“You have earned your crazy, Ryan, but you can’t change what happened. What’s done is done.”
“For Joe”, last week’s episode of The Following, kicked things into high gear for the show and “Trust Me” continues on that path. The episode answers some of the most important questions from last season, like how exactly Joe (James Purefoy) escaped the boathouse, even if Joe having a mysterious half-brother murdered for his DNA does seem a little too easy. Despite that one hiccup, “Trust Me” hits all the right notes. Like most episodes of The Following it moves very quickly, is vaguely disturbing, and has some brilliant, if slightly predictable, twists. From the beginning of the season Lily (Connie Neilson) has clearly been hiding something. Why Carroll’s followers chose her in the brutal subway attack was a major question, one that seemed difficult to answer. Learning that she is possibly the mother of the twins, Mark and Luke (Sam Underwood), and a cult member might not be a huge shock but it’s wonderfully played and it takes the show to an interesting place.
As always, the show’s best moments come when we get to see Joe. Last week’s murder of the Pastor seemed to remind Joe what he really is. His explanation to Judy (Carrie Preston) for his relapse, “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic”, is a truly chilling excuse. Purefoy has always been great at playing Joe; he looks like he’s having a lot of fun and his performance always elevates the show when it struggles. This week it’s the moments when Joe is subtly manipulating and threatening Judy and Mandy that are truly terrifying.
Another of the episode’s fascinating decisions is to further highlight the connection between Joe and Ryan (Kevin Bacon). “If I die, you die” DreamJoe warns Ryan at the beginning of the episode. The similarities between Ryan and Joe have always been one of the best elements of The Following; this season seems to be more intrigued with that idea. Ryan and Joe’s obsessions, while different (revenge and murder, respectively), still tie them together and are no less damaging to themselves and the people around them.
Perhaps the night’s most effective scene comes when Joe and his new protégé/pseudo daughter Mandy (Tiffany Boone) watch her mother’s house burn to the ground. It is eerie and beautifully filmed.“Trust Me” builds on last week’s stellar “For Joe” and while some of the episodes twists are predictable, they are still extremely effective and help to move the show forward. It may be too early into the season to know for sure, but if The Following continues this way it might have its best season yet.
“Utopian Slut Palace” may be the greatest insult ever uttered on television.
The law enforcement this season seems to be more effective and competent than they ever were in the first season.
The Joe Carroll masks still manage to be the creepiest thing ever featured on the show.