The Following "Guilt" Review: You've Really Outdone Yourselves

O, my dear The Following apologists. What a sad week for you.

I'm not even sure where to start—with the simpletons in charge of the investigation? With the chaos of the murder house that lucks into wins? Or with the guy in the Poe mask asking for people's email adresses?

No, I can't even talk about that stuff yet. Let's begin with the imbeciles calling "the shots."

The engine of this show is definitely the FBI and its fuel is finding things to bungle. You can try to say that the core of the series is the rivalry between Hardy and Carroll, or hatched schemes and the crimefighting that's supposed to thwart them, but honestly, what keeps this show going other than Parker and company reaching new levels of achievement in incompetence? How often would Carroll's creepers be caught, killed, or denied by Hardy if not for botched missions and uncoordinated efforts and other things that the layman would assume are part of the training necessary to wear a federal badge?

For example, that poor fella standing in front of the hotel door—your gun is drawn, you're waiting for killers, killers who you've got surveillance footage of in the act of their most recent crime outside your room, thinking about (I guess?) getting the jump on these guys. You watched your buddies get cut down without any level of hesitation. You know they have highly powerful, military-grade weapons. And even though you have the door propped shut so they can't get in, you stand in front of the door like a fool. No vest, just guile. Every television show I've ever seen with a spy or a federal agent knows to hide around the corner from the flimsy, not-at-all-bulletproof door. I mean, even Chuck Bartowski had the common sense to use the angles of a room.

But that's not all. Parker, Donovan, and an uncharacteristically simple Deidre decrypted a URL and marveled at the website of horrors of web design displayed in front of them. Then, when the initial show was over, Donovan was like, "Huh. That was weird. I guess that's all there is." And then Parker was like, "Wait. Hold the phone." And then, after deciding that bad guys wouldn't send an encoded URL to a goofy Flash slideshow for poops and giggles, decides that she would maybe try to click around a little bit, see if there's anything more kicking around on this site. Lo and behold, there was a corner of the page where someone set the cursor to none. "Steganography!" Deidre cried.

What came afterward was possibly my favorite part of the entire episode: The recruiting video. A guy in a Poe masks sits on a stool and asks for your name and email, and promises someone will get back to you. Like you're signing up for an email newsletter. Like you're on a waitlist for a new mailbox app for the iPhone. I know the murder house isn't terribly discerning, what with all the olds who seem to knock around that place (I mean, if you're building a cult, don't you want to have a house full of the most attractive psychopaths you can find?), but all you need to do to apply is have an email address? They don't even have a "13 or older" checkbox.

The episode cut quickly to a naked makeout session already in progress because even those idiots at the bureau had to laugh at that one. It looked like they were watching someone in the middle of a black box theater show doing some weed-induced monologue. It was tomfoolery.

While we're here at the makeout session, let's take a slight detour into the murder estate before we discuss the Big Stupid of the night. Last week we talked about how I was happy to see the psychopathy scratching just beneath Jacob's Abercrombie & Fitch demeanor, trying to find a way out once he'd finally (finally? That felt dirty to even write) killed someone. And it looks like the person who's going to get the brunt of it is Emma.

Emma. I wouldn't say that anyone deserves being brutally slaughtered but she's certainly been tempting fate. She left her boyfriend to die in the house, then left them to die again after the whole thing was over, then got back to the house and promptly forgot about her lover so she could go nakey with Fearless Leader. Then, after Jacob returns, he finds her drawing Carroll on a sketchpad, though he's not privy to what's actually on the page. It's a little silly. It felt like the next time Jacob came into the room, Emma was going to be sculpting a bust of Joe with her eyes closed while listening to Lionel Richie. It may be natural for a woman as obsessed as she is (and as prone to compartmentalizing as she's wont to do) to separate the crazed mania she feels for Carroll from the romantic "love" she feels for Jacob. Or is she just playing him because he might be a future threat? It's hard to tell.

And a moo point, really. Whether or not she's trying to play him in order to keep him at bay or if she's honestly in love and, like a waffle, she's separated the butter of her obsession from the syrup of her partnership, Jacob is pretty ready to kill her. And, suddenly, you realize that living in a house full of people dreaming of murder may not be the safest place on earth.

Speaking of safest place on earth, let's talk about how Claire ruins everything.

Hardy suffers so much. He has boneheads at work, a metaphor for a ticker, and a drinking problem that I guess hasn't surfaced for most of the season. There's a serial killer that's singling him out, he has the responsibility of the safety of everyone in the Virginia area riding on his shoulders (because anyone can either be a cult member or a victim), and a "death curse" on top of it (something I wish they'd drop -- out of respect for our fallen 9/11 heroes). And the icing on the cake, the reason why he's in this mess in the first place, is because he's in love with a hapless, soul-sucking harpie.

Granted, the action, suspense, and horror genres don't provide much time for sorting out anyone's feelings. By convention, they can only meditate on any one thing for so long before an action beat needs to come around followed by some breather exposition. Typically, anytime someone brings up his or her unrelated inside feelings while a show is obviously crescendoing into a climactic fight sequence, it's going to come off to be an eyerolling or cheesy affair. It can be done right but so often it's done wrong and Claire Matthews really screws the pooch on timing.

It's almost offensive that she brings it up. Her safety is a burden on him and a symptom of the trouble he's into in the first place because he took the bride of the monster he hunted. While mounting an attack with their limited weapons (why didn't they leave the house again?), she decides to pull him aside and ask him the perfunctory question of a scorned stereotype: why didn't you call?

After Hardy concedes to having this conversation, they trade "I love you's" (with an unsurprisingly lack in chemistry) and Claire proceeds to ruin everything else. While Tyson (who may be the first adult on the show I actually like) is able to blow would-be killers up with a point blank shotgun blast and Hardy is holding down the perimeter, Claire decides she's going to go to where the crossfire would be and distract Hardy from his mission. It's like she knows that, if the FBI isn't around, someone has to be there to bungle a pretty decent plan.

So after her shenanigans basically get Tyson shot, Hardy goes after him, what with his training and years of experience, and Claire, who's been charged with applying pressure to a bleeding man's mortal wounds, to SNEAK OUT AND FIND THE HEAVILY ARMED MEN HERSELF. Like her knit sweater would be able to stop bullets.

