Now that Ryan has fallen off the wagon, he has gone further off the rails than ever before on The Following. We’ve seen him go rogue in the past, breaking the law to get answers and find Joe Carroll, but his obsession could cost him a lot more than just his sanity. In “The Edge,” Ryan tracks down Theo’s sister, Penny, to get answers but doesn’t tell anyone about his solo interrogation at his apartment. And in “A Simple Trade,” Max and Ryan team up to try and rescue Mike.

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Killers Team Up

Daisy and Mark meet up with Theo and Penny in New Jersey to try and work out a deal. Daisy wants help figuring out who the mole is in the FBI. Theo says he’ll only help if they help him. He takes them along during a pre-meeting with Eliza, which is just a killing spree for all of them as Theo snags one of her henchman’s phone to track her down. Theo then tracks down Tom for Daisy and Mark but wants them to give him a drive to hack into the FBI again.

Daisy and Mark find Tom, and Sloan’s body, at his apartment. They blackmail him to put the drive in the FBI’s server. He obliges, foolishly, because once that’s done, they ask him to bring Mike to them. At the warehouse, Daisy kills Tom and Mark goes to kill Mike. That is, until Theo shows up.

Making More Deals

While Daisy and Mark run errands for Theo, he tracks down Eliza with the henchman’s phone. Before he goes to see her, he tells Penny to get ready to leave so they can start over. He explains to Eliza that he’ll get rid of Ryan Hardy if she makes him and Penny untraceable. He wants protection from the FBI, CIA and Interpol. She agrees, under one condition: no one can know of her or her group’s involvement. It seems she’s also one of Strauss’ students who likes to remain under the radar from authority.

While Theo is out, though, Penny pays a visit to her dealer, where Ryan and Max have tracked her. A chase ensues, but it ends when Max finds out that Sloan is dead. She heads back to help Mike investigate Sloan’s death, but Ryan stays behind because — lo and behold — he manages to capture Penny. Ryan takes Penny back to his apartment for a solo interrogation to get answers about Theo, but she won’t budge. That is, until Ryan gets some “advice” from Joe and turns homicidal on her, waterboarding her for answers. He learns that Theo is working with Mark and Daisy.

The interrogation ends when Theo calls Ryan, letting him know that he has Mike. Theo proposes a trade: a life for a life, Mike for Penny.

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Going Rogue

Once Max realizes that Tom is the mole, they head to the warehouse where Mike’s phone is. Seeing all the blood near the phone, Max assumes the worst. The Philadelphia agent, Lisa, arrives on the scene, as she is taking over the investigation. Together, Lisa and Max head to Ryan’s apartment to fill him in and find out what he’s been up to, since he’s been MIA. They tell him Mike is missing. Lisa finds out that the blood is Tom’s, so they know Mike is probably still alive. Lisa and the FBI go back to headquarters, but Max goes back into Ryan’s apartment, where she sees him with Penny.

Max flips out on Ryan, accusing him of being crazy obsessed and a boozer, both of which are true. He informs her that he knows where Mike is and together they have to get him, but without the FBI’s help. Max agrees and they wait for instructions from Theo. To prepare, Ryan steals some equipment from the bureau. He’s questioned by Lisa but avoids her by pretending to be drunk. After getting the call from Theo, Max and Ryan head to the theater to exchange prisoners.

Before the theater, Mike does break free. Theo warns Mark that he cannot kill him if he finds him first. Of course, Mark doesn’t listen, so Daisy shoots Mark, injuring him and stopping him from killing Mike.

Things never go according to plan, and a shootout ensues between Theo, Penny and Ryan. Penny is killed and Theo is pissed off. Theo and Daisy get away in their van, while Mark is still missing.

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A Meeting, a Baby and a Stabbing

Back at headquarters, Lisa is not happy. She threatens Ryan’s suspension. He says he doesn’t care because he knows Theo will go after him with guns blazing after Penny’s death.

At his apartment, Gwen is there getting the rest of her things. He says he realizes his mistakes and she doesn’t deserve someone like him. Before she leaves, she tells Ryan she’s pregnant, and if he wants any part of the baby’s life, he needs to get help and fix himself. He goes to an AA meeting, where he says he wants to change for the better since he’s hurt the people he loves. In his imagination, Joe looks on in approval. Perhaps this signals the figurative death of Joe too?

And in yet another cliffhanger, after professing their love for each other in a parking garage, Mike and Max are all giddy. They let their guards down, so when Mark shows up, he stabs Mike several times in the back. Luckily, Mike is able to shoot (and possibly kill) Mark before he attacks Max.

Lots of deaths this season, but the biggest one of all has been Joe Carroll, which we already knew would happen. I almost want a main character to die, similar to Emma in season 2. It would make a good plot twist. Perhaps Mike will die in the series finale, which could cause Max to turn into her Uncle Ryan. After all, isn’t it a loved one’s death that causes all these “good cops” to kill?

I was a little disappointed in the Tom storyline. Everyone thinks Tom was this evil mole, working with the bad guys, when the reality is he was just a jealous boyfriend who stole evidence. When things got too deep, instead of confessing, as I’m sure his punishment would have been a slap on the wrist, he just got tangled up in the wrong crowd to cover his tracks. And then he got himself killed for it. Still a useless storyline, really. I’m sure the writers could have figured out another way to hook Daisy, Mark and Theo up without tracking a laptop.

I am curious about this Eliza character. Can she really put Theo back under the radar? Can Theo really kill Ryan? Who is going to die in the finale? If I had my way, the series would end with Ryan killing Theo, but then he and Mike go to prison for all the deaths and botched, rogue investigations they’ve carried out over the past three years on The Following.

The two-hour series finale of The Following airs Monday, May 18 at 8pm on FOX.

(Image courtesy of FOX)


Contributing Writer, BuddyTV