“The Following” 1.08 Recap: “Is This Place Insane or WHAT?”

Now that Joe and his Followingers are happily nested in the Joe Carroll Dream House, the show – and Emma, in particular – seems to want to pretend that the previous seven weeks never happened. It’s a whole new show, with a whole new cast and a whole new focus! The only true constant is, of course, the familiar face of star Kevin Bacon – which, like a trusty, well-worn baseball mitt, is always ready to catch whatever curveball the show throws his way.

Let’s see if Ep. 8 got it over the plate, shall we?

Okay, so they FINALLY changed the intro, after I complained last week. Is someone up there listening?

Joe (James 100%PureFoy) tells Joe Junior (Don’tKnow Don’tCare) that he knows that he is afraid of him, but he hopes that will change. Good luck with that. And Joe Junior (Joeliet?), thanks for coming to work – you can go home now, because we won’t be seeing you again any time soon.

Also, at right about this point my hubby – who has refused to watch this show up until this point and is only with me now because he is weighed down by a cat and a key lime tartlet – turns to me and asks of Joe, “Who’s that? He’s like an undercooked Thomas Jane.”

I leave you with the evidence to make of that comment what you will:

Meanwhile, the Followingers have gathered in the foyer of the mansion to welcome Joe to the house (again) with a rousing rendition of “Be Our Guest”. If you’re stressed, it’s mass murder we suggest!

At the Fedpound, yet ANOTHER agent has been assigned to the case (still no word of what’s become of the older black dude who vanished like three episodes ago): His name may be McDonovan, and he may be a survivor of the CW’s awesomely bad Ringer. DEVELOPING.

Back at Crazy Pines, Emma (Valorie Curry) tells Joe that she didn’t realize that there were so many cultists. She also lies and says she hasn’t heard from Jacob or Paul – but I have a feeling Joe knows she’s lying.

Suddenly a cop car pulls up with sirens blazing – it’s Roderick! He’s the sheriff. And we’ve never seen him before. Okay.

We get a flashback to Joe talking to Roddy in the infinitely reusable prison visitation set, where Roddy thanks Joe for taking the fall for a couple of chicks that he himself killed. Back in the present, Rod shows Joe around, blithely commenting, “Is this place insane or WHAT?!” No, I think you pretty much nailed it with “insane” – though I may add “with the original moldings and charming Antebellum accents”.

“Sheriff Nelson” gets a call from his office about his lunch order and Joe seems outwardly impressed but is inwardly as jealous as a type-A lesbian at a Pride parade that Rod has a walkie-talkie and he does not.

Back at the Fed place, Nick (Mike Colter – yep, totally the dude from Ringer) wants Ryan (Bacon) to sit in with him to interview shot-in-the-leg cultist David, despite trying to kick Ryan out only minutes ago. Ryan asks David, “Is this a staring contest?” and David quotes Ted Bundy, then Poe (I think, anyway – hey, is Poe a thing we’re still doing anymore?) and then bites his own hand, which causes him to convulse and foam at the mouth and eventually die. Hey – don’t order the handburger, it’s not good today!

Charlie (Tom Lipinski) apologizes to Joe for losing Claire, and Joe says it’s no bigs. Joe points out that Rod has been aggressively recruiting – which is fine and all, but he wants Claire back now. Rod says that even though she is in protective custody, if they start killing off Feds, they’ll reveal Claire’s location. They pick one from the board WITH FOUR PICTURES ON IT, but we don’t know who it is. Seriously?! Are there still only four people working this case? One of whom is already dead?

Cut to Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore) hacking Nick’s email to find out stuff about David, so let’s just go ahead and assume that he’s in hot water. Sure enough, Nick sends Mike back to the hotel, where he is stalked by a lady in the elevator and a few guys in the parking lot before getting to his room, where Louise (Annika Boras) and Charlie and the whole gang are waiting for him.

Ryan instantly senses that his sidekick is in danger and has his cell traced. Wait, he’s at his hotel but he’s not answering the phone? THERE MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG! Sure. He’s taking a dump, in the shower, enjoying the hotel’s selection of pay-per-view softcore, or all three at once.

Ryan busts into Mike’s hotel room, which is trashed. So I was right with option #4.

Speaking of trashed, Joe is waaaaaaasted with Emma, who is clearly trying to use scotch to get into his crazypants. She tickles his fingers but some dude named Aaron interrupts to say that Roderick called and everything’s going as planned. To Emma’s chagrin, this sends Joe into a flashback to 2003, when he initiated Rod – one of his students, apparently – as his first acolyte. Joe has a young co-ed tied to a woodworking table, and he walks Rod through how to sync himself to his victim’s breathing and then stab her. It plays out kind of like a cooking show from the sixth circle of hell, or a slightly off episode of The Martha Stewart Show.

Back in the present, Joe tells Emma that he loves Claire. And killing chicks. Let’s not forget that.

We catch up with Rod, Louise, and Charlie in a shipyard, where they have Mike – with a bag on his head. Hide not thine light under a bushel, Mike Weston!

Meanwhile, Ryan and Debra Parker (the criminally underused Annie Parisse) and Nick blah blah blah Ryan ends up finding him.