She gets to that realization after finding them, chilling in their car (?) and decides that she's just going to go with him. After Hardy spends his entire day trying to subvert the hunters, tossing GPS, finding a buddy of his that's in Witness Protection so he's off the grid, and constantly putting his life in the balance, Claire just slides into the backseat of this car and mouths what might be the most irritating "I love you" ever filmed. If you loved me, you'd barricade yourself in the room and stay away from windows like I asked.

What may be the second best part of the episode (definitely first place if there hadn't been that doofus in the Nebbish Writer mask earlier) is that Hardy can't chase them down because they did to him what Park should've done to them just a couple weeks ago: slash the wheels. Things like this come up and I just have to assume they know. The show is winking at us. They understand. They know it's goofy. They have to, right? There's no way you go into your office and write, "a guy in a Poe masks asks for your email" and not know there's nothing serious to be conveyed through that.

I can't even be mad at this show. I almost have to applaud.


NOTES

– I'm still going to defend Joey as the smartest person on the show, even though he was seduced by s'mores. I'm a grown man and I can't guarantee that *I* wouldn't dine with a killer if it meant I could get some of that gooey deliciousness.

– Speaking of s'mores, if this show ever ends up on the bubble (which doesn't seem like anything it'll have to worry about for a while), I hope the save-the-show campaign involves sending s'mores to Fox. But what would you really send? Ravens (Game of Thrones joke here)? Poe masks? Your "chapters" based on network executives?

– The tattoo between Jacob's shoulder blades was almost distracting. I'm not sure if it's the actor's or the character's, but I'm hoping we just let it slide and we don't get a "Stranger in a Strange Land" explanation. Stay home, Bai Ling.

– Ryan Hardy certainly does have a type, doesn't he? They all look like his sister. Seriously, those are all different actresses, right?

Comments (110)
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Ryan Hardy certainly does have a type. Maybe his sister looks like his mother. LOL.

What a stupid show! I ditched the show after 9 episodes in the beginning, but am trying to marathon the remaining episodes since I love Kevin Bacon. Elementary was pretty boring and unintelligent when it started out, but it became something beautiful by the end of the season. I'm hoping such a thing happens here. Right. 5 more to go!
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How many people died to save Claire's life and she just gets in the car!!! All of the their deaths were for nothing! The minute she threw the gun away and got in the car I did the biggest fist palm. STUPID STUPID STUPID. I wouldn't risk a fly trying to save her. I was with Ryan when he said "I quit". His best friend was almost killed and dozens of other people where killed just trying to protect Claire and she just walks away.
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I really want to like this show. I really really do. However this episode was absolutely stupid. I watch Blue Bloods a lot and there was a line in it that is perfect for this show. "What does FBI stand for? Famous but incompetent?" I know I would stand directly in front of a door when I know the guy on the other side has an Uzi AND not shoot first! I think the only reason I'm sticking around on The Following is so I can see Emma get whacked by Joey. I really like the actors on the show but could they Please find a decent writer. I mean there have to be some out there. I could do better than this. Hell Kermit the Frog could do better than this. Oh and an absolutely spot on review of this episode!
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I Love this review so much. I'd be in tears from laughing so hard, if I could muster those suckers up. Yes. Yes to it all. I mean I think part of the reasons I watch this show is because there is so much stupid that it's laughable. It's laughable. Like I'm appalled, and it's grotesque, and I get so irritated by the level of incompetency but like a train wreck you just can't turn away. Just can't do it.
-Joey. Joey is about the most competent person in this show. And the kid is like what, nine? He tries to make a run for it, when he can. He knows when to stay when he can. He knows which people to migrate to. The kid is taking this satchel full of lemons and making lemonade. I love how he ate the s'mores but still give his father the side eye. Like you think you're bribing me, but you really aren't. Man that was me a million years ago. I'll take the chocolate, marshmallow gooey goodness, but you won't have my love dammit. Go Joey. Go.
-Why does everyone hardy seems remotely interested in look like his sister? Twisted.
- Claire. She makes my hand itch because I want to smack her so bad. So very bad. I was done for the nigh. DONE. When she abandoned his best friend on the floor bleeding to freaking death, so she could run outside into danger after he told her not to. You biotch. Dude would have died for you. In vain at that. Your only responsibility was to stop the bleeding and you couldn't even do that? How do you love someone like that? Someone who just doesn't give a damn. Because I couldn't. Why do they want this woman? I don't understand it! And the "I love you" she mumbled. Really? If you loved him you would have listened to his gosh darn directions...all the time. She never listens. Ever. Joe can have her. He can have her and they could live in their big weird mini mansion of psycho and sociopaths and mass murderers in bliss and harmony.
-Yes, dude standing in front of the not so bulletproof door was all kinds of stupid. I think this part annoys me most. Joe's following isn't particularly good. These folks aren't inhumanly savvy or geniuses. These folks aren't special. The only reason they get away with so much is because the Feds are freaking incompetent. There is such a level of incompetency that it frightens me. It's beyond funny...its sad.
- So Jacob finally did kill someone and I was just waiting for him to really let his gf have it. I mean she irritates me enough as it is, because it does't get more stereotypical than the psychopathic crazy girl who compartmentalizes like a BOSS and is hyper-sexual. Oh yeah, because guys can just be crazy, but females have to be crazy and harlots. So when he ended up sleeping with her instead of stabbing her in her sleep, part of me was supremely disappointed, and another part of me was appalled at my reaction and the fact that I may just have become desensitized to violence, because I'm actively rooting for a character's bloody demise. Curse you The Following for taking me there.
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I actually want to make a graph of the amount of people Ryan's killed compared to Carrolls followers/ Carroll... give him a few episodes he'll catch up...
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The best worst show on tv__its just so difficult not to tune in to witness the FBIs botched plans
Now that militias are even followers..who next??*a senator FBI director ??
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I didn't think I'd make it to season 2 short of a miracle and I'm still looking for that miracle...
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Loved the pilot; tried to give the weaker following episodes a chance, but have now bailed. I truly adore James Purefoy as an actor; I think Kevin Bacon is good too - but this show is just.........I don't have words, I really don't. It looked so good on paper; the whole premise - where every single person could be a hunter or the prey, just brilliance. But what they've done to it.....[sigh]
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You hit most of the nails. Still don't get how a person in Witness Protection could a) be found b) not have a contingency out (like a trusted number he can dial when in trouble).
Also, cryptography does not work the way the depicted. The same pattern in two emails is almost guaranteed not to mean the same thing.
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This is quite possibly the best review I've ever read. Well done! I really liked the pilot of this series and even the first couple after that had me hooked. Then, the show started to show cracks of not making any sense. But, at least Kevin Bacon was great and his character well written. Even Parker at that point was well written and acted and Joe Carroll was more believable. Somewhere along the way (I can't pinpoint where or when), the entire show turned to complete crap. At that point, I started hate-watching the show. However, a review like this actually brings entertainment value to the show that is now sorely lacking. I may watch the rest of the season just to see what you'll say about it next. Good stuff!
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Haaa, FarrShadow- I was looking for a term that would express my current feeling for this show- 'Hate-watching' was just the ticket! Lmao, as the kids these days say... And I agree, the reviews provide more entertainment now than the broadcast.
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someone PLEASE tell me why claire decided to have the whole 'why didn't you call?' conversation at that specific moment? i mean, i knew she was an idiot but come on! i just really really hope she dies. and soon. cause her character only serves to anger me every single episode
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great review--love the humor.

