After losing Claire to Carroll last week, Ryan flakes off back to Brooklyn to get drunk and mope. He doesn't even bother to send flowers to Tyson and Mike. Parker follows him and pries him out of his hungover funk so they can set up a sting at the S&M club the followers are also using as a server farm for their recruiting website.
The club, it turns out, is run by a lady named Haley, who occasionally exchanges recreational beatings with militia follower Vince. She reluctantly agrees to wear a wire so the FBI can track Vince when he comes to pick up a box of explodey things he bought from Bombs-R-us.com, but then he kidnaps Haley, after Ryan blatantly ignores the safe word she'd insisted on so she doesn't end up gutted and in a coma like everyone else who listens to Ryan. Vince leads them to the cult's camp, in an abandoned munitions depot, and everyone runs around in the dark for a while until Ryan and Parker rescue Haley and the FBI kills a bunch of followers who were undergoing sensory deprivation training. Vince gets away and no one learns anything.
At Cult HQ, Carroll makes Claire get all fancied up and have dinner with him by the fireplace before he'll let her see Joey. He smarms constantly about how she's totally going to fall in love with him again, and Claire politely refrains from vomiting in the houseplants.
Also feeling barfy and kind of starting to hate Carroll: Roderick. He's eager to launch the cult's master plan (of…killing more people? Forever? Perhaps in other countries?) now that they've procured Claire and Joey like Carroll wanted them to—and after they've sacrificed, what, a dozen lives in pursuit of that goal?—but now Carroll just wants to swan around in his smoking jacket, enjoying fine brandies and monologuing indulgently about how he is the lord of all he surveys. So Carroll punches Roderick in the face and snarls at him, and all is not well in the land of vaguely homoerotic scenes in forbidding, wood-paneled rooms.
Previously on The Following: Carroll's people got Claire to come with them, not by kidnapping her, but by, like, asking nicely. Because she is a fool. Also, Ryan's ex-girlfriend Molly is a follower.
We open on Ryan in bed in Brooklyn, intercut with Carroll jogging near the cult house. Ryan's woken by the phone, and it's Carroll, who apologizes for waking him because Carroll is a stone-cold jackass. He tsk-tsks about how Ryan's been drinking because he lost Claire, so Ryan tells him to fuck off and die and hangs up. Then goes directly to the fridge -- for his water, not the vodka. Because he drank all the vodka. The phone rings again, and seriously, Ryan, stop answering. It's Carroll again, chastising him to become a functioning alcoholic, at least, because the drunken detective is such a cliché. He tells him Ryan can't fall apart on him just yet, which piques Ryan's curiosity. He asks what's next, and Carroll gloats about how he's going to enjoy quality time with his family now, trying to win back Claire's love. Oh, I hope she stabs you to death with one of her impossibly pointy fingers, you incredibly tiresome man.
Roderick and Vincent arrive at the house, with Claire, who's hooded. They pull her hood off and bring her to the door. She's greeted by Jacob and demands to see Joey, but Jacob has orders to be the butler, apparently, because he offers to show Claire to her room so she can fix the mess that is her hair. She really wants to see her kid but he insists. Jacob brings her to a room, unties her hands, and even though she begs to see Joey again, he just says he's going to tell Joe she's here, then locks her in. CLAIRE. What did you think would happen?
Ryan, in Brooklyn, has the news on, which is about how Claire is missing because she is dumb. He answers a knock on his door, and it's Parker. She asks about Tyson, and then when Ryan lets her in, tells him to put on pants. Hey, lady. That's awfully presumptuous, busting into someone's place and then demanding they wear pants. I have dumped friends for less.
Molly tells Joe that she's brought him a bunch of paperwork, and they gossip about how Ryan is still stuck on Claire. Apparently he still bangs Molly once in a while, though. Flashback to Molly visiting Carroll in jail in 2009. She's a nurse, apparently, and likes to kill her patients. They compare their philosophies of murder and he asks her how she decides who lives and who dies, and then he gives her a mission: following Ryan. At the cult house, Molly hands Carroll a flash drive of videos, and it seems her job was to record everything Ryan did, the way Charlie was monitoring Claire.