Warning: Spoiler Alert
Just when it looked like the chances of saving season three of the FOX series “The Following,” were between slim and none, the show shook up the dynamic radically, bringing back a fan favorite, in addition to introducing this campaign’s “True Big Bad.” The moves resulted in the good-guys finally winning a couple of rounds, as well as for a more taut and exciting episode, by far the finest of the season. Part of that involved addition by subtraction, finally getting rid of the psychopathic Mark Gray, at least for a while, but the breakthroughs the Bureau made on the case, added to the excitement.
As the previous episode concluded, FBI Agent Ryan Hardy, broke his vow to himself and went and visited serial killer Joe Carroll, whose awaiting execution in a Federal Prison, Carroll greeting him asking, what took him so long? The two longtime adversaries have a twisted relationship, knowing each other as well as they know themselves, both obsessed with finding out exactly what makes the other tick. Carroll can hit Hardy in spots that nobody else realizes exist, while Ryan used his knowledge of Carroll to stop he and his followers killing spree, three separate times.
Carroll show his powers of observation, stayed razor-sharp as he tells Hardy he looks well, he’s stayed on the wagon, back full-time with the FBI and it looks like Ryan’s in love. Hardy feels his buttons getting pushed and almost leaves, but Joe calms him down and asks what he wants, Ryan tells him they’re looking for Carroll’s mentor, Dr. Arthur Strauss. Turns out that although Carroll’s Strauss’ most famous protégé, he’s just one of many that Strauss trained to become highly skilled serial killers. We’ve already met Daisy, Kyle and Andrew this season, in this episode we meet another couple of his students.
Joe asks Hardy, what’s in it for him if he assists the FBI and Ryan asks him what he wants? Carroll says he’s resigned himself to his predicament, but he fears Ryan’s unprepared and Hardy asks him what he means? Joe says, don’t forget Ryan, when I die, you die and Hardy laughs the threat off. Carroll then says I miss “Us,” the banter, the laughter, the crying, if I help you, I want you to visit me every day until D-Day.
Hardy says that if Joe gives him some valuable information, he’ll return. Carroll then says that Strauss has contacted a former student that he trusts and that he and Daisy are hiding with them. Ryan has to find a connection Straus has in the nearby area. As Hardy leaves the facility, his body rebels against the emotion he’s suppressing and he vomits in a toilet on the first floor.
Hardy’s next stop’s at the hospital, to visit his niece Max, who got whacked from behind by Daisy with a wooden-plank in the previous episode, to rescue Strauss, she looks pale and weak when he enters. Soon after, Max’s boyfriend Tom, comes in to take her back to her apartment. Tom’s been monitoring Max’s movements, with Daisy’s laptop, that gets a feed from cameras she and Kyle set up in her apartment.
We get our first glimpse of the show’s new “Big Bad,” in the following scene, Michael Ealy whom you may remember as the android Dorian, in the former FOX series “Almost Human,” starring Karl Urban. Dorian’s benign manner and friendly personality, are nowhere to be found as his new character Theo, whom Strauss describes as “his best student.” Theo sporting long dreads, takes out Strauss’ trial lawyer with an acetylene torch.
Back at the Bureau Office, Ryan, Mike and Max had their suspensions revoked, but Bureau Chief Gina Valdez took the fall, serving an indefinite suspension, until she’s questioned by superiors, leaving Hardy in charge. He has his agents scour the area for missing person reports in the last 5-10 years and an analyst, says that six missing persons on the list, were last scene in Beacon, New York. Hardy and Weston take a trip to Beacon to check things out.
There are certain character actors on Television, that when you see their faces, you’ve got a preconceived notion, of what the character they’re portraying will act like. Michael Gaston, who played Beacon Sheriff Windsor, typically plays dicey upper-management characters, so I assumed that the Sheriff was a Strauss operative, when Mike and Ryan got to town, but he turned out to play things by the rules. However there were members of the community, that were far from what they seemed, as we found out.
Windsor and one of his officers, Hillary Banks meet with Hardy and Weston and the sheriff says they should’ve called and saved themselves a trip, Strauss and Daisy aren’t in his town. Ryan says they’re checking on missing persons reports and ask the pair if they recognize any of the six photos they brought with them. Banks says the picture of a young blonde woman, could be the Jane Doe, whose remains they found in the swamps a couple of weeks earlier. She volunteers to take the pair to the spot they recovered the body.
When they get to the area, Hillary mentions she returned home after discovering the Jane Doe, soaked to the bone, saying it rained hard that day. Hardy asks if the area’s prone to flooding and Banks says it is, which makes Ryan think that bodies could be buried in the higher ground and the rain dislodged the corpse, sending it down to the swamp. They find out Ryan’s theory’s correct as they find nine sets of remains, buried within the last 10-15 years.
