This week, The Following has finally decided that its second season does have a point. And that point starts with Joe and his cult project.
Micah sees Carrie Cook talking about Lily's family of psychopaths on television and says he wants to be like her and make a "splash" – you know, the fancy cult leader term for "ruckus." Joe appears to agree, squashes his jealousy over the announcer calling Lily a more complex killer, and helps Micah make a terrible, cliché tape complete with a Halloween mask. We see, officially, that Micah is totally insane, which is only escalated when Joe helps him test his wife, Julia's loyalty.
Micah leaves a gun out for Julia and she predictably tries to kill him with it, only it's not loaded and Joe strangles her on Micah's command. All Micah says is "Thanks," as if Joe just lent him a cup of sugar. Once Julia is dead, Joe and Micah send Emma, Robert, and a nut-job named Lance on a mission in New York. They take Micah's video and launch an attack on the crowd at Carrie Cook's book signing, slashing throats all over the store and leaving Carrie alive to air the video on her news network. Lance stays behind and attempts to pass a victim, only to attack a cop and be shot by Ryan.
Back at Corbin, the group watches as Carrie airs not Micah's video, but Joe's coming out video instead. Joe poisons Micah and convinces Robert to lead the rest of the cult in accepting him as the new leader. He stands in his Technicolor dream coat while all the followers scream "Praise Joe." Why we had to wade through all the Lily nonsense all season to get to this point is beyond me, but at least we're here now.
On Ryan's end, the focus this week is finding the leak. After a sexually tense moment, Mike and Max realize that Mendez is their most likely candidate for the FBI leak and along with Ryan, they follow her. Max places a trace on her and Ryan accuses her of being the leak, forcing her to go running to Jana. Once she gets to the suburbs, she pulls Jana aside and accuses her of being a follower. Jana's response is to stab her and run upstairs to get a go-bag together. Ryan and Mike arrive while she's upstairs and they wind up in a stand-off that end with no information spilt and Jana killing herself.
With the information they nab on Jana's computer, Ryan and Co. find that Joe's target is Carrie's book reading. They're unable to stop it, but it does bring Ryan closer to Carrie. Later that night, she stops by his apartment for dinner and with the help of a Max Hardy pep talk, Ryan decides to let go and make out with Carrie instead of continuing to resist her.
There's just one giant problem: Claire isn't actually dead. Mike excuses himself rather ominously before Carrie comes to Ryan's only to head out to the middle of nowhere with a hood on his head to a secret location, where Claire is alive and well, this time with a shorter, darker haircut. It seems that Mike knew about this all along, but it's not entirely clear. But either way, the game has just changed completely.
We open on Carrie Cook giving a TV interview about Lily's rash of murders and her family of psychopaths. She explains that Lily was basically a murderous orphan Annie and explains how that makes her mind is far more complicated than Joe's ever was. Joe is watching the interview at Micah's and is clearly offended. Micah sees the hubbub and says he wants to be like Lily and make a "splash." If Joe wasn't already planning to sabotage him, using the word "splash" would certainly have given him some ammunition. How can we be certain Joe is planning some sabotage? Why else would he call his newly-blonde pal Janna right after Micah tells him his grand goal, eh?
After her interview, Carrie meets with Ryan for information. All he can tell her is the Strauss is being interrogated and that they haven't found Joe yet. She confirms that their deal is that she keeps quiet, but gets the scoop when they find Joe. But then she switches gears, attempts to be sweet, and asks him to have dinner with her as a thank you for saving her life. Ryan isn't one for personal connections since losing Claire, however, so he passes.
At the same moment, Max lets herself into Ryan's apartment and Mike is just out of the shower and wearing a towel. Max doesn't say anything, but just watches him like a creeper. When he gets off the phone with his mother, he drops his towel but she stops him (network censors are a thing, after all). They have a strange little awkward moment about why she didn't say anything – hello, sexual tension – but then she hands him coffee and they start over. She asks him how he is and they share an affectionate and understanding moment before Max gets to her point: she's got a list of possible leaks from Franklin and she's narrowed it down to six. The problem is that one of the six possibilities is Mendez.
Back at Corbin, Joe is helping Micah make his big coming out video. Micah's wearing a Halloween mask and a cape and reciting clichés, but he's having a hard time realizing why it's not working out so well. Luckily, Joe stops him and Emma and Robert come by to talk game plan for Micah's big coming out party. But then, Micah says he's including Lance -- a murderer who has been living in the psycho pen for slicing a girl's ear off because he didn't like the way she looked. Oh great. A super psycho is being added to the mix. If it wasn't clear before, it's crystal clear now: Micah is nuts. Joe says he's probably bipolar or something, but Emma isn't scared. She tells Joe that she's dangerous and I can't tell if he's looking on with fatherly pride or sexual desire. Knowing these weirdos, it's probably a little bit of both.