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FOX (ended 2015)

The Following S02E02: "For Joe"

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Is there a thing for fool me a dozen times?

As Ryan Hardy, chief plaything of Joe Carroll and anyone who wants to be Joe Carroll, you would think that there would be one certainty in his life, no matter how many theatrical murders occur or how many anonymous strangers get toyed with post-mortem. And that's the victim booby trap.

Ryan Hardy always knows that there's going to be some manipulative game where some beautiful killer wants Hardy to play into his or her hand. Bait the guy with some vague threats and watch him come running, probably without any backup, so that the killer can continue the game with no complications. Whether it's dragging Hardy off somewhere so that Joey or Claire can be kidnapped, or staging a meet-up in a crowd, Hardy always falls for that old walking-alone-into-a-trap chestnut. Every single time. Even a dog would eventually learn to not drool when the bell rings and there's no food.

But Hardy comes running anyway, most of the time literally. While I could've rationalized some of his solo scrambling last season when he had to move quickly and everything law enforcement touched turned to crap, it's wearing thin of late. The most obvious and painful of these situations was in the season finale last year, when Hardy could've taken Weston with him to Carroll's in order to smite Carroll once and for all. If you were like me, you tossed your hands into the air helplessly as Hardy denied Weston from coming, even though he'd just said that Carroll didn't know he was alive. "Really, man? Really? That's exactly what he wants." It was like watching a live-action version of the moment when Homer's brain walked out.


It's not new that Hardy can't get out of his own way. And it's one thing for it to be a quirk that he's self-destructive; I can deal with that. But this is exhausting.

He went to that brownstone alone after tracking the phone number (the world's quickest phone tap) so he wouldn't spook whoever was waiting. His reasoning was that the police would all show up with sirens and SWAT and heralds with trumpets announcing their arrival. It didn't occur to Hardy that the police can be subtle when they want to be. They do catch criminals every once in a while (or so I assume). Whatever, though, that's Hardy being Hardy, a guy just trying to do it for himself. But it was really, really stupid for Hardy to run all the way to whatever gala and not just give someone a bit of heads up that, "Oh yeah, the people who've been contacting me just threatened to kill Lily Gray, too, soooo..." None of that. Keep that little tidbit to yourself, Hardy. Attaboy. Really give the killers every opportunity to get away with literal murder. There's just no reason for it.

Meanwhile, the FBI has been reduced to our meta recap engine, sweeping through crime scenes to let us know how they're basically useless at everything except letting everyone know what just happened. Weston spent this entire episode restating the obvious. Mendez was nothing but sass. Phillips was nothing but gruffness when sass wasn't enough to punctuate how much they didn't like Hardy. They're a special task force dedicated to Joe Carroll and all the cult members, and no one seems to be able to track down anyone.


That might be the most troublesome thing about the The Following's FBI this season. Now that they don't have a chance to bungle anything because it happens before they even have a chance to ruin it, we're left with the fact that they have two Carroll experts on the case (Mendez and Weston both did their theses on Carroll), but no one seems to have a clue about what's happening. Except one-man-army Ryan Hardy. The government knows every time I say the word "bomb" on the telephone, but no one seems to be able to track down Emma because she's got pink hair now.

Kevin Williamson's explanation for this, at least with regard to last season, has been that the FBI can't catch Carroll or else the show is over. While Season 2 is proving that incorrect (Carroll's not even the one the FBI is after right now), I get what he means. The FBI has to have flaws, or else this wouldn't be a cat-and-mouse game. And it seems like the writers have been reading these reviews by making the FBI not look like a gaggle of simpletons, gingerly pressing buttons in their command center and hoping their magic programs will scan the images of bodies and come up with 3-D markers. Now they look authoritative when they press those buttons and hope their magic programs will come up with those 3-D markers.

