'The Following' recap: The ladies on 'Fire'

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"The Following" -- "The Poet's Fire"
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Emma (Valorie Curry) and Jacob (Nico Tortorella) are responsible for the kidnapping of Claire Matthews' son Joey (Kyle Catlett) in the "The Poet's Fire" episode of "The Following."

Joe Carroll may be the big bad of "The Following," but right behind him stand a whole bunch of ladies.

In "The Poet's Fire," we met Rick Kester, the guy in the Edgar Allan Poe mask who set fire to the man on the street at the conclusion of the last episode. Kester is one of Carroll's devotees, but we already knew that -- evil Emma referred to him last week. And, thanks to Kester, we meet the six people who have left their fingerprints in Emma's attic.

Only counting five? Read on.

Don't mess with the ladies

Shortly after we're introduced to Rick Kester, his wife, Maggie, jumps out of a closet. She seems to be such a sad sack, continuing to forgive her abusive husband even after he stabbed her in the stomach a few years ago. "She's tragic and pathetic -- I know her well," Agent Debra Parker said after Maggie said she wouldn't testify against her husband because he was sorry. Well, "sorry" isn't the word we'd use. How about "complicit"?

Turns out, that stabbing was just knife practice for Rick, who prefers fire as his weapon of choice, but more on that later. Maggie -- she's number six! -- went on to kill Agent Reilly before a little shooting match with Agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) that she managed to disappear from completely unscathed; the same can't be said for Rick.

In the meantime, Paul is so over Emma (Valorie Curry) and her bossy ways. After she catches him trying to turn Jacob against her, she has a little chat with her maybe-gay nemesis. But, instead of calling a truce and shaking on it, she slices open his arm. Because that'll set the house at peace.

As for Agent Parker and the former Mrs. Joe Carroll, little developments were made this week. In the last episode, Parker slipped Joe a copy of Poe's collected works and it appeared to be rather nefarious. This week, he thanked her publicly for it and it didn't seem (we said seem) to rouse any suspicions -- not yet, anyway. And Clarie Matthews (Natalie Zea) just had very little to do this week.

[Related: Yahoo! TV gets Natalie Zea to solve some 'Following' mysteries]

More of what we learned

The disciples, namely Emma and Jake (Nico Tortorella), are starting little Joey's killer training early. They encourage him to suffocate a mouse in a jar and, when he notes that this is the first time he's ever killed anything, they promise, "We're just getting started."

Rick Kester's bank statements showed several purchases for toys, proving to Ryan and Agent Weston (Shawn Ashmore) that Emma and crew don't intend to hurt Joey. And, sure, the toy purchases stand out on this statement, but what we really want to know is who's getting all these expensive flower arrangements? And, more important, what's he buying at Hermès and Tiffany?

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In case you hadn't noticed, this is Rick's chapter and, if he were single, his online dating profile would describe his love of fire and revenge. "I want to target the people who hurt you professionally," he tells Joe during a prison visit.

There are only three people who hurt Joe professionally: one really mean book critic, a college dean who wouldn't give him tenure, and Ryan. Seems surprising, but the guy is really charming.

Paul and Jake totally did it. Jacob may be back to loving the ladies with Emma these days, but during his tenure as a member of a supposed gay couple, he and his supposed partner got it on for real. In other news, Paul is definitely gay. We'll vote bi for Jake.

Paul has an innocent Asian lady taped up in the basement to try to prove he's straight. He's not.

Jordy watches (or should we say watched?) too much '80s television. When he doesn't want to talk, he sings the theme song for "The Greatest American Hero." He'd still be singing to avoid singing secrets if he hadn't gone and choked himself on the gauze on his shoulder wound. Gross.

Maggie is the person other than Emma who knows where Joey is, but Maggie's flown the coop. For now, anyway.

Lingering questions

  • What is Emma going to do to Paul for bringing a stranger into the house? Boy. Is. In. Trouble!
  • Whose bed does Jake really want his boots to be under?
  • When will the agents stop asking Joe about his hand? They don't care and it's starting to sound like code for something. Or maybe we're just paranoid.
  • We repeat: What was Rick Kester buying at Tiffany and Hermès (and why wasn't it shipped to our offices)?
  • Speaking of Kester, who has the patience to write Poe quotes on tiny pieces of confetti?!
  • Where did Maggie go and how will she resurface?
  • So Agent Weston is a military brat. What else? We still know nothing about this guy.
  • Who else is out there? How many of them are there?
  • Is every episode going to be another "chapter"? If so, this could wind up being a really long book. Like, "War and Peace" long, not that we'd complain.

Watch the full episode:

"The Following" airs on Monday nights at 9 PM on Fox.