by Josh Batchelder
After last night’s killer episode, one thing is certain: Joe Carroll isn’t dead, and he’s certainly not over his pesky killing habit. Also, twins Luke and Mark meet Ryan Hardy for the first time and further prove that they have some screws lose. Those are just a couple of the lovely morsels to be found in episode 2 of The Following’s sophomore run, titled For Joe.
Joe, looking all rugged and lumberjack-y, is now living with a groupie named Judy and her kid Mandy, and the relationship between Joe and Judy definitely appears to be pretty one-sided. Judy wrote to Joe while he was in prison, and now they get to canoodle, how cute! In his “new life”, Joe is Judy’s brother who was away for awhile and just got back. Things don’t stay sweet and innocent for long, though. Still, it’s not 100% clear yet what the relationship between Joe and Judy might be when the two of them are alone, especially since Judy is also a prostitute and sleeping with a reverend.
Mandy, Judy’s kid, watches on with fascination as Joe moves to communicate with his followers via some Internet code. She’s even curious what it’s like to kill someone, an area which Joe seems to draw the line. His interest in Mandy seems genuine, even if the feelings he puts on display toward Judy seem super phony. Mandy and Joe are watching some TV while a conveniently timed special about Carroll’s murders plays onscreen. Just then, the reverend pays the two of them a visit looking for Mandy, who is out for the night. After recognizing Carroll’s face onscreen, the reverend tries to run back to his car but Carroll manages to get him before he can escape to spill the beans. Shockingly, Mandy helps Carroll, hitting the reverend in the head with a shovel so the two can take him captive.
Unsure of what to do with the reverend, Joe ends up doing what you’d expect Joe to do: he stabs him dead. In fact, it kind of looked like he had an orgasm when he killed the reverend, and it kind of seems rather obvious that Joe has been “killing celibate” for the last year. The “killgasm” is all kinds of creepy and it’s definitely going to give Mandy some scars for life.
Meanwhile, Carlos’s face is plastered all over TV, so the twins take advantage of the fact that they haven’t yet been seen and go out to “do some sightseeing,” leaving Carlos alone with the French chick Giselle. She gets to say things like “I can’t wait to kill you,” and totally get away with it because Carlos can’t speak French. Emma, who does some research of her own and ends up with the same number from online that Joe acquired earlier, ends up getting a call through to Carlos. When Carlos asks her if she’s with Joe, Emma seems sure that Joe is dead and then gets rewarded for all her hard work as Carlos and Giselle hang up on her. Was the speakerphone thing really necessary for such a short call, Carlos?
The twins pay a nice visit to a couple and promptly kill them, quite violently in fact. They spare the child, thankfully, leaving him in an upstairs closet. Did anyone else think that, just for a moment, maybe they had in fact killed the kid? Sadly, there’s no half-naked escapades for either Luke or Mark this week, but they do still have their fun with both of the victims. They have a meal with the couple and seem to treat them as their parents, although it’s not clear if they are seriously engaging them as mom and dad or they are just entertaining themselves with snark. Luke even opens up to his “dad” about how much he loves him.
Ryan visits the victim from last week’s episode, Lily, and the two seem to have the blossoming of a “thing” starting to develop. Ryan keeps up his rogue detective work thang with Max, even though the two are trying to have a normal conversation when Luke interrupts with a phone call. Max promptly traces the call and Ryan follows it to an abandoned building. Ryan gets another call from Luke on a disposable cell when he’s up on the roof of the building and discovers Luke just across the way in an adjacent building with a creep-tastic Joe Carroll mask. Still on the phone with Max, Ryan urges her to call the police as he rushes over to the other building. Ryan discovers the grisly scene the twins left for him, but thankfully the kid is still alive up in his closet.
Once the FBI shows up on the scene, they are naturally super pissy at Ryan for not calling them sooner. It seems like everything Mike says to Ryan pretty much goes in one ear and out the other, but that’s nothing new. After leaving the crime scene, Ryan gets another call from Luke: this time, Luke makes it personal, telling Ryan he’s about to kill Lily so he’d better get to them fast. Rather quickly, Ryan ends up at some event that Lily is at, which is of course crowded with guests. This time, Mark calls Ryan and the two come face to face in the crowd. In the blink of an eye, as Ryan decides whether or not to go after Mark or head toward Lily, both of them disappear. Lily, being led out by a friend, is of course halted by one of the masked twins. God those Joe Carroll masks are creepy. Her poor nameless friend gets stabbed a couple times, but Ryan arrives just as things seem really grim. He tackles a twin to the ground, pulling off the mask, and coming face to face once more with Mark. Luke then shows up and kicks Ryan in the face before he even knows what happened, and the two of them manage to escape but not before Ryan gets in a shot or two at Luke. The twins escape in a vehicle, with Luke bleeding out (presumably from his back, although we don’t actually see) as Ryan does what you’d expect Ryan to do and stays behind to save the stabbed victim. Lily, of course, is totally unharmed.
Ryan gets another earful of Mike, but Lily is just thankful that her knight in shining armor showed up to save the day. I’m calling it now, hunny is either involved with the cult and secretly working with them or she’ll bite the bullet by midseason. Mark my words, one of those things is bound to happen.
Even though episode 2 wasn’t filled with as many totally shocking moments as the premiere (Claire is dead OMG! There are sexy twins OMG! Joe’s alive OMG!) there is still plenty to love and many things that are set up. I personally can’t wait to see how this “new” cult ties in with Joe Carroll and his own backwoods living: is there some grandiose scheme like last season, or are these psychos just wingin’ it at this point? Personally I think the show gets an especially vibrant spark whenever Luke and Mark are on screen, so kudos to whoever hired Sam Underwood because he’s doing an incredible job.