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It’s time for the first season finale. We start the final chapter with Parker buried alive, Joe wounded, and Claire his hostage. Emma killed Jacob in the last episode and most of the Followers went on a killing rampage in the recreation center. So the hunt is on for Joe, Claire, and Parker.

A kid walks up to the FBI, wearing that creepy Poe mask, telling them that a lady named Emma gave him $20 to wear it and come to the FBI. There is a phone number written inside the mask, which turns out to belong to the phone that the Followers put in the box with Parker. She tells Ryan that she’s buried in a box and she doesn’t know where she is. They try to nail down her location (since they obviously can’t track the phone) by asking her what she remembers. She says that she remembers a railroad track, and she counted to try to keep track of time but that there were lots of turns. So she could potentially be anywhere there is a dirt road and woods. Basically, she’s shit out of luck unless they can find one of the guys that put her there to get the information out of him. (Seriously, being buried alive is one of my biggest fears in life so the last couple of episodes have been really difficult to watch).

Meanwhile, Claire wakes up in a room with boarded up windows, and runs outside to find that she’s on the beach next to a lighthouse. How cliche. As she’s looking for a way to escape, Joe comes out, holding a guy and looking pretty fucking rough. Once he gets Claire to come back inside, she tells him (as he’s downing pain pills) that his ending at a lighthouse is predictable.

“I find it fitting,” replies Joe.
“Or predictable.”
“It’s a motif. It bookends the story.”
“You’re a brilliant teacher Joe, but it never translated to your writing.” (At this point, she has me wondering if I would do the same if I was in her situation. She knows he’s going to kill her anyway so is she trying to throw him off by aggravating him? It could be considered stupid or brilliant, depending on how far she takes it)
“Don’t you -“
“What, you’re going to kill me? You’re going to do it anyway. Might as well just get it over with.”
“Not just yet, no.”
“Oh, right, we’re waiting for Ryan.”
“Ryan has proved remarkably resilient but I do believe that your death will be the one that finally does him in.”
“Like I said – predictable.”
“You know, you’re not being good company, Claire. I find your temper most provoking.” Brilliant observation, Professor Obvious.  You don’t look so good, Joe.

Frustrated Joe locks Claire in a room where she meets a man with a broken leg. Naturally. Because why wouldn’t Joe have another hostage? A little while later, Joe comes back, telling Claire that he’s lonely. Claire naturally tells Joe to let the man go, because ‘you don’t need him. You have me.”

“Oh, do shut up. So bloody noble. Always thinking of others.”
“What do you need that man for? You have your boat. You have me.”
“Perhaps you’re right. I suppose I should finish him off.”
“No, Joe, don’t. You have to stop this. What if Ryan doesn’t make it?”
“I’ve left him a pretty big trail of breadcrumbs to follow. I think he’ll make it in time.”

And then he starts reminiscing about how he and Claire used to be in love. (Seriously Joe, you really don’t look so good.)

“I’m really going to miss you, Claire.”

****

The FBI is ambushed when they find the car they’re looking for abandoned in the woods. COME ON GUYS, REALLY? NO ONE CONSIDERS THE FACT THAT THIS IS PROBABLY A SET UP AND OH LOOK, THERE’S THE SNIPER KILLING COPS.

Ryan being the out-of-breath hero circles around while the FBI is distracting the sniper with cover fire. When they capture the Follower, Ryan tells the FBI officers to put him in his car. 

“Taking him back to town for questioning?”
“Yeah. We got him.”
“Do what you need to do.” TORTURE AWAY.

Ryan and Mike take him to a warehouse in the middle of nowhere. Mike tells the Follower that he’s met some of his friends and they had a ‘really cool way of questioning me.” 
“Oh yeah, I heard about that,” chuckles the Follower.
“Then you know what’s about to happen. Here’s how it works. We ask you a question, you answer truthfully or we beat you to a pulp. Where’s Agent Parker?”
“You’re FBI, you can’t -“
PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE? YES, MIKE CAN AND JUST DID.
“Go ahead and kill me. I’m not talking.”
“We’re not gonna kill you but we’re going to get really really close.” Meaning Ryan is going to poke your eye out, apparently.

As they’re on their way to find Parker, Ryan calls her. She asks them to call her sister to “tell her that I love her. My parents too. She’ll know how to contact them. We’re not close, my family. That’s my only regret.” (What, no, I didn’t start tearing up at this point.)
“Mike, you’re a good man. Don’t lose that. And Ryan. I chose this life. The FBI. I knew the deal. This is not on you. This is not on you. Don’t you take it. I am not your fault. I knew the deal.”

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At this point, Ryan and Mike both have tears in their eyes, begging her to hold on. “We’re going to be there soon.”
“I know.”

When they find her and dig her up, I know that it’s unlikely she’ll be breathing. I KNOW THIS BUT I’M NOT READY FOR HER TO DIE. Ryan tries to resuscitate her but it’s too late. Mike is crying. I’m crying. Ryan is trying not to cry, so he goes and shoots the fucker in the head. 