But they've just become a nuisance to Hardy. At best, they move too slowly and run too loudly, and at worst, they're completely insolent and Hardy thinks he can do a better job. In the wake of shows demonstrating somewhat competent police forces that can still make mistakes (The Killing) or flawed federal agencies that don't necessarily win every time but, when they lose, they're actually outsmarted (Homeland), it feels silly to watch this version of the FBI twiddle their thumbs and then react in slow motion when things actually happen. And it's all mostly because Hardy wants to keep everything a secret-secret. "Let me check it out first. Because these other trained professionals are idiots."


Probably the most interesting thing about "For Joe" was the transformation taking place in Arkansas. Carroll lives, indeed, but what the show decided to do with him during the year away is weird and unfounded, yet might've been slightly interesting had they decided to explore it a little more. Poor Joe. He's come to terms with the fact that he's a failure at just about everything he does. He can't even lead a cult of sociopaths or raise a child. So he's taken to early retirement by growing out a beard and kicking it in the Ozarks with the town bicycle who used to send him letters in hopes of reforming him. Women, amirite?

But the fact that they made Carroll essentially renounce his entire philosophy by tossing him into depression is intriguing. It's actually slightly disappointing that he found his taste for blood again so soon. I think I might've really liked watching Carroll go back and forth a little more, seeing these kids try to get his attention while he really tried out a normal life. Maybe Ryan Hardy finds Carroll in Arkansas and recruits him, Hannibal Lecter-style, to catch the Dead Ringers. At the very least, let him mull over his situation for another episode or two before caving to his murderous instinct. It's disappointing. I mean, it took him so long to come up with a pseudonym ("What's like Carroll but starts with another letter?" "Aarroll?" "No, that's weird." "Barrel?" "No, that's a thing." "Darryl?" "Bingo!"). But at least we won't have to listen to the Southern accent anymore.


NOTES

– Rousseau's name is Giselle and they're really letting her hang out and get comfortable before giving her something to do. Outside of teaching us that "morte" means "dead" in French and having a scene in a towel, her main task seems to be to antagonize Carlos and sitting in that hotel room. Obviously, she wants to be a killer, but I suppose her abilities are best utilized on a label maker.

– I know I brought this up last week, but I love that they're keeping the Matted Hair of Sadness in this show. First it was Jacob, then it was Emma this season. Now the perpetually sad twin (Mark) can be identified as the one with the matted-down locks while Luke is the one who's watched American Psycho one too many times.

– It's been a while since I laughed as hard as I did when Mark held out his hand for the soon-to-be-murdered mother to sign for the flowers. And then open-hand slapped her. It's like the violent version of "Gimme-five-down-low-too-slow."


– Lily Gray seems really calm and collected for a woman who survived a massacre and a follow-up attack that saw her friend get stabbed (but in the gut, so he's fine). There are no indications that she's part of the cult other than the fact that she was spared and that she has a surprising lack of PTSD, but it's something to keep an eye on.

 "You do a man, right." Gross, Reverend. While he was certainly not a shining example of a holy man, I'm surprised that The Following didn't take the opportunity to make him worse. When he complimented Mandy on how good-looking she is, I thought for sure his later visit to see Judy was going to involve the good Reverend forcing himself on teenage girl. The writers had a chance to demonize the Reverend, but instead they kept him in a moral gray area. Do you think that was to maintain Carroll's evil cred (if he killed a bad man, Carroll might be seen as a Dexter kind of figure), or just because the show didn't want to capitulate to the cliche of making bad guys out of people who are about to die so the audience is relieved to have that character gone? I honestly don't know the answer to that.


– The daddy issues thing. I think my eyes are still rolling. I did, however, enjoy Hardy's phone call with Luke where they both tried to poke at each other's feelings until Claire put Hardy on silent.

– So I know that Hardy continually told Max not to call the police. But why didn't she just call the police?

– Mandy hitting the Reverend with the shovel gave me fond memories of LUX Shovel.