Theo’s dreads are just a wig, we find out when he takes it off and gets into his car. He soon receives a text message, asking is it done? We then flashback 13-years according to the graphic, we see a nerdy looking guy talking on his cellphone and working on his computer. He says to the person on the other end, he hates that office and he should run it, then says he’s going to get some sleep. Suddenly he hears his stereo blaring from the living room, he leaves his bedroom to shut it off, then realizes he’s got a visitor, sitting on his sofa, wearing a clown-mask and a hood. The man in the mask tells the nerdy guy Patrick, not to be scared, they’ve chatted on-line for months.
Patrick realizes it’s a guy who uses the screen-name Karl-1988, whose in reality Theo. He tells Patrick, not to worry he’ll still get the glory, then as Patrick tries to run, he tackles him and ties his hand behind his back with a zip-tie. He then goes to fulfill Patrick’s plan, killing all four employees of the insurance office, Patrick referenced in his phone call, but he gets stabbed before he can kill all four employees.
He sneaks into a hospital and hides in a supply closet, when the door opens and a much younger Dr. Arthur Strauss, with a full head of dark hair walks in. Theo aims his pistol at Strauss, who tells him he’s there to help him, as he believes fate brought them together. He tells Theo he’s aware that he murdered the people at the insurance office, then says they share the same compulsion to kill. He tells Theo he’ll hide him, but the younger man says he has to finish first. He then comes back to the present, sends a yes response to the text, then gets told to drive to Beacon.
Hillary takes Ryan and Mike back to her Uncle Duncan’s café, he raised her as her parents died when she was a child. Suddenly a waitress named Margo, comes over to the table and says to Hillary the murderer’s Sheriff Windsor’s son Justin. Duncan says he doesn’t pay Margo to gossip, but Ryan and Mike ask Hillary to take the to where Justin lives.
Justin’s up to no-good, but it’s making crystal-meth at his shack in the middle of the woods. Windsor arrives and asks his son if he’s involved in the murders and the teen swears to his father he knows nothing about them. Windsor says his son’s got problems, but he knows when he’s lying and Justin’s telling the truth, then he arrests his son for the crystal-meth lab he owns and operates.
Daisy and Strauss are hiding out in a cabin, with Daisy certain that Strauss’ student abandoned them, but he soon arrives. It’s Duncan Banks’ who tells them there’s trouble as Hardy and the FBI are in town, it turns out that Banks’ murdered all the victims as well. Strauss tells him to calm down, there’s no way they can trace the victims to him, but Duncan says he killed before he met Strauss and that body’s buried with the rest.
Weston and Hardy get told that the first victim’s Hannah Banks, Duncan’s wife and the agents realize that he’s behind all the murders. They head into the café, with Hillary behind the counter, standing next to Duncan. Banks sees that both agents are about to reach for their service revolvers, he grabs Hillary around the neck and sticks a knife to her throat, saying if he can’t escape, he’ll slit his pretty niece’s neck. Hillary’s holding a cup of coffee and throws it in Duncan’s face, allowing her to get free and Ryan to knock Duncan out.
Windsor arrives, soon after Banks admits he killed Hillary’s parent, because her mother was a squealer, the officer punches her uncle in the gut, making him double-over in pain. Windsor tells Hardy and Weston, his father and Duncan’s used to hunt together and they used a cabin, which would make for a great hideout and says he’ll take them there.
Theo starts walking to the cabin and he once again flashes back 13-years earlier, as he and Strauss are back in Patrick’s apartment, for Theo to kill him and set him up as the murderer. He puts his hand over Patrick’s and has him pull the trigger of a pistol aimed at his chin, which sprays his brains on the curtain behind him. Strauss’ filled with glee tells Theo that he’s ambitious, but to avoid his moment in the spotlight, like a shark he should always stay under the water. Theo thanks him and tells him he’ll repay him one day, he returns to the present, knocks on the cabin door and Strauss says thanks for coming.
However Strauss doesn’t stay happy for long as Theo strangles him to death with a wire, nearly severing his head from his body. When Windsor, Mike and Ryan arrive they find Arthur’s corpse, but Theo and Daisy have escaped. We see Daisy by herself, hitching a ride. Theo heads home, where we find out he’s got a knockout wife and a beautiful boy and girl, oblivious to what he does.
Mike and Ryan tell Duncan that Strauss got murdered and show him a picture of the corpse and Duncan asks if Daisy did it, but she lacks the upper body strength to have done it. Banks says it must be Strauss’ best student, but that’s all the info he has on the guy.
Hardy arrives back to visit Carroll in the final scene and Joe remarks that Ryan kept his word. Hardy then asks Joe whose Strauss’ best student, then the scene fades to black.
The Story Continues Next Monday Night at 9:00pm on FOX.