I guess the writers want us to hate Claire--congratulations, I kind of want her to die. I was hoping Ryan would shoot her when she wandered downstairs because she heard gunshots (wtf) but I actually like Ryan so I'm happy he didn't have to have more guilt heaped on him.

I wonder if the FBI has any contacts in the IRS---they should get them to audit the writers (I'd be pissed if I was an FBI agent watching this show and if I had a contact in the IRS I would ask a favor or call in a debt owed)

I guess this is a dramady (what ever the word is for a drama/comedy)

I agree with all the ridiculousness mentioned in the review and the comments below so I won't go into it.

Areas of potential interest:
roderick vs joe (roderick looked pissed)
jacob vs emma (I was hoping he would kill her)
emma vs claire (emma is going to be so jealous
Ryan (he needs to go Banshee on everyone)--I like the suggestion of him laughing at Joe about his crappy book!

What is Joe's endgame? He wants Ryan to become what? and why?
Why does Ryan have to love a character to stupid to live (except with this shows logic she will live)?

The actor from Dexter was good in this episode (hate Claire even more for abandoning the guy who risked his life for her--she couldn't hold the freaking pressure on his wounds and ...way to much negative stuff to say about Claire so I will stop here.
The kid deserves better parents.
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Oh and Tyson, was it really necessary to get up close and personal to shoot mr.bad guy in the vest? would it not have sufficed if you had just shot him in the head?? And if you were FBI previously, do you not have a spare vest lying about for yourself? Better still, why not just drive away when Ryan found out Claire bear had been bugged?
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I wondered why didn't they just destroy the tracker and go somewhere else?!?!
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Sat through another episode whereby it would seem the writers are hell bent on portraying the FBI and most probably other federal agents as incompetent fools, to ridicule their capabilities/abilities....or rather lack of. We may have someone in a safe house, but we do not know what safe means. No bullet proof vests. We know there are extremely dangerously armed men about who are about to shoot at us, as we have seen them on the surveillance cameras, but it is safer for me, being vest less to stand in front of the door to make it easier to be shot at. Ryan believes its better to shoot at a baddies vest, rather in the legs or head.. and lets not bother with deflating tyres (this i refer to previous episodes where there were opportunities for both Ryan and Debra to do), but hold on, at Tyson's place, this is what Rodderick has done to Ryan's vehicle... oh, and Claire is getting on my nerves, please someone just shoot her...
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Don't really like Claire, she is always runing off and doing something foolish, I know she loves her son, but she needs to think a bit more before acting.
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Main problem this show has,that it can't be consistent for f-ing 10min in episode. They have these rare moments,that are great and thought through,but then complete 180....sigh.

And someone please ffs,SMACK James's face...I hate that stupid stoner smile of his. He has no charisma as this GRAND serial killer. Kill him:D...and son...and Claire...and let Ryan deal with his mini-me's:D
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Could this show make the FBI look any worse? This show is just plain goofy, why am I watching it?
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This is the best unintentional comedy show on air. I can't stop watching! Oh Kevin Bacon, why did you have to get stuck on this!
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I believe you missed one extremely dumb moment in this episode - why are Hardy and his pal the only ones not wearing a bullet proof vest?
And, say you happen to be shooting a bad guy with said vest on him and you are vest free - wouldn't you take a moment to strip it from the bad guy's body and put it on?
I totally saw that "best friend of hero gunned down defending him" moment a mile away and am positive the writers are on some weird quest to go through every cliche' in the horror-thriller book!
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or, for that matter, pick up the dead guys uzi, to complement the pea-shooter and lack of ammo for the shotgun...... sheesh.
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This is a Kevin Williamson project, a writer who made his bones off Scream, a movie series that supposedly plays off horror-thriller cliches, so why would you be surprised at a lack of originality?
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how many people are watching just to see what ridiculous event will occur each episode. This show is a complete farce, the only serial (no pun intended) where I miss and ep. and don't really miss ANYTHING. Is fun to watch for what stupid thing they'll do next but in light of shows that haven't made a second season, how this one does is head scratching at best.
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I still like the part when they the attackers were coming into the house, Claire just comes down (not that she could of been of help) and 'scares/distracts' Ryan cause she heard a gunshot. uhhh, intruders are coming into the house and they are defending it with guns.. And then when Tyson gets shot.. she says 'we have to get him to a hospital'... really? do you have to mention the obvious and you are in the middle of a GUN FIGHT!

and when she hears a noise outside she asked 'what was that?' Really? What do you think it is??
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I'm missing the poll choice when the black guy asked during the decryption scene "Is this live?" #facepalm
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The FBI and Hardy know that Joe & Co. won't actually kill Claire - that they want to kidnap her and parade her in front of her ex. So where are the tracking devices? Even a prisoner's ankle bracelet? Joe's carnival of killers are smart enough to put a GPS on her sweater, why aren't the FBI?
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I voted for the Red Shirt scene of course. THE facepalm moment of the episode. I quit the show after the second flashback with David Zayas. Unbearable, i can't stand this anymore. Sorry.

