‘The Following’ Recap: We Need to Talk About Weston

Credit: Barbara Nitke/FOX

Welcome back, Following followers! Did everybody have a good, mostly murder-free weekend? I know we’re all invested in the cause here, but it’s very important to keep a host of other interests, too. It can’t be all stabbing, all the time.

You know who did not have a good weekend? Or series of weeks, or months? WESTON. Iceman finally returned to the FBI task force last night after his near-fatal run-in with Roderick, and things were…different. There was the obvious evidence, like butterfly bandages covering the bulk of his face. And then less immediately noticeable but no less pressing stuff like, you know, deep psychological scars. A lot of it was dealt with in PUNCHING, which Weston did prodigiously throughout the episode. (To anyone in his line of sight, Hardy included.) And then the drama, my god the drama. “Do you know my dad?” he asked Hardy after the guy did something unthinkable, like suggest he could take a break if he wanted to. “It’s like you’re channeling him right now.” That Weston didn’t run off to his room was only because he spent most of the episode tied up in some other guy’s murder basement.

But I’m really ragging on the guy when, let’s be honest, he had every right to channel some serious teenage angst. We’d all be angsty too if the first time we were out of the hospital in weeks we were captured again by the same cult, this time by the leader, and played for a pawn in the writing of a book we now have confirmed proof is just really, really bad. No one wants to aid and abet mediocre literature. A sample:

“This is a story about death.”

I mean that’s not so bad. At least it’s accurate, right? No one’s going to argue that this isn’t a story about death. Continuing:

“Death plagued Ryan. It paralyzed his life. What motivated Ryan? What fueled him? ???????????”

The question marks keep going like that for a while. Very Hannah Horbath. Or I guess more appropriately, very Jack Torrance? In either case even Claire, a woman who has made an entire life for herself on the back of her poor judgment on everything, thought it was garbage. “Guess you haven’t learned anything since your last book!” I may not have leveled that at a serial killer who just last week claimed murder is what keeps him sane, but valid criticism all the same. Joe seems very fixated.

Back to Weston. Could he have been turned somehow when he was Fight Clubbing with Roderick a few weeks ago? Unbeknownst to us, systematically converted to the Follower way of life? It’s hard to say by episode’s end whether we’re meant to believe he’s suffering standard-issue PTSD or something more…Poe-y, but like, let’s keep our eye on the guy. Certainly he doesn’t appear to be in a good place.

Then again, neither does Ryan Hardy — EVER — so clearly the line between “together” and “irrevocably damaged” is an awfully fine one. Joe elaborated on this idea as he held Weston captive in the murder basement and soliloquy-ed to Hardy through bulletproof glass.

“You and I, Ryan…we’re the same.” Cliched beginning, but we did read your b–

“Why do you think you’re surrounded by death?” Joe asked. “What drives you?” Utilizing the oldest trick in the investigative handbook, Hardy flipped the question on his interrogator. “What drives you, Joe?”

“Death.” Pause. Hardy? “Me too.” BROOOOOOOOOOOOOMANCE.

The connection between them only deepened when, in perfectly placed and not-at-all-forced flashbacks we learned a little about Hardy’s own history of violence. His dad, you’ll remember, was gunned down in a random convenience store robbery. What you didn’t know…was that Hardy, high on justice, tracked down the drug addict who pulled the trigger. The murderer’s eventual “overdose”? Administered by a teenage Hardy himself, who somehow had the balls and urban gusto to insinuate himself into the guy’s life and keep feeding him heroin. For a show where everything happens pretty much exactly as you expect it to, I’ll admit — that’s pretty loco!

In short: everyone is in pain and no one is happy and but for our weekly ambulance check-in (Parker, on being punched in the face by Jacob: “that was worse than walking into a locker”), not a single smile is smiled. Can you imagine what a season five “we’ve earned a vacation!” episode of this show will look like? Hardy sipping a sludge-colored Mai tai on a dreary beach, the sun somehow fully retreated from the Bahamian sky. A dead turtle nearby. Darkness. Nothingness. Maybe Joey will get abducted by windsurfers.

LOL see you next week! Looks like Roderick’s about to throw a real wrench in the works for Hardy and Co.

Follow Henning on Twitter @HenningFog

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