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Another Fan Favorite Bites the Dust and Joe Plots His Final Act on Fox's The Following

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The penultimate episode of The Following required viewers to throw believability completely out of the window.  It was also rather boring and predictable, until the very shocking end.  Even though it’s not over yet, I’ve have no idea how next season could focus on Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) again.  His whole world has fallen apart. 

With the police closing in, Joe put a plan in motion to basically have his followers (the handful he has left) kill themselves for him.  Jacob (Nico Tortorella) was the only acolyte weary of being a human sacrifice.


The FBI finally found Maniac Mansion, but Joe and his cult had already left by then.  Debra, apparently a glass half full kind of girl, took this as a sign Joe was giving Ryan (Kevin Bacon) time to find Claire (Natalie Zea) before she could be killed.  Ryan more astutely reasoned, “[Joe’s] giving me a chance to watch her die.”  Yes, exactly, Ryan.  Good work for once.  Debra, on the other hand, has learned nothing during the entire investigation. 

The followers infiltrated the local townsfolk. It all culminated in a full-on surprise attack at the improvised community shelter, where everyone was supposed to gather for safety.  Having everyone meet at the same location is such a great idea when cult-killers are waiting to pop out and kill you at any moment. It seems like a much better plan than staying home and locking your doors– Not! Only on The Following!

The battle literally included axe-wielding maniacs striking bystanders down, which was pretty freakin’ awesome!  Meanwhile, the clueless FBI tried to figure out which townsfolk they should be shooting.  It ended with several followers dead, and Debra kidnapped.  In the shocking final scene, viewers saw Debra in the middle of the woods, being buried alive in a homemade coffin.  Props to Annie Parisse’s acting; her sobs of horrified terror and begging, seemed palpable.

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These distractions gave Joe a chance to have a final day with Claire.  He broke into a couple’s home, and proceeded to hold the most messed up dinner party with himself and three bound guests.  Claire tried to make Joe promise not to kill the others, but he still held a grudge about her stabbing him the night before. 

Since Joe was pumped on painkillers and booze, I’m going to say his judgment was affected.  Why else would he untie Claire, when she clearly planned on still escaping?  When two State Troopers were doing house checks, they recognized Emma (Valorie Curry), so she shot them both.  The shooting distracted Emma, Joe, and Jacob. 

Claire used this opportunity to bash Joe over the head with a wine bottle, and stab a fork into his belly wound.  It was pretty awesome, but would have been better if she finally neutralized him.  Instead, Joe was again left alive, and able to call for Emma and Jacob to chase Claire and the couple down.  Jacob and Emma recaptured Claire, and turned her over to Joe.  They went to the docks, and Joe loaded her onto a boat and took off.  He also promised this boat ride would be nothing like “that time in Maui,” and she would most definitely die.


Alone, Jacob pleaded with Emma to run away with him.  He appreciated everything Joe’s done for them, but he didn’t want to die for Joe.  Already having lost Paul, he didn’t want to lose Emma either.  Jacob told Emma he loved her, and kissed her.  Emma seemed moved, but it was obvious the fire of betrayal still burned in her eyes.

It was at this point I started shouting, “Don’t you dare kill him Emma! Don’t you dare,” at my TV—but I guess she couldn’t hear me.  Emma returned the kiss, and cried she loved him too, and Joe.  Unfortunately for the reluctant murderer/Golden Boy, Emma revealed, “I don’t know how to love you both.”  Thus, she slit Jacob’s throat, giving him one final effed up Kiss of Death. 

Fourteen episodes of watching every character be incredibly dumb just to keep the premise of the show alive was tiresome.  As I’ve already invested so much time, I’ll still tune in to next week’s finale.  Although at this point, I’m so apathetic it’ll feel like more of a chore. 

No offense to James Purefoy, Kevin Bacon or Natalie Zea, but the deadly trio played by Adan Canto, Nico Tortorella and Valorie Curry was always the more fascinating one.  After Paul was killed off, my interest in the show definitely waned.  Now, Jacob’s dead too, and there’s no way Emma’s making it out alive after all the atrocities she’s committed.  Unless there’s something really spectacular and unexpected planned for the finale, I just have no desire to return next season. 

Funniest Lines:

- “Death, Ryan.  It’s about death.” –A captured follower to Ryan, when he asked what Joe’s new plan, named after the literary work, “The Mask of the Red Death,” meant. 

- “How about we stop all the creepy cult stuff?” –Sassy Ryan, to a deranged follower during interrogation. 

Photo Credit: Fox