– "What happened to you?" Nothing, Weston. Nothing has happened to Hardy. He's exactly the same. None of this should be surprising.

– "Mom's gonna be home soon. She's gonna be mad." That shows a presence of mind that most people don't possess after watching a man of the cloth get murdered in cold blood right in front of them. Mandy's going to make an excellent addition to the Carroll cult. Welcome to the family!

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/18/2015

Season 3 : Episode 15

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Something stupider? That this craptastical show is still on the air! Dear God I hope you people still watching this trainwreck are doing so to see how many stupid things there are per show or feel obligated to watch it until the end because you've invested/wasted this much time so far!
Beware the second route, I did it watching Dexter and got diminishing returns after Season 4 with an embarrassing bad and snooze inducing, laughably stupid final Season 8.
I gave the Following 7 or 8 eps. last season and I just couldn't take it anymore. I see that nothing has improved nor will it. Fox is banking on Kevin Bacon getting viewers and ridiculous happenings to keep viewers coming back for laugh value. There literally are no other merits to this terrible show!
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Lets be honest: Im happy when Hardy kills those stupid people... in every other show I would hateit, but those cult guys are so mad - you might just kill them - off you go ;)

Those twins are ... just...I mean ... sometimes and I dont know if I should laugh or cry.. creepy And sorry but this stupid french psych girl? oooh kill her already.. I like the other guy who is in the news

Emma... aaaawww poor Em doesnt know whats going on or that Joe is alive...poor girl
Hardy running in a dark house alone, well... See I like this tv show, just dont think too much about it

BUT Joe Carroll: I really dont give a damn about him. I think he is a shit killer. I mean he got so many mental problems, he istn scary ( ok he could kill me and would love it...) he is more like a freaky 14 year old who cries about not being loved. And this girl who is with him? oh .. she probably starts killing now aswell.. I hate that part. I dont want Joe to come to New York. I really wished he was dead!! Such a winy guy why would people follow him? It would be way better if a few psychos would just get together cause they just love to kill - fine but following Joe? come on, those creepy twin (with the short hair) could kill him in 1min
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it keeps on gettin batter each episode.....Awesome!!!!!!!!! twitter.com/MalanSimz
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I didn't think it were possible, but this show gets dumber and dumber. Next week I expect the FBI to start licking metal poles in freezing weather...

I can think of plenty of examples in this episode alone but one of the last scenes gets me where Ryan tells the FBI agents to guard Lily Gray, then runs around the corner and then gets into a pretty noisy throw down with half of My Chemical Romance.

FBI Agent 1: "Hey it sounds like that agitated dude needs our help"
FBI Agent 2: "But we were told to wait here by that dude with a gun"
FBI Agent 1: "Yeah you're right, we should do EXACTLY what that dude said"
FBI Agent 2: "Especially since he isn't FBI, just a crazed CIVILIAN with a gun."
FBI Agent 1: "Wow, gunshots...."
FBI Agent 2: "Nope ain't moving, can't afford to be seen bungling things."
FBI Agent 1: "Good thing Carroll is dead. No body, no DNA, definitely dead."
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I think the stupidest thing was how lousy Lily Gray's protection detail was. And the fact that this show seemed to make much more sense last season.
And Hardy didn't get to kill anyone. *sadface*
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"There are no indications that she's part of the cult other than the fact that she was spared"....which in this show means she is part of the cult
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well, look what happened....... :(
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You sound like as big of a fan as I am. Especially when your Poll is on the "stupidest" part of the ep.

My condolences having to cover this show. I made the mistake trying again this season. Ugh. Helix might be the only show where "professionals" act dumber.
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Is it just me or is this show just 100% misogynistic like most FOX dramas with a sole exception (Halleluiah!) 'Sleepy Hollow'? Woman are either stupid, often times in a government official capacity or evil if they have a brain. The good ones are the ones that just shut up and take orders from the male characters. Is FOX News getting editorial control over scripts now? I kid : ) Or they are the best use this network has for female characters - helpless victims. This one goes a step beyond and has women being killed and used for props. Its pathetic murder porn. I want the female characters from 'Banshee' to come to this show and kick its ass. This show has no redeeming qualities.
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"Is it just me or is this show just 100% misogynistic..."