On the last photo Kevin Beacon seems to say: "Really, guys? I have to work with THIS script?" Ciao, The Following but i can spend my time more usefully.
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Stay home, Bai Ling: awesome.
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The FBI on the show needs to start recruiting from killer joe's crazy club! Are they asleep at the wheel or do the writers actually believe that people will continue to tune in to these completely one-sided exchanges week in and week out? We are supposed to be intrigued or actually care, but at this point I could actually care less about the big reveal that joe not only has Claire back, but the girl from Hardy's past as well. At this rate I wouldn't put it past these writers to introduce Ryan's mother in the season finally as a supporter of Joe's crazy crew! so far we have seen more structure and organization from a bunch of multitasking (they have ordinary jobs still) crazed followers than we have in any episode from ANY law enforcement officer, state or federal! Can anyone explain or remind me of why we are supposed to care abour Claire or believe that the FBI is capable of anything at this point? Claire has provided nothing, but getting agents tasked with protecting her in danger and killed! I guess I am to believe that she is an empowered character now by bravely going to Joe in the name of seeing her son? I'm sorry, what else is on?
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If Joe's reach is far enough that the girl from Hardy's past is a member, it's occurred to me that the FBI director or one of his loved ones could be a follower. We've only heard his voice, basically begging Ryan to help find Joe, and if Joe's sequel involves restoring Ryan as a hero and rescuing the "princess" (Claire) from Carroll's evil wizard or Grendel (take your pick), that might fit whatever overarching plot the show might have. Apparently I'm still intrigued.
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When Jacob started seeing Paul everywhere I was like, "Oh no! It's the hunter's curse!" Then I remembered what show I was watching. I've started playing a game that is called, "what stupid character is going to die" because someone always does something stupid and then gets killed. It's normally the FBI or the cops. Claire and Ryan's kiss was just weird. That was not the time to talk about the feelings. People were coming to kill them so yeah, deal with that. And how hard is it to stay in the house? It would have been sweet justice if Claire got shot because of oops. Joey did give into s'mores, but he didn't look like he was enjoying it. Can you really blame him?
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I think most people understand that most shows have characters do stupid things on occasion to drive the plot. The Following just takes it to a new level, most of the characters are incapable of using their brains. Claire was taking a cell phone apart early in the episode. Here's a thought if you intend to give yourself up to the cult, put the cell phone back together and place a call to the FBI so they can track the phone.

The best part of the episode was when the gunman had Claire and told Hardy to drop his weapon. To which Hardy said, "or what?" and proceeded to shoot the guy in the chest. Hardy will be even more dangerous when he learns of the double tap or to shoot serial killers in the head.
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Claire didn't have a cell phone. Ryan asked her about that after they drove away from the hotel. And which would make sense if the FBI wanted her out of contact with any media reports.

Stupidity doesn't drive the plot. Stupidity is the plot, and they set up a few set pieces around it. ;)
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Claire did not have a cell phone but she did take Hardy's apart and so far as the audience sees she doesn't give it back to him. I don't think its out of the realm of possibility she still had access to that phone.
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"If you loved me, you'd barricade yourself in the room and stay away from windows like I asked." hillarious:)
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Am I the only one who is watching this show solely to see how the Jacob-Emma-Paul-Carroll storyline plays out? I mean the Paul part already did for the most part, but I totally dig him haunting Jacob. And yes, since Jacob is scary now Emma should watch her back. But she probably won't. And that could be interesting.
Yes, Claire does ruin everything. But she's doing it to finally get closer to her son, something the FBI has yet to come up with a better plan for. If they had even half brains, they would have realized a long time ago they could use Claire to get Joey back and/or catch one of Carroll's minions.
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Jacob and Paul are my favorites - mainly because they're so pretty. I hope Paul's ghost stays around, preferably wearing a towel.
Apart from the purely superficial, at least the psychopaths have chemistry - something that's sadly lacking in the 'good guy' camp
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totally agree about the psychopaths being the only ones to have chemistry. I'm not sure if the law enforcement characters are specifically written to be hollow cliches or if they are just written/acted badly.
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If the FBI didn't have to spend some of their time rescuing Claire a few episodes back, maybe they could rescue Joey.
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Ugh this show is sooooo stupid....I usually give shows a lot of slack with realism, but the idiocy of everybody is too much to take. I'm done.
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"Poe masks? Your "chapters" based on network executives?" LMAO. Cancellation guaranteed. They want a cult following, not to be followed by a cult.

I keep watching, thinking it will improve, or at least grow less ridiculous. Alas, no joy. However, in our home we haven't shouted at the tele this much since the close of football season, so there is that at least.

Another dumb moment: pretty much every cult member has been kitted out with Kevlar (which are bloody expensive BTW), so when Hardy shot the one outside the hotel, I was shocked that 1) Hardy didn't put one in his head to finish him off and 2) the guy got right up and began firing! Being shot in the chest at pointblank range by a 9mm semiautomatic handgun is going to frackin' hurt, crack a couple of ribs, even shatter something, collapse a lung, stop the heart, etc. It isn't something one just shakes off like being struck with a snowball. Come on Show! We all agree it is fiction, but unless this series merged with Fringe when I wasn't paying attention, I assume it takes place in the same universe we exist in, you know, the one in which the laws of physics remain inescapable and being struck with a high velocity projectile is still a medically relevant event.
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If he didn't shot him in the head he could of at least run him over a few times!
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I liked this episode. I am cheering for the serial killer groupies (although I would not in real life) so the FBI screw ups are a good thing..,
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Man, when you have a poll like that, you just have to have an "all of the above" slot. I mean, really.
As for the FBI incompetence and stupidity, the only explanation is that there is a major unseen Follower as one of the heads of the agency. What am I doing? this episode just plain stinks so bad that even Hell smells like roses.
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But maybe one of the best worst parts was the last scene, with the unexpected visit that showed up at the cult's. Oh, who would have thought such a thing! (yes, I'm being sarcastic).
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Oh, I just can't stop laughing! And not to mention the fact it takes a life for the FBI IT to encrypt one freaking e-mail while the cult managed to find Claire's location in 2 minutes.
This show is my new "the one you love to hate".
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I thought it couldn't get ANY worse than the "we have surrounded the farm house episode!!" but I was WRONG!! This was the worst ep of the season hands down!! From the comments I've been reading the CTU comparisons are fair..New drinking games! (1) Every time an agent gets killed/outsmarted/can't shoot ..have one. (2) Everytime Bacon/Hardy gives the Joe Carrols' ripping me up inside face!!!
BUT like Ringer I will give this show a chance and I see FOX will too..It does have POTENTIAL..
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My enjoyment of this episode was hobbled all the way through by Tyson's status as someone in Witness Protection (which I think would preclude having a picture of himself and Ryan in his past life on his desk or Ryan knowing where he lived) and Ryan taking Claire to Tyson's house with no apparent strategy for withdrawing to another location or having any way to summon reinforcements.

