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Moment of Goodness

Two Moments of Goodness (and a Bad One) from The Following “Fly Away” 

Photo Credit: Michael Lavine/FOX
Photo Credit: Michael Lavine/FOX

We’ve known from the beginning that Joe is a complex and multifaceted character so it was no surprise when this episode gave us a glimpse of two totally opposite sides of the serial killer. The first, sincere and reflective. The second, humorous and cocky. Each of which I considered a Moment of Goodness.

But before I get to that, I have one question for Ryan….”WHY?!?!?! WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! WHY!? Why would you call the FBI for help when you know there’s a leak?!” Don’t get me wrong, I realize that Ryan was between a rock and a hard place and needed the support to stop the plane supposedly carrying Joe, but COME ON. I just don’t understand why after Mike identified that the FBI had a mole, Ryan would finally decide to call them to help with the plane takedown. We all know he has NO trouble going after Joe on his own, so why now?! That totally baffled me.

Okay, back to Joe’s first moment of goodness. After realizing Lily has a game plan to play house in Venezuela, he goes to Emma to loop her in on his ever-changing agenda. He starts in typical Joe fashion, but once he comes across a copy of The Havenport Tragedy, we get a chance to see a side of Joe that rarely emerges.

Emma: Have you read it?

Joe: What this? Yea, it’s fabricated myth, half facts. It’s retchid.

Emma: In other words, the truth.

Joe: Yea, yea I suppose it is. Still horribly written though. And yet, it’s still better than anything I could write. I’m no writer, Em. Never was. It’s high time I stop pretending that I’m something I’m not. And I can’t go to Venezuela, I’ll only disappoint a new group of people.

Emma: So what are you going to do?

Joe: Well, I suspect I don’t have much time left on this earth, but whatever time I do have, I know I want it to be better than this.

Emma: So you have a plan?

Joe: Yeah, yes, I do, I have an epic plan. I can’t promise you anything but I can promise my loyalty and that I’ll never take you for granted again. I need you, Em. Please, will you come with me?

I don’t know why it is that this shocked me like it did, but something about seeing Joe question himself and lack his natural confidence makes me feel off balance. Sure, we’ve seen Joe frustrated and at times lose his cool, but we’ve never seen Joe question his purpose or his talents. Joe has always identified himself as a writer, his life is his book and his book is his life. So to hear him  question his writing and recognize that he is the not the writer he long assumed, definitely threw me for a loop. And frankly, I would’ve expected it to have more of a devastating effect on him. If he’s not a writer, what is he? But of course, Joe being Joe, he follows up with the suggestion of a plan, which makes me think Joe knows exactly what he is.

Joe’s second moment of goodness was much less introspective and self-identifying, but in many ways, it was a truer illustration of who Joe really is. After he and the girls evade Ryan’s capture, a phone call from Lily gives Joe a chance to clear the air and us a chance to revel in Joe’s heartless humor.

Joe: Hello Lily.

Lily: You got away. The FBI is all over the airstrip, we couldn’t get close.

Joe: No, we’re fine.

Lily: They killed Luke. They killed my son.

Joe: Yea, yea I know that means something to you Lily, but frankly, I was never fond of the boy.

Lily: What?

Joe: You drugged me, you tried to control me, as far as I’m concerned, you are getting exactly what you deserved.

Lily: You ungrateful bastard, I gave up everything for you. I lost my son.

Joe: Yea, I’m done with you, Lily. You and your international house of psychos.

Lily: You don’t mean that.

Joe: Oh yes, yes I do. And I also mean this, goodbye.

I’m not going to lie, this actually made me laugh more than once. Sure, it’s cold and lacking compassion, but isn’t that exactly who Joe is? And frankly, I can’t argue with him, Lily is far from being Mother Theresa herself and has hardly given Joe the freedom he requires. Plus, he’s right, Luke was pretty awful.

Despite Joe being the “bad guy”, I’ve never fully disliked him and time and time again, its easy to see why when you’re on his good side, he really doesn’t seem so bad. I mean, Emma laughed, right? That’s something I don’t think we’ve ever genuinely seen before.  So in this fight of bad guy vs bad guy, who are we suppose to side with? In this case, I pick Joe and thus found his heartless quips more than amusing.

But that being said, I’ll be interested to see what this means for the show. Instead of a two man face off between Followers and Good Guys, we now have Team Joe, Team Lily and Team Ryan all playing for different sides. Will Lily continue to try to carry out Joe’s legacy? Or will she look for vengeance? Is Joe done with Lily? Or will he try to take her down? And what does this mean for Ryan, who already has his hands full with a leak in the FBI and Mike going off the rails? I love that this show keeps us guessing and never stays in one place long enough to get stale. And according to the promo for next week, “the plot is about to get twisted”…about to get twisted?! I think it’s been twisted all along and it’s that not knowing what’s next that keeps me coming back for more.

The Following airs Mondays at 9/8c on FOX.

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