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The Following recap – “The Curse”

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In last night’s opening scene, we see Claire trying to escape the mansion with Joey, only to be caught by Roderick and a bunch of Joe’s Followers. In the next scene, Melanie is giving Ryan a quick check-up in his apartment and says “Just don’t get killed,” as she walks out of the apartment. Probably because she told Joe that she wanted to be the one who gets to kill him when the time comes. 

Claire now has an ankle bracelet on her, that will trigger an alarm if she gets more 50 feet away from the house. “We’re always watching, Claire. Now you’re not going anywhere,” Roderick informs her. Joe walks in with his charming smile and says “I hear you and Joey went for a walk this morning. I hope it wasn’t too cold for you. Trust, I’m afraid, must be earned.”

FBI is picking apart the armory that the Followers were using as a boot camp, complete with training videos, explosives, and firearms. The walls, of course, have drawings and words from the works of Edgar Allen Poe. Joe’s religion now has a name: Carollism. Oh, and can we please talk about how glad I am that Mike Weston is back, even though he’s all banged up? 

Back at the mansion, Joe is typing away at his computer and we see him struggling to find the right words. He calls Ryan, so casually, to tell him that he’s been struggling with the hero’s character arc in their novel. Oh Joe, isn’t writer’s block a BITCH? 

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“Something wrong, Joe?” asks Ryan. “You sound desperate.”
“What defines Ryan Hardy? I need some back story. What’s really interesting me is your father,” Joe pushes on, trying to get Ryan to talk about how his father’s homicide affected him at the age of 17.
“What’s wrong, Joe? Hey, are you upset that we found the armory? It’s quite a setup you got here. I’m getting closer, aren’t I?” taunts Ryan. And Joe gets visibly upset and hangs up the phone. 

While the FBI is still at the armory, connecting Joe’s militia operation to Freedom 13 and Daniel Monroe, Joe is pressing Roderick and the guy who led the FBI to the armory for more information. He’s trying to find out how much information the FBI can get and whether or not they can find the mansion. Roderick, cocky and confident as always, assures Joe that there is no way and he is monitoring the FBI’s activity through state police. When Joe realizes that the FBI could figure out the link between them and Daniel Monroe, Roderick continues to try to assure Joe that they can trust Daniel, that he’s off the grid and “a friend.”

“Which is why I won’t be asking you to kill him,” Joe tells Roderick. “I’ll do it myself.”

In the next scene (the one I’ve been waiting for all season) Emma is psyching herself up to face Claire. You know, since she kidnapped her son and all. Roderick, in his charming way, points out that she also slept with her (Claire’s) husband. “Ex-husband,” clarifies the slut — er, I mean, Emma. Oh, what a tease. Emma stomps away after Roderick makes her upset. No face-off yet!

“You seem like a normal, functioning person,” Claire says to Roderick. (HA HA.)
“I’m normal here. Not so much anywhere else.”
“What about these people? Are they, you know?”
“Cold-blooded killers? It’s a mix. There’s a few hard core psychos. First timers.”
“What’s Joe hoping to get out of this?”
“For me it’s about having a safe place. Where I don’t have to be ashamed of my human nature – no matter how flawed. As for your husband, I don’t know. You should ask him. All he seems to do is sit and write his book.”
“He’s my ex-husband. You know Joe can’t be trusted, right?”

Oh, we’re pretty sure Roderick knows, but is in denial about it. For now.

***
Whoa, when did Weston become a bad-ass. He breaks into the house of a suspect, replying to Ryan’s “That’s breaking and entering,” with “Oh, this is Ryan Hardy approved.” Burn. Oh and then he beats the shit out of the guy in the house. Awesome. Someone might have anger issues, but so would you after being nearly beaten to death. As they’re inspecting the house, we meet Daniel Monroe, who draws a gun on Ryan, followed by Mike Weston drawing a gun on him. “Let’s talk.” While they’re downstairs, Jacob kills the first guy they found and knocks out Debra. Our little Jacob is turning into quite a cold-blooded psycho after having to kill Paul. 