Kudos to the show, however, for the promised "shocking ending" not being either Emma or Jacob killing the other or Claire killing Ryan's friend and revealing herself to be one of Joe's flock (yet). Claire didn't seem quite as annoying as she has been in most of the episodes, but she seems so oblivious to the number of people who've died or been put at risk trying to protect her, I find her almost as repulsive as Joe. And the writers are trying so hard to make us think Claire's motivation is finding her son that I'm suspecting a feint. I was surprised by the last scene, but it would have been even more effective if we'd ever heard of Molly before this episode.
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I'm pretty sure WP doesn't preclude you having personal effects. At worst, it might be prohibited but I doubt that would let a "go his own way" type like Tyson deter him. By the same taken, nothing stopping him from calling his partner/friend of 20 years, telling him to come to him if he ever has a life-shattering emergency, and giving him an address.
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Where were the rest of the agents at the hotel when all the shooting was happening? How did they get away so easily?...gotta love this show!
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Now that I think about it, probably the most unrealistic part of this episode is that fact that Amanda Porter hasn't broken yet. She's currently being interrogated by the CIA and just about everyone else. Still though, the CIA. Those people really know how to interrogate people. They're the experts on interrogating people. They're the ones that you send in when you have to get the location of a dirty bomb from a terrorist suspect, and CTU happens to be unavailable. They've broken loads and loads of hard, cold serial killers who hurt and kill people for a living. How have they not gotten any relevant information out of Amanda? It's not even like she's anyone of any importance in the cult in the first place. She's not Carroll, or Roderick, or even one of the members who have military or paramilitary training.

She's the person who killed an albeit abusive husband, rather sloppily and unplanned, before immediately rushing off to a federal penitentiary to consult with a serial killer about what she should do next, when all of her questions could have been answered via common sense or Google. If it weren't for Carroll's cult taking her in, she would have been arrested and sentenced to jail in a heartbeat. But when it came time for her to prove herself to Carroll and the rest of the cult, she ultimately failed her mission and got caught. So yeah, I don't see why Hardy is presumably the one person who could potentially get information out of her. I mean, I could probably break her if I had enough time. Remember, these cult members, and especially her, joined the cult in the first place because they are highly susceptible and feel like their lives aren't meaningful enough. So why isn't someone, anyone, using this knowledge against this highly susceptible woman? Seriously people, it's not like she's spent years training to be the ultimate killer/terrorist who won't break no matter what. She should be a nice break from the people you normally have to interrogate. You know, the ones who are actually good at things, and aren't overflowing with self-esteem issues. Really people, get it done.
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At first I thought you were posting about Revenge (Amanda Porter)
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Yeah, I was also thinking that as I was talking about her. Interestingly enough, I mentioned Homeland in one of these posts, and Marin Ireland (the actor who plays Amanda Porter), was also in Homeland. Small coincidence, I know, but it would seem that she has a thing for playing people who get interrogated.
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The FBI are the ones interrogating Amanda. Just the Washington branch. The CIA has no jurisdictional authority in the U.S. I suppose CTU might get a crack at her, but that seems a legal grey area of whether Carroll and his people are actually terrorists, or just an organized gang.
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For some reason I recall one of the characters saying that the Carroll investigation had been handled so poorly, and had gotten so out of control, that pretty much every law enforcement agency was getting in on the action. Either the CIA was mentioned, or I assumed they were part of the deal. Regardless, I got this mixed up with the agency that they actually said was interrogating Amanda. As you rightly said, it was the FBI, just the Washington branch, though since I'm actually from Washington (the state) I would've added a D.C. on the end there, or just said D.C. But that's an extremely minor issue and I question why I've even brought it up, haven't deleted the previous sentence (and this one as well), and have continued to write this sentence explaining how minor a point it is but yet I'm still going to leave it in here.

Anyway, I was completely wrong about the CIA interrogating Amanda. However, my point still stands that Amanda Porter shouldn't be that hard to break. Or at least, at least one of the FBI agents in D.C. should be up to the task, and should be able to get way more out of her than the specifics of her religious beliefs and movie preferences. It's an extremely unlikely world in which only one man is capable of breaking any member of a particular cult, even if the captured member in question has little to no self esteem or sense of self worth, which would explain why she joined Carroll's cult in the first place.

With regards to whether or not the CIA can operate in the U.S., emmiegirl brought up the point that they can sort of operate domestically. They can actually spy and investigate American citizens in the U.S., provided they obtain a warrant from a federal judge. However, anyone who watches Homeland knows that in some cases these judges don't even get told who is being spied on, or the specifics of why the CIA thinks this spying is warranted in the first place. Of course, this doesn't have much bearing in this particular situation, since the CIA would actually need suspects in order to spy on them, and as everybody likes to point out, the FBI taskforce investigating Carroll's cult is notoriously bad at their collective jobs.

