The Following may not do themed episodes, but "Reflection" was about as close to a couples episode in time for Valentine's Day as we'll ever get. Everyone's pairing up (some in a familial way, but still) – even if some of those players aren't getting exactly what they want.
First up is Lily and Joe. Last week's promos led us to believe that Joe would side with Emma and aim to escape Lily Grey's clutches and at first, that seems to be so. Joe shaves his beard and gussies up for Lily. She pours him scotch and makes him lunch. Later, she shows him his own personal murder laboratory, complete with a kidnapped college girl for his murdery pleasure. This infuriates him because he thinks Lily is trying to control him. Later, he jaunts downstairs, puts on some Tchaikovsky and gives the scalpel a try and by jove, he likes it. He likes it so much, he rushes upstairs with his bloody hands and makes messy, bloody love to Lily on the floor of her room. Sorry, Emma. Looks like your second fiddle again.
But Lily has a plan for that: sic puppy-love-stricken Mark on Emma. She traps them in her art room, where Emma and Mark initially play out your typical adorable flirtation: he poses and teases her, she sketches him. It's like Titanic with more clothes and a girl with a pixie cut instead of Leo DiCaprio. Eventually, Mark says he likes Emma and starts to kiss her, but when she reaches her hand up to touch his face, he flips out. Apparently, he's got a hyper-sensitive version of Christian Grey syndrome: he can touch Emma, but the moment she touches him, he's uncomfortable. He casually suggests that she, you know, do some research if she wants a piece of this, but Emma's done. She tries to escape but Mark assures her she can't, so they're forced to sit in silence together. Later, Mark falls asleep as Emma finishes her portrait – with Joe's face where Mark's should be – and she strokes his hair without him noticing. Either this is her sad version of a power trip, or she actually somehow likes this guy.
In the outside world, Max and Giselle get off the train in Stamford and Ryan is 20 minutes away in the car. Max waits for Ryan and they capture Giselle together, take her to a motel room, and use a good cop bad cop routine on her (despite the fact that at no point would they have had any time to plan said act without her hearing them). They get her to tell them where Luke is meeting her and Ryan goes alone while Max watches Giselle. At the warehouse, Ryan shoots the miscellaneous expendable Lily-ite and gets away from Luke with a minor gunshot wound. At the same moment, Max lets her guard down – and by "lets her guard down" I mean "has the perfectly reasonable expectation that most captives aren't willing to break their own thumbs to escape handcuffs" – and Giselle escapes and knocks Max out.
She finds Luke and together, they chase Ryan to a house in the woods. Giselle enters the house – somehow managing to open doors with her totally broken thumbs – and then fights Ryan and pulls a knife on him – again, with totally broken thumbs. She tells him she killed Max, so he overpowers her – and her broken thumbs -- and stabs her with her own knife. Luke shoots in his general direction, but Ryan escapes back to the motel where he finds Max is miraculously alive.
All this time, Mike is on a different case back at FBI headquarters. He finds out about a follower living in the woods who was murdered by her reverend: Judith. Her daughter escaped with Judith's brother, who doesn't actually exist. Mike looks at a photo and seems to understand quickly that it's Joe, but he stays mum. Three guesses as to how long it takes Mike to let Ryan say "Toldja so."
The Following may not do themed episodes, but "Reflection" was about as close to a couples episode in time for Valentine's Day as we'll ever get. Everyone's pairing up (some in a familial way, but still) -- even if some of those players aren't getting exactly what they want.
That's why it's fittingly ironic that "Isn't It Romantic" plays over the opening scene of "Reflection" while Joe shaves his beard and Lily pours him a drink like a happy housewife in an American Horror Story-style 1950s flashback. "You clean up well," she says right on cue. Joe may as well have followed it up with "Well, thanks, baby dawl."
On the train where we last saw Max, it's go-time. Giselle gets off at Stratford (in Connecticut) and Max hops off to follow her, chatting with Ryan on the phone the whole time. Again, Ryan is a long way off and Giselle is getting away. While Max wrestles with the decision to wait 20 minutes for Ryan to arrive, which risks losing the target, and just chasing after her herself, which didn't end well last time, Giselle calls Luke, her sometimes lover. She tells him about Ryan and "some girl" that bothered her at Grand Central and heads off to the meeting spot.
At Chateau Lily, which we can now assume is in Connecticut, because of course it is. Lily is introducing Joe to her "family" to Joe and while everyone fawns over Joe and Mandy fawns over the house, Emma sulks angrily in the corner. It's like she's playing the teenage kid with attitude! How quaint. Luke is off to pick up Giselle, so Lily ushers her other children off to sleep like some sort of Von Trapp reincarnate and Emma asks to speak to Joe alone. Lily "allows" it and because the lines between parent and lover are blurred in this creepy house, Lily gives Emma a backhanded compliment, saying she's happy Emma got rid of "that ugly pink hair." Subtle, Lil.
As soon as Lily leaves, Emma demands to know why Joe never told her about his body swap plan or his brother. She says that she's not "everyone" and she deserved better. All he can say is that he failed her and failed everyone (when he hid out in the woods for a year and didn't tell anyone). That doesn't change the fact that she's furious with him.
At FBI headquarters, Mike and Co. are forced to get creative in their follower investigations because Giselle fried David's computer (although, if that was their only plan they're in pretty terrible shape). Next step: check out the footage from Grand Central Station, where Ryan got in a fight with David's suspected murderer. Mike notices Max in a sister surveillance feed and Mendez is more than thrilled to make the announcement that their search area just expanded to Upstate and Connecticut. Oh great, what every investigation needs: a larger radius.