‘The Following’ Recap: Roderick Goes Off-Book, With Fatal Results

Credit: Giovanni Rufino/FOX

Can you believe we’ve only got two episodes left to go this season? It feels like just yesterday we were cracking wise about Edgar Allen Poe stories, wondering when we would finally learn who this “Roderick” fellow was and what relationship, if any, he might have to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid character. Think of all that’s transpired these past three months! Plots slowly, slowly advanced. Characters were introduced, then killed or severely wounded. There were LCD Soundsystem flashbacks. But we’re finally nearing the finish line, Following Followers, and with that comes the tidying up of some of the season’s loose ends.

Most notably, last night saw the untimely demise of our favorite Follower/fake town sheriff, Roderick, who bit it when frustrations with Joe led him to make some rash decisions. “I told you I’m impulsive!” he reiterated to Ryan in an interrogation. Too true, guy! The shame of it is that things had been running so smoothly for a full three minutes or so. As we saw last week, Roderick managed to ingratiate himself with Hardy & the FBI, hot on the trail of the Follower compound. Everybody seemed cool, just happy to be working with a normal guy like Roderick. But then Weston — he of the recent really bad day — pegged him as the guy who kidnapped and tortured him. And just like that? Roderick’s sheriffin’ days was over.

I think most of us assumed the creative team would drag that deception out to at least a mid-episode reveal, so points for getting things moving fast. In a frenzy, Roderick returned to Follower HQ. “We’re screwed,” he told Joe. Ever the unflappable college professor when an audience is in view, Joe kept his cool at first. But that quickly turned to choke-fighting, and the end of Joe and Roderick’s professional and personal relationship. Moments later, #2 would kidnap Joey (who just cannot catch a break); in response, Joe would order Roderick dead. It’s crazy how fast relationships can sour, in or out of murder compounds.

Things weren’t going much better for the FBI, who’d been totally blindsided by the Roderick reveal. “Isn’t that a kick in the pants!” Parker basically said, shrugging her shoulders in the most nonchalant way ever associated with a horrific murder investigation. Meanwhile Hardy, out of ideas and lacking anything resembling departmental oversight, even at the federal level, got on camera to deliver a VERY SPECIAL MESSAGE to Joe’s Followers: “Any Follower who wants to give us info, gets immunity. You can turn back. Be completely exonerated.” “Maybe that’ll yield some fruit?” Hardy thought, imagining his next vodka and vodka on the rocks.

His FBI commander made sure to chew him out, but in that very specific way that says he really admires Hardy’s outside-the-box thinking and can-do attitude. And hey — while Hardy’s play didn’t immediately land them any ex-Followers, it wasn’t long before they tracked down Roderick. Hardy managed to interrogate the guy without stabbing his hand or aggravating a bullet wound, so that was good, and even got Joe on the phone to describe how we would “personally peel the skin from [Roderick’s] body” if they ever saw each other again. Then the kicker: Roderick had Joey. Not nearby, no, but somewhere close enough. Hardy, would you mind giving him a lift?

This next sequence was great. We’ve been trained to think of Hardy as this rule-breaking alky with a devil-may-care attitude, the kind of guy who would willingly torch an orphanage for love and go swimming just twenty minutes after eating. Hardy don’t care! So when he flagrantly ignored his boss’s one command to not trade Roderick for Joey, all us Followers at home were like “psssh, show me something new.” GUESS WHAT: Parker, Weston, and even Hardy’s boss (Nick? It doesn’t matter) were in on Hardy’s plan the whole time. “Now I’ve drunk the Ryan Hardy juice!” laughed Nick, completely unaware of his employee’s unbelievable history of alcoholism and regret-focused mood disorder. But DAMMIT if it didn’t work: Roderick shot dead by Weston*, Joey in Hardy’s arms, and the whole world a little warmer if only for one hour on FOX.

*A serious question: was it Weston that took the fatal shot? This show is so unbelievably dark — visually — that half the time I can’t make out things like characters, or scenes. You should know that most of the time I treat The Following  like a really strange radio show.

Claire, meanwhile, continued her one-woman show about completely nonsensical characterization with a few scenes at Follower HQ in which she: explained concepts of “good” and “bad” to her son; tried to level with Jacob, a known murderer but great babysitter; fake-flirted with Joe, another very-known murderer; finally summoned the courage to shiv said murderer with intent to kill. Yes, we all do crazy things for the love of Kevin Bacon but Claire — you’re all over the map! Even your ex-husband would have to agree! Which he did, over the phone to Ryan:

“Our story has taken an…unexpected turn. It’s bad. Really bad. Page one rewrite.” Before Hardy could assemble their writers group to address these narrative problems head-on, Joe offered his rewrite idea. “Sadly, it is time for Claire to die.”

Oh, and one of the Followers took Hardy up on his exoneration offer from 30 minutes earlier but really she just wanted to stir s**t up, specifically by stabbing Nick in the eyes. Those probably won’t heal. Altogether now:

“And that’s what happens when you drink the Ryan Hardy juice.”

 Follow Henning on Twitter @HenningFog

‘The Following’ Recap: We Need to Talk About Weston
‘The Following’ Recap: Hardy Uncovers an Explosive Plot
‘The Following’ Recap: Goodbye, Claire?

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