Review

Review

TV Recap: 'The Following' Episode 108 - 'Welcome Home'

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the followingThe Following Episode 108
“Welcome Home”
Written By: Amanda Kate Shuman
Directed By: Joshua Butler
Original Airdate: 11 March 2013

In This Episode...

Joe is settling in to his new digs. We finally meet Roderick, who is the sheriff of the little town they are hidden in. Joe has known Roderick a little longer than Emma, which makes her a little jealous. Joe is impressed with estate, his followers, the devotion. But he is still missing Claire, and sends Roderick, Louise, Charlie, and a few other goons out to collect her. While they are gone, he gets drunk for the first time in years, and Emma flirts with him. He wants to give in but keeps telling her he loves his wife.

A new agent is heading up the Carroll investigation. He is at the top of the FBI food chain, Nick Donovan, and he does not like Ryan. Ryan is politely contrite when told to “act more like a consultant.” David, the follower that Ryan tortured (a little bit) at the end of last week’s episode, is in custody but will only speak to Ryan. Nick brings Ryan into the interrogation room. David’s only contribution is to say that Joe escaping twice was a little plot twist, and that you won’t find Joe or his followers; they will find him. He then bites the webbing of his hand, convulses, and dies. He had a cyanide pill implanted between his thumb and index finger.

Some info comes back on David, info that Nick will not share with Ryan. Mike has a way around that, and they soon hack into Nick’s email and learn that David was dishonorably discharged from military service for leading promoting a fight club with Iraqis battling to the death. It doesn’t take long for Nick to find out he has been hacked, and while Ryan is quick to take blame for it, Nick knows that Ryan doesn’t have the know-how to do it. Mike is sent home.

At the hotel, Mike is wary. This job has planted paranoia in him - and rightly so. He decides not to take the elevator with a strange woman, and instead takes the stairs. She is on his floor, and he tries to be cool, even when two beefy men further down the hall start advancing. He makes it into his room, but before he can be relieved, he discovers Louise and Charlie waiting for him. They take him to an abandoned shipyard, where a half-dozen other followers, including Roderick, are waiting. Roderick wants to know where Claire is. Mike swears he doesn’t know. The first round of this little “game” involves bare-knuckle boxing between Mike and Charlie. Roderick eventually separates them and asks Mike again. He still doesn’t know where Claire is, so the men are given lead pipes. Charlie gets in two sharp hits and Mike goes down. He is asked a third time, and he still doesn’t know. Roderick says he believes him, but the game isn’t over until Mike stops breathing. The men are given daggers. Mike makes a good go of it and attacks, but he is in bad shape and Charlie impales him on his knife. Mike drops and Louise grabs the knife, determined to finish the job. As she tilts his neck back to slice his throat, Ryan shows up, and just starts firing at everyone. He hadn’t been answering his phone, which made Ryan worry. Security cameras at the hotel showed Mike’s abduction, and they used good ol’ police work from there.

So Ryan shoots - we later find out he killed five followers. Charlie, Louise and Roderick all escape. As Ryan waits with Mike for the paramedics, Mike promises he “didn’t tell them anything.” Debra later explains that Mike was the only one who had the authorization to know where the protective detail had hidden Claire. Mike is in bad shape, but after surgery the doctors are confident he will recover.

Roderick and Louise report back to Joe. They are apologetic and clearly feel bad about failing at their mission. Being a stern but supportive father figure, Joe is okay, he knows they will find her. It’s like a parent assuring their child that they will find their lost dog. Charlie enters. He feels especially guilty and offers himself to Joe for his penance. By “himself,” I mean he offers his life. Louise lays out plastic sheeting, and Charlie presents Joe with a knife. He was a part of the following because he wanted to be part of something important, bigger than himself. He gives his life to Joe as an apology, a gift, and for a chance to do something important. Things get kind of weird here. The music swell emotionally, Joe embraces Charlie with tears in his eyes and holds him as he plunges the knife into Charlie’s gut and twists. When the life has left Charlie, Joe gently lowers him to the floor. He slams back a tumbler of whisky and mourns. It is weird because, going back to the dog metaphor, the scene is like watching dad put down Old Yeller. You want to feel sympathy for this legion of super villains.

Anyway, Roderick and Louise are left alone in front of the fire. She is sexually aroused by the murder and wants to “break another headboard” with Roderick. Roderick is oddly quiet, distant, and not interested. She tries to kiss him; he throws her off and chokes her. He finally throws her down on the couch, but the violence seemed to spark something in him and the two start going at it. Meanwhile, Emma brings clean clothes and linens to Joe, who is cleaning himself of Charlie’s blood. Emma starts to help him, and again the chemistry between them sparks. Again, Joe resists, saying he loves his wife. “She’s not here, is she?” Joe gives in, and the two fall into bed together.

Dig It or Bury It?

I know this show can get kind of ridiculous, and relies on coincidences and luck more than any other show, but I have realized that I don’t care. I still find The Following to be an insane, engrossing hour of television. 

I think the conservative watchdog groups will have a field day with tonight’s episode. Violence and sex were inextricably linked tonight, more than any other episode. They also turned Charlie’s murder into a sad, solemn moment. It is weird to me that they are representing Joe as the (albeit flawed) hero of the story. I am no stranger to rooting for the bad guy (Freddy Kruger!) but the way that The Following does it makes me feel strange. It’s hard to put my finger on. Maybe it was that the music that swelled during Charlie’s murder scene felt manipulative, and made it seem forced.

I am getting a little impatient to see what Joe’s plan is all about. There has to be more than just bringing Claire and Joey to live as a “happy little family” in his compound. Joe is like a better looking, better educated version of Charlie Manson. One with money, and who will do the dirty work (people forget that Manson never physically killed anyone.)

Flashback to the Future

Joe knew Roderick back in 2003. He taught Roderick about how to kill a woman, demonstrating on a young woman bound and gagged to a table in an underground room. A year later, Joe is in prison, and Roderick thanks him for taking the fall. Roderick killed two of the women that Joe admitted to killing, and did it to protect Roderick, so he could reach his full potential.

Prophecies?

Paul and Jacob turn up, but not at Joe’s compound. The followers start hunting any woman named Claire Matthews (too bad her name wasn’t something more unique like Bertha Moskowitz). I wonder how long it is before some of the followers try to overthrow Joe - or at least start killing each other. I am guessing the in-fighting will begin next week.

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