And finally, Carroll's cult is most definitely a terrorist organization. They also happen to be a well organized gang as well, since his following fits both definitions. The definition of terrorism is: "the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion" (Merriam-Webster). While this definition is very broad, and doesn't necessarily fit what we think of terrorists today (people who make horror movies fall into this definition), this has a lot to do with how much fairly recent events (especially 9/11) have shaped the public perception of what a terrorist is. If you ask the average person these days to mentally picture a terrorist, they'll probably think of someone wearing a bomb-vest and killing a lot of people in the attempt to attain their political and ideological goals. But there are other types and groups of people who are, and have always been, terrorists.

The KKK (more-so in the past than presently) have been known to perform acts of terrorism. These acts consisted of using fear (like burning crosses on lawns) to get certain people to do certain things, or killing certain people to not only spread fear, but actively eliminate the people they hated. Carroll's following have done things that are very similar. They have not only killed several people, but they have also used fear to try and get what they want. Amanda Porter is a perfect example of this, as her mission, to kill as many people named Claire Matthews in the are, was intended to spread fear, and convince the "real" Claire Matthews to "turn herself in." Many of the other followers have spread fear through acts of violence, such as that one guy who burned that other guy while wearing a Poe mask. So yes, Carroll's cult is a terrorist organization, they just don't blow up bombs that kill thousands of people, and nor are they affiliated with a religious or political ideology in the traditional sense, though there reverence and study of Poe is spiritual in nature.
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That CIA mandate has changed somewhat since 9/11. They are not meant to operate domestically but they can investigate, gather intelligence and act on intel in furtherance of an investigation (in most cases) provided they secure a warrant from a federal judge, though typically they are required to leave the apprehension and prosecution of suspects to the FBI. At this point the Carroll cult has created enough general mayhem, death and public endangerment to merit reclassification as terrorists, so it would not be absolutely impossible for the FBI to hand over a suspect to the CIA for interrogation or even to appeal to the NSA for help in determining how the cult is compromising communications for multiple federal agencies or using NSA tech to even the odds. It just seems really unlikely that this sort of inter-agency cooperation would happen in any universe.
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It might be possible, but the onscreen dialogue suggests that the FBI is still interrogating Amanda, just the Washington branch.
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I don't know who is interrogating Amanda but it was said on the show that the FBI, CIA, and NSA were involved in trying to capture Joe and his group.
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New drinking game for The Following. Take a drink every time they say "micro Uzi." Really, was it so important to slip that in they had to say it so many times?
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Thinly veiled dig about the failure to pass assault rifle legislation?
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Hardy went gangbusters a couple of episodes back using a handgun, so I doubt that was it.
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Why do militant gunmen have kevlar vests on but trained government agents do not?!

Why would you stand directly behind a door when you know there are heavily armed men outside - This was fudginh hilarious in its idiocy.

This show is one big fat mess, yet for some reason, makes me want to watch it.
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So was anybody expecting David Zayas to tell Roderick and his people. "Hey, I know sociopaths. I work with a sociopath. And you, gentlemen, are no sociopaths."

Also, is it just me, or does a clean-shaven Zayas look a lot like Peter Deluise?
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Ryan's ex being Joe's follower, Oh why did they have to go there?!
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To show how awesome Joe is

Joe Carroll.........what a guy - and maybe (if he could get his criminal record expunged) presidential candidate? and also a revolutionary mental health professional

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At the rate the FBI is doing their job, it'd almost be easier if they got the cast of 24 involved, reopened CTU, and have Ryan flip the FBI the bird and got Chloe to track the damn cult, probably have an airstrike on standby before the end of the episode. Seriously though, forget the blundering idiots in the suits who'd fall for the "Your shoelace's untied" if they were wearing slippers, time for Ryan to go lone wolf, oh wait, he pretty well is.

From now on, he's Special Agent Lone Wolf.

I can imagine it ending with Ryan finally stopping Joe, then like the ending to Night of the Living Dead, mistake Claire for a surviving cultist, and shoot her before realizing it was her, probably followed by the house falling on her so he doesn't get a chance to pretend to mourn, then the scene fading away off to some random quote ala Criminal Minds.

Also, nice to see someone other than Joey showing some sense, Tyson probably taught Ryan the whole "Just shoot 'em, who cares what they gotta say, probably boring crap, like "Joe says hello" "You wouldn't dare shoot me.", or "The total for your order comes to.."" He was even badass enough to take a bullet and still keep going, I really hope they bring him back...

As for the dumb moment of the episode, they all were bad, all of them, the video had me waiting for a call from Joe going "You will die in 3 days, cheers!", Claire made me want Ryan to start shooting the car, the FBI agent standing in front of the door being a bullet sponge was just bad, they need FBI consultants on there.

I expect Emma's gonna die by season end, or probably Parker, hmmm, is there going to be a dead pool for this show?



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As my wife noted, why not just bring Jack Bauer back and call The Following a new season of 24. They even referred to Carroll's people as terrorist types: where's CTU when you need 'em?
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but the writers want the government law enforcement agencies to look stupid/incompetent...expect for Hardy who isn't an agent anymore (and Mike Weston). If CTU was reactivated or brought into the show then the show would be over in 1 episode since CTU wasn't composed of bumbling fools
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When I first saw those three marshals hanging out with Claire, my first thought was: "Those three people are just about the only ones that can be trusted on this show. After this is done they should be reassigned to the taskforce, be trusted with all the secrets, and be given all the important assignments. But then Roderick and his two former-militia buddies waltzed into the hotel and I realized that, nope, none of these guys were probably going to survive. And after seeing their performance, I don't think they'd be that good at anything anyway.

First of all, there were two extremely suspicious cameras outside the door to their room. Anyone, and I mean anyone, who sees those things would immediately get suspicious. Half the guests would probably have posted pictures of them onto blogs and tumblr within a week of their installation, which means that criminals looking for people in protective custody need only to search online for suspicious cameras in hotels. The whole point of protective custody is to be innocuous, so that people can't find you. Get some small, buttonhole type cameras, people. If those cameras hadn't been there, those cult members would have searched the room like they did all the others, instead of shooting through the door. Which means that one marshal may have survived, or at least wounded or killed one of them.