You've obviously never seen "The Vampire Diaries" ...
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The Pavlov reference provided a pithy summation of the point being made.
Nice.
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The worst thing about this show is that EVERY bad guy/girl seems to be hyper-annoying in one way or another. I've never seen so many totally uninteresting sociopaths, and from the first moment i have failed to understand the supposed "charisma" of Joe Carroll that apparently draws people to him.
Forget about them being psychos; i couldn't stand being 5 minutes with ANY of them without wanting to pull my hair out.
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Yes, exactly. The twins' sarcastic talking to their dead victims is not only gratuitous but honestly made me want to turn it off. I think I will next time.
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Do yourself a favor and don't tune in in the first place. Quite possibly the worst show to ever make it through a full season and start a 2nd...Terrible writing.
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It's really time for Ryan to kill some followers.
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That's an interesting point. The twins are way ahead of Hardy in body count. I suppose that's because he doesn't have FBI protection anymore. I imagine once the gang gets back together, Ryan will find an opportunity to cull the herd.
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At this point, I'm almost holding out with the hope that Joe comes out of hiding, not so much to help Ryan or the FBI, but to stop the members of the new cult for going against his plan, and possibly going after the remnants of the old cult for failing him in his initial efforts. Would be interesting to see Joe indirectly showing Ryan how to track and find the followers all while staying hidden himself.
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There is no stupidest. Its hard to vote because they are all just as bad but yet just as strangely entertaining.

I already accept the following's universal. The FBI are always going to be stupid, Hardy is always going on solo missions and Joe will always survived. Now that is all out of the way, its quite fun and exciting show to watch.

The one person I really enjoyed is Sam Underwood. I think he played the twins very well. I think after Dexter and this show, he is going to cast as the psycho killer from now on.

I am amazed by the casting director for this show. Last season I already given he/she an award for getting 2 great main leads and now they got my favorite guest actress - Carrie Preston. How not to like this show?

I do wonder why these stars comes on these shows.

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Underwood plays a great supercreep. And it was nice to hear an authentic Southern accent w/ Preston.
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Don't forget Underwood was a sort of killer in Homeland too.
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Oh my, was he Dana's boyfriend? I didn't even put 2 and 2 together. He looks so different in this.
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Yep, that's the one. They went on a joyride together, escaping from the hospital.
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That's not Ryan falling for the same tricks over and over again...that's me holding out at the start of each episode that THIS will be the one that doesn't treat me like an idiot!

There are some shows that are really bad, but they're enjoyable to watch for their sheer lunacy of how bad they can possibly get. I'm looking at you 'Revolution' and 'Under the Dome'. There are some shows that are just pretty bad, but wildly entertaining. Elbow nudge to 'The Walking Dead'. But this...this is borderline insulting and I'm at a loss for why I continue to watch.

"Because the show didn't want to capitulate to the cliche of...", stop right there. Now you're just being ridiculous ;)
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The thing that makes no sense to me is the twin thing. What was the point of it? They blew the surprise for the audience within... what, 15 minutes last week? They blew it with Ryan this week, and it had no bearing on the plot in any case. We got two minutes of "shock" and now they have to spend the rest of the actor's appearance doing twin-doubling shots.

Was it really worth the effort and expense (they have to pay a stand-in, if nothing else), when Luke and Mark could just be two non-twin brothers?
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I don't get why Max didn't just call the police once he'd left the house. Be like, "5 second head start!" I don't get why Ryan needs to keep throwing himself into danger. He's going to get someone killed or he'll be beat up more. I mean Art Dealer lady (I haven't bothered to learn her name) was in danger and he tried to help, but didn't bring back up. He saw there were 3 people on the subway. Didn't he think that at least 3 or less might come for her? Yeah, backup would have been awesome. Yeah, he got the FBI agents there to help, but more help would have been nice.

