The Following Recap: Down in Flames
The Following Recap: Down in Flames
Ryan Hardy, who’s apparently not miserable enough for Kevin Williamson’s liking, took on an additional world of hurt in this week’s episode of The Following.
Thanks to Joe Carroll, our alcoholic, barely sleeping, slightly too thin, literally and figuratively brokenhearted hero shouldered guilt for a bunch of new murders. Meanwhile, we met some more of Joe’s followers and got some very interesting backstory on a few others. Let’s review the major developments in “The Poet’s Fire.”
WHO’S THE NEW GUY? | The hour opens with a slight rewind on the attack that ended the last episode; this time, we see the follower in the Poe mask entertaining a crowd with a streetside recitation before dumping fuel on a passer-by and lighting him aflame. Turns out, the victim is an influential book critic who slaughtered Carroll’s novel, The Gothic Sea. (That’ll be important later.)
At the FBI command center, Debra and Ryan talk about the multiple sets of fingerprints were found at the followers’ hideout; Emma, Jake, Paul and Jordy are a given, but that leaves a few unaccounted-for crazy people. Debra also wonders what message Carroll’s trying to communicate. “I witnessed him in class. He could engage and inspire his students in ways I’d never seen before,” Ryan offers, which doesn’t exactly answer her question but does hint at what we eventually find out: Ryan was a little charmed by Carroll himself before realizing what a monster he was. The feds get news that Jordy is awake after his surgery, but he’s disinclined to help them – as a former corrections officer, he knows he won’t last long in in prison, and he doesn’t seem to care. The only thing that rattles him a little is Ryan’s news that Joe knows his portly pupil failed to kill Claire. Still, Jordy refuses to say anything and instead sings the theme to The Greatest American Hero (ha!) to himself, which makes Ryan slug him. Hey! Show William Katt a little respect!
THE BLAME GAME | Through security footage and DMV records, the FBI realize that Carroll’s masked flamePoer is a man named Rick Kester. At his home, they find Kester’s estranged wife Maggie, who’s a skittish, nervous ball of abuse. “Rick can be scary when he wants to be,” she says, and a police report documenting the time he stabbed her in the belly seems to back that up. Debra believes her. “She’s my mother, my sister, my other sister,” the G-woman muses. Interesting… Though Ryan wants another shot at talking to Joe, Debra says she’ll do it. She starts by flattering him, but Carroll only wants to communicate with his pal Hardy, whom he addresses via the close-circuit camera. “There are really only three people I hold accountable for my professional downfall,” he says, velvet-voiced. Ryan realizes that those people are himself, the critic Rick flambéed and Phillip Barnes, the dean who denied Caroll tenure. Too bad Rick, who we see via flashback has devoted himself to getting revenge on the prof’s professional enemies, is one step ahead of the FBI. He offs Barnes, ratcheting Ryan’s guilt a few notches higher. “Carroll’s out to torture you,” Debra points out. “It’s working,” Ryan notes.
FOOLED YA | Agent Reilly accompanies Maggie Kester back to her place, and against Debra’s wishes/orders, Ryan and Mike sit outside in Mike’s car, stakeout-style. (Loved Mike’s attempts to bond with his idol, loved even more when Ryan shut it down by getting out of the car to stretch his legs.) At the exact same time at the hospital, Debra tricks Jordy into giving up two key pieces of info: No one follower has all the information (“We divide the secret”) and despite her battered wife act, Maggie is a follower, too – and she knows where Claire Matthews’ son Joey is. That info comes too late for poor Agent Reilly, though, who tries to protect Maggie when there’s some scary thumping at her back door and is rewarded by her slashing his jugular. (Side note: After the nude eyeballer incident in the first episode, maybe all agents involved in the case should know to duck when they see a text message that says something like “Now,” no?)