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The Following “Welcome Home” 

Photo Credit:FOX
Photo Credit:FOX

Last week’s episode was probably the absolute best of the series thus far.  With Carroll’s (James Purefoy) escape from prison, the show begins focusing on the cult, instead of highlighting a particular serial killer each week, which was a welcome change.  This continues with tonight’s episode.  For Carroll, everything is almost perfect – a house of followers in a town where Roderick (Warren Kole) is Sheriff, his son being with him.  The only thing that is missing in Carroll’s twisted mind from making this a real “family” is his (ex) wife, Claire (Natalie Zea).

After Carroll’s 2nd prison escape, the FBI looks like a bunch of bumbling idiots in the public’s eye.  So, a new agent, Nick Donovan, is brought in to oversee the investigation, pretty much booting Hardy (Kevin Bacon) back to “consultant” status.  But, within the first twenty minutes of the episode, newbie Donovan has already screwed up.  While Donovan and Hardy are interrogating the follower, David, that had been captured last week, he kills himself with cyanide that he had woven into his hand.  And, to make matters worst, Donovan sends Agent Weston (Shawn Ashmore) home after disobeying orders and helping Hardy, only to be kidnapped by a group of Carroll’s minions.  So much for the first day at work!

The group that is holding Weston is Roderick, Louise, and Charlie (Tom Lipinski), and what they want is simple – the location of Claire Matthews.  While Roderick appears to be the weakest of the three, he calls all the shots and orders Weston and Charlie to fight each other until Weston gives up the location.  Ashmore does a fantastic job in these scenes, throwing the minimal punches and making the minions believe that he’s a weak agent (which, as well all know, he is not).  This is important, as it buys him very valuable time while Hardy and Parker (Annie Parisse) are working to find his location.  They show up just in time, taking out 5 of the cult members, but not before Weston is stabbed.  He’s seriously wounded, but he’ll live.  More importantly, he never revealed Claire’s location, even though he’s the only one in the FBI who has it. High five for the good guys this time!

After the group’s failure to retrieve Claire, this is where things get messy back at the cult mansion.  As we might recall, it was Charlie’s job to bring Claire to Joe, just like it was Emma’s (Valorie Curry) to retrieve his son, Joey.  Charlie failed then, and tonight, he failed once again.  Charlie is former military, has a strict code of conduct, and in his eyes, the price for failure is his own death.

    I want my life to mean something – Charlie

For whatever reasons before meeting Carroll, Charlie’s life was empty, and being a part of Carroll’s “plan” filled that void, even if it meant his own death.  To Carroll’s surprise, Charlie hands him the knife to do the deed himself, all the while with classical, romantic music playing in the background.  Very creepy indeed.  Carroll does honor Charlie’s request, but initially with a bit of disgust.  But with the faint smile on his face after Charlie is finally dead, it shows us that he actually enjoyed killing the boy who served him all of those years.  Of all of Carroll’s followers, I was actually sad to see Charlie go.  To me, he’s the only one who had a small part of humanity left in him.  We should remember that Charlie promised Joey that nothing would happen to the Warden’s daughter, Dana, and in the end, he lived up to that promise.  Anyone else would have just followed orders and killed the girl.  Of course, being completely void of humanity is a prerequisite for joining Carroll’s group, and we should have known that Charlie probably wouldn’t survive.

After too much scotch and perhaps after being turned on by killing Charlie, Carroll finally gives in to Emma’s advances, after having rejected them earlier in the episode.  Carroll doesn’t make too many mistakes, but I think this is a big one.  Emma is obviously fixated on Carroll, and there is absolutely no way she will let Claire come back.  Of course, this is going to pose a serious problem because getting Claire back is Carroll’s top priority.  Valorie Curry scares the crap out of me in her portrayal of Emma.  She’s slight and can appear to be sweet, but behind that exterior is a very cold killer.  Carroll is now the object of her obsession, and nothing will get in her way, and if you try, you’re going to die.

Yes, Carroll, you messed up and now have a problem.  In all of the Literature classes that you taught, perhaps you should have stressed the following lesson a little more:

      Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

The Following airs on Monday nights at 9 p.m. EST on FOX.

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