The twins are oddly attached. I mean they shared a "girlfriend" and now they played house together like it was normal. They have issues. I enjoy their issues even if one has really bad hair. Luke is the crazier one. I'm glad they didn't hurt the child. Poor kid. I want to know what happens to him. Does he have family to take care of him? Will he go into the foster care system? He's going to have issues after mommy and daddy were murdered like that.

I'm also kind of glad that the Reverend wasn't such a bad guy, I mean he's not great, but we didn't have any reason to be like "Yay! Joe killed him!" It was more like well that's going to leave a mess. Joe was totally creepy when killing to. He looked like he was enjoying himself a lot. Finding a bloody dead body in your living room would make a lot of people unhappy.

I like Mandy.
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"They have issues." - why would think that? =))
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The killing scene was utterly revolting. It looked like sexual gratification.
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Lily is so obviously a cult member. Igive her five episodes before she kills Max.
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I'm not so sure. It'd be interesting if she was a killer that had no connection to the Havenport group (Emma, Hannah, and... the other five survivors), Joe, or the new group (Luke, Mark, Carlos the 8th survivor, and Giselle).
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Haven't seen this episode yet, but this show both sucks me in and drives me crazy. I'm writing this because, like Nick, I get so tired of the obvious that I yell at the TV. My wife and I joke about it, but seriously, this is annoying. Remember the episode last year where the FBI has three seasoned agents in a motel with cameras outside. And they're watching the bad guys come through the hall with assault weapons and mean looks and bald heads, all the better to butt you with? And I has to scream, "Idiots!!! Get away from that door!" And, you know, they didn't hear me and were immediately dead.
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I have a thought that might seem a bit radical - but is it possible for tv.com to pick staff that actually like a show to review it?

I'm all for making fun of tv shows, because let's face it: they are all chock full of cliches, over-used plot devices, and bad decisions. To me, making fun of those things just goes with the territory of loving a show. But what about the "loving a show" part? When I read the review last week, I said, "Whoops, I forgot that all last season the reviews just described how stupid the show is." My stupid optimism obviously got the better of me, because here I am again.

I watch this show because I thoroughly enjoy it. I think it's a great show. Yes, I do think it's occasionally hilariously ridiculous, but overall I sincerely find it compelling. It would be nice to see a review on here by someone who actually enjoys the show, and wants to discuss things that happened in the episode beyond "It's stupid." Like the twins' bizarre family dinner? Probably the best thing I'll see all week. Well, actually the American Horror Story finale is this week so probably not, but I'm sure it will be in the Top 5 Best Things I See This Week.

Just a thought.
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How can you possibly review this show favorably? If you're not watching it just to LOL at the sheer ridiculousness and predictability than there is something wrong with how you're viewing it. As a drama this is one of the worst ever. Incredible it's still on, I suspect it only survives on pure farce!
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I agree.... And I love that somtimes we bitch about shows (like Revenge) buuut if its only ,,its stupid" reviews (except Revenge - I agree that its stupid) its a bit annoying.
Everyone who still watches this show knows whats bad about it and how stupid some things are, but we also wanna talk about what happened in a normal way
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I think it all depends on the reviewer. Price Peterson and Lili sparks cover The Originals and Reign, respectively, which are very limited shows, mediocre at best, but they write their reviews with such passion that you may think the show is 1000 times better than it actually is. Characters are "epic" and performances are often "Emmy-award winning." But at least those reviews are in tune with the show's audience, and I guess that's a good thing for the show's community.
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But is that good or bad? Is a reviewer that likes a show any better than one who doesn't?