Second of all, and most people have already pointed this out, the head marshal stood behind that door instead of waiting off to the side, making him a perfect target for anyone shooting through the door. In his defense, he had been watching those two guys clear the rest of the hall, and up until then they had been opening the doors and taking a look around. So logically it would make sense for him to assume that they would do the same for that room, and simply forgot that there were extremely obvious cameras on the ceiling. Except, if they had opened the door there would still be the issue of him standing right there in front of them, without any cover whatsoever. I think that would have made him look even more stupid, if things had actually gone the way he thought they would. Seriously dude, would standing behind a wall really have killed you? No, in fact, it could very well have saved your life.

And finally, there are the two other marshals that went out in the hallway to scope things out. Now, let's examine what these two guys know. First of all, they saw two suspicious men entering the hotel, and have also been made aware that the cult likely knows where they are. So it's not like they're in that hallway on a regular patrol; they should be on high alert. Second of all, when they end up running into the two cult members, they are both wearing masks. Good old-fashioned, black ski masks that people only wear if they're committing a crime or trying to look cool. And considering the military-grade guns they were carrying, the only conclusion anyone could draw is: those guys aren't your average hotel guests. More specifically, for the two marshals, the conclusion they must have immediately drawn is: these are the droids we're looking for. And yet, both the marshals were gunned down before either of them had even drawn their weapon. Even worse, the guy in back never even ducked, nor tried to take cover at any time. They both stood straight as a target at a shooting gallery for every second of that showdown, and they were gunned down as such. Yeah, that was pretty horrible, considering those guys were presumably trained in this thing for more than five minutes.
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Hotels have cameras in the hallway as a matter of course. No one would find it odd to see them in a hotel hallway.
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Yes, but you normally see those cameras at the ends of hallways near the stairs, or at intersections where hallways branch off. It would be odd if you saw them in the middle of a hotel hallway with no intersection, and on either side of one room in particular. Unless that room happened to say something like "Staff Only," and weren't one of the actual rooms for guests, I would be immediately suspicious.
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I think they just wanted to reuse the hotel location they had from when Mike got captured. ;) Although that looked like a dorm, not a hotel. So did this place once you got past the lobby.
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Theoeretically, yes. But I've worked at enough hotels to know that you put them up wherever maintenance feels like putting them up, where the wiring is, where they can find anchor points, and so on. Most guest don't even notice the cameras, much less notice if they're suspiciously placed.

But as I noted elsewhere, a hotel wouldn't let the government set up a safe house on the premises in any case, so it's kind of a moot point. For exactly the reason seen here: it tends to get your staff shot up. Plus it isn't really a secret from the staff.
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Fair point. And yes, I agree about the whole safe house in a hotel thing being unlikely. Besides, if I were the FBI I wouldn't want to put a safe house in a crowded building, with several people walking in and out every day, and with (as you said) a large staff that will easily figure out much of what is going on. So you would think that both parties would be pretty opposed to such a relationship in the first place.
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I also like how they described the place as a "roadside motel." I've seen less elegant ski lodges. The lobby alone was huge and nicely decorated. I also suspect you can't open hotel/motel windows that easily.

Also, busy hotels make really lousy safehouses. Daily maid service, refusal would be suspicous after one or two days. Hotels don't _want_ guests refusing service: the place looks like garbage when they check out. Of course, the Feds could have cut a deal with the hotel manager, but htat would have further compromised security.

Candidate for dumbest thing of the night: I liked how the Marshals in the lobby saw two suspicious people AND LET THEM THROUGH. But at least they were nice enough to call Ferguson and tell him that there were two suspicious people coming up. That might cut ice if they didn't know that a bunch of soldier-types were looking for Claire. But they did. And presumably once communications security was compromised, Nick and Debra should have called Ferguson to warn them that Followers were on the way.

Also, what happened to Turner. Last week Arron the Follower techie said that they traced the call to Turner's phone, but he wasn't at the "roadside motel."
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Plus the two guys in the lobby totally disappeared during the subsequent shootout and escape.
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Good point about the Marshals. So it isn't just the FBI that is utterly incompetent on this show, it is all Federal Agencies. Joe Carroll will undoubtedly hatch a coup upon the US Gov't next season and face little serious opposition. Ryan Hardy will be leading the cast of the Red Dawn reboot to take back the White House to save all Americans from being forced to change their names to those used in a Poe work.
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Also, the FBI had a surveillance system set up in the hotel, with screens and cameras. No hotel would let the FBI use their business as a safehouse, and the FBI wouldn't choose such a public place as a safehouse.
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Ryan pointed out that calling them would be a bad idea, since that's how the cult found the location of the safe-house in the first place. The real question is why anyone thought Ryan had to convince Claire to move to a new location in the first place. Seriously, if I were ever in protective custody, and were told that we were moving to another location, it's not like I would argue with them because I'd become accustomed to the hotel we were staying at (though as you point out, I would hope it wasn't a hotel at all, since busy hotels are not the best place to hunker down with a bunch of marshals and hide). No, the battle was convincing Claire to go into protective custody in the first place; that was when Ryan was needed to convince her to leave her house and friends behind in order to stay safe. I can see why she would have a problem with completely leaving her entire world behind, and hanging out all day indoors with three marshals who are watching her at all times. But I don't see why she would have any problem with changing locations. You'd think that she'd be happy to get some fresh air.

