What fuels you? - Ryan
Well, technically, Joe asked the question first, something that's been bothering him to the point of writer's block. Sure, he claims that death drives him, as it drives Ryan, but I still feel like there's something more pushing him.
We've established that Joe is a killer straight from the pilot. He's also a manipulator and charismatic leader to other sociopaths. Yet, when it comes down to it, even with each menacing glare and slight break into scary from Joe's normally calm demeanor, "all he seems to do is sit and write his book."
Roderick has a point. It's not that Joe isn't menacing or frightening, but it's hard to see what pushes him beyond his obsession with creating a family with Claire or writing this "novel" starring Ryan Hardy.
A piece of work which Claire seems to think isn't a masterpiece, while filled with a flawed yet mysterious plan we as viewers still know nothing about.
Claire's motives are to get her kid at all costs, whether by stupid decisions like getting caught in the first place or naively thinking she could escape. Really, there's not much more for her to do besides make another failed attempt and possibly get lucky... or wait for her hero to show up and save the day.
As for Ryan, it's clear to see his motivations, especially with his love for Claire and the additional fact that he doesn't want people to die by Joe's insane cult. Yes, he's got zero problem killing followers who think he won't shoot (and he always does), but in the end, he's trying to prevent more deaths.
Which makes it odd that Joe was filled with such consternation about what has been driving Ryan, as if those obvious things we learned weren't the real reason.
Thus, we got a flashback of Ryan's father's murder to facilitate an even darker fuel to his fire. Yet that particular cliche didn't really do anything to make me see anything new in Ryan. What's more, we never really ever got to see a relationship with his dad to determine if it was even good or bad.
Rather, we did see that Ryan's darkness began at an early age by forcing his father's killer to take copious amounts of drugs; in effect, making him overdose. So now we know he's trying to right his wrongs and escape that dark path.
But I'm not so sure the show wants Ryan to be able to escape, much less any character. Really no one, besides perhaps Joey, is a purely good prson. It's as if a struggle to stay on the good side is made more difficult with each move made.
Take Mike, one of my favorites on the series, who suddenly had some major anger issues. He was aggressive and rule-breaking, perhaps a little like Ryan, but pushing the potential for making himself a killer. I wasn't really a fan of something that felt drastic, much like Jacob's change into the dark side.
At least Mike was able to scale it back and recognize him going to far. The same could be said for Jacob calling up father providing a sliver of hope for his character. Still, it's as if there's this darkness inside each individual. Even Claire, who was able to hit Emma, but unfortunately the girl fight felt like a silly excuse to pit the two female charcters against each other.
However, I loved the standoff between Joe and Ryan for the pure fact that James Purefoy and Kevin Bacon can command a scene, even if there's a glass wall in between them. It was a riveting moment (I was worried Mike might die) but the whole concept of Joe spending all his time writing his book and talking about the next chapter is getting a little tiring.
He has to have a bigger plan, right?
I'm along for the ride, recognizing the scary aspects that surround every dark building the FBI want to investigate. I'm down with Ryan's attempts to win and even Roderick's challenges to Joe himself. We got more of that with "The Curse" and yet it still feels like we aren't getting any closer to something new or different.
And I wish the FBI would be a little more competent in its efforts. They seem to forget to clear rooms of possible enemies or get themselves outsmarted and captured.
It's time to shake things up and refuel The Following before it runs out of steam leaving us with just more of the same.
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.