The Following – Episode 4 – Mad Love
What do you do when a known serial killer kidnaps your sister for revenge? You go after her if you’re Ryan Hardy. This is part of what tonight’s episode, “Mad Love”, was centered on.
In a bit of a twist, last episode’s Maggie is on a revenge mission because Hardy killed her husband, so she, in turn, kidnaps Hardy’s sister, Jenny. The twist is that even though Maggie is one of Carroll’s followers, he didn’t order this job. She’s acting on her own, but she does reason it out in her own dysfunctional way later on.
Remember the girl that Paul abducted? Well, she’s still in the basement, terrified and tied up. Jacob feels that Paul has lost it, and Emma agrees. In order to evade getting caught, Emma orders Jacob to kill her and put her body in the barn. Paul quietly reminds Jacob that he’s tired of all the lies. Considering he mentioned this in the last episode, I was thinking the lie was that Jacob really loved Paul, but now I think there’s more to this, and my suspicions turned out to be correct.
Hardy starts getting mysterious phone calls from a woman named ‘Jenny’, but he keeps ignoring them. Through flashbacks we see that Jenny is a pretty lady that helps him back to his apartment when he’s in a drunken stupor. She always keeps a healthy distance, and never makes a move on him.
Hardy talks briefly to Carroll about Maggie and finds out that she’s a serial killer that got away with a string of murders in Arkansas. He also calls Carroll an amateur in reference to the great novel he is supposedly in the process of writing. Maggie and Rick were the love story element, says Carroll. When Hardy admits to killing Rick, Carroll perks up and shows his pleasure for Hardy to be getting his mojo back.
Paul lets Emma in on the big secret. Jacob has never killed anyone. Despite lying to them years earlier and claiming to have killed someone in high school, he really didn’t.
Hardy finally answers the phone call from Jenny. Maggie quickly gets on the phone and admits she’s kidnapped Jenny, who is Hardy’s sister. I have to admit, I didn’t see that one coming. Maggie agrees to let Jenny go in exchange for Hardy.
An icy cold Emma calls Jacob out on his lie, then orders him to go kill the girl as she slides a knife in his direction.
Weston accompanies Hardy to Brooklyn where they go to Jenny’s restaurant. He makes plans to leave a side door unlocked for Weston to enter, and he goes inside alone. It’s a dark and spooky scene that builds in tension and leaves the viewer wondering who’s going to be jumping out around any corner. Hardy finds a note telling him to put on a blindfold and he complies. Soon Maggie shows up and hits Hardy on the head.
Back at the casa de cult, Jacob is in the basement with the girl. He takes the gag off her mouth and she tells him she has an idea. She bargains with him, saying that he can cut her arms and legs a little, making her bleed, then tell the others that he killed her and took out her body, but he can let her go instead. As Jacob struggles internally with his impending task, he remembers visiting Carroll in prison and admitting that he couldn’t kill anyone. Carroll and him share a tender moment, quoting The Raven nonetheless, and then Carroll tells him he will do it when he’s ready. It looks like Jacob may be ready right now when we see him put the knife against the girl’s cheek.
Hardy is now tied up and lying on a table. Jenny is tied to a chair a few feet away. Maggie pulls his shirt open and begins to tape electromagnetic field generators all over his torso. The theory is that they will disrupt the pacemaker he’s wearing, thereby killing him by Carroll’s hand after all. I told you she had her own dysfunctional logic. We learn through another flashback that Hardy’s life has been tragic with his mother contracting leukemia and dying when he was fourteen, and his street cop father meeting his end at a robbery gone wrong. To top it all off, he had an older brother who was a New York firefighter that lost his life in the September 11 attack. It seemed a bit heavy on the death for his character to me, pushing the limits a little. Maggie’s plan is to kill Hardy and make his sister watch, but she’s thwarted by one variable she didn’t see coming.
Jacob let’s the girl go. I guess he’s just not ready yet. She escapes the house, but Emma hears her and gives chase, along with Paul. In a game of cat and mouse, the two of them eventually capture the girl.
Hardy is dying, his fingers turning blue due to lack of circulation, but Weston breaks in just in time. Maggie raises her knife at Weston and he shoots her. He runs to Hardy’s side and pulls the items off his chest.
Emma is cleaning up the mud smeared all over her from wrestling the girl and Paul walks into the bathroom. You know what they say about sex and death, don’t you? It seems they’re right. Pretty soon, Emma and Paul are kissing and join each other in the shower. Jacob goes back to the basement and is shocked to find the girl tied up once again.
With policemen and ambulances at the scene of Jenny’s restaurant, Hardy is given the OK by an EMT who explains that his pacemaker will revert back to normal rhythm once the electromagnetic fields are taken away. Hardy tells Jenny to disappear for a while for her own safety. Jenny understandably thinks their family is cursed and surrounded by death. She pegs Hardy by saying he’s afraid to let anyone close to him.
A steamy shower scene ensues when Jacob walks into the bathroom and sees Paul and Emma together in the shower. Emma reaches out to him and says they both love him. He gladly joins them with a smile on his face. Creepy threesome anyone?
Hardy goes back to Claire and tells her that Maggie’s cell phone signal was traced back to upstate New York, and that they will find Joey. Claire asks Hardy to stay and rest and offers him some food. In a series of flashbacks we see Hardy wrestling with his emotions, and in the end, even with Claire begging pitifully, he declines, saying he needs to get back. We get a glimpse of how cold he’s become. There’s more than a pacemaker covering his heart.
Hardy has lived up to the flawed antagonist title that Carroll has given him. It was pretty rough that he left Claire hanging while she’s already in such a bad place. That poor woman has already been married to a serial killer, lost her child to a group of scary, homicidal liars, and now she’s in love with Hardy. Moving on to Emma, I’ve said it before and I will say it again, she’s the scariest of Carroll’s cult. Those boys better keep their eyes open during sexy shower time. And will we get to see Jacob lose his murderous virginity? I’m still pondering Agent Parker, wondering if she can be trusted. I’m really enjoying Bacon’s portrayal of Hardy. He can pull of the delicate balance of the multifaceted character with ease. Stay tuned to see how Carroll’s novel progresses and what more they can put Hardy through.