'The Following' recap: It's only 'Chapter Two'
Don't trust anyone.
If that message wasn't abundantly clear from the premiere episode of "The Following," it certainly rang loud and true in "Chapter Two." Even Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea) points out that she can only trust Ryan, but, seeing as he's an obsessive alcoholic with heart problems, we probably shouldn't.
Still, for better or for worse, former agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) is the only agent we trust who isn't one of serial killer Joe Carroll's disciples.
Cult or not a cult?
This episode introduced us to agent Debra Parker, who immediately appears less than thrilled to be working with Hardy and even more unwilling to call Carroll and his disciples a cult. Too bad for her.
If you'll recall, Claire's son, Joey, was kidnapped at the end of the first episode by his nanny Denise and supposed gay duo Jake and Paul. After some digging, the team learns that Denise is really Emma Hill. When the team storms Emma's childhood home, the writing is on the wall… literally.
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Surrounded by passages from Poe covering the entire house, floor to ceiling -- mixed in with some seriously creepy drawings of the author himself and women bleeding from their eyes -- agent Parker gives in.
"So, we have a cult," she says. "Carroll is using Poe's work as a religion. He's speaking to people through Gothic romanticism… Find the ones with additional disorders: jackpot. Enter a handsome, charismatic man who can touch them, make them feel their lives for the first time, conditions them. The only way to truly live is to kill, or some crap like that… I run the bureau's alternative religion unit. Did I not mention that? Cults, my specialty."
Something is not quite right about her…
Romance run amok
Desperate to get her son back, Claire visits Carroll in prison, only to be asked the questions that made up the mysterious letter Carroll sent Claire one week before his escape from prison. The subject matter: Claire's relationship with Hardy way back when. Of course, it's through this interaction that we finally get some answers as well.
Turns out, their fling lasted only about two months and didn't really start until after Carroll's trial and the divorce was finalized. The last question -- which presumably was whether or not Claire loved Hardy -- finally incited her rage.
"I don't know is the answer," she snapped. "How could I love anyone after you? You destroyed me."
But the Claire-Hardy-Carroll love triangle wasn't the only fraught romance ruling this episode.
Turns out, Emma and Jake (Nico Tortorella) are a hot item, and have been for several years. Furthermore, they met on a blind date… set up by Carroll, natch. Deeper into their relationship, Jake comes over for dinner to meet Emma's mom. When Mom starts getting flirty, Emma stabs her to death, cementing Jake's affections for her. He think's she's "amazing." Obviously.
In the meantime, Paul, who insists he's straight despite spending the past few years as half of a pseudo-gay couple with Jake, is acting a bit jealous of the happy psycho pair. Worse yet, he really doesn't like kids and keeps looking at the prodigal son, Joey, as if he could snap his neck at any moment. Danger, Will Robinson!