Now that Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) is out prison, The Following
changed up the tone and pacing in "Welcome Home." Instead of Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore) frantically chasing after Followers, they were dealing with a new boss, while trying to find Joe. Meanwhile, the Followers were worshiping Joe and on the hunt for Claire (Natalie Zea)
The Follower House
Joe's definitely not slumming it in his new home. It's gorgeous and large enough to keep all his Followers close. And, Joe's living spaces were meticulously put together for him. Though, after being in prison anything would be an upgrade.
Joe seemed genuinely shocked at the number of people that had been recruited. It's a good thing too because his Followers have a tendency to die. Will people continue to stick by him if the death toll continues?
The Mysterious Roderick Revealed
When sirens rang coming into the Follower House, everyone panicked until out of the car came Roderick (Warren Kole). He and Joe embraced like long lost friends. Roderick wasn't within the investigation, but he is Sheriff which provided him with some information.
He is Joe's most trusted associate and remained so even after Charlie failed to get Claire. After getting Joe settled into his new home, Roderick was back at work figuring out a plan to get Claire. He decided to target an FBI agent and Mike was selected.
The Case Gets a New Leader
After failing to recover Joey and letting Joe escape, the FBI assigned a new leader to the task force, Nick Donovan (Mike Colter), from Quantico. He immediately pushed Ryan aside on the investigation dismissing the consultant's ability to assist.
When the captured Follower, David, requested to speak with Ryan, the situation changed slightly. Donovan saw first hand that Ryan could get through to the prisoner in a way no one else could. In the end, they didn't get any information from David before he killed himself.
Donovan's refusal to share information was not well received. Mike hacked into Donovan's email so they could stay in the loop, which lead to Mike being kicked out.
While it makes sense that the FBI would want to shake up the investigation, Donovan's actions hindered it more than helped. Ryan is going to be the key to finding and capturing Joe.
Fight Club Torture Method
When Mike went back to the hotel, he was suspicious of everyone. The not knowing who is out to get you could be the worst psychological warfare. Just when Mike thought he was safe inside his hotel room, he was confronted by Louise and Charlie.
Instead of waterboarding or using electric shocks to torture Mike for Claire's location, Roderick went the route of Fight Club torture. Round 1: Hand to Hand. Round 2: Metal Bars. Round 3: Knives. When none of those broke Mike, Louise held a knife to his throat and he still didn't break.
Mike's declaration that he didn't know Claire's location was believable. He sold it well and was willing to die to keep Claire safe. I don't think there is any doubt that Mike is not a Follower now.
Mike would have died, if Ryan hadn't rushed in shooting. Five Followers dead and Mike in grave condition, but Claire remained safe. A rare victory for the FBI. The look on Ryan's face when he found out that Mike held strong was touching.
Sacrifice and Seduction
Charlie failed to bring Claire to Joe and then failed to torture the information out of Mike. He couldn't live with those failures and offered himself to Joe as a sacrifice. Charlie wanted his "life to matter."
In the most heartbreaking, disturbing, yet beautiful scene of the series, Joe took Charlie's life with Roderick, Emma, and Louise looking on. Those few moments will haunt me more than anything else, I've seen on The Following.
It was a romantic, religious experience, which left those involved in a heightened emotional state. They acted on those feelings the only way they could -- passion! Roderick repelled Louise's sexual advances by almost choking her to death, which then rebounded into hot sex on the couch.
Meanwhile, Emma helped Joe clean himself up from the killing. As he did in the kitchen earlier, Joe rejected her advances by saying he was in love with his wife. Joe didn't hold strong this time, though, as he grabbed Emma and took her to his bed.
Through all this, who was watching over Joey?
Did you enjoy the change in pace and tone now that Joe is out of prison? Will Claire be safe? Or, will she end up at the Follower house? Will Ryan and Mike relationship be even closer after Mike's near-death experience?
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(Image courtesy of FOX.)