The Following murders escalated, the characters' layers proceeded to be peeled slowly back and the mystery behind Joe's grand plan continued to lead viewers along in thrilling fashion this week.
"The Poet's Fire," while focusing on another follower's work, also flashed us back to Ryan and Joe's first meeting.
While we all know what becomes of their eventual battle, both James Purefoy and Kevin Bacon heated up the screen with their simple interactions of discussing Poe-related murders. Plus, getting to see Joe out of a jumpsuit, becoming acquainted with his future nemesis, was a treat.
As even Ryan admitted, Joe has a knack for inspiring and seducing in such a way as to fill in for his followers like a teacher, father and leader. But what really gets these people to do Joe's work? Why have these followers jumped on his psychotic bandwagon? Why is Joe doing all of this and what is that final goal?
With Joe inside jail and reduced to playing mind games (and he plays a brilliant conversationalist with each steely look), the heavy load of adding compelling outside villainy falls upon these acolytes.
The triangle of Jacob, Emma and Paul is growing intriguing by the week and sometimes it's easy to forget that the group is taking cues from a killer.
Emma becomes more fascinating with each scene, as her youthful and childlike smiles are the perfect counterbalance to that dark side. She seems so nice and friendly, loving even, but it's obvious that she herself is exhibiting a leadership role not to be crossed.
Telling Paul and Jacob to kiss? Cutting Paul? Clearly Emma is not a girl to be messed with.
And neither is Paul when he's picking up the girl, in a way you want him to... and then Paul's evil side kicks in and you remember he too is a killer. Now, why would he bring her back? He knew it would have to cause problems, right?
At the same time, Paul's accusations of Jacob being a liar looks to create problems as well. Just what is Jacob lying about, if at all?
Yet, the headlining follower of the week, Rick, took to his adorned Poe costume and killed off Joe's critics. He also seemed to be off his rocker in an effort to add his own chapter to Joe's saga, but with his wife being involved (great twist) the concept of manipulation and following seems to be slowly spreading wider than just a small group.
So, how many are out there? Will each episode really have a new follower pop up for Ryan to face or will that become tiresome? Either way, the final showdown, and conclusion of the episode for that matter, was rather shocking.
Not only does Ryan kill Rick (after a surprise second attack), but Rick's wife kills Agent Reilly. I mean, right to the throat for a bloody mess. It's certainly a bold move for the show, but I wish we got more of a chance to learn about Reilly. I was hoping they would save him in time.
Simultaneously, Jordy killed himself, although I didn't mind because frankly, that guy was a creeper.
The twisty thriller amped up the suspense and danger tonight, proving that the hour was just another chapter in a long, long journey ahead. It's a good thing Kevin Bacon is there to steer The Following in the right direction.
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.