Okay, I’m in a major dilemma here. First off, if you haven’t watched the finale for The Following, you should not be reading this recap – unless you don’t mind major spoilers. Now, onto my dilemma: I find it really hard to believe that Joe Carroll is really gone. I feel like he’s been such a huge part of the show, that killing him off right at the end of the first season was perhaps too soon. But then, if it turns out that he really isn’t dead, I’ll be really mad because there’s no way anyone would have survived an explosion like that. See what I’m getting at here? I want him back and yet I want the the writers to stick to what they showed us last night and not pull a “he’s a live!” stunt on us. I guess I have all summer to mull over this. Now let’s dive into the last recap of the season.
Previously on The Following…
Molly gave Carroll her sex tape with Ryan, therefore reminding us that she is definitely still out there. Carroll tried to make up with Claire but she ended up stabbing him instead. He decided it was time for Claire to kick the bucket and obviously contacted Ryan to let him know. Carroll took Claire hostage and fled on a boat, while Agent Parker got buried alive by two of his followers.
The episode picks up with the FBI team looking at a security camera video of Parker hours before she disappeared. They’re still trying to figure out what happened to her, when a kid wearing a creepy Edgar Allan Poe mask – I want one of those for Halloween! – shows up at the police station, saying Emma gave it to him and paid him so he would come to them. Ryan discovers a phone number on the inside of the mask and immediately calls it.
We go back to Agent Parker, who is buried somewhere in the forest. A phone starts ringing and she picks it up. Parker tells them she’s buried and Ryan promises he will get her out. They’re unable to track the signal from the cellphone, so she tries explaining where she is and describes the men who abducted her. Mike speculates that she only has about 3-5 hrs worth of air so they have to move quick. They know the area she must be buried in will take a lot of time to cover.
The FBI team drives into the forest, and walks into one of Carroll’s trap. Men are waiting for them and open fire as soon as they step out of the car. Ryan is able to catch one of them by surprise and immediately asks about Parker but the man remains silent. They handcuff him and take him back for questioning. Ryan and Mike lead him to an abandoned location and try an unconventional way of asking questions. He tells them he won’t talk, so Mike beats him with a pole and continues doing so until he changes his mind. Ryan is less patient and proceeds to gauge his eye until it bleeds. It’s horrific, but it works! The man finally gives them a location.
Ryan and Mike, take the follower with them and head to Parker’s location. They speak to her over the phone but she sounds like she’s slipping away. She asks them to call her sister and contact her family. She has final words for both of them, she wants Ryan to know none of it is his fault and she tells Mike that he’s a good man. They insist that she needs to save her breathe and wait it out. When they arrive, they find the grave and begin digging her up. Parker is unconscious and after a few failed attempts to revive her, they both finally accept that she’s died. The follower makes a remark that enrages Ryan, he picks up a gun and shoots him in the head. Inside the coffin, they find Carroll’s book, where everything is written exactly how things happened. They find that the book depicts Mike’s death earlier in the woods, but he nearly dodged a bullet and therefore didn’t end up dying. Mike thinks he can help Ryan and catch Carroll by surprise. The book tells Ryan he must continue alone so he leaves Mike behind in the woods.
Meanwhile, Claire is dealing with a different ordeal of her own. She wakes up in a dark secluded house, when she steps outside, she discovers that Carroll has taken her to a lighthouse somewhere off the ocean. Carroll joins her outside for a second before taking her back inside and threatening her with a gun. He tells her that Ryan must witness her death, he’s convinced that her dying will put him over the edge. After Claire refuses to listen or show him any respect, he locks her in a room. She finds that Carroll is keeping someone else hostage as well – the man who provided the boat. They’re trying to figure out a way to escape when Carroll comes into the room again and takes Claire with him. He’s sure Ryan will show up in time to witness her murder. He tries to remind Claire of their past feelings for each other but she insists it was never real.
He asks Claire when she found out about his killings. She admits she found out when he was arrested. She sent Ryan to Carroll, thinking he would be able to solve the murders. She was blinded by love to suspect he was the real murderer, at the time. Claire laments not seeing the signs earlier, suggesting that if she would have, all the girls he killed would still be alive. Carroll is angry that she’s blaming herself for not being able to stop him. He brings out the man from the room and kills him in front of Claire to show her that only he is responsible for his own actions and she shouldn’t feel guilty.
Ryan arrives at another location, where Emma is waiting for him. She orders him to get on his knees and place his hands on his head. When he refuses, a man comes up from behind him and drugs him by sticking a syringe in his neck. By the time he wakes up, he’s already with Claire and Carroll at the lighthouse. Carroll informs him that they’re currently writing the final chapter of their book. He tells Ryan that they’re so much alike, it’s a wonder how anyone (Claire) would fall in love with either of them. He asks Ryan when he fell in love with Claire. Carroll thinks it was love at first sight, just like it happened to him. Later, he wants to know when he discovered he was the killer. Ryan admits that he had his suspicions so he followed Claire hoping she would lead him to him. Carroll is quick to deduct that Ryan fell in love with Claire in the process. He takes a knife to Claire’s face, determined to finally end her life.
Ryan tries to convince him that killing him would be a less predictable ending. Nobody is going to read a book in which he kills his wife instead of the “hero.” When Carroll tells him that he knows he’s only trying to get under his skin, Ryan begins insulting him and his work. Apparently the last straw is when he insults Edgar Allan Poe, calling him a bad writer on drugs. Carroll attacks him, but Ryan is able to get the upper hand and somehow gets a hold of a gun. He chases Carroll out of the house and into a shed filled with flammable material. Ryan’s gun shots set the place on fire and he throws Carroll into the flames, leaving him inside. In a strange sequence, Carroll is heard screaming in pain but when the camera pans to his face he looks eerily calm. Ryan runs outside, just in time before the shed explodes. Claire goes to him and they hug, watching as the place is incinerated.
Later, the FBI team arrives at the lighthouse. Mike says they found body parts in the water but they need to run a DNA test to make sure it’s Carroll. Claire questions whether it’s really him, she wants to make sure he’s really dead. She receives a call from Joey who is being kept in D.C. Ryan decides he will take Claire back to his place. Back home, he receives a call informing him that the remains indeed belonged to Carroll. News of his death spreads quickly, with all the news networks picking it up. Emma, who is in disguise in a bar, watches the report on the TV screen and begins to cry.
Ryan and Claire are still recovering from their ordeal. She hops in the shower as he waits for their take out order to be delivered. Things seems to be going a little too well, so I’m obviously extremely suspicious when the delivery guy knocks on the door. Ryan seems genuinely content for the first time this season, but his joy is short-lived when he receives an unexpected visit. In the last moments of the season finale, Molly shows up to finish her “chapter.” She stabs him in the stomach, informing him that Carroll promised she would be the one to kill him. She hides when she hears Claire step out of the bedroom. Claire is terrified to see Ryan bleeding on the floor, he tries to warn her about Molly but it’s a little too late. She stabs Claire in the back as Ryan screams.
Readers! Please, tell me your thoughts on everything! Do you guys think Carroll really is dead? What about Claire, will she make it out alive to see another season? If Carroll really is gone, who do you think will continue his legacy and how will Ryan handle everything that’s happened to him so far? How many of you are planning on coming back for a second helping of The Following in the fall? PopWrapped will be here for all your recap needs, see you then!