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The Following “The End is Near” 

Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke/FOX

Appearances can be deceiving. Your neighbor could be a cross-dresser. The lady behind you in line at the grocery store could be a hoarder. And that guy who just walked past you, yep, that one right there, he could be a cult member. That’s what this episode of The Following taught us. Don’t get me wrong, I hate this show for giving me disturbing and upsetting nightmares, but I also love it for the fact that it makes us think and open our eyes to things we would not normally see. Literally.

In this week’s first major FBI oversight, Ryan canvassed the crowd outside the police station, not even batting an eye at the scarf-wearing wholesome-looking young girl who melded in to the crowd. And it’s as he casts his glare on other potential suspects that she begins rambling about death and rebirth, ultimately stabbing the reporter. So much for wholesome. But it wasn’t until she was in the interrogation room that we saw her real colors…and let me tell you, they were not pretty. This girl certainly gave Roderick a run for his money on the creep-factor. Her bright but emotionless eyes. Her sadistic but fearless smile. Her melodic but macabre rantings. Textbook psychopath.

However, the information she revealed to Ryan was the most chilling part of all. “Claire must die. Through death, you live….In death, there is life” and ultimately that Claire must die so that “{Ryan} can be reborn”. Whoa…what?! I’m ultimately guessing this has something to do with Ryan’s earlier quote to Molly that “{Vodka} can’t kill me. I’m already dead.” As I see it, Ryan is and will always lament what he couldn’t have with Claire, which is stopping him from living his life to the fullest. As a result, Joe feels that by killing Claire, he’ll finally allow Ryan the chance to move on and move forward with his life. Yes, as crazy as it sounds, I think Joe genuinely feels like he’s doing this to help his “hero.” Ultimately, I see this as a big chess game between Joe and Ryan, with Joe dispatching his Followers to make his moves and Ryan doing whatever is necessary to protect his queen.

Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke/FOX

Another deceptive appearance this episode…who in their right mind thought that Emma was actually being genuine with Jacob?! Because I did not buy it for a second. I don’t think the girl is capable of love. Her actions and emotions are driven by passion and righteousness and a desire for acceptance that doesn’t leave space for morality or compassion. Unfortunately, Jacob did not share my suspicions. He was fooled by her kisses and declarations of love and the second he asked Emma to run away with him, telling her that he wouldn’t die for Joe, I knew this was his swan song. “Love” or not, there’s no way Emma would let him bail on the cause. And let’s be honest, Jacob never really fit in with the cult anyways. He still had a humanity within him that would not allow him to ever fully turn over his life (literally and figuratively) to the cult. Therefore I found it fitting that it was his humanity and emotions that were ultimately his downfall. That being said, he was growing on me and part of me will be sad to see him go…I feel like he gave a shred of light and compassion to the otherwise ruthless actions of the Followers.

Now, on to the biggest smokescreen of them all. And my favorite. That scene in the evacuation center. It BLEW MY MIND. As we watched Hardy, Weston and Parker shuffle through the crowd, suspiciously eyeing each and every person, I was on the edge of my seat. They passed people who looked like your neighbor, the lady in line at the grocery store, the guy walking next to you down the street and with every brief passing glance, they deemed them harmless. But they were wrong and this deception would cost them. As Hardy spots the suspicious leather-jacket-clad Follower in the crowd, recognizing him from the police station earlier, all hell breaks loose. The lights go out and before we know it, bodies begin to hit the ground. One after another after another.

We, like the police, assumed it was likely one or two Followers infiltrating the evacuation center, but to our surprise, they were everywhere. And if you were watching closely, you would have noticed that almost all of them were people that Hardy or Parker passed and dismissed as unsuspicious. As both the FBI and the evacuees spin right and left, not knowing who they can trust and who may be looking to slit their throat, you can feel the sheer terror. No one is safe. This scene truly gave me the chills and yet I was still so in awe of how exceptionally it was executed. In the end, many were injured, some were dead and as usual, the cult illustrated how it’s smarter, stronger and always one step ahead.

I loved this episode (and would be remiss not to mention Joe’s exceptional kidnapper hospitality…pasta, wine, small-talk, what more could you ask for?!) and can hardly even imagine how they’re going to wrap everything up in next week’s episode (including Parker being buried alive — so scary)…but that being said, with a second season imminent, I wouldn’t put it past them to leave us hanging.

The season finale of The Following airs Monday April 29 @ 9/8c on FOX.

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