In Parker’s coffin, they find the manuscript of Joe’s book that he’s left for them. The final chapter outlines everything that’s happened so far, down to the way Ryan reacts to finding Parker. In the book, Mike is supposed to die in the woods. 

“How would he know exactly what would happen?”
“It doesn’t. It says that you died. In this story, you’re dead.”
“So that means we can still change the story, right?” asks a nearly-broken Mike. “What happens? What’s next?”

Naturally, Ryan doesn’t tell him what’s next because he has to go fight Joe alone. Mike tries to go with him, and Ryan pulls a gun on him to keep him back.

“You’re not going to shoot me Ryan.”
“I’ll shoot you in the leg.” And he shoots on the ground near Mike’s foot, taking the car and driving away. Oh, Mike. 

***
Back at the lighthouse, Joe’s asking Claire when she knew that he liked killing things.

“When you were arrested.”
“Yeah, you suspected or you knew.”
“When Ryan came to me, he told me about the literary references.”
“You turned me in.”
“No. He gave me the details on the victims and he saw the symbolism and I sent him to you. I was blinded when it came to you, Joe. I loved you.”
“So you knew.”
“No, I didn’t. I should’ve but I didn’t see it. I should’ve known what you were.” (And a chill goes through me at the possibility of waking up next to a killer every morning.)
“I suppose you should’ve. I’m sorry, Claire. That was a horrible thing to say. You mustn’t blame yourself. Denial is a very powerful thing.”
“Not me. I should’ve seen it. It was as if I killed those girls myself.” 
“You certainly did not. You are the victim here. Just wait.”

And then Joe kills the man in front of Claire to prove a point.

“That, Claire, is what it’s like to actually kill someone. Do you see the difference now? You killed no one, Claire. So don’t you dare take responsibility for my actions. I earned them. I own them. They are mine.” 

Emma is waiting for Ryan. “Lose your gun and phone.” (I mean, duh, at this point.)
“Hello, Emma.”
“Get on your knees. Hands on your head. Do you think I can’t kill you? I have been instructed to shoot you Ryan. We’re not playing around anymore. This is it. You want to see Claire again, this is the only way.” Oh wait, first let us drug you.

At this point, we’re finally at the point with Claire, Ryan and Joe in a room together – writing the Final Chapter together. 

“Your ending, Joe. Tell me about it. What’s my part?”
“You have to be honest here, Ryan. When did you fall in love with my wife?”
“I don’t know.”
“When you first met her, Ryan. Love at first sight. That’s the acceptable answer. We’re ‘love-at-first-sighters’. On this cozy night of truths, when did you first realize I was a killer?”
“I started following you.”
“No, Ryan, you didn’t follow me. You followed Claire.”
“I followed her to see if she would lead me to you.”
“And then you fell in love with her.”
“Yeah.”
“That would make this all the easier to do.” Knife to Claire’s face.
“No, stop. That’s too predictable. You kill me instead. I have got to die. No one will see it coming.”
“Claire must die, Ryan. To honor your death curse, because it is by far the most interesting thing about you.”
“It’s not going to work. It’s overkill. No one will read that. It reeks.”
“Listen to you, trying to get under my skin.”
“It’s not hard. I know all the trigger words. I’m so bored with you. I’m so bored with you and Edgar Allen Poe. What a trumped up, piece of nothing talent he was. Just as pathetic as you.”

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Alright Ryan, you got the reaction you want, Joe lunged at you and you got a hold of the gun. CAN YOU FINISH HIM? (OK, your loud breathing is kind of giving you away, mister.)

Struggle for the gun, bullet to the gas tanks, fire all around, Ryan tosses Joe into the fire, and runs out. The little boat house blows up with Joe in it. Joe was screaming in pain but did anyone notice that his eyes weren’t panicked? Was that an editing oversight or something more? Ryan and Claire are reunited, watching the fire that consumed Joe.

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“Is he dead? Did they find the body?”
“Yeah, they found what’s left it.”
“Are you sure? You have to be sure.”

YOU HAVE TO BE SURE, FBI. 

In Alabama, a distraught Emma runs out of a diner after she sees the news of Joe’s death on TV. (So she escaped.)

“Dental records match. Early DNA. He’s dead,” says Ryan to Claire as they’re watching the news.

Romantic music, food, and oh wait, who’s that at the door? The psycho bitch next door? No, just food. 

Ryan leaves a kitchen knife unattended to check out a ‘thump’ outside the door. Comes back to find that it’s now in the hands of his next-door neighbor, who stabs him, letting him know that he was always her final chapter.

Claire comes out of the shower, sees Ryan bleeding on the floor, and gets stabbed in the back in front of Ryan’s eyes.

HOLY.CRAP.

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Berrak Sarikaya is a writer for Sweatpants & Coffee, and she didn’t forget about the next-door psycho bitch.

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