For the last three episodes of FOX’s The Following we’ve watched Joe Carroll’s plan play out like clockwork, but in tonight’s episode “Mad Love” things begin to become a bit complicated in ways that could signal the end of the short term arcs. Caution: minor spoilers ahead.
Jordy veering from his script caused some mental nausea for Carroll last week. A subtle look inside his head, but surely a meaningful one. Joe apparently is a little OCD—you’d have to be to set up something like he has—and it irritates him, and within that irritation is, perhaps, a weakness that our mental assassin for good, Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon), can exploit. Maybe. Or does Carroll sometimes depend on part of his plan going awry? Chew on that as you watch the episode tonight.
Speaking of going off script though, Maggie—who spent most of last week playing a damsel in distress—has a new goal now that Ryan has murdered her beloved firebug of a husband: avenging his death. Since Joe sees Ryan as the star of his new narrative, it’s unlikely he actually wants Maggie to kill Joe, but that is what she decides to do none-the-less. She is one of two loose canons that could potentially threaten Joe’s plan, if she succeeds.
The scripts for The Following have been doing a fantastic job of allowing Ryan to venture off into his own space, and “Mad Love” is probably the state of the art so far with regards to those forays. Here we see Ryan racing to save his sister from Maggie, while the flashbacks detail elements of Ryan’s personal demons that add still more dimension to his morose and oddly monochromatic personage. I still feel that as a character Ryan is more “Sullen Kevin Bacon” than anyone I can readily identify with as”former agent Hardy”, but let’s face it… he is Kevin Bacon. A few good doses of back-story like this and that character will emerge nicely.
In the kidnap house, if you think you know Jacob’s secret you don’t. I don’t want to give it away, but let’s just say that it turns out that Jacob lacks one particular characteristic that might disqualify him from being part of the group, at least in how the group sees it. What is interesting about this secret is how it relates to Jacob’s relationship with Joe. Joe shares a bond with most of the freaks he has inducted into his family, but with Jacob he shares something more infantile.
The whole notion that Paul and Jacob becoming gay while pretending to be gay was Jacob’s secret is thrown out the window right away, and it quickly becomes evident that the bond between the three in the kidnap house may yet break. At the center of all of this is Meagan, the girl Paul kidnapped. If you think Paul kidnapped her to quench his psychopathic thirst, you’re wrong; her presence is actual meant to prove a point, and prove a point it does. While we are talking about the kidnapping, there is progress made there as well although not enough to say young Joey is as good as saved.
All around “Mad Love” is another great episode of The Following, a show that really seems to have nailed its template right out of the gate.