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Does The FBI Have to Be This Dumb For The Following to Work?

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Claire (Natalie Zea) tried to escape Maniac Mansion with Joey on this week’s episode of The Following.  Unfortunately, she determined to do this by literally walking out the front gate, and was quickly apprehended. All the little stunt earned her was an electronic monitoring bracelet, courtesy of Sheriff Roderick. 

Claire recognized Roderick as Joe’s (James Purefoy) Number Two and tried turning the corrupt lawman against him. Claire didn’t know Roderick and Joe can’t stand each other at this point. 

Claire did manage to sneak onto a computer. Although she couldn’t get internet access, she was able to read the first chapter of Joe’s new book.  Actually, that probably wasn’t too lucky either, if you go by the critics of Joe’s last effort. 


Mike (Shawn Ashmore), though battered, returned to work.  His new devil-may-care attitude meant Agent Weston was basically Ryan Hardy 2.0.  Ryan (Kevin Bacon) and Debra (Annie Parisse) were clearly worried, but also pretty hypocritical, since Ryan always gets away with doing the same stuff. 

The captured training ground led them to Monroe, a contact of Vince's, who might be able to lead them to Joe.  Before they could properly interrogate him or his follower friend, each was brutally murdered.

Joe, Vince, and Jacob (Nico Tortorella) showed up to make sure Monroe couldn’t give up their location to the FBI.  While Ryan killed Vince (RIP. I will miss your quips!), Jacob snatched Debra. Joe tied up Mike in a bullet-proof safe room with great acoustics. 


Joe was plagued by writer’s block the entire episode, and needed more of Ryan’s “origin story” to understand his protagonist.  He wanted Ryan to reveal his father’s murder. Ryan wouldn’t play ball until Joe essentially rendered both Mike and Ryan helpless. 

Flashbacks to 1983 showed Ryan witnessing his father being murdered during a convenience store robbery. A young Ryan managed to escape death. He held his father’s hand, as he watched him die.

Joe saw this as death fueling and binding them both. He also felt it was justice when Ryan revealed the shooter was a junkie who’d overdosed a few weeks later. The story kept Mike alive. They also got Debra back, but Jacob and Joe escaped once again. 

Later, Ryan had another memory. Young Ryan had tracked down the junkie, and forced him to OD on heroin at gunpoint! Ryan Hardy just became a thousand times more interesting in my book. 

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Jacob offered to kill Monroe for Joe. He savagely killed the other follower and roughed up Debra.  When she tried getting through to him, by asking how a “Golden Boy” from a good family got mixed up in a cult, he threatened to kill her. 

Of course, it didn’t help that after congratulating Jacob on making it out the farmhouse alive, she asked about Paul!  

It was revealed Jacob had joined the cult after quitting medical school. He didn’t want to become a doctor like his father. He later tearfully dialed his dad, but hung up once he answered.  If one of the season’s remaining three episodes doesn’t delve into Jacob’s “Daddy Issues,” I am going to be totes upset. 


Emma (Valorie Curry) tried to stay out of Claire’s way.  She said it was to be respectful of mother-son bonding time.  Roderick knowingly teased it was really because Emma had screwed her husband. 

When Emma finally got up the nerve to approach Claire, things were awkward, to say the least.  How do you ever get past your live-in babysitter being a secret cultist of your crazy ex-husband, then kidnapping your son? 

Claire wanted nothing to do with the “sick, little girl.”  After Emma scoffed at the idea of staying away from Joey, Claire smacked her hard across the face.  Emma returned the gesture, but pretty soon Claire had Emma against the wall, strangling her, screaming, “I will kill you,” before a gleeful Roderick broke things up. How awesome was this brutal, little catfight? 


I think Emma wants to be Joe’s wife—and Joey’s mother in place of Claire—but I also think a part of her wants Claire to be her own mother.  Emma sees what Joe sees. She really respects the love Claire has for Joey. 

Emma grew up with a mom who cared little for her — a mom she eventually murdered.  It’s probably extremely tough for her to all of a sudden be replaced in both Joe and Joey’s affections, and lose her relationship with Claire. 

After a long day, Joe went to Claire, who was in no mood to care about his bad day.  To make sure he went away, Claire admitted to reading his new book, basically saying it sucked as much as the first one.  Joe almost struck her, but stormed out instead.  Joe then went to Emma and apologized for ignoring her, before resuming their sexual relationship. 


Something Monroe said made Ryan realize the Carroll Cult must have a safe house nearby.  This led Debra to calling in local law enforcement for assistance. Roderick showed up!

Ryan didn’t recognize him from Mike’s composite sketch or shooting at him from 10 feet away that one time. Mike had already been taken to hospital.  The FBI were now unknowingly relying on a leading member of the cult to help them catch Joe.

There's a big debate among The Following fans online about the show having to keep the FBI dumb, so the premise continues to work. I don't think the good guys have to be this inept; the writers just need to make Joe smarter.   

Photo Credit: Fox, Paramount Pictures