Warning: Spoiler Alert
For the second straight season the FOX series “The Following’s” come out of the gate, at a less than entertaining pace, although the show’s contained ample portions of gore and a host of new creepy personalities. Now three episodes into the series’ third-campaign, we’ve yet to meet this season’s “Big Bad,” stuck with the remaining member of the uber-spooky Gray family, surviving twin Mark, trying to avenge the death of his brother Luke and mother Lily.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the show got past the exploits of the Gray clan last season, that the show got back its game from season one and once again the show’s yet to supply a compelling reason to watch every week. That’s a tough enough handicap to burden a show that airs 22-episodes per season, with a limited run series such as The Following, can the show-runners make its fans once again forget, the season’s stodgy beginning?
Our first image’s FBI Agent Ryan Hardy, looking through some photographs, when he hears his girlfriend Gwen calling him. Hardy’s spooked by her calls and search’s the apartment to find her in a box like his friend FBI Agent Jeff Clarke got pushed into in the previous episode. We realize Ryan’s dreaming and we watch as he looks at his hands covered in Gwen’s blood.
He wakes up startled and starts looking for Gwen, who tells him she just called for him. He’s terrified, still haunted by the dream and the thought of losing her. He hugs her as tight as he can, as if he’s trying to make himself believe, Gwen’s alive, safe and in his arms.
Hardy arrives at the FBI office and tells Mike and Max to track down the guy that tortured and killed Clarke, look for similar crimes within the past five years, then widen the window to ten if they come up empty. Ryan’s boss Gina Mendez says they’ve got to address a press conference, on Clarke’s murder and his deathbed confession, that he was in charge of a Black-Ops Unit, lead by Ryan Hardy, that executed Lily Gray. Hardy attempts to dodge it, but Mendez says she covered for him as much as she can.
The press conference gets broadcast nationally and Gray’s two accomplices, Daisy and Kyle watch it on TV in Gray’s living room. Mendez reveals a police artists sketch of their two suspects and the drawings strongly resemble the couple. Daisy starts to freak out, but her boyfriend attempts to calm her down, right then Mark walks in and asks why they didn’t call him to tell him it was airing. The question remains unanswered as a reporter calls on Hardy to answer a question.
Ryan straight out lies to the media, saying that Clarke made his statement in hopes of staying alive and there was no Black-Ops Unit, or execution of Lily Gray. Hardy then calls an audible, telling the media Mark Gray’s involved even though he hadn’t discussed that with Mendez. He says that Mark’s a delusional-coward and a malicious killer, but his days are numbered as Ryan’s after him, if he’s smart he’ll turn himself in as the entire FBI’s about to come down on him.
Gray goes ballistic, calling Hardy a liar and saying the press believes him, he says he should have just killed Ryan, but Daisy convinces him his plan’s working. She says the more the Bureau denies things, the guiltier they appear. Gray says she could be right but he can’t watch it and storms out of the room.
Daisy says to Kyle that Gray’s losing it and they’ve got to get away, she says they’ve got to contact Juliana, but her boyfriend shakes his head and says she won’t like that. Daisy says she doesn’t care she needs to speak to Juliana and tells him to make the call.
Mendez and Hardy leave the press conference, she chastises him for mentioning Mark without clearing it with her, his response’s that the more people looking for him the better. She says next time ask, they see Jeff Clarke’s widow Anna, whose come to give her statement to the bureau and Hardy goes to talk to her, telling her they’ll catch the man responsible. Anna glares at him, telling Ryan that she and Jeff had no secrets, Hardy’s responsible for her husband’s death as he was covering for Ryan, then stomps away.
We see the man who actually killed Clarke, then dislocated every joint in his body to stuff him into that incredibly small box, Neil in the following scene. He enters the kitchen in his house to find his father’s nurse, trying to repair the garbage disposal, while his father whose got dementia’s left the house. Neil leaves the house and sees his father walking about half a block ahead, saying he’s meeting Neil’s mother. Neil convinces him to come back home to watch his program.
When they return, the nurse falls all over herself apologizing, saying she’d have died if the old man got hurt. Neil gets on the phone and calls the nursing service, saying their nurse never showed up and could they send a replacement. We quickly realize Neil’s going to kill her.
Kyle and Daisy get disguised and meet Juliana in a restaurant for lunch, she looks corporate, and perhaps in her late twenties wearing dark-rimmed glasses. She tells the pair they’re staying put, they need Mark for their endgame, then gives them the dossier on their next target, Max Hardy.
