“The Final Chapter” of Joe Carroll’s book has been written on The Following. Did he get the ending correct? Or, was Ryan able to disrupt his story and save the day? It ended up being a bit of both including a tragic epilogue. The finale was fairly predictable, but wasn’t that kinda the point?

The Return to the Lighthouse

Claire was right when she said that Joe wasn’t very original. With his initial capture at the Lighthouse Hotel, it was fitting that his presumed demise occurred at a real lighthouse. Joe’s story was stuck on certain recurring themes.

When Claire got on Joe’s nerves he locked her in a room with another captive, Neal Meyers, but then when he got bored he let her back out. He couldn’t decide what he wanted, just like with her death. 

Joe was obsessed with finding out when Claire figured out that he was a killer. She insisted that she was naive and didn’t really know until Joe was arrested. She felt guilty for not recognizing the evil in front of her and allowing more girls to die, which upset Joe.

He didn’t want her to feel responsible for his killings. To prove his point, he killed Neal in front of her to show what killing really means and that she didn’t do that. He was becoming more unstable with every moment.

RIP Agent Parker

One oddity during the investigation was that Ryan and Mike were both referred to primarily by their first names, but Debra was almost exclusively called Parker or Agent Parker. It was a sign of her distance and lack of personal connection to the others.

The FBI found out that she was buried alive when Emma sent a young boy in a Poe mask to their headquarters with a phone number. They called the number, reached the dying Parker, and the search was on.

As part of Joe’s plan, they were led to Parker through the abandoned car that she was transported in. When they reached that location, a Follower was there ready to ambush them and it was later revealed to kill Mike. Though, he was unsuccessful in taking out Mike and was captured instead.

Without any hesitation Ryan and Mike took the Follower and tortured Parker’s location out of him. On the way to her, she had some parting words for her partners. She wanted them to tell her family that she loved them. And, then told Mike to never lose the good within him and told Ryan that her death was not on him. Her words were touching and brought tears to their eyes.

They found her, but they were too late and she couldn’t be revived. Ryan was distraught and immediately put a bullet in the Follower’s head. Ryan then found Joe’s book in the coffin.

The Final Chapter

Joe finished his story and got some of it correct and some of it wrong. Parker died just as he predicted, but Mike survived. Ryan read what he was going to have to do in order to save Claire.

Since Joe assumed that Mike was killed, the agent wanted to go with as a surprise element, but Ryan refused to allow it. Ryan actually pulled his gun on Mike and shot at his feet to prevent him from joining him.

Ryan met up with Emma, was drugged, and transported to the lighthouse to see Joe and Claire. The situation went bad from there. Joe demanded to know when Ryan fell in love with his wife. And, revealed that Ryan followed Claire to get to Joe.

Instead of playing Joe’s game and falling on the sword for Claire, Ryan fought back. As Joe held a needle to Claire’s eye, Ryan ridiculed Joe’s story as derivative, unoriginal, and then mocked Edgar Allen Poe. Ryan’s insults distracted Joe from Claire giving Ryan the opening to attack.

Joe ran out, while Ryan made sure that Claire wasn’t hurt. Ryan ran after Joe as Claire yelled, “Kill him. Go kill him.” The two men faced off in a boat house, but when the gun hit a barrel of gasoline, it was over.

Joe was caught in the fire, while Ryan escaped. The boathouse blew up and Joe presumably died in the blast. Or did he? Despite forensics that indicated that Joe died in the fire, he could easily have a Follower in the right job to fake those. Whether Joe is dead or alive, will be a question that I wouldn’t assume is answered until next season. 


The news reported that Joe was confirmed dead and Emma, who was hiding out in Alabama, was devastated. It’s too bad that she killed Jacob, because now she’s all alone. Well, that is if Joe is really dead. 

As soon as, Ryan said he was going to take Claire to his house to recover, it was clear the threat wasn’t over. Molly was determined to kill Ryan and she would fulfill her chapter even though Joe was dead.

After Ryan and Claire had a romantic moment and Ryan got their dinner, Molly took the opportunity to stab Ryan. When Claire walked in on them, Molly stabbed her too. Will Molly’s chapter end with their deaths? Or, will they be found and saved?

With The Following back for season 2, Ryan’s death would be premature, but the same can’t be said about Claire. It would be nice for him to find a little bit of happiness though, so her death would be disappointing.

In the end, the finale was fairly predictable, though in a way that could have been the point. Claire and Ryan’s jabs about Joe’s writing were accurate. His talent was in his charisma, recruiting Followers and killing people. His plots throughout the season/book were more original than his ending.

The difficulty with finishing his story could also be attributed to his hesitancy to kill his love, Claire. Besides, where did he go after she was dead? And, if he took out Ryan, he would have lost his nemesis. Joe was in a no-win situation. 

His own death was the perfect ending, unless of course, he’s still alive. Perhaps, that would be an even better ending.

Is Joe really dead? Did you also find the finale to be predictable? Given the theme of Joe’s book, was that acceptable? Or, do you wish there would have been more surprises?

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(Image courtesy of FOX.)

Carla Day

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Contributing Editor and Writer for Collider, BuddyTV, TV Fanatic, CliqueClack, and other publications. TV criticism, reviews, interviews with actors and producers, and other related content. Founder of TV Diehard.