Joe Carroll's followers are continuing in their bloody work, first with the fake prison guard butchering a bunch of sorority girls, then with Claire's nanny and Sarah's gay boyfriends meeting up to play house with Joey. The nanny's real name is Emma and the not-gay boyfriends are Jacob and Paul. Jacob, it turns out, is Emma's actual boyfriend which makes Paul illogically jealous, but he'd stop acting like such a whiny bitch if he knew how quick Emma is to murder people who disagree with her — like her trashy mom, whom she then embalmed in the walls of her house.
Speaking of her house, Emma and the other Carroll Culties turned it into a shrine to Joe/Poe, with writings and memorials to Carroll's victims all over the walls, as well as floor plans of the houses they've infiltrated. And there's a fifth cultie living there, a dude named Rick who likes to dress up as Edgar A. and set people on fire. He seems fun.
On the side of the angels, tin-acting Mason has been replaced by FBI cult specialist Debra Parker. Ryan is a little less twitchy this week, mostly because he seems to be rekindling his relationship with Claire, who is of course very upset that her son is missing, but should be way more upset that the Richmond police aren't able to keep Raines from breaking into her house and almost murdering her. Ryan saves the day, of course, but it's not reassuring, you know?
As for Carroll, he's spending most of the episode sulking about his broken fingers and demanding MOAR BOOKS by his precious Poe. He also gets to have a brief but icky conversation with Claire about her affair with Ryan, and then he and Ryan have their traditional end-of-episode hoarse-off. It's all very suspenseful if you're looking forward to more network-TV slaughter porn.
Previously on The Following: English professor Joe Carroll murdered a bunch of women to make himself feel like Edgar Allan Poe. FBI agent Ryan Hardy caught him, in the process nailing Carroll's wife and getting himself stabbed. Eight years later Carroll escaped from prison and Ryan, no longer an agent, came back to the bureau to help catch the bastard. While he was in the joint, Carroll amassed a cult of followers who will continue doing his nasty work while he's imprisoned. Some of those followers kidnapped Carroll's son.
We pick up on the front porch of a sorority house, where Carroll's acolyte, former prison guard Jordan Raines, is pretending to be concerned for a young lady's safety. Ha! He asks if he can check the doors and windows, and the woman, who is a member of Delta Rho Gamma at Winslow University in Virginia (which I think is where Carroll was originally a professor?), lets him in. Raines follows the woman upstairs, and says she doesn't need to wake her housemates. He follows her into an empty room, which she says is "Jessie's room." He says, "I know. I've studied this house a lot." This seems like a good time to run screaming, no?
Raines starts unpacking a bag he'd stashed in the room earlier, and explaining to the woman that it's important to have the right tools. "I've been planning this a long time," he says earnestly. She still, incredibly, does not run screaming.
Claire's house. She's watching the news, which is about her son's kidnapping, as Ryan comes in. He explains that they think Denise, the nanny who took Joey, is one of Carroll's followers, like the neighbors who helped Carroll kill Sarah Fuller. Claire says she did a background check and asked for references, which Ryan asks to see.
Cute Agent Mike shows up and says they found traces of sedatives that Denise used to drug the guards. They also found her car forty-five minutes away. Claire hands over a folder about Denise. Ryan asks if Claire ever met any of Denise's friends, but Claire says Denise often talked about her mom, whom she was close to, and she was shy and read in her room a lot. She asks Ryan if she was just impossibly naive, and he says she shouldn't think like that.
An SUV pulls up in front of a house in the country and a small blond kid jumps out and runs off, screaming. One of the men in the car grabs him, and it turns out the kid is laughing rather than screaming in terror. Denise tells Joey they're at a friend's house, and he asks if he can call his mom. Denise says Claire told him they shouldn't call, and that they're on an adventure.