Someone must've put an extra serving of awesome juice in the FBI's coffee supply this week, because everyone manages to do their jobs with a high level of competence! And as a result, only two innocent civilians die. Well. Baby steps.
This week it's Follower Amanda's turn to do insane and bloody things to show her devotion to Joe Carroll. Since the followers can't get to Claire Matthews, who's in FBI protective custody, Amanda, who murdered her husband and his mistress and dumped their dismembered bodies in the Florida swamps (after killing them in Oklahoma, so yeah, she's dedicated to her crazy), begins murdering every woman named Claire Matthews that she can find.
Ryan and the gang catch on to Amanda's MO really quickly, for them, and they manage to prevent her from killing three of the five Claire Matthewses in the greater Richmond area. Ryan also kills creepy Louise and the other agents arrest Amanda. Job well done, federales!
In Pennsylvania, Jacob and Paul have taken refuge at Jacob's parents' weekend house. When Jacob's mom finds them there, Paul's belly wound has gone septic and he's near death. Jacob is finally able to make contact with Roderick, after weeks (?) of Emma ignoring his voice mail messages. He's still terrified of his father, so when his mom tells him Daddy will be showing up imminently, Jacob mercy-kills Paul and flees to the safety of the cult house, where he's reunited with Emma. Who is not so very happy to see him, since she's grown accustomed to nailing Joe Carroll rather than the pale imitation that is her murder-virgin boyfriend.
Previously on The Following: Joe Carroll was in jail. Now he's not. Claire is in protective custody and new FBI guy Nick Donovan is in charge of the case. Lovely Mike got stabbed in the gut, just like Paul, but they're both alive.
Ryan, Parker and the rest of the Richmond-based team are reporting via videoconference to the CIA, Homeland Security, the NSA and the ATF (which Fox doesn't seem to know is actually called the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) on the size of Carroll's cult -- they don't actually know how big it is, but they're guessing there might be up to 100 people. Ryan talks about the varying kinds of killers in the cult and the personality types Carroll has enthralled.
Intercut with all this are cheerful morning scenes at Cult HQ, of Carroll greeting his adoring followers. Ryan updates us: Mike is still unconscious, but they have a sketch artist waiting to take down his impressions of Roderick and the others when he wakes up. Carroll is lecturing his cult about how this moment is a dream for him and how he's so grateful for the sacrifices all the followers have made. There's one woman he keeps making eye contact with, and she's blushing and looking down like the quarterback just made her Homecoming Queen, along with a redheaded guy who's similarly besotted.
Donovan catches up with Ryan and Parker as they leave the building, with Ryan referring to all the people who've died as a "PR nightmare." Jesus, Ryan. Maybe try to be less of an asshole? Donovan asks to speak with Parker privately and tells her control of the operation is being moved to DC. Her job from now on will be babysitting Ryan here in Richmond.
Arrowhead Lake, Pennsylvania. A Volvo pulls up in front of a very nice lakeside house, and when the lady driving it walks into her kitchen, she finds dirty dishes in the sink. Which she did not appear to have put there. She finds Paul sleeping on the couch and Jacob comes up behind her, scaring her, until she recognizes him. She's his mother.
The obsessed girl from earlier is giving her book report to Carroll, and she's so nervous she's gasping and she keeps losing her place. Roderick tries to calm her down while Carroll and Louise smile indulgently.
Flashback to 2007. The obsessive gap-toothed girl visits Carroll in prison. She apologizes for seeming like a groupie, but he's very happy to meet her. She rants to him about how her husband is cheating on her with a woman from work, and quotes a letter in which he told her to "insist on happiness." Her way of insisting: murdering her husband and his lover with a shotgun, and then covering up the evidence by dismembering the bodies, bagging them and dumping them in a swamp in Florida. It's like the first verse of "Cell Block Tango" except even less rational, and also I think Gap-tooth is wearing pants. Now she's scared of getting caught. Now she's scared. Carroll tells her Roderick can help her out with a place to stay.