Violet gives her play by play of this week’s episode of The Following, entitled “Whips and Regret,” as Josh offers up his commentary (look for the blue font)! What’s going on with Jacob? Why does this week’s episode title sound like the name of a fetish store? Is Hardy any closer to Joe this episode? Warning: filled with spoilers. Click through to read more!
After losing Claire to the cult in last week’s episode, Hardy has fallen back into his slump, drinking away his sorrows. Joe calls Hardy to gloat about his triumph, but Hardy tells him to go to hell and hangs up on him. Joe calls him right back, explaining that the point to his call is that Hardy needs a pep talk to get him back in the game. Once again, Joe is egging Hardy on to get to the place where he needs him to be. He doesn’t want Hardy to just give up, because that would be too easy. Joe likes a challenge. Anyway, so Joe is excited that he’s going to spend time with his family, and after they get off the phone, Claire arrives at the compound, where Jacob welcomes her, shows her to her room, and locks her in.
I am little surprised at Ryan’s giving up, after Claire’s kidnapping. I would think he would try even harder. But he was portrayed as an alcoholic at the start of the show, so it could be just a regression. I would have liked to see how Joe would have reacted if Ryan had held his ground with not answering Joe’s calls. I assume Joe would have found more collaterally damaging ways to get Ryan’s attention though.
Meanwhile, Joe and Molly (Hardy’s ex) are talking, as Molly has brought her journal summaries to him. He asks how things are going with Hardy, and she tells him that although he dumped her forever ago, she still lives next door, and they even hook up every once in awhile. This was a surprising revelation, as the last episode made it seem like Molly was long gone from Hardy’s life. We flash back to 2009, where Molly is visiting Joe in prison. We find out that she is an RN who kills her patients, and is classified as a “mission killer.” Joe wants her to move to New York to follow Hardy.
This scene debunks my theory on who Molly is, as she has always been a pawn of Joe’s. It is so hard for me to believe that Joe is able to construct such an elaborate plan with no one noticing for so long. One would think that Ryan Hardy, a presumed specialist on capturing a psychopath may be able to pick out at least some sort of characteristics that Molly would show in their interactions. I am glad to know that a nurse can easily get away with killing what sounds like dozens of patients without any repercussions however.
Agent Debra Parker visits Hardy at his place and informs him about the encryption code website that they discovered. They’ve figured out that the cult’s procedure for recruiting consists of an online dialogue, followed by a real meeting, and then a test of dedication. He tells her about Joe’s phone call, and she encourages him to engage Joe, and tells Hardy that she needs him. I don’t know about you, but I felt like this scene made it seem like she has a thing for Hardy and is using the case as an excuse to keep him around her.
I didn’t feel the romantic vibe, I thought it was more of a “Hey, we need you, you need the job, get up and get to work” from Agent Parker. I think Ryan has his hands full with Molly and Claire at the moment, adding a third lady would be just weird! As to the discussion of the site, I was hoping for an undercover moment, where a FBI agent unknown to the “Following” would act like a recruited member. They did not take that approach however. Sidebar-Where is Agent Donovan in this whole episode?
At the compound, Roderick is complaining to Joe that he said once he had his family back, they would begin, that everyone in the house is anxious to get started and they they’re getting impatient. But once Joe yells at Roderick, he quickly backs down. What exactly are they waiting to get started on? Right now it seems like Roderick is the only one brave enough to even attempt to stand up to Joe, but with a whole house full of impatient bloodthirsty murderers, Joe better hurry up and start whatever it is they’re waiting to start, or he may face a mutiny.
Roderick clearly has his own agenda here. Whatever the plan Joe and Roderick were talking about is, seems to be a big one, considering the military gear and training presence found later in the episode. Joe doesn’t seem too excited about the master plan, however. It almost feels at this time, that Joe has been using Roderick and Joe’s own status as way to get out of jail and to be with his family. Maybe he doesn’t care about the grand scheme that is next? Regardless, Roderick and Joe are going to clash further. I guess we will find out eventually.
Hardy and Parker show up at Whips & Regrets, which turns out to be a bondage/S&M fetish nightclub. They’re looking for Haley Mercury because the cult has been using her server. She tells them she doesn’t know Joe and that they want Vince McKinley, who was raised in a militia and has a Joe Carroll fetish. She says she can deliver Vince to them if they give her a deal.
