'The Following' Season 2 Finale Recap: Is Ryan's Nightmare Over or Just Beginning?
'The Following' Season 2 Finale Recap: Is Ryan's Nightmare Over or Just Beginning?
Christine Petralia
Christine Petralia
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
As slightly predictable as the season 2 finale of The Following is, it's still a keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat episode. It's funny that throughout the whole season, most viewers were probably rooting for Joe, and the last episode is no exception. However, it turns out that Ryan Hardy's nightmare will never really be over.

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Ryan and Joe Join Forces

After threatening to kill Mike if Ryan doesn't reveal himself, Joe kills Preston instead. He tells Ryan he knows Claire is alive and tells him to call her because she's probably at the inn. When Ryan calls, Luke answers and says that Ryan and Joe must come alone to an address in New Jersey to rescue Claire.

Ryan concocts a plan with Max to allude the FBI and get Joe out to safety so they can save Claire. Ryan then reveals himself to Joe, and despite his doubts, he agrees to Ryan's plan.

Before they head off, Joe spots a follower and gives him a signal to follow. On the way to New Jersey, the follower crashes into Ryan and Joe's car. Joe climbs out, kills the follower and saves Ryan -- now having the upper hand.

Look Who's Coming to Dinner?

Meanwhile, Luke and Mark are planning yet another dinner party, except the expected guests are all alive this time. They leave a trail for Ryan and Joe to follow through the house to "save" Claire and then gas them to bring them to the dinner table for a little game of 'Truth or Kill Claire.'

As Luke interrogates Ryan and Joe at the table, they explain what they will do to each of them when it's all over. However, Mark changes his tune about killing Ryan when Joe reveals that Ryan sought revenge on his father's death and is now looking for redemption. He's intrigued by Ryan's honesty and self-hatred. That weak moment is all Max and Mike, who were tracking Ryan's cell and needs to storm in and start shooting at the twins.

Joe cuts himself loose and runs away. Luke grabs Claire and tries to throw her in a closet, but she fights back and gets away. Mike finds Mark and reveals that he actually killed Lily, not Ryan. Luke arrives in time for Mark to tell him that Mike is their mother's killer, and just when they start to beat Mike, Max kills Luke. A distraught Mark drags Luke's body out of the room and escapes.

It's Time for Ryan to Save Himself

Joe finds Claire, apologizes for all he has done and begs for forgiveness. She refuses and Ryan arrives in the nick of time. Max, Mike and Ryan then surround Joe, who taunts Ryan and tells him to kill him. However, Ryan chooses to save himself instead and tells Mike to call the FBI to have Joe arrested.

As they walk Joe out in chains and with guards, Ryan tells him he will rot in prison. Joe has a weird look on his face when he climbs into the truck, though, so I'm curious as to what's next for him.

Meanwhile, Ryan's dream of living happily ever after with Claire is shot down. She tells him that she's his past and they both need to move on with their lives separately. But it's not all sadness for everyone, as Mike and Max finally kiss.

It's Never Really Over, Is It?

In the last scene, Mark carries Luke's body to an SUV. He gets in and says, "Thank you for coming, I didn't know who else to call." But we never see who's driving.

Much of the episode was predictable, unfortunately. I almost wanted Mike or Max to die, even though I like them both. It could have added more conflict and another reason for Ryan to hate Joe and himself. However, I know that having Mark still out there will eat away at Mike next season.

I loved the taunting and manipulation of Joe in this episode and throughout the entire season. Joe really is such a great character. The entire scene at the dinner table was just amazing as he distracted the twins and played mind games with them. It's ironic that in the end, it really was all still about Claire for both Ryan and Joe, and neither of them will have her ... again.

Next season should be very interesting with Mark out looking for revenge, and Joe still alive in prison with I'm sure more followers just waiting to be contacted. 

(Image courtesy of FOX)