This week’s episode of The Following was the best yet. This is because of a lack of grotesque, unnecessary violence and thrilling suspense that the series has been lacking up until now. Previously, all the thrills were from the violence, leaving not much else to be worth watching. It feels as if it is finally picking up steam and finding its place. Hardy and the FBI have finally found the farmhouse where Emma, Jacob, and Paul have been keeping Joey, and the pacing of Hardy and his reluctant local cop partner as they get close is top notch.
Joe Carroll has been playing his mind games with as many people as he can, this time bringing his former attorney, Olivia, into the mix to deliver a Poe-related message to the media, which triggers a series of events brought on by follower Hank.
Olivia, who is terrified of Carroll but is suckered into helping him somehow, is also tasked with delivering a message to Claire. If she ever wants to see her son again, she is to be at a certain street corner at a certain time. You know, the usual trope. She gets out of the house by convincing the FBI watching her that she’s going to meet a friend for lunch, which she does. Miraculously, she throws them off her tail by pretending to use the restroom, opening the door and then sneaking out the exit. The agent watching her, who obviously didn’t even pass the police academy, looks out the exit door for a second and goes back inside assuming that nothing particularly strange has happened. After a moment he goes in the restroom, sees that she’s not there, and then figures out that, what do you know, she went through the exit door instead.
Joey sneaks out of the farmhouse and makes it all the way to a neighbor’s house where an old couple find and recognize him from the news. Emma finds him there and says she’ll take him home, not to worry, yada yada yada. Joey, being the idiot kid that he is, tells her that they recognized him, and gets them killed when Emma has Paul slice their necks with a garden hoe, but not before they call the police. Way to go, Joey. This one’s on you.
Hardy and the cop are in the woods watching the farmhouse when Jacob and a bloody Paul walk up to the porch. Hardy alerts Weston, who’s with another cop a little farther away. Hardy goes in to get a closer look, and the cop, who looks like he’s about to relieve himself in his pants, goes to an adjacent building where he gets himself shot by Hank, who has showed up to take the others away. Quick question, cop: why were you not wearing a bulletproof vest? You got shot in the stomach. If you had been wearing one, you’d be fine. Hardy comes in, kills Hank, and tries to tell the cop he’ll be alright, but he dies anyway. Good riddance. Hardy breaks into the basement of the farmhouse where he finds Meghan, who has been tied up by Paul and not-murdered by Jacob for the past few episodes. Hardy takes the tape off her mouth to ask her a few questions, but all she does is yell for him to help her, which is not helping her at all. He tapes her loud mouth back up and goes upstairs. Finally.
Claire gets to the street corner a little late, but an SUV pulls up to her. The driver tells her to get in if she ever wants to see Joey again. She does. What an idiot. (Side note – I’ve become incredibly cynical about everything.) Just as Hardy finds Joey upstairs in the farmhouse, he goes and gets a gun pointed at the back of his head. Now what?? Where the hell is Weston?
Just because I said this has been the series best episode does not mean that it’s a great hour of television. I’m still very mixed and not entirely sold on the show, but it is growing on me now, nevertheless. At least the good parts were the ingredients for good television.