The Following Episode 111
“Whips and Regret”
Written By: Kevin Williamson and Rebecca Dameron
Directed By: Marcos Siega
Original Airdate: 1 April 2013
In This Episode...
Ryan has slipped back into the bottle, something Joe hears immediately when he calls Ryan early one morning just to taunt him. Debra comes by and sees the same alcoholism. She is there to show him the recruitment video they found - and to tell him that she needs Ryan on this case - and Ryan needs this case for himself. He gets dressed and joins her downtown. Debra’s team has located the source of the server that sent the recruitment video.
That place is Whips & Regrets, a hardcore S&M club with dungeons in the back. The club owner, Hayley, is caught deleting all sorts of computer files. She knows something is going on, but has turned a blind eye. She agrees to help the FBI with whatever they want in connection to Joe Carroll and his cult, in exchange for immunity on some illegal activities she partakes in with internet clients looking to be dominated. She knows Vince, one of the two militia men (the live one) under Roderick’s purview - they have a casual Dom/sub thing going on. She needed him to set up her servers to handle her international clients, and he needed someplace to have packages delivered. Shortly after she discovered he was wanted for kidnapping and murder, she received a package for him, but never told him about it. She doesn’t want to be involved with any of that cult nonsense. Under her deal with the FBI, she emails him about the package. After asking for permission from Roderick, Vince heads into New York to grab his package.
The package contains chemicals used in bomb making. The Feds replace the chemicals with something innocuous, then stake out the club. Hayley wears a wire. When Vince shows up and goes inside, they tag his car. He wants to have a little fun with Hayley, but the best she will do is hold the door open while he loads the box into his car. Vince insists that Hayley comes with him; the FBI will find this place eventually and she won’t be safe. Hayley refuses, and uses her safe word - multiple times - but Ryan insists that they follow Vince wherever he goes. He forces Hayley into the car at gunpoint; Debra, hesitantly, reinforces Ryan’s plan and they follow Vince and Hayley.
Vince leads them to an abandoned military armory in the middle of nowhere. He tries to get frisky with Hayley again; she again fights him off. But this time, he discovers the wire she is wearing, and the hits go far beyond BDSM games. Vince taunts the FBI through the wire, and the agents flood the armory. They find Hayley, alive and tied to a rolling chair. She is understandably pissed that they didn’t move in when she gave the safe word. Vince is long gone - he told her the only reason she was kept alive was because it would take the FBI more time to deal with a live victim than a dead one. The agents start tearing apart the armory. One young SWAT agent finds a cage that has three people in it - alive. They are begging for help. He works at freeing them. But Ryan finds something alarming: loads of files that suggest this was a training ground, and those “captive” are cult members being put through their paces. The young SWAT agent frees the captives, and they promptly kill him. A cat-and-mouse chase ensues through the dark, cavernous tunnels, and ends with Debra encountering two followers, and Ryan shooting them both.
Back at the ranch, Claire has been delivered. She is taken to her own room, instructed to clean up, and eventually brought some evening wear. The entire time she promises to cooperate - once she sees Joey. When Jacob brings her some clothes, she tries to escape. Jacob knocks her down and warns her that Joe has given him permission to physically harm her - as long as it is not her face. Once dressed, Claire is brought to Joe for an intimate dinner. He is determined that she will love him again, and that they will be a family. He won’t let Claire see Joey because that is the only card he has left to play. “If you want me to love you again, show me a shred of the man I married. Let me see my son!” She storms out. Later, Joe goes by Claire’s room with an apology - in the form of Joey. Mother and son are overjoyed to see each other.
Also: Roderick is getting too big for his britches. Now that Joe has his family back, he wants to move into the next phase of the “plan,” but Joe isn’t ready yet. Roderick is getting itchy, and I suspect that will cause problems very soon.
Dig It or Bury It?
I hate it when the commercials for an episode proclaim that it is a “game changer” or that you “can’t miss the last six minutes.” That always fills the viewer with expectations that cannot possibly be met. This episode of The Following was like that. It was a great episode, but the commercials for this episode promised it was a game changer. It wasn’t.
Regardless, I loved seeing the “training grounds.” I want to know more about those training grounds. What kinds of tasks did followers go through to join the cult? The scenes in the tunnels were real horrorshow (both in the Clockwork Orange sense and in the “it’s like a horror movie” sense). I didn’t appreciate the S&M club being given ominous undertones, like suggesting it was a cover for a terrorist cell, or that the club owner was somehow “okay” with turning a blind eye to a murderous cult piggybacking off her web servers. Unfortunately, that is all too common in mainstream media.
Flashback to the Future
Molly meets Joe in 2009. She is a registered nurse, and proudly tells Joe that she has killed more people than Joe has - she is an angel of death. She looks forward to moving to New York, where she will live next door to Ryan and eventually they will start dating. Molly agreed to join Joe’s cult on one condition: she is the one who gets to kill Ryan. During this entire time, Molly has kept journals and notes and videos, detailing every aspect of Ryan’s life for Joe. As of 2011, Molly was still having “breakup sex” with Ryan - and filming it. Joe enjoys those videos now with a drink.
As of the end of this episode, Ryan comes home from a long day and hears someone in his apartment. He draws a gun, but finds it is only Molly. She let herself in to drop off some mail. She hugs him - she is worried about him.
With one of the armory followers in custody, the FBI now knows Joe’s cult is holed up in a “house.” Claire and Joey attempt escape. And Joe has Mike captive.