Recap: The Following 2×08, “The Messenger”

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Before I get to this weeks recap of The Following, I am very excited to share the news that the hit FOX drama has already been renewed for a third season

If you haven’t seen the latest episode of The Following…WARNING! SPOILER ALERT! I would suggest you stop reading now. Otherwise Grissom has come out of the deep, dark closet to write the recap! Enjoy!

Now, onto the show…

The episode begins with Ryan (Kevin Bacon) and Max (Jessica Stroup) attending the funeral for Mike’s (Shawn Ashmore) father.  After the funeral Ryan runs into a woman by the name of Carrie Cook (Sprague Grayden), a tabloid reporter whom he spilled his guts to some 11 months earlier while drunk at a bar. Carrie uses this information to write The Havenport Tragedy much to Ryan’s disgust and dismay. Carrie is now sniffing around for a new story after hearing rumors that Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) is still alive. Turns out, that Carrie is one of two people seeking out Ryan today. At the gathering at Mike’s house after the funeral, Ryan is approached FBI director Tom Franklin (Charles S. Dutton), who also believes that Joe is still alive and sanctions Ryan to work privately in keeping his investigation going and under wraps as they both believe there is a mole in the FBI. Ryan then turns down any offers of help from Mike worrying about his mental state. Kudos again to Shawn Ashmore (Mike) for delivering incredible emotional scenes and showing he can hold his own with Kevin Bacon (Ryan).

Kevin Bacon in the Following
via Fox

Ryan and Max locate an old professor and mentor of Joe’s, a Dr. Strauss (Gregg Henry) who lives in Long Island.  After a brief visit of getting nowhere, the elusive Dr. Strauss plants a bug and leaves. After parking in a nearby wooded area where he can listen in and survey the house, he witnesses Carrie also approach the house where she is invited in by the good Doctor. Ryan hangs back until he hears a scream from the reporter (who is drugged) and runs in to save her where he attacked by another young protégé Cole (Owen Campbell) of Dr. Strauss’s, and also ends up being drugged and tied to a chair. Once awake, Ryan realizes that Strauss wasn’t just a teacher to Joe but was the one who mentored Joe in the art of killing. Strauss explains that it was always in Joe’s DNA to kill.  He just let him know it was okay.

Thankfully, just as Cole is about to operate on Carrie, Mike and Max come to the rescue.  Mike shoots Cole and aids Ryan in the capture of Strauss. Mike and Ryan torture Strauss to gain more information about Joe.  Strauss reveals he was the one who helped fake Joe’s death and took care of him after the explosion. He then reveals that Joe’s informant in the FBI is a female. Ryan, although fearful that Mike will end up like him, agrees to work together and they head back to Ryan’s house. As Max helps Mike make up a bed on the couch, they quietly share a moment of mourning in the deaths of their fathers. Does anyone else see these two getting together?

Meanwhile at the Corbin Ranch, Joe continues to put his plan in motion to take over the cult and its leaders. As Joe, Emma (Valorie Curry), and Mandy (Tiffany Boone) are finally accepted into the “fold,”  Joe assures doubtful Emma not to worry.  He has things under control. Who can blame Emma for being a bit mistrustful after getting her wrists slashed by Micah in the last episode? 

Joe knows in order to control Micah (Jake Weber) and gain his trust he needs to make sure Micah’s wife, Julia (Jacinda Barrett), is out of the picture. During a private meeting with Micah, the cult leader expresses an interest in killing and is looking for guidance in Joe.  Joe sees an opportunity to manipulate and asks his reasoning. Micah goes on to explain that his cult is there to save souls in order to go home.

“Where is home?”Joe asks.

“The ninth planet behind Neptune,” Micah answers.

At that moment Joe seizes the opportunity and tells him in order to take his cult in that direction, he will need to get rid of any doubters. Staging a party to welcome the newcomers, Micah poisons all the doubters.  As they lie writhing on the floor dying, he states they have been saved and are heading home. Later, as the bodies are thrown into a mass grave to be buried, Julia frantically comes running and tells Micah this is not the way they do things. Angry that she is defying his orders, Micah orders her to be taken away and locked up.  As Julia is hauled off she screams to a smug Joe that she knows it was his idea. At that moment, we see the seeds have been planted and it is only a matter of time before Joe usurps Micah for control of the cult and its followers.  

When Joe returns later that evening, Emma is both amazed and pleased at how quickly Joe could control Micah and asks him what the next phase of the plan is. Joe answers that he’s ready to show the world that Joe Carroll is alive! About time!

In this episode, both Lily and the twins were absent which makes one wonder what she is up to as we know she is out for blood. Watching Mike outright lose it and start smashing Dr. Strauss’s hand with a hammer was downright insane before Ryan finally stepped in and took control. I’m glad Ryan realizes that Mike needs to be a part of this for his own sanity and closure.  

I also look forward to next week’s episode as Joe truly shows his sociopathic talent to manipulate not only the narcissistic Micah but a whole cult. It is fascinating to see his mind at work.

Check out the preview for next weeks episode “Unmasked” here: