TV Recap: 'The Following' Episode 208 - 'The Messenger'


The Following Episode 208
“The Messenger”
Written By: Alexi Hawley
Directed By: Marcos Siega
Original Airdate: 10 March 2014

In This Episode…

Emma is understandably pissed at Joe. She hates it at Corbin, but Joe thinks with a bit of finesse, it could be theirs. Micah comes into the mess hall with a special announcement, welcoming Joe, Emma, and Mandy into the family. They are allowed to remove their masks and they are given red jumpsuits.

Julia takes Joe to see Micah. On the way, he jokes about how she and Micah seem to be making up their religion as they go along. She is deeply offended by this and reminds him that Micah is the leader - but she runs things. Even still, when she delivers Joe to Micah, Micah makes her leave the room before he tells Joe why he is here: “I want to kill people.”But first, he fills Joe in on their “religion.” Corbin’s scripture is based on cleansing souls. They don’t believe in an “after-life,” and see this life as “pre-life.” They must reach home, which is the ninth planet beyond Neptune, and they do so by eating the souls of others - then they ascend. In Micah’s mind,  he has to kill to save souls. But that’s not all Micah wants. He wants a book written about him - and he wants Joe to write it. Micah also promises that he has people who have a desire to kill. 

He takes Joe to the middle of the woods. Hidden beneath leaves and camo netting is a barred door. As Micah approaches, hands reach out through the bars, begging for attention and blessings. Micah slits one of the exposed wrists and flicks blood. “There, you are blessed,” he says before covering the doorway back up. “They are lovely followers; they just don’t play well with others,” Micah explains. He also wants their murder spree to begin in Los Angeles - there are a lot of souls that need to be cleansed there. He wants to kill famous people, like Manson. Joe suggests starting with New York - it is more accessible and everyone keeps their eyes on New York. This excites Micah; this is why he brought Joe here. For guidance. He does admit that not everyone is on board. Julia doesn’t believe they should be part of the outside world, but “she is my wife and will do as she is told.” There might be a few doubters, but he assures Joe it is a small group. Joe suggests they pray on it, which Micah loves. They get down on their knees together, and Julia sees them - and is instantly suspicious. That night, Julia delicately asks about Joe and suggests Micah be guarded around him. But Micah wants to celebrate and give Joe a “proper welcome.” 

That proper welcome is a party. Joe and Emma enjoy the festivities cautiously, while Mandy is dancing with a new friend, Eric. Joe notices that Micah is offering communion to some followers. It doesn’t take long to find out why. In a few minutes, those who took communion start seizing and foaming at the mouth. Within moments, they are all dead. Panic erupts, and Micah calms them down, tells them to rejoice: god is moving among them, and our brothers and sisters are going home. “Send them home with shouts of praise!” he encourages. Before long, the surviving partiers are rejoicing - even Joe joins in the chants. Now it’s a party.

Later that night, Micah is overseeing the corpses being tossed into a mass grave in the woods, when Julia rushes up, horrified. She accuses him of abusing his power because only the ones who doubted him died. Micah didn’t tell her about his plan because he knew she would disagree. She blames Joe, even thought Micah takes full responsibility, and he has his guards drag her away.

But that’s only half the story. At the wake for Mike’s father, FBI director Franklin takes Ryan aside. He believes that Joe is still alive, that the FBI has been compromised, and he wants Ryan to help them out in a covert, off-the-books kind of way. He will have all the access and technical support he needs and he will be in charge of his own investigation. Ryan agrees to it. Seems perfect for him - this is exactly the way he has been working for the last few months anyway. He slips Ryan a thumb drive with all the stuff his British counterparts had on Joe’s half-brother. Ryan has another, far less pleasant visitor at the funeral: Carrie cooke, the “investigative journalist” who wrote the book about the Havenport tragedy. She heard from a private pilot that Joe Carroll is alive, and Ryan knows this to be true. Ryan won’t talk to her, and with good reason. Much of the info she got for her book came from Ryan while he was drunk. She got him very, very drunk, went back to his place, where they drank and talked and fucked and drank some more. She used him to get the info she wanted.

