The Following has broken up ... sorta. By the conclusion of "The End is Near," Joe's cult was still under his influence, but he had left them behind to complete their roles on their own. While they were occupying the FBI, Joe and Claire escaped alone. Will the FBI be able to find the couple? Or, will Joe sail away with time to re-group for another day?
After being betrayed by Claire, Joe lost it. He watched Ryan's sex video over and over again, while self-medicating with pills and alcohol to take away his emotional and physical pain from being stabbed.
He decided that Claire must die in order to finish his book, yet he his heart ached from the idea of losing his love. Instead of killing her immediately, he held off to include her in a future part of his plan.
Despite his instability, Joe rallied the Followers to complete a new plan, which included some of them dying. While the cult members kept the FBI busy, Joe, Claire, Emma, and Jacob escaped on their own.
They took over the home of Phil and Vicky. Joe continued in his irrational behavior by entertaining the couple with discussion, making them dinner, and then shifting to scaring them by asking Phil if he would die to save his wife.
When the police showed up, Claire used that distraction to hit Joe over the head with a wine bottle and then stabbed him with a fork in his already existing stab wound. She escaped with Phil and Vicky, so Joe sent Emma and Jacob to retrieve his wife.
After they found her, Joe took Claire away on a boat. Just the two of them. Even though, Joe had clearly lost his way, his Followers were still willing to obey his orders and complete his plan.
Now that Joe is alone with Claire, will he try to live a life on the run with her? Or, will he move forward with his plan to give Ryan a rebirth with Claire's death?
Emma and Jacob: 'Til Death Do They Part
The young couple may not have been married, but once Jacob started showing doubts about Joe's plan, a permanent divide formed which ended with Emma slitting Jacob's throat. Emma's loyalty and love for Joe superseded the love she felt for Jacob.
Jacob was not willing to die for Joe or the plan. While Emma probably wasn't either, she had confidence that she and Jacob held more value for Joe alive than dead. Jacob continued to question his role in the cult.
He wasn't sure if he should trust Joe or Emma. Then when at Phil and Vicky's house, he questioned his life decision, but when Emma asked him if he was going to leave, he replied that he had no where else to go. Plus, he loved her. With that admission, the two of them reunited and kissed.
Jacob's allegiance to Joe really was tied to Emma. He loved her and so he stayed. When Joe left with Claire, he wanted to take off with Emma, so they could live a happy life together. He came from a good, loving family, but lost his way when he fell in love with Emma.
In the end, he wasn't enough for her. She loved him, but her loyalty was to Joe. She couldn't stay with Jacob if he was going to be disloyal to Joe. And, with that, she killed Jacob without hesitation.
Emma proved without doubt that she is irredeemable. Jacob's goodness was the chance for her to change her life and become a better person. Instead of grabbing on to that, she chose the dark path full of death.
Jacob's death was unnecessary and perhaps the most tragic of the series.
While Joe escaped with Claire, the Followers started a new plan. First, a girl killed a reporter live on camera while saying lines from Poe's Masque of the Red Death. That was a signal to the rest of the Followers.
They infiltrated the Evacuation Center and started killing people. In the end, innocent people and Followers were killed during this attack. In addition, Agent Parker was kidnapped by Joe's people.
She was taken and buried alive. Will she be used as leverage to get Ryan to the location so he can witness Claire's death? There's a reason why she was kept alive. She would make perfect bait.
Ryan wouldn't want another death on his conscience. Is Joe right to believe that Claire's death would free Ryan and give him a "rebirth"?
The Following finale airs next Monday. Will Claire be killed? Will Joe be recaptured? Or, will Joe remain free to set up season 2?
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(Image courtesy of FOX.)