Two of the reporter’s head back to their sound-truck, with their camera man as the male half of the pair says he had Ryan Hardy squirming during the press conference. The woman responds, that he wishes that was true, then she says their camera man’s dead, Mark shows up wearing glasses and a hoody saying he’d like to lodge a complaint, holding a knife, still dripping with the camera man’s blood.
Hardy meets with a former source whose gone legit for years, but he tells the woman this is to avenge a friend. He describes what Neil did and she says she may be able to get him a lead and says she’ll contact him, but we can see by her facial expression, she’s concerned.
Mark’s got the two reporters duct-taped to chairs, when Daisy and Kyle return and they’re not happy to see their new guests. Kyle says they should kill them immediately then dump the bodies, but the female reporter says to use the two of them to spread his message. Unfortunately, the male reporter’s snapped and his mind’s gone, so Mark stabs him to death then tells the woman she’ll be camera operator and questioner.
Hardy’s source has given him the address of another torture guy for hire, who has ties with Neil. Max, Mike and Ryan capture the guy quickly then ask him about Neil. The guy says he wants a lawyer and Weston sneers at him and says he doesn’t, when the guy stays silent, Mike and Ryan lift the guy up and move him. Hardy stands above the guy with a hammer and a spike asking Weston, if he thinks they should start at the hands or the feet.
Max grabs the guy and says they’re not kidding, they will hurt him, so do them both a favor and tell them what he knows. He gives them an e-mail address, which they track to Neil’s father’s wood-carving store, which the son now runs. We see him with some customers, then when he enters his back room we see the nurse tied and gagged.
Neil’s just about to stick the instrument into her neck to paralyze her, when Hardy breaks through the shops front door, he escapes and Max tends to the nurse, who’s just scared. Ryan and Weston head to the roof but Neil’s fled the area.
The female reporter’s interviewing Mark when he mentions how helpful Daisy and Kyle have been to him and she questions their loyalty, as Kyle laughed at Mark, while Gray was getting changed. The three criminals start arguing and the reporter tries to escape, but she finds no expert. Kyle catches her upstairs, stabbing her to death he says good try.
Neil rushes into his house and tells his father they’re heading on a trip, but the male nurse tells Neil the old man’s not physically capable of traveling. Neil asks to speak to him in private, then kills the man packs for he and his father quickly as sirens get louder and louder. Neil steals the nurse’s car and they leave seconds before Hardy and company arrive.
As they look around the kitchen, Hardy realizes the old man’s got dementia and bets he’s got a GPS unit to keep him located in case he wanders off. Ryan finds the coordinates and they track Neil and his father to a farmer’s market, where they’ve stopped to get Neil’s father a beverage.
Mark’s upset when he sees that Daisy and Kyle killed the reporter, then starts to freak out when he sees the dossier on Max and asks what they’re up to. Kyle says it’s a present for him, then Daisy says it was supposed to be a surprise, they saw how upset Mark got at the press conference, so they got Max Hardy’s address and alarm code so he could kill her when the time’s right. Mark thanks them and apologizes about the reporters and says he was wrong to doubt their intentions.
Neil sees Ryan at the farmer’s market and takes off, he soon realizes they’re getting tracked by his father’s GPS unit and gives it to a boy in the parking lot. He stabs a man to steal his car, but he turns around and to his horror, his father witnessed it. The old man starts screaming and Neil drives off without him, as Hardy shoots out the back window but Neil gets away. Just when we think the FBI’s totally inefficient Neil drives up to an FBI roadblock and turns around, but Ryan forces him off the road and into a tree.
All three agents have their guns on Neil when he exits the car clutching a pistol, Hardy tries talking him down but he aims his gun at the agent. Max kills Neil with two shots to the chest, it may have been her first kill.
Back at the office, The Bureau holds a memorial service for Jeff Clark and Ryan gives the eulogy. He talks about how brave his friend was and the most important thing to Jeff was his family, he loved his wife Anna with every fiber of his being. Max leaves the service when she doesn’t see Weston, she finds him in an office and rips Mike for missing the service to search for Mark. Mike starts to cry, he says he’s responsible for Jeff’s death, by killing Lily, he asks Max how he could face Anna? She hugs him and says we’re all responsible, her new boyfriend sees them embrace and walks away, unseen.
Max enters the foyer of her apartment building and the music and camera work make it seems as if she’s about to get kidnapped or killed. She fumbles for her keys, starts to put them in the lock and turns the cylinder, when something spooks her and she pulls out her weapon. It’s her boyfriend in the hallway, who came to surprise her and take her out to dinner. She re-locks the door, never realizing that Kyle and Daisy are in her apartment, setting up three video surveillance cameras.
The Story Continues Next Monday Night, at 8:00 pm For a Special Two-Hour Broadcast on FOX.