Warning: Spoiler Alert
Even in death Joe Carroll gains another victory over Ryan Hardy. The FOX series “The Following,” finally ended the game of cat and mouse that’s taken place between the psychotic serial-killer and the FBI Agent, committed to ending Carroll’s killings. However Hardy would not find himself rid of the disease that he stated the murderer infected him with, in an earlier episode, with Carroll’s execution. He instead realized more than ever the symbiotic relationship the pair shared, as Carroll forced Ryan to admit that Joe was indeed, the most important relationship in his life.
Carroll refused to go quietly into the night, staging one last escapade that cost at least two guards at the Virginia Correctional Facility to lose their lives. Joe used the sunglasses he stole from prison guard Gary Benson, in the previous episode, to take out the guards. He then locked the door of the facility, taking three hostages, including his attorney and the Governor of Virginia’s Chief Of Staff. He then informed the powers that be, that unless Hardy arrived at the prison within two-hours, he’d start killing his hostages.
Joe once again focuses the spotlight on himself, thus putting this season’s “Big Bad,” Theo Noble on a back burner, although he’d still figure into the episode. The first time we see him is in some junkie crash-pad, as he picks up a young woman from a mattress on the floor. The guy she’s sleeping with, objects and pulls a knife, he doesn’t put up much of a fight, before Theo kills him with his own knife.
The young woman’s Penny, Theo’s younger sister and the only person he has true feelings for. He’s kept them alive he says by being forceful and taking control, which he intends to do by taking down Hardy. He also shows Penny, Arthur Strauss’ codebook, it turns out Theo’s looking for a person that can get him his anonymity back. Penny says he better, as if they catch him she’ll soon be caught as well.
Ryan, Max and Mike fly down to the prison, Hardy gives up all his weapons, as he knows Joe will search him. Max tells her uncle that if he can kill Carroll, he needs to do it. He tells them if anything happens for them to take care of each other. He places a call to Gwen, to let her know he’s going in with Carroll. She says she needs to tell him something, he tells her to save it for later. He hangs up, so she doesn’t get to tell him she’s carrying his child.
Hardy arrives at the door of the room Joe’s holed up in, Carroll makes him remove his jacket and shirt, to prove he’s not carrying a weapon. Joe tells him to put on the handcuffs that are on the floor and cuff his hands behind his back. Ryan says he’ll do that if Carroll releases the hostages, Joe tells him he’s got no leverage. Hardy picks up his shirt and jacket and says have fun with the SWAT Team. Carroll agrees to release the doctor, Hardy puts on the cuffs and changes places with the doctor. Joe then jolts Ryan twice with the Taser unit he took from a guard, he says if Hardy accepted the invite to the execution, none of this would be necessary.
Ryan comes to a short time later as Joe’s now has a wire noose around the agent’s neck. He hoists him up from the floor with the noose, then tells him that Ryan will tell Carroll that their relationships the most important in his life, or the two hostages will start losing limbs. He then lets them both out of their nooses, then has the Governor’s Chief Of Staff tie the female attorney to the examining table.
The commander of the SWAT Team tells Mike and Max, that they’re being directed to break down the door to the room Joe’s taken the hostages in. Mike says that Ryan needs time to be able to negotiate with Carroll and to insure the hostages safety. He’s told that Hardy’s got ten minutes to work his magic.
Ryan tries to convince Joe that he’s nothing like him, that he’s tried to stop him. Carroll says that during that time he tried to stop him, he became Joe. He says Hardy’s his loyalist follower, that nobody else has the passion for Carroll that Ryan has. The agent tries to refute his point, but Joe loses patience and starts to go at the lawyer’s jaw with the scalpel he’s purloined.
Hardy screams for him to stop, then he tells Joe that he’s in Ryan’s dreams. Carroll asks what role he plays in the dreams, after threatening to cut the attorney again, Hardy says they’re friends in the dreams, they drink together and Joe teaches him how to kill.
Joe steps away from the examining table, he takes the wire from around Hardy’s neck. He asks the agent what he thinks the dreams mean? Ryan responds that Joe messed up his head, Joe says the dreams are telling him they are the same. He then asks Hardy the feeling he gets when he pulls the trigger, Ryan’s eyes tear up as he says satisfaction. He then admits that he is the same as Carroll, Joe takes off the handcuffs. After Hardy slugs Carroll in the gut, Joe offers his wrists to put the cuffs on him.
Right at that moment Theo hacks into the prison’s computer network, he tells Penny he can control everything, unlock any cell or close the place down. Just then Hardy Carroll and the two hostages leave the room, Penny releases the locks on all the cells on Death Row. Theo asks what she’s doing, she says she’s saving him from himself.
Hardy tries holding off the convicts with the Taser unit, but there are too many and he’s soon overpowered. One of the convicts grabs Joe, four start kicking and beating on Hardy. Two more take the woman out to their yard and are about to have their way with her. Hardy somehow subdues all the inmates attacking him, then he saves the attorney.
He sees the convict strangling Carroll to death, he stands and stares realizing this guy could soon drain the life from Joe’s body. But he goes after the convict, whose far bigger than Hardy and soon he’s choking the agent. Carroll kicks the dude in the back and Hardy knocks him out.
When he’s reached safety he calls Gwen, he tells her he has to see things through at this point and will stay until Joe’s executed. A while later he goes to Carroll’s cell and asks him why. Joe tells him that Ryan’s his true legacy, once he admitted they were brothers, Carroll was ready for death. Ryan tells him they’re not delaying the execution, they will come for him in a few minutes.
This time the silence is deafening, nobody speaks until Joe’s asked if he has any last words. He says a quote from The Raven, Nevermore. They raise the window and some of his victim’s family members are in attendance along with Ryan. They start to pump the lethal toxins into Carroll’s body, his breathing becomes rapid and his face starts contorting and he has body seizures. He looks around helplessly, seemingly looking to say something but the words don’t come. His breathing starts to slow down, his eyes begin to glaze, he flat-lines on the monitor. The attending physician feels for a pulse, the warden announces the time of death as 12:11 am.
Hardy stops at a bar after he leaves the prison. He orders to shots of whiskey, the girl behind the bar pours the two shots, then says whoop it up. He pushes one of the shots to the next stool, then raises his glass and says here’s to you. Joe says no here’s to us, then Ryan realizes Joe’s just an apparition. He asks for another shot after he guzzles the first one.
The Story Continues Next Monday Night at 9:00 pm on FOX.