’s finally gone. Where else could the possibly go with him? A fitting end, I think. I wasn’t liking this season very much, honestly, but then Theo showed up and, boy, has the storyline picked up speed and gravitas. Michael Ely is phenomenal and creepy, creepy, creepy. He’s not only a worth successor to Joe–he’s actually scarier. I could go for another season if Theo is the main bad guy. The whole Mark thing was silly. I never bought into his delusions or mania. Weak, in my opinion. Theo rules.

  21. horndog says:

    F B I = FUMBLING BUMBLING IDIOTS. Dumbest show on tv. Great influence for our mental challenged children. This trash needs to thrown in the trash can.

  22. I liked the first season. The second kinda sucked, but this season is on point. It’s kept me fully engrossed…like a really book that I just can’t put down. I doubt Carroll is really dead, though. If he is, and they renew it for another season…hopefully it’ll be just as good as the first few episodes before Ryan goes to Joe for help. I just want it (like every show I watch) to have a satisfying conclusion and not be cancelled on a cliffhanger.

  23. bart says:

    hes gonna get into ryans head (joe) and ryans gonna become joe .. im telling you thats propably their aim here

  24. bart says:

    i think thats the only way joe can transform ryan into a killer with his own death being the final transformation point..

  25. bart says:

    and since his nemesis is dead …and we allready saw him admitting he dreams about him and him teaching him which IS TRUE… now his persona will have inner battles between joe and himself… you’ll see.. it’ll get interesting

  26. Wade says:

    This show was a great show the first season. The truth is they never should have been so close to catching him and dismantling his followers at the end of the first season. They should have stretched out the Following at least another season. The second season with the ad hoc cult takeover was the beginning of the end of the show. He should have had at least a second wave of followers to make the show more interesting. This season lacks a total direction while Theo may be a worthy adversary but there is not much of a “Following anymore” Joe was a great character but when he was caught the second time and on death row he had to be put down. The sad reality is that the show has run its course.

  27. Nicole says:

    I am infatuated with this show and was eerily upset when joe died last night!!! So much so that I think I am losing it along with Ryan hardy!! Lol the show will do fine I am sure because Ryan is as important as joe and as long as he is crazy we will see joe a lot in his crazy mind. But it is sad to see this amazing character put to rest. Great acting by James Purefoy!

  28. saoirse says:

    Kevin Bacon’s awesomeness lies in his ability to deliver truly anti heroish or villanish roles. I think it would be a total waste if the writers fail to exploit that from this point forward. Cliched Yes but it just might bring back some of the fans yours truly included.

  29. blee says:

    Joe is not dead. He will be taken from prison everyone will believe he is gone. One of his followers will have been in prison and messed with the injections Joe will be taken to safe place to recover. Cant wait till he shows up.

  30. Madeleine Parks says:

    I cannot believe that they killed Joe. He is such an integral character of the show. I am very disappointed and will no longer watch this show. I am a huge fan and own both the first and second seasons and watch every week. I feel you will be losing many many watchers.

  31. Susan says:

    I’m hoping Joe’s not dead. The doc who out the needle in his arm exited pretty quickly. Also, that crazy black dude had the location on his computer. Maybe he screwed with the meds. Somehow I think Joe will show up again.

  32. Chris says:

    I’m glad they got rid of Joe, but if they make Ryan crazy and he starts killing or something, I’m done. I can’t watch this. But this season has been crazy. That guy with the box was chilling. At the end of the day, I want my villains to be caught and or killed…sometimes gruesomely.

  33. mark says:

    Ryan will become a serial killer now. perfect cover as FBI agent, covering his tracks. Joe can stick around as a sub conscious. thats the direction it should take to keep it relevant. and I dont get paid tons of $ to come up with that. you’re welcome directors.

  34. Valac says:

    And now the show is canceled. Told ya.