***

Back at the mansion, Claire and Joey are playing cards, when she notices Joe’s laptop on the table. She asks Joey to watch the door while she snoops (because that always turns out so well). She can’t access to the internet but finds the novel Joe is working on. Joey warns her that someone is coming, and in walks Emma, all smiles like she’s still the innocent babysitter and everything is normal.

“Where have you been,” Joey asks the bitch.
“Hey Joey. I was just giving you and your mom some alone time.” GOD I WANT TO SMACK THAT SMILE OFF HER FACE. “You’re upset. I get it. We lived together for two years, Claire. That was the first time I felt like I was part of a real family.” Fuck, she’s got issues. I mean, we already knew that she did but geez. “I’ve always had the deepest respect for you. I considered us friends. It’s too soon? You need more time. I’ll try again later. See you later Joey,” she promises as she walks out.

“Make no mistake. I don’t need any more time. From this point forward, you will have nothing to do with my son.”
“That’s not your decision to make. I was just trying to be nice here.
“Stay away from my son.”
“Or what?” 

MAMA WILL KNOCK YOU OUT, THAT’S WHAT. 

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***
“I have nothing to do with Joe Caroll and his house of psychos,” Monroe lets slip out. As Weston’s about to go all bad cop on his ass, a red light goes off, indicating that someone is in the basement with them. Ryan goes to check it out, ends up killing the guy that led them to the armory and finds Monroe dead on the floor on his way back. 

AND THEN THERE’S JOE WITH A KNIFE AND HE HAS MIKE TIED UP. HASN’T MIKE BEEN THROUGH ENOUGH, JOE?
 “Take him out Ryan. Just do it,” says Mike, oh so bravely. Of course the glass is bulletproof. 

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“He’s not going to kill you, Mike. He needs you to get out of here.”
“You’re very bright, Ryan.”
“Why don’t you come out here and kill me?”
“This is not the time, Ryan. These chance encounters we keep having, no matter how enjoyable they are, they need to stop. The story is still being written. Frankly, it is proving quite challenging.”

Joe is clearly obsessed with how Ryan’s father was killed.

“This is sloppy of you, Joe.”
“No, this is insane of me. Now, your father was in the convenience store. Where were you?”
“I was in the car. I heard gunshots.” It turns out the robber who killed Ryan’s father pulled the gun on him when he was running away but spared Joe. In the next scene, we see young Ryan kneeling over his father’s blood-covered body. 
“I watched him die.”
“And this was the first person you had seen die? And there was nothing you can do about it. You couldn’t save him.”

Joe continues to press on and keeps asking Ryan what drives him. Ryan returns the question and Joe answers: “Death. Death does. It fuels me.”
“It fuels me too.”
“We are so alike, Ryan. And it is through death that we both live.”

And in that moment, Jacob the psycho comes downstairs holding Parker. Joe and Jacob run away, sparing Parker and Mike. The chase scene, Ryan breathing hard (heart condition and all) and not seeing anyone when he finally makes it out of the house. 

Back at the mansion, Joe walks in to Claire’s room with two glasses of wine, like a husband coming home after a normal day of work. 

“I’ve done all the pretending I can do today,” snaps Claire.
“I’ve barely seen you today.”
“Your plan is not going to work Joe. Your plan, the one you’re working on in your book. I read it.”
“It’s not finished yet. You shouldn’t have read that.”
“Believe me, it wasn’t easy. Doesn’t look like you learned anything since your last book.” Ooooooooooh, Joe has to hold himself back to keep from punching a bitch in the face. He looks sad, frustrated, and walks out.

Jacob watches the news, seeing his own name and picture on the TV as the cult members are being identified publicly. He calls his Dad with tears in his eyes, manages to get out “Dad” and hangs up. Then it’s once again Joe and Emma in the kitchen, getting hot and heavy. Am I the only one who is disturbed on a whole other level by the relationship between Joe and Emma? 

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In the final scene, Mike and Ryan are having a heart-to-heart. “You were young. What could you have done about it?” asks Mike. Well, it looks like 17-year-old Ryan did get his revenge after all, forcing the robber who killed his father to overdose.

OH LOOK, IT’S SHERIFF RODERICK, OFFERING HIS HELP TO THE FBI.

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Berrak is a writer for Sweatpants & Coffee. In case you are wondering, she really does yell at her TV wherever you see all caps in her reviews.

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