The Following has doled out its fair share of psychos, but the series also has made it quite clear that there is only one Joe Carroll.
And now he’s back to start a whole new version of chaos.
I knew it wouldn’t be long before Joe unveiled himself to the world, but I wasn’t quite prepared for him to swoop in as new leader of the red-dressed cult, Korban.
Where I had expected Micah to perhaps be on par with Joe, The Following Season 2 Episode 9 quickly squashed that theory. Micah was nothing more than a means to an end, someone so easily manipulated by his desire to make a “splash.”
He had his own wife killed even as she tried to uncover his blinded eyes to the truth.
While it was a bit disappointing Micah never managed to be another, maybe scarier version of Joe, it clearly showed just how dangerous Joe can be. Within a matter of no time, he swooped in, removed the leader and took over a religious cult eager to follow.
And the show never fails to bring the bloody body count where Joe is concerned, but the anticipation for the attack was held perfectly before striking. We all knew something bad was going to happen in the bookstore, especially with all the creepy smiles exchanged between the three carrying out the task.
There really is something about putting on a mask that makes things even creepier.
I was prepared for Lance to be the character who gets killed because he was brought in last minute. And while I rolled my eyes at him nabbing a police officer to use as a body shield, I was pleasantly surprised the officer was able to break free enough so Lance could be taken out.
Sure, he still died, but it wasn’t in the dumbest way possible.
But, wow, did the body count seem to rack up during the hour, even going so far as to make viewers think FBI Agent Gina Mendez - who Ryan, Mike and Max suspected might be the mole - was stabbed and killed by her crazy ex.
The uncovering of the mole may have been handled rather quickly, but The Following Season 2 is doing a good job of moving things along rather than dwelling to much. It made for an intense stand off with some icy cold stares before the cringe-worthy suicide of the ex.
Maybe Gina, knowing Joe Carroll is alive, will be a helpful ally to Ryan rather than an annoying hindrance. I’m hoping she does come back to help out after she recovers from the attack. Ryan and his team are going to need all the assistance they can get, especially with Joe’s new crew.
I’ve got to hand it to James Purefoy for delivering some fantastic lines that provide a captivating and charming menace.
His unmasking tape about the “age of Joe Carroll” was creepy, and just the way Purefoy adds the smirks and stares escalates his character to another level. It’s a vast difference from the stammering Micah who just flies off the cuff.
Joe is calculated and prepared and looking to be more powerful than ever. There's a reason he's the bad guy on this show.
Yet, it was the last minute jaw dropper that took me completely by surprise. No, not Ryan hooking up with the journalist (that’s not going to end well), but it was the scenes of Mike getting hooded and traveling off somewhere.
Where? Was he making a deal with Joe? With Lily? Was he off to see Joe’s child in witness protection?
I was stunned by the return of Claire, and especially the fact that Mike knows the secret. That’s a whole new game changer for Ryan when he finds out. That last minute twist wasn't what I was expecting, which it made it that much more exciting.
The Following Season 2 has vastly improved from its freshman outing, providing the outlandish and scary, pushing the story forward and still managing to throw in a few twists along the way. And we’re not even close to being done.
Were you surprised Claire is still alive?
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.