As for Turner, I think he was just there initially to make sure everything was alright. Since he's the main marshal in the taskforce, hanging out at that hotel 24/7 would literally get in the way of his job. So when they initially called him, he was at the hotel checking up on Claire to make sure she was alright (since they weren't about to give anyone on the taskforce the number of one of the marshals with Claire, as that would defeat the purpose of Claire's location being need-to-know).
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But that makes no sense. They already )know_ that Carroll's people hacked the witness protection comm line. You call them and tell them a) to get out, and b) that there are most likely armed people heading for your location.
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The fact that the FBI can't send a single call that the cult won't be able to trace, in of itself, is an insanely silly idea. If Carrol can call up Ryan at all hours of the day on a sat phone, and never worry about being traced (even with the entire resources of the FBI and U.S. Marshals going up against him), then surely the FBI can manage to make one single call like that.
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I think their reasoning was that when the cult traced that call, they only got the area it was made in. If they sent another call, and that call was intercepted, the cult could very well be able to narrow down the location significantly. But yeah, I agree, it ultimately makes no sense, and is just another example of how the taskforce is really bad at coordinating and allocating resources. Because even if a second call told the cult members exactly where Claire was being held, it would have been worth it to warm the marshals to get out of there immediately.
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@Gislef: I think "cult" is still the appropriate word. Yes, the members can be described as Carroll's followers, but they seem to be using the word "follower" as if it means "a person who's been assigned the task to follow someone around". So when one of us says "the followers", it's kind of ambiguous. Does it refer to all the cult members or just the ones doing that specfic task?
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Well, that, and the Followers ("Cult" is another TV show :) ), had already narrowed it down to the "roadside motel." And why just send Ryan. Send some local cops. Instead they just said, "We'll let Ryan fly there by helicopter and not tell anyone else that Claire and the marshals are in danger."
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I am now rooting for Joe Carroll.
Seriously.
Joe= a teacher, a father, an author, someone who inspires others, a lover (hi emma BOOM),Ryans book is about Joe, he's a leader, has an extensive intelligence network better than the government, he knows how to get a lawyer to do what he wants, he's charming, intelligent and a people person, he has a kick ass mansion and now he's got the girl he loves

And now Ryan
Cant use a microwave in case it screws up his pace maker
Sister issues
Lot of people die around him
Not a real FBI agent - he's a consultant
Abused Joe's civil rights while in custody
No kids
Alcoholic - however that seems to have been forgotten after the first 3 episodes
ALL HIS WOMEN LEAVE HIM FOR JOE

sure Joe might have killed a few sorority girls, but his positives are so many, they can overshadow one or two quirks

Joe Carroll.........what a guy
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Also, Joe wasn't a very good author, by all accounts.

If I was Ryan, I'd taunt him about it on the phone every time Joe calls him.
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The book Joe wrote didnt sell too well, but so far we only have Ryan's word that it's not very good
Ryan is probably jealous and ashamed
Jealous because Joe is awesome - he even set Ryan up with Molly (adding match maker to his accomplishments)
Ashamed because he trashes Joe's tome of Gothic romance (with possible relationship advice), while Ryan know his own book is a cheap, trashy true crime fluff piece, probably so sensationalist that it belongs in the National Enquirer!


Joe Carroll.........what a guy - possible (if he could get his criminal record expunged) presidential candidate, revolutionary mental health professional and also an author derided by government agents because his literary prose are so powerful!!
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The critic who was immolated in the second episode didn't think much of Joe's book either, so it's not just Ryan.
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Wuthering Heights, Moby Dick, The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm all received bad reviews.
As has Shakespere, Tolstoy, Anne Frank, Rudyard Kipling
Stephen Kings Carrie was rejected 30 times
Gone with the Wind rejected 38 times
JK Rowling had Harry Potters first book rejected by over a dozen publishers
Joe has 1 bad review from Ryan and 1 bad review for a flammable book critic
And i would like to point out that Mr Carroll can not be held responsible for the death of said critic as he was incarcerated at that time - unable to personally supervise his fans with mental health issues.
We also do not know whether the critic had been influenced by Ryan or his cronies at the FBI to write a bad review - i havent heard anyone linked to the FBI denying this.
There is obviously a conspiracy to keep Joe Carroll out of the public consciousness so he doesnt expose the corruption afoot in the US government.

Joe Carroll.........what a guy - possible (if he could get his criminal record expunged) presidential candidate, revolutionary mental health professional, an author derided by government agents because his literary prose are so powerful and now FREEDOM FIGHTER!!!
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Except Joe is also dumb enough to trust a bunch of sociopaths to do what he wants them to.

And Ryan is a better shot.
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Joe is CLEVER enough to manipulate a big bunch of sociopaths to do what he wants

AND has more sociopaths than Ryan has bullets in his gun and spare clip - if he really wanted to kill Ryan he could have by now.

so i can add benevolence to Joe's growing awesomeness

Sociopaths are moving (and seemingly willing) bullet absorbers so that Joe can move on with his life and possibly write another under appreciated master piece

Joe Carroll.........what a guy - and maybe (if he could get his criminal record expunged) presidential candidate?
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Well, it's hard to tell if they're psychopaths, or sociopaths. Most of them seem to crave love and affection. But we're not seeing Joe doing any manipulating. If psychiatrists could control psychotic behavior by nodding their heads, smiling benevolently, and saying "I love and respect you," they'd be out of business in a year. :)
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Joe Carroll putting price gouging psychiatrists out of business by giving people with mental quirks a purpose in life...a man of the the people!!

Joe Carroll.........what a guy - and maybe (if he could get his criminal record expunged) presidential candidate? and also a revolutionary mental health professional
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Nick, I was dying reading this, thanks for another hilarious review! Stay home, Bai Ling, is probably the best thing I've ever read (I think I read your reviews like 10% for hilarious Lost references). Claire Matthews is the worst. I miss Ice Man for teen crush/Cadet Kelly reasons. If there's one person I don't want to die, it's Emma. The threesome is so campy and awesome. Jacob's "watch your back" to Emma was the best/funniest thing I've seen yet.
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And on this latest episode of Feds whack-a-mole. Because really that is what this has turned into. And has me convinced that some of the writers were audited or held in line by the TSA for something. Because the writers have to have some type of ax to grind against Federal Law Enforcement. That could be the reason why they write them like they are inept. Standing in front of the door? Really? Even the wanna be militia guy knew enough to wear a vest.

Speaking of the Militia guys. I almost laughed when they said better than ex military. But then I thought about it. And given how they depict Federal Law Enforcement I don't even want to know how they would depict ex military handling this situation. They would probably just start shooting themselves. And given the recently deceased Charlie and his penchant for slamming his head against things. That assessment probably isn't that far off.

And Jacob, I don't even think Joey is intimidated by Jacob. Nor should he be. Trying to make Jacob scary is equivalent of making a puppy that keeps peeing on the floor your new guard dog.

I would go on about Claire, but I think Nick covered it rather well. For a professor, she is a moron.

The fun part will be Emma's reaction to Claire.

Joey I agree is still the most intelligent character in the show. Even with Joe suckering him in with Smores.
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