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Moment of Goodness

Moment of Goodness: Ryan’s Unexpected Dream Bromance, The Following “The Hunt” 

Ryan and Joe. Laughing, joking, bonding. Just as Joe wanted last week and just as I’ve always wanted. But this dream isn’t about me and it isn’t really even about Joe, it’s about Ryan. Sure, this might’ve just been a dream (again, as Joe predicted), but it’s said that dreams reveal your subconscious mind – your hopes, your fears, your true feelings. So what does this dream say about Ryan?

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

This dream is not only awesome to watch – Joe and Ryan hanging out!! — but also so detailed and so indicative of Ryan’s feelings. But before we get in to that, let’s revisit their dream-versation.

Ryan: Strauss’ best student is out there killing with impunity and we’re running around hunting for a dead man. Does anybody believe me? No!

Joe: How could they believe you after all that you’ve done for them. It’s downright insulting.

Ryan: Damn straight.

Joe: Clearly no one appreciates your talents and capabilities the way I do. I believe in you, Ryan.

Ryan: Do you?

Joe: Of course. I will always believe in you. I am your constant and your true north. And when everyone else has abandoned you, where will I be?

Ryan: By my side.

Joe: Exactly. Come here.

[THEY HUG]

Joe: It’s you and me against the world, heh.

“You and me against the world”…gaahhh! Like I said, Joe predicted Ryan having dreams about him last week, but I don’t think even he could’ve predicted a dream like this. In Ryan’s dream, not only does Joe support him and have his back when nobody else does, but he claims that he is the one person who will always be there for him. His constant. As a fan of Lost, this definitely set off the alarm bells in my head and made me a little giddy inside. For those of you who didn’t watch Lost, all I can say is that this is a BIG deal, one that is probably far more mythological than The Following actually intended, but still, incrediblely fitting. In Lost‘s time-traveling, mind-bending definition, the constant was essentially a person or object that existed in both universes that the traveler deeply cared about and could recognize to help stabilize themselves. And if they got in touch with the constant, they could stop jumping in time. The fact that Joe is this for Ryan is huge. When all else fails, when he can’t find his way, when people leave him or die, Joe will still be there to help stabilize him. Joe will be his guiding light. That’s not to say that Joe is his idol or his moral compass, but rather that Joe will always give him a direction. The need and drive to hunt down Joe is what has long dictated his path in life, regardless if he wants to admit it or not.

Now, let’s move on to whether or not this is a good thing. Obviously, having a constant is important and provides a stabilizing element in one’s life, but what is Ryan’s subconscious trying to tell him when his constant is the one pouring him drinks?! As we learned earlier this season, Ryan has been sober for a while now, so why is Joe not only supporting him in falling off the wagon, but practically being the one to push him off? Clearly, Ryan’s subconscious knows that Joe is not good for him, which is something that Ryan himself probably is pretty consciously aware of as well. However, regardless if Joe himself is good or bad, that doesn’t mean that what he represents in Ryan’s life isn’t important or necessary.

And let’s not ignore the fact that in this dream, Ryan and Joe actually appear to be friends. They are hanging out together because Joe understands and supports Ryan when no one else will and he promises to always be by his side. And isn’t that what friends are for? To support you and always have your back? The fact that Joe has taunted and tortured Ryan for years doesn’t necessarily factor in because despite everything else, Joe gets Ryan and Joe truly sees Ryan’s intelligence and insight when no one else does. For so long Ryan has fought the authority figures at the FBI and now with Donovan’s return, he’s again facing a brick wall and being told that his instincts are wrong. Granted, he hasn’t always been right, but when it comes to the Followers, Ryan Hardy knows how they operate better than anyone. Well, almost anyone. Joe obviously has an inside perspective that rivals any other, which is why these two make such a strong team. And when no one else will listen, Ryan is put in a place where his only other option is to go at it alone, which has obviously not worked for him in the past. So if he wants to succeed and take down the bad guys, Joe is his only option and thus, it’s them against the world.

That being said, to have Joe helping Ryan freely in his dream is also a big tell. Granted, Joe is also helping in real life, but he asked for something in return. Whereas in the dream, he is doing it simply because of his fondness for Ryan. I think we all know how Joe feels about Ryan, Ryan included; however, I think Ryan has always been suspect of Joe and never allowed himself to actually recognize the connection that he and Joe have beyond the cat and mouse game that they’ve played for all these years.

So is Ryan’s dream telling him that this is what he wants? A friendship with Joe? We all know that when he first met Joe — before he realized he was the killer — he was completely taken by him and felt a pull towards him that was hard to explain. They use to hang out and drink together, much like they did in the scene, as they discussed the cases Ryan was working. Much has happened since then, but that doesn’t mean the pull and the connection isn’t still there.

I could go on and on and I’m sure dream analysts would have ever more insight, but even as it is, I loved this scene. Their connection is evident, Joe’s support of Ryan is clear and yet, Ryan’s subconscious still knows that this isn’t good for him. It’s so telling in so many ways and I’m curious to see how this plays out as Joe’s execution date nears. Can Joe still be Ryan’s constant after he’s gone? Or will Ryan request a stay of execution to keep him around despite spending years trying to take him down? Only time will tell.

Be sure to catch The Following Mondays at 9/8c on Fox.

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