The camp that Vince led the feds to last week proves to be a trove of information about how the culties recruited and trained each other, and it leads them to the home of an associate of militia leader Daniel Monroe. Ryan, Parker, and a newly out of the hospital Mike go to the house hoping to find Monroe. Instead they run directly into Jacob, Vince, and Carroll, who have come to kill Monroe so he can't spill the beans about helping them buy the cult house. Ryan takes out Vince, but after Carroll stabs Mike some more and interrogates Ryan about his father's murder, Carroll and Jacob escape. Again.
About that murder: Carroll wanted Ryan to fill him in on this first great tragedy in his life, what Ryan views as the beginning of his death curse. While Carroll holds a knife to Mike's throat, Ryan recounts how he was waiting in the car when his father went into the convenience store where he was murdered by a junkie robbing the place. Baby Ryan got out of the car when he heard the shots and walked right up to the murderer, who turned and fled. Ryan tells Carroll that the junkie was found dead of an overdose days later, which Carroll says was justice—except that it turns out baby Ryan was the one who hunted down the junkie and stuck that needle in his arm. Ryan! Murderer!
At the cult house, Claire tries to run away with Joey, so Roderick slaps a tracker ankle bracelet on her like she's a common criminal. Emma tries to make nice with Claire, who is having none of this shit, so they start punching each other. Roderick breaks it up before Claire can go full cultie and tear Emma to pieces, and then she rejects Joe when he comes home from taunting Ryan and wants to cuddle. So he goes off to fuck Emma some more, because he's really a love-the-one-you're-with kind of serial murderer.
Previously on The Following: Murder, mayhem, incompetence, etc. Now with 100% more whimsical names, thanks to Scoot McNairy.
Claire wakes up in the cult house and decides today is a good time to try to escape with Joey. They make it to the front gate, which is chained shut, before Roderick and a dozen more followers catch up with them. Claire also had time to put on about an inch of black eyeliner before this escapade, so clearly her heart wasn't in running away.
Molly takes Ryan's vitals and tells him his blood pressure is too low. He confesses that he's a total physical wreck and she does a credible impression of concern for his health, even telling him not to get himself killed. Because that's her dessert.
Jacob, his hair in a hilariously lofty bad-boy pompadour (which only reminds me of the Babar character named Pompadour), wearily lectures Claire about her escape attempt. Roderick fits her with a tracking ankle bracelet, Lohan style, as she takes in all the monitors that show the various security cameras around the property. Carroll comes in and remarks on her little jaunt with Joey, then tells her his trust has to be earned. Except that he pronounces it "earnt"--which isn't the past participle of that word WHICH HE SHOULD KNOW BECAUSE HE IS A FUCKING ENGLISH PROFESSOR--because he is actually the world's most pretentious douchebag. End the search, good people of Portland. We've found him.
Ryan comes back to last week's bunker site in New Jersey. Mitchell greets him and says Donovan's inside, with the rest of the DC FBI office, the DEA, and the NSA. And Mike! Mike is back! His face is still all mashed up, but he's vertical and his brain doesn't seem to have been scrambled too much. He gives Ryan his condolences about Claire and shows Ryan a sketch of Roderick, done from what he remembers in between bludgeonings and stabbings.
Donovan pops up to tell them the building is an old armory that the government shut down fifteen years ago--but still owns, so good job keeping tabs on your shit, feds--and the cult was using it as a boot camp. Parker excitedly shows Ryan recordings of followers going through cult indoctrination activities like sleep and food deprivation, and Mitchell adds that the followers all used aliases, but they've ID'd three of them.
And, of course, the walls are covered in Poe themes, just in case we'd forgotten what Carroll is all about. Parker points out elements from Islam, Mormonism, and Scientology that Carroll has ripped off, all focusing on the afterlife, and says that three followers have committed suicide for Carroll, so she believes self-sacrifice is the way to the highest honor in the cult, which she dubs "Carrollism." Ryan is not amused by the new wording, and would prefer to just refer to Carroll and his followers as "those crazy assholes what took my girlfriend."