Mike is of course being tortured by the Followingers, who want to know where Claire is. He gives them the party line that nobody knows where Claire is. They have Charlie bare-knuckle fight him, then Charlie beats him with a lead pipe, and then Mrs. Peacock hits him with a candlestick in the conservatory. None of this is particularly pleasant or compelling. But after Charlie stabs Mike in the gut and as Louise steps up to finish Mike off, Ryan appears out of nowhere and shoots a bunch of people who weren’t there a second ago, somehow managing to miss EVERY SINGLE BAD GUY WITH A NAME. It’s amazing.

Oh – before he meets Mr. Pointy, Mike calls Roderick by his (fake) name, which nobody seems to like. And before he blacks out he tells Ryan that he didn’t tell them anything. But we thought he didn’t know anything to tell?

Later, as Mike is loaded into a stretcher, Ryan tells Debra Parker that he is NOT okay, and she tells him that this is NOT his fault. Ryan says he wants to stay with Mike because hospitals are scary. Whah? My guess is he sensed that Mike wasn’t telling him something.

Back at Crazy Pines, Rod tells Joe that they lost five men and got nothing. Good day! Joe is unruffled. But Charlie still offers to let Joe kill him as penance for screwing things up again. I guess JoeCo has a “two strikes you’re dead” policy? Louise spreads the plastic sheeting out in front of the fire (romantic schemer!) and Joe kisses Charlie’s temple, embraces him, and guts him like the hog he is. It’s swoonworthy in that “I keep my mother in the fruit cellar” kind of romantic way and since it’s the closest thing we’re getting to a gay plotline these days I’ll take it.

Joe wipes the bloodied blade off on his EXTREMELY TIGHT JEANS – which, from the look on his face, are notably creamier than they were minutes ago. Sorry, folks – I don’t write this crap, I just report it.

Ryan holds vigil over the adorably fractured Mike Weston, and Debra Parker comes in to reveal that yes, Mike actually DID know where Claire is and he didn’t tell when tortured. In fact, he’s the only one who does know. So… maybe one of the Feds let him get nabbed so they could have Mike beaten into talking?

Back at the ranch, Louise offers Rod a drink and/or a headboard-breaking session to take his mind off of things. Rod isn’t happy with either option. Joe, meanwhile, takes off his bloody shirt to reveal an impressively ripped torso. Emma notices, and they kiss. Rod, conversely, chokes Louise nearly to death – she tries to scream but can’t (Sing out, Louise!!) but then he stops and they make out. Well, to quote Ed Rooney: “I guess that’s how it is in their family!”


Okay, where to start…

First, while I adore Shawn Ashmore, part of me was hoping that they would actually kill off his character so that, by law, I would no longer be required to recap this show. But they did not, and next week’s previews show that fauxmosexual psychos Jacob and Paul (or at least Jacob) are due to return, so I’m a goner either way.

Second, it’s kind of lousy that after all this hype Roderick ended up being not only NOT someone we’ve ever met, but also a bottle-blond Viggo Mortensen. Seriously? I’m more intimidated by the talking baby from the etrade ads.

Third, I have to admit that I’m still watching Cult on the CW – which was unceremoniously dumped to Fridays this week as though it had stepped on Beauty and the Beast’s tail at a cocktail party – and it’s waaaaaaay more fun than this show. I’m sorry, but it’s true: I will take trashy, hilariously operatic early-’90s horror dreck like Cult over a recycled, overpopulated procedural any day of the week that isn’t already showing CSI, NCIS, or SVU (= NONE).


Notably Dead: A dozen nameless Followingers, Charlie, David (not, thank heaven, Charlie David)

Notably Absent: Claire, the older black Fed dude, Jacob, Paul

Notably Following: Emma, Roderick, Louise, Aaron, the dancing silverware

What We Know

  • There is apparently honor among cultists. And sex. Lots and lots of sex.
  • Ryan should never be allowed to interrogate anyone, ever. Wait – why didn’t David just take the death pill at the crime scene? Was there some point to his surviving long enough to babble for 10 seconds at the station? Maybe he just wanted to die under flattering flourescent lighting.
  • These cultists totally drew the long straw. Compared to the Branch Dividians, the Manson Family, and all the others, these nuts have some pretty sweet digs! Until they have to die in the name of the cause, of course. But until then: 400-count sheets!!

What We Don’t Know

  • Where the hell Claire is
  • What the hell Joeliet is doing up in his room for hours on end
  • Where that older Fed dude went
  • How Ryan has been able to survive the past few days without hitting the bottle. Maybe this is all actually just a very elaborate, high-body-count intervention?
  • Whether or not anyone in the cult actually cares about Edgar Allen Poe anymore

Still, despite all my bellyaching, I’d give the episode a respectable six out of ten That’s So Ravens. They managed to at least make me a little nervous for Mike in that hotel scene, and having Purefoy lose his shirt is a surefire point in their favor.

But that’s just one nutjob’s opinion. Are you enjoying the second phase of the show, or is it Chapter Two: The Hatewatching?

Writer-filmmaker Brian Juergens launched CampBlood.org, the world's first website devoted to horror films from a gay perspective, in 2003.