The Following Episode 8: “Welcome Home”

James Purefoy as Joe Carroll

This episode once again left me with mixed feelings. There were things I LOVE LOVE LOVEd, and there were things I was less than impressed with.

First things first – Jury is still out as far as the new FBI director guy is concerned. He comes across like someone with something to prove, which kind of goes without saying since Carroll escaped TWICE in a ridiculously short amount of time. So he’s got an agenda and I’ll admit I was a little concerned he’d let his “I am in charge and YOU, sir, are not” attitude get in the way of the investigation, but he did bow to Debra and Hardy’s intuition and let them pursue the SUV on their own.

Once again, I’m left wishing there was more Debra in the scene. I really love her character. I get it—too many characters to give them all equal face-time, but I really hope that we see more of her moving forward.

I’ll admit, I like that Hardy isn’t so blasé about people’s deaths, even now. He still gets that look on his face (this time when the dude took the poison from his hand). He’s still rushing off on his own, which kind of irks me, because you’d think by now that the members of the FBI would understand that, DUH, Hardy knows what’s up. But, nope! They keep trying to push him off to the side, which allows him to run amuck with Carroll’s followers in a lone-ranger kind of way.

Ryan Hardy and Debra

Still no word from Jacob and Paul, other than a reference that no one has heard from them. Strangely enough, Emma seems to have gotten over it.

Speaking of Emma… I still like her. I still like how ruthless she is when it comes to certain things. I DO NOT like how things played out with her and Carroll. Oh, I get it from her side of things. She’s been in love with this man since she met him (or read his book. Depends on which way you want to look at it). But Carroll… He came across as weak. A weak-willed man who made a token protest but then went for what he wanted. The thing is, I wouldn’t be so annoyed if he hadn’t been all “I love my wife. I love my wife.” They aren’t married anymore. So if he wants to screw his way through every single one of his followers, more power to him. HE is the one who seems to feel they’re still married and that he’s still in love with her. I had be secretly (or not so secretly) rooting for him and Claire to end up together, but how he handled things with Emma left a bad taste in my mouth. It makes him look insincere and like a liar, neither of which Carroll has been up to this point. He’s manipulated and killed and played people, but THIS is what pushed me into nearly disliking him.  

Directly in contrast with that sex stuff was Roderick and HIS sexual encounter. Since he apparently had to nearly choke the life out of his partner before deciding, “Hey, guess I won’t kill you. Let’s make out!” it makes me wonder if he’s a true sadist. I’m kind of hoping so.

Roderick contrasts Carroll in a lot of ways and, though he obviously bows to Carroll in part, Roderick overshadowed him to a criminal degree. Yes, Carroll might have started out mentoring him, but Roderick has become his own identity and, MAN, is he compelling. From Carroll’s reactions, I don’t think the entire compound was his idea. Or, rather, what it’s become wasn’t his idea. I think Roderick took a decent plan and pushed it into something else altogether.

And, frankly, I think he might look up to Carroll, but I don’t think he’s all that glad to have him back now. I mean, it’s nice to have a mentor and a god-like cult leader set off to the side, but having him there and in the flesh is something else altogether. I think Roderick has gotten used to being in charge, and having Carroll back is going to (hopefully) create some interesting tension there.

How Roderick handled things with Weston was kind of brilliant. Talk about tension! Every time they started a new “round,” I was a mess. I LIKE Weston, and I actually thought he was going to die. This show has already proven time and again that no one is safe (with maybe the exception of Hardy—for now).

And poor, poor Charlie. Personally, I think a part of him wanted to fail because he felt so guilty about kissing Claire, but that may be me projecting. I do wonder what he’d think to know Carroll “cheated” on his “wife” with Emma. But it’s too late to wonder about it now since he sacrificed himself on the altar of Carroll.

Suffice to say I am very VERY curious to see how things play out from here on out.

Keep up with all our coverage of The Following.

Katee Robert is the New York Times bestselling author of the Come Undone series. She is zombie-prepared.

Read all posts by Katee Robert for Criminal Element.


  1. Saundra Peck

    Katee, I so love your conflicted and deep post! I love this show and ALWAYS know that any character could die, for any reason, any minute, yet I root for them anyway… Yes, everytime someone goes off to investigate alone I silently scream “you will die for this!” But, considering I only intended to watch this for a couple of episodes because I wanted to see Kevin Bacon in action, I am hooked! And glad to see that FOX has committed to keeping it going!

  2. Doreen Sheridan

    I understand where you’re coming from re: Carroll, but I also think I understood his whole “I love my wife” shtick. Deep down, he knows that she doesn’t love him and doesn’t want him, no matter how much he protests and works to get them together, so I think the alcohol and Emma together allowed him to stop forcing himself to focus on Claire romantically, at least for a while (and especially considering how long he’s been without the opposite sex.) I think it would’ve been easier for him to resist Emma had Claire been dead, given his fixations, but Claire being alive and quite opposed to his freedom probably erodes his confidence/will to resist somewhat.

    But what I really wanted to comment on was the whole deal with Weston, who is my favorite character on the show. If they’d killed him, I don’t know what I would have done. Rage-quit watching the show most likely. I love how much he idolizes Hardy. I agree that we need more Debra: she’s awesome. And it was kinda weird for me to see the actor playing the new guy in charge, since I know him mostly for playing Lemond Bishop on The Good Wife and I keep expecting him to order a hit on someone.

    Back to the villains, though, I kinda wish Louise had kicked Roderick’s butt. I did enjoy how the show makes sure to remind us that the people at the commune are depraved, lest we start sympathizing too much with a pack of serial killers. Great stuff.

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