This is it; the episode that will reveal if whether or not everyone’s favorite serial killer, Joe Carroll, will finally meet his end or somehow manage to escape his dire predicament. The results of The Following’s powerful 10th episode, fittingly titled “Evermore," are more devastating than I originally anticipated. First and foremost, everyone was sensational (James Purefoy and Kevin Bacon in particular really wowed me). Can The Following please be nominated for a slew of awards? It honestly deserves that and so much more (a renewal for a fourth season!!!!!!)
“Evermore” opens with a mass amount of people along with media crowded outside Joe’s prison, where they eagerly await his execution. Joe, armed with his nifty weapon made of sunglasses, quietly stews in his cell. Ryan watches coverage on the execution with obvious worry and anxiety. Is Ryan perhaps dreading Joe’s demise or is he awaiting news of something going wrong? To me, it seemed a little bit of both. Ryan claims to hate Joe, but Ryan’s dreams are telling of just how attached he is to this enigma of a man. Gwen, who still has yet to tell Ryan of her pregnancy, tells Ryan to forget about Joe Carroll, his fate is clearly sealed. Gwen has yet to understand that forgetting Joe is not an option for Ryan anymore after all that’s happened.
Theo, who admittedly has a background role in this episode, arrives at a shady location where a druggie proceeds to pull a knife out on him. Obviously Theo quickly dispatches of the man and carries out an unknown, unconscious woman from the drug den. Could this be Penny? A woman Theo mentioned in the previous episode.
Cutting back to Joe, he puts his cunning plan in motion and quickly turns his execution around to be a hostage situation. His one demand? The hostages will all die if Ryan Hardy doesn’t come to him within the next two hours. Ryan, as per usual, looks devastated and put off; looks like a long, emotional farewell is in order and there’s no way Ryan Hardy can escape the consequences of the day to come.
The unconscious woman Theo carries off finally awakens and she turns of to be Theo’s baby sister Penny. Penny seems more than okay with Theo’s cold-cut personality and less-than-innocent hobbies. It seems that Theo IS capable of loving another human being; Penny is his true weakness and I’m betting she’ll be killed as a result of Theo’s growing obsession and hatred towards Ryan. In order to have a fresh start, Theo needs to let Ryan go but his apparent animosity is preventing him from doing so; this will be Theo’s downfall. If there’s anything we’ve learned from The Following it’s that you don’t mess with Ryan Hardy; he will take you down, no matter what the cost.
Ryan, in the end, decides to give into Joe’s demands (like he was going to refuse in the first place) despite an emotional phone-call from Gwen, in which she attempts to tell him of her pregnancy. I have so many doubts about Gwen’s longevity. First and foremost, I still don’t trust her and I truly do think there’s a high possibility she could be one of Strauss’s students, but she could just as likely be a red herring; a character whose meant to arouse suspicion and paranoia. Another predication I have in regards to Gwen is that she could possibly be killed by Ryan. He’s already dreamed of killing her, what’s to stop him from snapping and just ending her life not knowing she’s pregnant with his child. Or maybe Gwen is just normal and I’m clearly being paranoid. See what watching The Following does to you?
After asking Mike and Max to take care of one another in case something was to happen to him, Ryan and Joe finally come face to face. Joe asks Ryan to remove his jacket as well as his shirt; he then proceeds to have Ryan lift his undershirt and to slowly turn in order to make sure he has no weapons on him. Was it just me, or was Joe totally checking Ryan out? I wouldn’t blame him because I was admittedly doing the same exact thing. I mean come on? Who doesn’t love Ryan Hardy or Kevin Bacon. Ryan attempts to bargain the hostages’ lives’ when Joe asks him to put on a pair of handcuffs, but Joe shuts him down until Ryan threatens to leave. Oh Joe, Ryan really does seem to be your most potent weakness. Joe releases one hostage and Ryan complies with Joe’s handcuff demand. Joe tazes Ryan and admits that if Ryan had agreed to come to his execution, none of this would be happening. Poor Ryan, just how much blame and guilt can the guy truly take before he snaps?
Theo and Penny discuss Strauss’s encrypted journal and the two try to figure out how to decipher it in an effort to find more of Strauss’s killer protégés. Theo states he needs to end Ryan Hardy and Penny cautions him from doing so. We get a tiny mention of their childhood when Theo mentions that he’s providing them with the one thing they never had as kids: control. Penny’s warnings and feeling of caution seem to be a huge foreshadowing device. The Following is an expert at foreshadowing and no warning or statement should be ignored or overlooked. Theo should clearly be paying closer attention to his sister’s worries.
Ryan wakes up to a wire tied around his neck. Joe starts his usual “Ryan-reserved” lectures and claims that Ryan can fool everyone but him; Joe can clearly see a man in crisis. Ryan blames his suffering on Joe, to which Joe readily scoffs and announces, with such certainty, that he and Ryan are soulmates. Without a doubt, this scene played out like a much awaited confession of love and dependency. Joe clarifies that this hostage situation is a mere intervention in hopes of getting Ryan to admit his true feelings and also confess that the most important relationship in Ryan’s life is his relationship with Joe. If Ryan fails to do so then everyone in the room will die. Joe is rather confident in his statements and Ryan just looks generally displeased. Ryan and Joe’s relationship, one of the show’s highlight’s, is constantly shifting and evolving to the point where one can’t help but admit that Joe is right: they are indeed soulmates in a twisted yet fitting sort of way.
Meanwhile Mike is comforting Max (who is worried sick about Ryan) and declares that he’ll be there for her whether she likes it or not. I don’t know about Max, but I sure as heck don’t like it. Mike and Max’s relationship has its sweet moments, but I have yet to forgive Mike for prioritizing Mark over Max’s safety. He has made it clear, verbally and non-verably, that catching Mark is his priority. As much as I understand his need for vengeance, I don’t understand how Mike can jeopardize Max’s safety, I really can’t. On a side note, a key relationship in The Following besides that of Ryan and Joe is the one of Ryan and Max. Relationships are a driving force on The Following and these two have a pretty solid relationship. The addition of Jessica Stroup last season was a welcome one because Max has wormed her way into fans hearts. Max gives us a chance to see a different side to Ryan: his more paternal side. Max's worry for Ryan is endearing and without Max and Mike, who would truly worry and protect Ryan?
Joe asks Ryan, quite politely in fact, to admit that he enjoys killing just as much as Joe does. Ryan more or less repeats the same answer he’s been giving practically everyone: he was killing in order to save the lives of the dozens of innocents. Obviously not pleased with Ryan’s response, Joe strides over to his lawyer (who is now strapped down) in order to take out her eye. Ryan stops Joe by confessing that he dreams of him. Joe’s expression looks downright touched as Ryan describes his dreams where they are friends that laugh, and drink together; Ryan also admits that he dreamt of Joe teaching him how to kill. Joe is so overwhelmingly emotional and I could clearly tell just how much Ryan’s words truly mean to him. Joe embraces Ryan and proceeds to removes the wire around his neck, saying they are the best of friends and that no one understands Ryan like Joe does (and vice versa). Joe finally gets Ryan to admit that he feels power and satisfaction when killing someone; it’s an honest admittance, which is exactly what Joe was looking for. Having gotten what he wanted. Joe removes Ryan’s cuffs and surprise, surprise Ryan punches Joe and then handcuffs him; Joe lets him do so without a fight.
Theo, whose monitoring the prison through cameras, attempts to see what’s happening between Ryan and Joe. Theo goes on to explain to Penny that he can control the prison in its entirety; with one push of a button, he can put the entire place on lockdown or even release the prisoners. Penny proceeds to do exactly that in an effort to protect Theo and in the hopes that Ryan will perish. Ryan. Joe and the two hostages are basically jumped by the prisoners. Joe is led off to his cell by an inmate with a grudge against him. Ryan manages to overpower two of the inmates despite getting quite a beating. He also eliminates two other inmates after they try to rape Joe’s lawyer. Ryan is left blood-soaked. Although Ryan has killed before, there was something about these killings that seemed a lot more brutal; Ryan seemed to embody exactly what Joe described him to be.
The scene switches to Joe and the grudge wielding inmate with “mommy-issues” (as Joe stated in the beginning of the episode) arriving at Joe’s swanky cell. A brief tussle ensues leading to the inmate strangling Joe. Ryan arrives in the nick of time and, although he hesitates, he saves Joe’s life and the two team-up to take the inmate down. Perhaps one of my favorite moments of “Evermore” is when Ryan reaches out to help Joe stand up. It was a small moment that managed to be a thousand times more effective than any climatic scene shown thus far. Ryan accepts his emotions for Joe and despite all that he put him through, Ryan still chose to help Joe. The FBI/Swat team arrive a tad late to the bloody celebration, but they do apprehend Joe.
Penny begs Theo to drop his growing obsession with Ryan Hardy and to focus on the two getting a new life together. Theo declines and states Ryan Hardy’s death is “the key to their future.” Let it go Theo, just let it go. What will it take for Theo to realize that messing around with Ryan Hardy will lead to severe consequences not just for him, but for his beloved sister as well? Now that Joe has gotten Ryan to admit his true feelings towards killing, Theo is in for a whole new Ryan who’s more than qualified for giving Theo a run for his money. An unbalanced Ryan is a dangerous Ryan.
Ryan calls Gwen to let her know that he’s okay and that he has decided to stick around to see what happens to Joe in order to get some form of a closure. Ryan has yet again, inadvertently, chosen Joe over his own girlfriend. At this rate, Gwen might never be able to tell Ryan she’s pregnant. Meanwhile, Penny helps Theo crack the code of the notebook and the two realize the book doesn’t contain a name, but a location. Oh great, the bad guys are yet another couple steps ahead of the FBI. That’s just what Ryan Hardy and gang need in their lives right about now.
Ryan and Joe have one final talk where Joe readily confesses that Ryan is his living legacy and that he will live on through him. This was an understandably emotional scene that brought tears to my eyes quite quickly. As a fan of the show, I’ve grown fond of the moments between these two and being faced with their final talk was just outright devastating. After exchanging painful goodbyes, Joe’s execution commences and he’s strapped to a table, awaiting his lethal injection. Joe’s fear of his impending doom was noticeable as is his acceptance of his fate. The table is lifted for witnesses to gaze upon and Joe’s eyes lock on to Ryan’s who decided to attend after all. Not once ceasing eye-contact with Ryan, he utters his last words “Quoth the raven: Nevermore.”
It was touching and heart-wrenching to see Joe’s gaze remain fixated on Ryan. If only the two had had more time together, three seasons was simply not enough. Although Joe did a great deal of terrible deeds, watching him die was perhaps the most painful event of the entire series, solidified by Ryan’s heart-breaking expression. In this moment, we were the Ryan’s. Hats off to James Purefoy and Kevin Bacon for their phenomenal performances this episode. Any and every scene between the two is a joy to watch and I wish it didn’t have to end. Sadly, all good things must come to an end as we say goodbye to the era of Joe Carroll. Fans are in shock and are hopeful that Joe somehow managed to survive. This time, Joe’s death seems permanent. The Following is always surprising us with its refreshing twists and turns, but I think it was necessary for them to kill Joe in order to further develop Ryan’s character. Sadly revealing Joe to be alive once again would take away from the impact of his death.
The episode ends with Ryan entering a bar and proceeding to have a whiskey, breaking his long-kept sobriety. And who is Ryan having a drink with? Why the ghost of Joe Carroll of course. Ryan’s deteriorating mental health has become quite apparent as the two have a drink together like a couple of good ol’ buddies. The good news is: Joe Carroll might stick around as a ghost. The bad news is: Ryan is clearly losing his mind and could shape up to be a future villain; which is something I definitely don’t want to see. Ryan Hardy must get a happy ending at all costs. Sadly, at this point, that seems unlikely. The preview for the next episode shows Ryan losing his shit even more and the others noticing his wacky behavior. Ryan could be set up as a future serial killer leading to Max and Mike hunting him down. The storyline sounds intriguing however, I started this journey with Ryan Hardy and I would like to end this journey with Ryan Hardy getting the happy ending he so truly deserves.
Overall, “Evermore” was a character send-off episode done properly that delivered memorable scenes between Ryan and Joe. An aspect of The Following that has always been my favorite is that of the relationship between Ryan and Joe. Any time these two are in a scene together, the screen just sets ablaze with tension and chemistry. In the first season, their relationship seemed very black and white. Joe wanted Ryan to suffer and die and Ryan wanted the same for Joe. However, tiny shades of grey began to appear when it became clear that Joe enjoyed Ryan to a certain degree. He even watched recordings of Ryan having sex. Despite that the two got into multiple altercations and came extremely close to killing one another. Hell, Ryan even tossed Joe close to the flames when the boat-house was set ablaze and eventually exploded which led to the belief that Joe was dead. In season two, their bond became even more apparent not just to audiences but to Joe’s followers as well. Joe refused to kill Ryan and by the seasons end, Ryan can’t find it within himself to pull the trigger. Even with Claire as a factor, season two and three proved that an unexplainable bond exists between these two complicated men that's not based on their mutual affection for Claire. It’s a bond that delivered plenty of laughs and edge-of-your-seat moments. It’s sad to see their relationship evolution come to a lethal end. Once again, I give major kudos to James Purefoy, Kevin Bacon and the writers for bringing to life such an interesting and dynamic relationship.
As much as I love and will miss Joe Carrol (his humor was seriously off the charts) and his meeting with Ryan, I am excited and curious to see where The Following takes us next! There is so much more story left to be told, The Following is far from over!
What are your thoughts on Joe’s death? What’s next for The Following? Let’s theorize in the comments below!