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The Following Conversations: Ryan and Joe Reunited in “The Reaping” 

Back together and better than ever! Anyone who reads this blog knows I’m a BIG fan of Joe and Ryan. They’re by far my favorite duo on the show and easily in my Top 5 for TV Bromances of all time. I know, I know, it’s odd to call what these two have a “bromance” but as I’ve said before, for as much as they may hate each other, there is something in there that also suggests a need or love for one another. And no one could express that more eloquently than Joe himself.

Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/FOX
Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/FOX


After Ryan allows himself to be captured and taken to Joe’s cabin, we get this truly amazing interaction between the two of them.

Joe: This is splendid. I’ve missed you, Ryan.
Ryan: You too, buddy.
Joe: Oh please, don’t deflect with humor, I know you’ve missed me too. I take it you came alone?
Ryan: Maybe. Maybe not.
Joe: {Laughs} Always the Maverick. No, you definitely came alone. Otherwise, I’d be dead by now.
Ryan: You will be soon.
Joe: Are you really that determined to kill me, Ryan? After all that we’ve been through together. I thought you and I were a pair.
Ryan: {Laughs} Yea, you’re right, I wouldn’t dream of it, you can untie me even. I’ll be good.
Joe: {Laughs} You needn’t trouble yourself, Ryan. I’m pretty sure my days are numbered. You know but it does hurt that you can’t quite see how much you need me. Seems you don’t appreciate all I am to you.
Ryan: Well, I promise you once you’re dead, I’ll sort it all out in therapy or something. So what’s the big finish? Sounds like you’ve got some epic ending involving Kingston Tanner.
Joe: Yes, yes, I’ve moved on from the macabre of Edgar Allen Poe and have turned to an all together more horrific piece of fiction, the Bible.
Ryan: Oh, are you sending a message to God that you’re coming? Cause I don’t think that’s where you’re headed.
Joe: {Laughs} I’ve missed us, Ryan. I really have missed us. You, you have no idea what I’ve planned, have you?
Ryan: Well, I know it’s not about the Bible and God. YOu’re just using religion as an excuse to glorify your nature, right? I mean, you’re more interested in getting in to the psycho’s Hall of Fame because let’s face it, what else is there for you now?
Joe: Infamy will ensure I live forever.
Ryan: You’re a brilliant man, Joe. You truly are. You’re a brilliant teacher but you can’t see yourself, can you? You psychopathy, your mental illness, your need to kill are all overshadowed by your narcissism. It controls you. And it will end you.
Joe: Real friends are able to speak the harshest of truths.
Ryan: I’m not your friend.
Joe: Oh yes, yes you are, Ryan. You know when when I look at you, I see myself, you reflect a part of me that I only see when I’m in your presence. Does that sound familiar to you. You know, you’re my best friend, Ryan.

I completely agree with Joe, I truly have missed these two. The ease with which they banter. Ryan’s witty comebacks. Joe’s jovial laughter.  When you put these two together, there is an undeniably electric dynamic between them. And they know each other so well — like truly know each other and what makes one another tick — that they can speak the truth. Which is why I can’t help but agree with Joe. He isn’t just saying that Ryan needs him and that they’re so much alike just to push Ryan’s buttons. He’s saying it because its true.


Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/FOX
Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/FOX


From the beginning of the series (and even before), the hunt for Joe Carroll has defined and consumed Ryan. Everything he does, every relationship he has, every emotion he feels somehow revolves around Joe. Even when Joe was declared dead, Ryan couldn’t let it go (although to be fair, that was with good reason). So what will happen to Ryan once Joe is really dead? Will he know how to let this all-consuming force go and return to a normal life? Or like an addict, will he need to find another case to replace his addiction to Joe? And on that track, what other criminal could really ever compare to Joe? I can only think of one so far, Lily. And it doesn’t look like she’ll be causing much more trouble.

But back to Joe and Ryan. While Ryan refuses to recognize his relationship with Joe, I love that Joe easily and honestly calls Ryan his best friend. It’s been clear that Ryan has been a part of Joe’s story from the beginning and even Emma and the other followers recognize that Joe’s obsession with Ryan is more than just a passing interest. As Joe said, Ryan reflects a part of him that he only sees in his presence. Think about that. FBI agent vs. ruthless psychopath. Good guy vs. bad guy. Savior vs. killer. On the surface, every label paints a picture of two men who could not be more opposite. But are they really that different? Sure, how they choose to live their lives may be different, but what about the emotions and thoughts that drive those actions?  A few weeks ago, when Joe’s teacher called Ryan out on being like Joe, I said that the two men were two sides of the same coin and I think that this conversation points us in the same direction. Both men are driven, relentless, emotionally damaged and feel the need to take the reins and lead the charge. And they both have a weakness for one another. So how will one survive without the other? Well, if their later conversation was any indication, they won’t.

Ryan: I’m gonna kill you
Joe: You can keep saying that, Ryan. But you can no more kill me than I you. Don’t you get it? If I die, you die.

Could this be a hint as to how the series ends? Could they really kill Joe and let Ryan go down in the process? Obviously I’m not in the writers’ room and have no idea if this is their endgame, but if there’s anything we’ve learned about Ryan, its that this would still count as a victory. To him, taking down Joe is the ultimate goal and if he must die in the process, I can only imagine he’d consider that the most honorable of deaths.

Be sure to watch The Following Monday nights at 9/8c on Fox.

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