Back at the compound, Jacob brings a nice dress for Claire to put on because Joe wants her to join him for dinner. Claire tries to run, but Jacob catches her and forcefully throws her to the floor. Jacob tells her that Joe has given him permission to physically hurt Claire when necessary, as long as he doesn’t bruise or cut her face. When Jacob comes down the stairs he is met by Emma, who praises Jacob for the fact that Joe gave him the job of guarding Claire, but Jacob gives her the cold shoulder. Emma comments that he’s acting weird and tells him she loves him, but Jacob replies, “The Jacob that you love isn’t here anymore. It’s just me now.” This Jacob we now see appears very cold and distant, and now that he has killed, who knows what he is capable of. His forceful handling of Claire seems very in contrast with the Jacob we’ve seen in past episodes who was afraid to get his hands dirty. That Jacob is long gone.
I was hoping we would have Jacob continue to be the doubter of Joe, and eventually betray him to the FBI, but they seem to have him completely absorbed into the cult now, already being put in charge of Claire, which to Joe is probably a honorable position to bestow on Jacob. I am not convinced this hardened Jacob is the whole package, but I think we may see more of his dual personality we saw last episode.
At the fetish club, they find some sort of weapons they can use to lure Vince there, and they wire Haley so that they can listen in when she delivers the package to Vince. They also come up with the word “red” as the safe word she can use if anything starts to go wrong. Roderick and Vince are chatting at the compound, and when Vince touches Roderick’s arm to get him to turn around, Roderick freaks out and pulls his gun on Vince, who also pulls his gun out. Then Roderick laughs maniacally as Vince leaves. There’s another guy standing in the room and Roderick randomly punches him in the nose. This whole scene was just really weird. It appears that Roderick is a lot more unstable than we’ve realized. It’s only a matter of time until he takes out his aggression on Joe.
In a house full of psychopaths, I guess you are probably lucky to only have a broken nose every once in a while. It does show that Roderick is fairly unstable, and is not having the best of times now that Joe has arrived.
Hardy and Agent Parker are watching the club from a surveillance car. Once Vince enters the club, they send the squad to check his car. As Haley refers to the “cult,” Vince gets offended, saying they’re more like a family. He gets her to walk him to his car with the package, and asks her to get in the car. When she declines, he tries to force her into the car. She keeps using the safe word “red” to no avail, as Hardy decides he would rather follow Vince than have the team save the girl, even after Vince pulls a gun on her and makes her get into the car. Okay, so what was the point of making a safe word if it wasn’t going to do any good?? So Vince drives off and they follow him, but Vince is all paranoid about being followed, so they order the other cars to drop back. He takes her to an old military armory, which they’re using as a munitions depot and training grounds for killing. He discovers Haley’s wire and speaks into the mic, saying “This is your fault, Hardy. She’s a dead woman because of you,” bringing up Hardy’s death curse. However, when Hardy and Parker enter the bunker, they find that she is still alive, but Vince is gone. Haley gives them a piece of her mind about how she said red and she could be dead. Nice rhyme.
While I disagree with Ryan’s decision to allow Haley to be taken, I understand the reasoning. If Vince happens to take Haley back to the cult house, it would be a huge break for the FBI. Even when they end up at the armory, they find out good information, such as the military training and weapons the cult as been doing and storing. They also learn more of the recruitment strategy for the cult as well. As for Haley, while terribly morbid, Vince’s reasoning for keeping Haley alive makes a lot of sense. If Ryan had found Haley dead, he would continue his pursuit of Vince, but as Vince explained to Haley, keeping her alive meant that Hardy would have to confirm she was ok, allowing Vince enough time to slip away.
Claire shows up for her dinner with Joe, all dressed up. As he approaches her, she backs away, then apologizes. He’s says it’s alright, and they’ll take this slowly. She asks why the charade, what’s the point? She’s the point. They’re family, and he wants to help. He mentions that he has a monomaniacal need to kill which will never go away, so he chooses to embrace it. He tells her that human emotions can be conditioned and she will love him again. She touches Joe’s hand and asks to see Joey. But Joe sees right through her ruse, and says that’s the only card he has, so he’s holding onto it a little longer. She insists to see Joey, and Joe tries to kiss her, but she stops him and walks out. Guess she wasn’t willing to go quite that far to see her son.
I wonder if “Stockholm Syndrome” can happen here. Human emotions are complex, and Claire once had feelings for Joe. When forced to be around someone for most of your day and night, I am sure this would take a toll on anyone’s psyche. Personally, I would be happy if Claire found a way to shank Joe, but I have a feeling this will not be the case. I do wonder how “understanding” Joe will be of Claire’s refusal to be romantically with a psychopathic cult leader though, and how long he will put up with it “civilly”.