It kinda depends on what each individual want from the reviewer.
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True. Well, I guess it makes more sense if the reviewer is too much in favor of the show instead of too much against (if we have to choose between just these two alternatives) because the people watching are probably getting entertained by the show and probably like it, but that isn't always true.
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Eh, I just want a reviewer who tells me what their feelings are about the show, in a well written subjective article. As long as they're entertaining, I don't care what those feelings are.

The best way to tell if a review is well-written is to read one about a show you've never watched.
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You obviously did not read Tim's reviews :-)
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I understand your concern and I'm sorry that you don't see the episode discussion in the review and only see the vitriol. I'm honestly open to every episode I watch and if it's good, I'll point out what is good. I didn't feel like I had that opportunity here, particularly with the premise feeling stretched.

Maybe it's because the pacing is off this season, maybe it's a hangover from last year's finale, but season 2 has started off more tiresome. I honestly did like the anguish Carroll felt in retirement to get back in the game. But that was so little of the episode in a wash of Ryan making bad decisions. And I'm not sure I see the same thing in regards to the family dinner (except for Mark looking like he placates Luke more because he's a little scared of him) but maybe I'll find something in next week's episode we'll both appreciate.

I have no interest in hating a series outright, especially a show that I'm charged with watching for review.
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Eh, the family dinner thing was... okay. It would have been better if we knew anything about any of the participants. The twins pick an (apparently) random house, we're introduced to a random couple (Carl Fischer? who the heck is Carl Fischer?), 30 seconds later they're dead, cue the creepy dinner scene.

If you get IFC, check out Spoils of Babylon on Thursday. In any given week during this slow period of the TV season, it'll give you a Top 5 Best Thing to see.
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You can always post your own review in the Community...
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So crazy theory here (I haven't read any spoilers), is it possible that the twins might kidnap Max (Ryan's niece)?
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Not so crazy. At first I thought it was going to be "Melissa" from group. But now it's probably either going to be Max or Lily Gray. Needle's pointing more to the latter now but that'll all change if Gray is actually in cahoots with the new Carroll faction. Max is prime to be stolen at some point. Why else give him family to hang out with?
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One twin is probably going to kill the other twin
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I can also see that. Please, Mark, carry out my Dead Ringers prophecy.
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Nope, they had to make it clear the twins were really really crazy. And really really stupid, throwing away their one tactical advantage of the secret they were twins.

Last year, Ryan was the smart one and the FBI were the idiots. This year Ryan is the idiot and the FBI are so far relatively intelligent.

I'm not even sure what the thing in Arkansas is. So... Judy is a backwoods prostitute (is there really enough business to sustain that?), she has a daughter who gets wireless (so apparently there's a lot of money in backwoods prostitution), and Judy and Joe are both sociopath cult members or groupies or whatever. And Joe is going the Dexter finale route.

Mike gets to pout like Ryan is stepping out on him after years of marriage, and Emma isn't doing much of anything.

It actually looks like it's going to be worse this year in a goofy, campy way.
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Even better than back woods Arkansas wifi is the home security. I'm pretty certain I saw a motion detector in the top corner of the room as Carroll was monologuing with the reverend.

On a side note, I wonder if Carrie Preston ever gets personally offended when her agent calls to say she's been offered the role of slutty hillbilly trailer trash?
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Ah, but she's a sociopathic slutty hillbilly trailer trash. (Or is that redundant?)

But it didn't seem to be clear if Judy was an in-hiding cult member or not. She knows who Joe is, accepts him as who he is, but wants to "fix" him.

A flashback might have helped. But we got a pretty minor one last week, and nothing this week.
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She was one of those women who writes letters to inmates. Pretty sure that was mentioned in the conversation between Joe and the daughter
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She was, but so were most of the cultists.

What do you call a cultist who didn't get to Havenport?
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Gislef, glad you can be perky about this :-) Dexter final route... Nice!
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"Judy and MANDY are both sociopath..."
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