At home, Max and Ryan go through the drive and recognize three people in a photo. The two younger men were known associates of Roderick, and are up on Ryan’s board. The older gentleman Ryan recognizes as Arthur Strauss, Joe’s mentor from his time in an American boarding school. Ryan tried to speak with him when he was writing his own Joe book, but Arthur refused, claiming he hadn’t spoken to Joe since graduation. He happens to own a home 20 minutes from where the lighthouse was.

Ryan takes a drive up there. Strauss remembers Ryan, and has no interest in talking to him. Ryan is insistent and Strauss agrees to five minutes. He again reiterates that he has had no contact with Joe since he graduated, and paid him no special attention outside the attention he gave any of his other students. He also says that he never saw any evidence of psychopathy in Joe. Ryan thanks him for his time and leaves. He planted a bug in the living room, and while Max is listening back home, Ryan takes a transmitter and hangs out a fair distance from the house to listen for anything unusual.

Shortly after Ryan leaves, Strauss gets another visitor: Carrie Cooke. His patience is wearing thin, but he invites her in to chat. Almost immediately, he jabs her in the neck wiht a syringe. She screams, and Ryan comes running. He sees Strauss drag the unconscious Carrie down into the basement, but is attacked by a skinny dark-haired man who sprays him with knockout gas. When Ryan wakes, he is strapped into a wheelchair in some basement “operating room” with Strauss and Cole, his “student.” Carrie is unconscious on a medical table. While Strauss and Cole prep for surgery, he admits he was the one who taught Joe (almost) everything he knows. “I taught him how to perfectly remove an eyeball, but the need to kill was within him all along.” Cole wakes Carrie with smelling salts, then Strauss gives her some gas - enough to keep her calm and immobile, but not so much that she isn’t aware of what is going on. Ryan does the whole “operate on me first” thing, but he is ignored.

Strauss tells Cole to start with Carrie’s feet. He will need a sledgehammer to hobble her. He goes for one - and comes across Mike, who has a gun to his head. Cole makes a move; Mike shoots him. Max is there, too - when she lost contact with Ryan she thought he might be in trouble. Mike just happened to show up at the right time to roll out with her. Anyway, while Strauss is distracted by the sound of gunshots, Ryan throws himself out of the chair and wriggles out of his restraints. With Max and Mike in the room now, Strauss is easily subdued and replaces Carrie on the table. Ryan insists Max take Carrie upstairs. Carrie tries to fight the banishment, but it is no use. Now it is just the boys, and they want to know where Joe is. Strauss admits he helped clean Joe up immediately after the lighthouse explosion, but he left after a month and hasn’t heard from him since. The guys don’t believe him, and Mike takes a hammer to Strauss’s hand, ruining any chance he ever has of operating. Two strikes is all it takes for Strauss to spill what he knows: he admits that he helped get Joe’s half-brother into the country, and that Joe had a contact, a woman within the FBI. That’s all he knows. “Break my other hand if you want; that’s all you’ll get from me.”

Oh right, there is one more thing. Joe has decided it is time to tell the world he is alive.

Dig It or Bury It?

Ah, this show just gets crazier and crazier as the weeks go by. That cult, Corbin… they are just an amalgamation of all the craziest cults out there. I love it. I love that Micah has a dungeon filled with extra-crazy followers that have to be kept out of the general population. I find it odd that Micah needed Joe to help him with the killing. As a narcissist, he shouldn’t need “permission” from someone else to do whatever he wants. But I love the absurdity of the cult’s mission.

Here is a question: how does Pluto fit into “home?” If they have been working on this religion for 20 years, then Pluto was the ninth planet when they began. But now that it has been downgraded to not-a-planet, is it still home?

I kind of wish we had a little more time with Arthur Strauss. Tonight was the first time we heard mention of him, and just like that, someone who was a significant influence on Joe Carroll is rendered useless for the rest of the show.


Joe reveals himself to the world, and the killings ramp up.