Written by Seamus Kevin Fahey
Directed by Nick Gomez
Aired Mondays at 9pm (ET) on FOX
So, let’s get this straight. Joe broke out of prison in the pilot episode, but then committed another murder to mess with Ryan and get caught again (which always did seem intentional, though glossed over), then got Ryan to break his fingers so he could request a transfer, which he knew would be granted because of planned leverage against the warden, all in the name of his giant master plan to…break out of prison.
Forgetting about how complicated it is for a second, it’s also a little circular, isn’t it?
Let’s face it, unless they show us something incredibly intelligent from Joe—none of this brilliant mastermind stuff makes sense, even if he’s making it up as he goes along. How did he really convince every single serial killer to band together in beautiful harmony (as we see in this Schoolhouse for Wayward Psychos at the end of this episode), and watch in awe as he reunites with his son? The only thing that Joe did himself that was remarkably impressive was his escape from death row, which came after he already had his humongous network of people who now have access to unregistered helicopters. If The Following showed even one thing from his first stint of murders that would prove his street cred and persuading power, it is possible this story would make some sense.
This episode is an easier watch than most of the rest, though, in that we really didn’t have much clumsy exposition or world-building. We’re in the point of the series where we know what’s going on, and can just follow along. Suspenseful sequences are becoming the meat of the show, now that the introductions are over, and this was also maybe the first episode without some sort of melodramatic content. The whole hour is basically the transfer, with the inevitable Ryan-running-with-a-pacemaker scenes at the end. This is also split with little Joey trying to save a girl from the cult, which is nicely active for the character, but has little value besides making you feel like that child actor will be screwed up for life.
As far as the transfer itself, dedicating time to dissecting its lunacy would be folly—but let’s just be reminded it was only one day ago in The Following-time that Horny Cop was revealed as a follower, and that SWAT members were massacred by whim. I don’t care who the writers try to say is “compromised,” Joe isn’t moving his tongue to the roof of his mouth, unless the President of the United States is just a huge “The Cask of Amontillado” fan.
As usual with The Following, though, there is one minor redeeming factor at the end that keeps everything from misery, and this week it comes from an unexpected source: Claire. As forced as her anger at Ryan felt at the end of last episode, it is good she is realizing what a complete buffoon Ryan really is, finally calling him out on the fact that it’s “not a game.”
We do get moments, like when Joe is killing Olivia, when we see through Ryan’s façade and the toll all this takes on him—but at the same time, Ryan is the worst detective in the world. He knew Olivia had to be under duress ever since she delivered Joe’s “trigger” two episodes ago (the woman is also missing two damn fingers); so, despite the empty pleas of “take me instead,” her blood is on his hands. At the end of “Let Me Go,” Ryan gets tough with a follower in custody, twisting his wound to save someone else, but behavior so out of hand like that—sleeping with Joe’s ex-wife, breaking Joe’s fingers, etc., is why everyone is in this mess in the first place.
Somebody please stop this man already, and use something stronger than magnets.