Hardy and Parker examine the bunker, where it looks like the cult was running some kind of boot camp. The SWAT team finds some people trapped behind bars in a cage. Parker realizes that those people are cult members just a little too late to warn the SWAT team, and the cult members immediately start beating the SWAT team as soon as they get out of the cage. Um, doesn’t the SWAT team have guns? These people just had their fists, and they’re overcoming these armed and highly trained forces! Hardy and Parker are walking around in the bunker with flashlights, and Hardy is able to shoot down a couple of cult members. In the end, the FBI lost two men, and all the people from the cage were killed. Parker tells Hardy, “I told you I needed you,” and thanks him.
In fairness it was just 1 SWAT guy versus 3 cult members. But WHY would they only have 1 person patrolling alone? Isn’t there some sort of buddy protocol? Seems like FBI should have someone getting their back. This episode was full of FBI people, including Hardy and Parker wandering around alone. It’s too bad the FBI has to kill all of the cult members they come across, very few actually come out alive.
Back at the compound, Roderick gets in trouble for giving Vince permission to go to New York, and Joe punches him. He tells Roderick that he doesn’t get to make decisions anymore, and “Don’t ruin this for me,” to which sniffling teary eyed Roderick replies, “You mean for us.” No Roderick, I’m pretty sure he meant what he said the first time. You’re all just his minions, sent to do his bidding. Haven’t you figured that out by now? I think Roderick will figure it out soon, at which point he’ll lead a rebellion against Joe.
Right now we do not really know the ratio of people who would back Joe and who would back Roderick. We know that Vince would back Roderick, but he may not even be allowed back into the cult house now. Emma and Jacob would take Joe’s side, but there are dozens of other people that we do not know the intentions of. I am curious to see that play out. Perhaps Joe sends Roderick on a suicide mission so that the conflict doesn’t have to happen?
Joe comes to visit Claire in her room and tells her he really believes in his heart that she will love him again. Then he lets her see Joey, and there’s a heartfelt emotional reunion. Claire asks Joey if they hurt him, to which Joey shakes his head no, but he doesn’t seem to think it’s an odd question. From his point of view, why would they hurt him?
While Joe tries to come off as a nice guy with his wife, I can’t see how anyone can look past his murderous intents. Trying to play the typical husband/father is not going to work for me.
Joe goes back to his office and watches a video from 9/15/11 of Molly and Hardy getting it on. Um, can you say creepy? But I guess this is to show us that Molly has tons of intel on Hardy, so Joe is able to study Hardy in ways we wouldn’t think he would be able to. The journals Molly brought to Joe must be journals that she’s been keeping about Hardy.
I wonder if this video is to show just how obsessed Joe is with Ryan? It is very weird indeed.
Hardy returns home to find Molly in his apartment, which seems like it’s a commonplace thing, as they are neighbors and it seems like she’s been collecting his mail for him. We flash back to the scene of her talking to Joe at the prison, where she agrees to follow Hardy on one condition: When it comes time to kill him, she gets to do it. Why does she want to kill him so badly? It now appears that she didn’t meet Hardy until after she joined Joe’s cult, just as I predicted, so why does she have such a vested interest in being the one to kill him? I suppose it could be because it fits her description of being a “mission killer.”
I am not buying that Joe will allow Molly to kill him. Molly is nothing to Joe other than any other Follower. From the conversation Joe has had with Ryan, I also feel that in a twisted way, Joe wants Ryan to succeed in his investigation. How this success will be achieved is hard to say, but Joe has often referred to Ryan as the hero of his story. I feel that in order to be a hero, the hero must succeed in saving the day. I guess we won’t know how this plays out for a long time though.
And so, we end this week’s episode, once again, without much progress being made. I was hoping to get more answers to the questions that were brought up last week, see more of the relationships and interactions between Joe, Claire, and Joey in the compound, and get some more back story on Molly, but we didn’t get to see very much of that, as we were sidetracked with this random S&M club and military armory stuff that took up most of the episode. But I guess they have to throw in some action and shoot ’em up scenes to keep the guys watching from week to week.
I would really like the FBI to gain some decent head way. The armory was a nice find, but I feel for the most part the FBI is still reacting more than acting. I am hoping we can get some Joe/Ryan face to face interaction soon though!
Next week: Iceman returns!