The Following Episode 9: Love Hurts
Episode nine of The Following is aptly named, “Love Hurts”. From Jacob and Paul to Emma and Carroll, and Hardy and Claire, love is the central theme, but this love isn’t going to feel very good tonight. Then again, this isn’t a romantic show, now is it?
It starts off at the FBI Field Office in Richmond, Virginia, where Parker and Hardy are sitting down for a conference call with the NSA, BATF and CIA. The FBI has projected Carroll’s cult to be around one hundred people. They are also calling Carroll’s mansion the ‘safe haven’. Such an ironic name for a large house filled with eager to please serial killers. As far as location, they believe the haven is in a three state radius of Virginia, but the other agencies aren’t so happy with that broad of an estimate. Parker and Hardy go on to explain the cult. The recruits are housewives, teachers, accountants, military, etc., all fitting specific personality types that have been found to be synonymous with cult followers. They are hoping to gain some faces from Weston once he regains consciousness by way of a sketch artist. Parker explains that Carroll’s manifesto is the literary themes found in Gothic Romanticism. Carroll tells the followers that through their death they will ultimately experience life and that is a part of their motivation to do his bidding. The novelist in Carroll inspires the followers to write their own chapters to this massive, evil tome. As Hardy says, it’s time for the next chapter.
Donovan tells Parker that the operation control will now be in D.C., but the task force will be kept in Richmond, leaving Parker reporting to him. He also agreed to keep Hardy on due to the integral part he plays in it all.
In Arrowhead Lake, Pennsylvania, we see Jacob and a very sick Paul, and are introduced to Jacob’s mother. Jacob’s mother recognizes him and confronts him about him and Paul being wanted individuals, and the news reporting that they are in a cult. He doesn’t deny it, and in a moment of uncertainty, Jacob admits he can’t explain what’s going on.
A flashback to 2007 shows a very nervous and obsessive cult follower, Amanda, visiting Carroll in prison. She admits using a shotgun on her husband and his mistress, then later dismembering the bodies and dumping them in Florida. With nowhere to go after committing the horrendous crime, Carroll referred Amanda to Roderick for help. Today, Amanda stands in front of Carroll, a nervous, twitching wreck, saying that she knows he wants his wife and she also wants her own chapter to have a happy ending, which means she will probably do anything he asks.
Busy shooting down false leads to Paul and Jacob, Hardy receives a phone call from Carroll. As the FBI tries to track the call, Carroll questions Hardy about his feelings for Claire, paralleling both of their love for her and pointing out the conundrum.
In Union Hill, Richmond, Virginia, Amanda and Louise are in a diner. Crazy Amanda hops into a booth and tells a to deliver a message to Hardy. The message is, ‘love hurts.’ And we didn’t even get any Aerosmith with that. She shoots the other woman with a deep see diving spear gun that she had poised under the table, effectively impaling the woman to the booth through her chest in between a fit of creepy giggles. She leaves with a deranged smile. Amanda may be one of my favorite cult followers yet with her twitchy, neurotic self.
It turns out the dead woman’s first name was Claire, and her maiden name was Matthews. This is reminding me of The Terminator and Sarah Connor. Carroll is trying to break Hardy by killing women with the same name as Claire, but there appears to be more behind his intentions.
Jacob’s mother tries to help Paul whose wound has become infected. Jacob tries to call Emma, and Paul admits to never trusting her. In a flashback we see Emma setting up a girl for Paul to kill to prove his loyalty to the cult. Back in the present day, Paul’s condition is worsening. He’s septic and won’t survive unless they get him to a hospital.
Carroll watches the news and is pleased at learning of the woman’s murder. We see a little tension between Emma and Carroll as he rejects her advances and brings up Jacob and Paul.
The FBI has identified Amanda. They have also discovered there are 87 Claire Matthews in the US; 14 in Virginia, with 5 residing in the Richmond area and that includes Carroll’s wife. Now the hunt is on to keep them all safe.
Crazy Amanda is at it again when she throws another Claire out of a window where she falls to her death. With Amanda’s name and photo released to the press, Hardy is worried that the real Claire will give herself over to Carroll if she finds out about the murders.
Jacob’s mom once again pleads with Jacob to leave before his father gets home and calls the police. She accuses him of being a killer and Jacob says he hasn’t killed anyone, but in a flashback, we see Paul and Jacob with the woman that Emma sent them after, bound and in a trunk. Paul gives Jacob the knife, but he couldn’t do it. Paul speaks up and tells Jacob’s mother that it’s true, he hasn’t killed anyone. Paul is not able to move and, instead, tells Jacob he owes him a favor. He owes him because Paul told Emma that Jacob killed the girl back then. In an emotional moment, Jacob uses a pillow to smother Paul. He kisses him goodbye before he leaves. Who would have guessed that Paul was going to be Jacob’s first murder.
Back at the casa de serial killers, we get the feeling that Emma’s animosity is growing against Carroll. There’s a little background given about Roderick and when he starts pressing Emma about her love triangle situation, Emma gets angry. Roderick admits he checked her satellite phone and found dozens of messages from Jacob. Emma’s going to snap and knowing her there’s no telling who will feel her rage.
There’s a missing student named Claire Matthews. Hardy and Parker find out that she’s at a student gathering. At the party, the student Claire is led away by someone that asks her name just as Hardy starts trolling through the dance crowd. He spots Louise and takes off after her. She finds a mask and puts it on, effectively losing him. The guy with Claire shows her a picture of Amanda and tells her to find a cop. We see Amanda in the crowd just as she spots Claire. She ruthlessly stabs the boy who was helping Claire and continues on for her. Claire runs into a cop, but Louise shoots him while he’s making the call. Hardy stops Louise, shooting her dead, but Amanda runs after Claire in a building under construction. In a tense cat and mouse scene, Hardy is making his way through the maze of beams and plastic, trying to get to Claire before Amanda does. Amanda shoots him with a nail gun, but Hardy presses on. He finally finds Amanda pointing the nail gun on Claire’s head. Hardy is forced to release his gun. Parker and backup arrives. Hardy and Amanda wax his infidelity with Carroll’s wife and *big moment* Hardy admits he loves Claire. He plays into Amanda’s delusion saying he needs to be punished, pleading for her to kill him for a happy ending. It effectively messes with her head and when she takes the nail gun off of the girl and points it at Hardy, he is able to take her down.
Roderick reports back to Carroll about Louise and Amanda. He goes on to say that he deciphered an encrypted cell phone call from Donovan to Quantico, Virginia. They now know that Claire is in Huntington County, Pennsylvania.
Hence the theme, Hardy’s admission of love was definitely tough on him, Carroll still loves and misses Claire, Jacob followed Paul’s wishes when he killed him, but it didn’t make it any easier, Emma is reunited with a not so happy Jacob, and Roderick has forever lost Louise. Love does hurt – all the way around.