by Josh Batchelder
A Joe Carroll cult reunion and some badass scenes with Giselle are the recipe for this week’s new episode of The Following.
Once again, this episode finds Joe’s storyline neatly separated from the others, although it quickly becomes apparent that this won’t continue to be the formula for long. Guest star Leslie Bibb (shoutout to Popular!) is the lucky recipient in this episode of Joe Carroll’s company, who finally is coming out of hiding with Mandy in tow. At first it seems like he’s trying to kidnap Jana’s baby but it quickly becomes apparent that she has been helping Joe for quite some time and has a new identity ready for Joe’s assimilation back into society.
The police are having no luck with the random cult member with ties to Emma that they managed to bring in from last episode. They even seem to have hit a dead end regarding Lily’s business associate, who was stabbed at the gallery. The one thing they have made progress on is discovering more about Lily, who is apparently a super rich chick who takes in orphans. Maybe she kills the parents? Either way, it’s stated for sure that she is not the birth mother of Luke and Mark, the twins.
As soon as we see Lily again, it’s clear that she is not what she appears. She has taken in at least three others apart from Luke and Mark, forming what appears to be a mini-cult of her own, something of an offshoot of Joe Carroll’s. Emma is skeptical at first to trust her, but Lily wins her over with a heart-to-heart revealing that she, too, did not get along well with her mother. Lily didn’t exactly brutally murder her mother in cold blood in front of a puppy-eyed semi-boyfriend onlooker, but still, she manages to spin her story to calm Emma’s nerves.
Lily’s business associate friend, resting and recuperating, is quickly dispatched by Giselle via garrote. It looks like he wasn’t in on anything, one of the rare cases on the show so far in which someone actually isn’t in on one scheme or another. Ryan Hardy, who was headed to the associate’s place thanks to some more vigilante research from Max, finds the guy dead but Giselle narrowly escapes detection. Ryan manages to snap a photo of her car license plate, though, which semi-good news. On the other hand, one more person is dead. Oh, and Ryan gets taken into custody yet again for trying to interfere with a police investigation (but not before a brief call to Max to run his plates.) That too.
Joe gets ahold of Emma, who seems relived and upset that he’s still alive, but their phone conversation remains super brief. He is definitely alive, and thanks to Lily’s kind words and Mark’s persuasive attitude, Emma tells Joe that the group she’s with is 100% safe. When Lily, Mark, and Luke are alone, however, there is clearly some kind of subtext occurring. Lily even mentions something about not revealing their true selves until the timing is right, which is just all sorts of mysterious. There’s also a creepy moment where Luke zips up Lily’s dress and apologizes for cutting her so deep on the subway. The closeness and the way he touches her is indicative of something sexual between the two of them, but of course it’s impossible to say for certain given what little information we have been given on the family so far. Also, that remark about the cut being beautiful? Creepy as hell.
Before Jana sends Joe and Mandy on their way, Mandy ponders the question of whether or not they should kill Jana since she knows so much about them. The creepster tries to justify why Mandy’s momma was deserving of a swift death, but Jana is not. After leaving Jana, Joe and Mandy meet up with a teary-eyed and angry Emma, who is so overtaken with emotions that Mark standing nearby her barely registers as a blip. Once they have Joe in tow, the four of them head back to Lily’s creepy and secluded mansion.
As Max pursues the lead on Giselle from the plates she ran, Ryan runs to catch up with her as the force lets him off with yet another warning about interfering. Max manages to follow Giselle to a spot near Grand Central, but before Ryan arrives, the two get into an altercation in front of dozens of onlookers. Giselle manages to escape and run through Grand Central to her train, and just when it looks like Ryan has arrived and might have her in custody (I think he broke her nose, maybe?), Giselle pulls a super sneaky tactic. She yells that he has a gun, the train doors close, and it looks like all is lost in the way of finding Giselle. Max calls Ryan only moments later and tells him that she managed to hop on the train. I can’t remember the last time I had cell service underground in Grand Central, but this is The Following we’re talking about here so I’m willing to let it slide.
In between all the action, Jana gets a call from possible girlfriend _, the head of FBI. Looks like this is how Jana has been pawning information off to Joe? There were some intriguing developments this episode, but this one definitely felt like a filler to get Joe reunited with Emma. Despite hating Emma’s character, I almost kind of teared up a little when she was hugging Joe. See you next week!