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The Following Recap: Too Slow, Hardy. Too Slow.

THE FOLLOWING: Ryan Hardy (R) gets closer to the followers in the "The Siege" episode of THE FOLLOWING airing Monday, Feb. 18 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

This week, we learn that Joe Carroll doesn’t just have his loyal followers working for him on the outside; there are also those who are doing it against their will. He arranges a meeting with his lawyer, whose not thrilled about it. In flashbacks, she’s all pulled together and ambitious, but in present day, she just looks freaked out. He tells her that she owes him some favors because of how much his trial helped her career and that she’s going to have a very busy day. Her first task is to read a quote on television. Our gang at FBI headquarters watch it live. “It’s Poe,” says rookie detective Weston. Such a sharp one, that guy. Hardy nods. He was about to say the same thing, just a second later. I do wish just once this show would throw in a Shel Silverstein quote or something to make sure we’re paying attention.

The show goes easy on the flashbacks this episode. We don’t get another until near the end, and it’s a good one. Before that, though, we’re back at the farmhouse, where Emma, Paul, and Jacob are all in bed together. Emma and Paul are all sighing and stretchy, but Jacob is perturbed. He keeps saying he’s not gay, but it’s probably more about the girl in the basement who he still hasn’t killed, the news of which made me feel as nonplussed as Carroll’s lawyer. Paul tries to be a considerate fake boyfriend by helping Jacob pick out which knife he’ll use. Jacob looks like he wished he answered that other Craigslist posting, about a used bass, instead of the one about joining a serial killer’s cult.

Joey is up to all sorts of trouble. He calls his mom on a hidden cell phone. She has him describe where he is. In a white farmhouse, with black shutters. Yep, that should do it. Even Joey thinks it’s pretty weak. He takes off through the woods instead of waiting to be rescued by these chumps. Weston, who in addition to being the future of the FBI is also their tech guy, clickity clacks some data and they figure out that the call came from Duchess County. “Let’s go,” says Hardy, trying to get an early start for once, but then Agent Parker is all, “No, wait, we have to confirm it.” Did everyone in the bureau fail time-management class? That’s a real kind of class, right? Hardy isn’t having it. He demands to go to Duchess County now. Agent Parker deputizes him on the spot, “You’re hot, etc, etc.”

Hardy goes to see Claire. He has a bunch of important things to say about loving her and wanting to carry her books in his backpack, but now isn’t the time. The problem now is that Hardy is actually acting too fast. He should’ve waited five minutes longer so that he could’ve formulated a plan. Instead he shows up with just his gun and sidekick to Duchess County’s police station. A local cop thinks Paul resembles the pixelated face of a dude suspected of snatching a girl the other day. She pulls up the gas station’s surveillance footage. Weston is practically drooling over the poor quality, “Mind if I route it to the FBI server? Advanced technology.” Is it called a faster DSL hookup because the same thing happens to me when I try and Skype sometimes?

The lawyer visits Claire too. She tells her if she ever wants to see Joey again, Claire has to go stand on a street corner. Claire calls up an old friend in an attempt to ditch the FBI. The friend is all, “Oh my God! It’s been forever! Any new gossip?” while Claire is surely thinking that there was a reason they fell out of touch. Claire makes for the bathroom and turns out to be better at eluding detection than anyone else we’ve seen on this show (although maybe she shouldn’t have tried quite so hard to lose the people who are trying to keep her alive). A car driven by one of two new followers we meet this episode stops and tells her to get in.

On the run, Joey gets stopped by a kind older gentleman. The man’s wife recognizes Joey from the news. Emma appears just then, though, and lures Joey back by promising that he can call his mom. (It’s in these moments when I begin to doubt my conviction that Joey is the criminal mastermind behind this whole endeavor.) The wife calls the cops, but then Paul shows up and slits the couple’s throats. (Thankfully it’s done off-camera.) Hardy shows up, oh, a minute or so too late (blush). He and his substitute rookie cop buddy, some local guy, find the house where Emma and the gang have been holed up. They spot Paul and Jacob, but it doesn’t do them a lot of good since it’s just the two of them and the rest of the search party are in another state or something. You’d think the FBI would be a little more on top of this considering it’s their only lead and finding Joey is their top priority.

Carroll gets an update from his lawyer. She tells him that she doesn’t want to be his messenger, even though that’s exactly what she was all episode. At home you’re all, “Then why are you helping him lady? He doesn’t even pick the best Poe quotes!” But then, flashback! The more polished version of her from the past is in her office. One of the new followers, Roderick, has made an after-hours appointment. He says that Carroll sent him and then he pulls some sharp shears. Back at the prison, Carroll asks her if she brought her pen and paper to take notes, and you see that she’s missing the two little fingers on her left hand. 

At the country house, Roderick shoots the local rookie cop in the chest. He’s about to finish him off but then Hardy pops out and shoots Roderick. Will he finally have made it in time to save someone? Nope, the cop dies. We pause to remember other shows where the hero shakes his fist angrily into the sky. Then we resume the chase. Hardy finds the tied-up girl in the basement. He pulls off the tape covering her mouth and asks her if she’s seen Joey. She’s crying and telling him that they’re crazy and that he has to help her, ASAP. Hardy considers this and then puts the tape back on. “I will be right back,” he tells her, “I promise you.” Uh, I really hope this girl hasn’t seen the first half of this season.

Hardy goes upstairs, sees Joey. “I’m a friend of your mom’s,” Hardy tells him. “And also possibly your father? Is that on the table as a possibility? I can’t quite remember. I’ve consumed a lot of vodka water in the past few years.” He tells Joey that he’s come to rescue him and is about to be all, “Up high! Down low … ” and then, yeah, that’s a gun to Hardy’s temple all right, pointed by Paul. Too slow, Hardy, too slow.

Photo: Nicole Rivelli/FOX