It's become pretty obvious that Joe Carroll has a lot of followers, some who love to party at the cult mansion and others who are desperate to add their chapter to his twisted story of death.
This week, Amanda joined the ranks of the less-than-developed followers, serving as something of a Terminator in hunting down any women with the name Claire Matthews. It was an obvious effort to hurt Ryan because of his own love for Claire, as much as it was to lure the real Claire out of hiding.
The ploy itself was intriguing in that it was a unique way to cause more chaos, but Amanda felt like such a stock crazy bad guy that anyone could have fulfilled her role. Although, I have to admit, I'm pretty surprised no one was able to stop the skinny white girl at any point besides Ryan's final standoff.
Certainly, facing off with Amanda was not only instrumental in allowing Ryan to admit his love for Claire (something we've all known), but really open up the wound of emotion because of it. The real hurt he feels is more about the fact that he cares so much, he can't stop caring and he constantly worries that he can't do enough to protect her and even love her. That... and he's in love with a killer's former wife.
It was a ballsy and perhaps ridiculous tactic to stop Amanda from killing the last Claire and I assumed that he would have taken her out with a quick and direct shot. He did after all kill Louise when he said he would, even when she doubted it.
Ryan has a pretty high body count so far, doesn't he?
But the rather quick takedown of Louise (who had her more prominent speaking moments in "Welcome Home") and even Amanda really made me appreciate the followers that are getting more time to become real characters rather than faceless pawns in the struggle of Joe versus Ryan.
Jacob is perhaps the most interesting of the followers, namely for the fact that he never killed anyone before. He's so conflicted and you can even see the emotion in his face with every move he makes or doesn't make.
But what is his motivation for joining Joe and the group? Is it because of Emma and his affections for her that made him hop on board the cult crazy train?
Jacob clearly doesn't have any disdain for his mother, who even helped him out with Paul, so I'm not sure if it's parent issues. There was a sense of contempt towards his father, however, but the implication as to why was never revealed.
Yet, it was a dramatic transition for Jacob in the intense and shocking scene of his first kill. It was a major turn of events for the character.
Paul brought up his debt of hiding Jacob's secret and the assertion that he wanted to mean something. What better way than to have his true love not only put him out of his misery, but be the victim of Jacob's kill? It was a rather disturbing initiation process that Jacob became a part of; watching him suffocate his lover and friend was equally wild.
It was a tough scene to watch for sure and it makes me wonder what committing the act will mean for Jacob's further decisions, especially in regards to Emma.
What a great look Jacob gave his fellow trio member when he said, "Hello, Emma." at the very final scene. Things are not looking like a happy reunion for those two.
And while Emma continues to have that sweet innocent look wrapped around her dark and jealous side, especially where Joe is concerned, I loved the way Roderick confronted her.
Warren Kole has really brought Roderick to life in a way that makes him likable, despite the fact that he's teamed up with a group of crazies. His mimicking of Jacob's texts felt spot on, while at the same time they really established his pleasure in getting under Emma's skin.
Each grin and smirk towards her, even in revealing Jacob was finally home, was great.
Simultaneously,, Roderick feels less like a follower and more like a partner to Joe. He's intelligent enough to figure out Claire's real location, as he is in every move he makes. There's something fascinating about his character and it makes me wonder if at some point there might be a power struggle.
I definitely want to see and know more about Roderick.
That really at this point, aside from some the consistently creepy tone and suspense, is what is going to keep the show interesting. It's got to be less about the wild ways the followers kill in the name of Joe and more about what motivates them, what makes them tick, what makes them characters and not cut-out villains.
"Love Hurts" featured some very interesting interactions and changes for a few of the followers, further establishing that you don't mess with Ryan Hardy, and also that Joe will stop at nothing to get Claire back. The Following is not looking to slow things down anytime soon, as evidenced by the following trailer:
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.