It’s the strangest feeling to watch a show that expects you to root for a serial killer. Not that some shows don’t pull it off. There’s Dexter with his code and Hannibal who’s probably (I’ve never seen it) legitimately charming enough to manipulate his audiences natural instincts. Joe Carroll, though, is another story. The only code he knows is the one that he once typed into the security system of last season’s McMansion, when he and a handful of followers snuck out and saw a movie after Roderick and Claire and Small Speaking Part and the others were already asleep.
Up until last night’s episode, it didn’t seem like we were supposed to be on Joe’s side at all. I mean, his murder noise sound was the kind of divide that isn’t crossed. Now, though, it seems that out of the two homicidal cult leaders on the show, he’s being presented as the more, I don’t know, relatable one? He practically looked at the camera after his “jokey” phone call to Lily last night, telling her she’d blown it by trying to force him to commit to a carefree, all-expenses-paid life together in South America. After sticking a toe in the dating pool, Joe’s decided that age-appropriate women are just too much work. They adopt children from around the world whom they claim to love equally but only freak out when the Sexy French ones die. Old ladies, they be crazy, as Poe would have put it. Joe would much rather stick with the kind of instability found in younger packages, like Emma and Mandy, his very own Thelma and Louise. Together they will take on a cruel, unjust world.
Max goes to CVS and brings back one of those handy dollar sewing kits that come with enough mismatched thread to stitch up gunshot wounds. She also snagged the last replacement pacemaker and emergency heart transplant kit just as an elderly Buddhist monk was reaching for it, leaving behind another innocent Ryan Hardy casualty. Back in the motel room, Hardy keeps looking at his niece like the show’s writers are regretting making her a blood relation instead of just by marriage. That’s probably why they wrote the whole thing about Luke having the hots for his mom, in case they need to just suddenly be like, “Oh yeah, didn’t we tell you? This show takes place in the future, when it’ll be typical, trendy even, for families in New York to just start dating each other. What? You think that’s less plausible than all these people being enrolled in a serial killer internship? Or that present-day New Yorkers are willing to pay thousands of dollars a month to live in a windowless studio with four roommates in Bushwick?”
Hardy swallows his pride and decides to call the FBI, meaning Weston’s flip phone. Weston assures him he’ll pass the message about Joe being alive and Hardy and Max being in danger on. Hardy and Max sit back and wait for the cavalry to arrive. “I don’t understand what’s taking them so long,” says Hardy, “It should take them fifteen minutes by helicopter.” That’s when I had to run to the bathroom to give my ears a good cleaning for the first time since that episode of Girls. It just seemed impossible that I heard right. The FBI has a helicopter? That has enough fuel to fly across state lines? In fifteen minutes? My wastebasket looked like a prop in Joe Carroll’s study by the time I believed it, except instead of overflowing with balled up pieces of typewriter paper it was overflowing with Q-tips.
Back at Lily’s Pad (!), Mark pushes his way into Luke’s room, after not picking up on Luke’s hints about Giselle giving him a Sexy French lesson. Mark sees Giselle’s body on the bed and reacts as though he’s both never seen a dead person before nor co-created a cult whose elevator pitch is to replace mannequins made in China with real dead bodies made in America. When he tells Luke that she’s dead, Luke denies saying she’s just sleeping and then after a minute is all, “Nah, you’re right. She’s totally dead. Hardy shot her. I’m going to make him pay a thousand times over for what he did to our precious girl. Also our adopted brother is dead too.” Mark shrugs.
Weston shows up to the motel alone, after not telling anyone about any of it. That’ll teach Hardy to ever demonstrate maturity again. Weston’s sure there’s a mole on the inside working for Joe. Hardy shows up at the motel and Weston punches him, like, twice before Hardy’s already starting in with the “Ooooookay” looks. As though Weston’s the only loose cannon on the team. Too bad Weston got there just a hair too late or else he would’ve seen Hardy reenacting the broken collarbone straightjacket scene from Lethal Weapon in its entirety in the motel room for Max, as the movie played simultaneously on Cinemax in the background. Of course, quick thinking Max had also bought the collarbone mending kit while she was out.
They call up Lily and offer to trade Luke for Joe. She’s like “Don’t kill my biological child. Don’t touch one hair on his head. He spent years trying to find just the right product to make it slick back just right. Please. I’ll shoot all the adopted ones myself if you just give him back to me.” Weston, Hardy and Max locate Lily’s Pad by using the motel desk clerk’s Farmville App and Weston and Max strategize about how many Oscar movies they can manage to still see before the award ceremony on Sunday. Lily shows up with a man wearing a Joe Carroll mask who sharp Max is able to recognize immediately, from two feet away, isn’t him. Weston crouch walks over to Lily’s car while they’re distracted with Max and slashes their tires. Not because that will come into play at all in the ensuing chase but because he’s a little punk. He’s about to key the passenger side door when he sees Luke and Mark and Lily getting away. He and Max chase after them. Lily and Mark make it to another car they’ve stashed in the woods (being a serial killer with a bottomless bank account: priceless) but realize that Luke isn’t with them. “Where’s Luke?!!!!” shouts Mark, “How will I know how to style my hair if I don’t have a contrasting style to work against? Where’s Luuuuuuuke?” He’s right behind, you Mark, getting shot by Weston. Mark and Lily don’t like this at all. They peal off but Luke’s still alive because this is a horror movie after all, just in extended episodic form with commercials and there’s Weston getting punchy again, literally, all over Luke’s face. Max makes him stop and gives him the trademark Hardy family look of disbelief when it comes to witnessing a non-related person go too far.
Weston’s face is covered in blood, but there’s no time to wipe it off. He has to go meet up with the rest of the FBI, who’s with Hardy at the airstrip, and explain to them why the decision to not call them sooner was perfectly rational. He’s not wrong about the mole, though. It’s that suburban mom, who is either getting all the intel herself on the computer in her laundry room or being fed it by her ex, the FBI chief. I wonder if while her little daughter naps, the mom stands in front of her mirrored closet doors and pretends to be on a movie poster, whispering the tagline under her breath. While others pack heat, she packs carrot sticks.