This show, man (and woman. And plural). One week it's the Unconscionable Violence to Women Power Hour, another it's Dawson's Creek: The Poe Years. And then some weeks — like this one, specifically — The Following goes for Bacon with a Side of HAM. Are you sure you Threesome Kids are the ones working for Joe Carroll? Because Hardy's the one whose material is KILLING.
Tied to a chair in the farmhouse after his Joey rescue attempt failed, Hardy spent the bulk of the episode trying to get under Emma, Paul, and Jacob's skin while law enforcement got their bearings. Unsurprisingly, it worked. Questioning Jacob's inability to kill, making a few gay jokes (just like Seth McFarlane!) — Hardy managed to undermine their whole group dynamic in just 30 TV minutes, even snagging a handy knife in the confusion of one scuffle. Last week Hardy wrote us refuting the accusations that he's "dumb." This week he proved that, in a tight enough spot, he's a quip-ready genius. It turns out alcohol doesn't kill brain cells. It just super-charges them for exactly the right moment.
But not every character had their perfect teleprompter last night. Claire, for one, found herself in the pseudo-clutches of a guy who claimed to be able to reunite her with her son. He was, of course a Follower — her Follower, in fact, assigned by Joe himself to watch over Claire for nearly two years. Learning this creepy fact (and that's saying a lot on a show that is almost exclusively creepy facts), Claire seemed barely fazed. Maybe she's sort of numb to the whole serial killer thing at this point? Like "ugggghhhh, this again? My ex-husband is such a paaaaaiiiinnnnn." That's the only logical explanation for how calmly she conducted herself in the weirdo computer lair of her murderous guardian angel.
Parker was finally given a bit more shading in the form of not one, but two nested flashbacks hinting at the depravity she experienced growing up…on a cult-y commune. Her parents seemed nice. The older man it looked like they were offering her to as a gift, NOT SO MUCH. So she fled. And subsequently devoted her academic and professional career to cult-based religiosity. (Because she flippin' lived it.)
Back in the farmhouse, a moment of hesitation allowed a knife-wielding Hardy to get the upper hand on his male captors and free the captive convenience store clerk. After she fled, so did Emma, cowardly Emma, who took Joey with her. Just as it looked like Weston and the local cop he'd been working with had caught her, BOOM, Weston was shot — or as we call it in the Game, "Followed" — by exactly the local cop he'd been working with. The Following…it's expanding?
A big "WELL DUH" followed that question when two of the FBI gunners revealed they, too, were on the orders of Joe Carroll, and proceeded to just light up the remaining actual cops at the Farmhouse scene. Can a non-Follower catch a break in this episode? Eventually Hardy was able to both a) confirm Weston's condition (alive!) and b) take down the female cop who shot him, before watching Emma drive away with Joey. Win some lose some. Claire didn't feel quite the same way by episode's end! But all the same her guy Hardy was there with a fresh handkerchief and a killer indie song with which to woo her. It wasn't "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers…but it was something.
The new normal as of 2/25: Joey even further off the radar with Emma; Paul & Jacob attempting to find a low-key hospital that will dress the former's wound. The FBI was once again so close in tracking both but hey — that just means more Poe-inspired lunacy for us in the weeks ahead. See you next week, True Believers!
[PHOTO CREDIT: Craig Blankenhorn/FOX]