The Following continues to be compulsive viewing with more than its fair share of “edge of the seat” moments; this week’s episode, The Messenger shows all masks off. Each character who has been hiding their true purpose reveal what they really want and who they really are. Although Micah’s wife Julia has been fairly consistent with her feelings about Joe Carroll, this week sees the true depth of her attitude about her husband’s plans for their cult and it does not match Micah’s own.
At the start of the episode, Mike’s father is buried; Mandy makes a new friend; Emma reiterates her belief that Micah and his cult are crazy; and all three of the newest members of said cult are welcomed into the fold and allowed to take off their masks. They formally join this huge group of brainwashed guys and gals in red who are following Micah’s insanity.
After the three newest members get their red costumes, Ryan is approached by the woman who wrote the book The Hampton Tragedy. A publication that used a drunk Hardy’s confessions back when he was still abusing his heart and body with alcohol.
In the Micah cult, Julia reveals the depths of her distrust of Carroll and Micah reveals that his cult isn’t all about heading to the “ninth planet beyond Neptune,” it is about notoriety and becoming infamous. The leader confesses to Joe that he wants people to write books about him just as they have with Carroll. Micah wants Joe to teach him how to get his followers to kill for him. The cult leader wants to be the next Charles Manson.
Whether this plan has been recently gestated because of Carroll’s joining of the group or if this was always Micah’s goal is unclear but ultimately the leader’s main purpose is to control people and convert them into his devoted followers. A plan that he has mastered as evidenced later in the show when he sacrifices several “doubters” during a welcoming party for Joe’s little group.
Emma, after her unwilling blood sacrifice from last week, finally decides to play along with Joe, who also takes his “mask” off and reveals to his devoted acolyte that he wants to take over all of Micah’s followers for his own goals. In this week’s episode of The Following: The Messenger it becomes clear who everyone is and what their true goals are.
Joe explains to Micah that he kills not for any other reason than he has an obsessive and psychopathic need to “create” his vision of death, as he orchestrates it, as beauty. Meanwhile, Mike Weston has buried his father and moves to be allowed back into Ryan’s obsession to catch and kill Carroll. A mission that has been sanctioned by the head of the FBI. While Hardy has been given carte blanche to do whatever he deems necessary to stop Joe, he does so under the umbrella of a “covert” operation that no one can know of. Although Weston is more interested in Lily obviously.
Following leads with Max, Hardy approaches a man from Joe’s past who, he feels, will lead them to the killer. The reporter also finds the same man and when she attempts to question him about Joe, puts herself and Hardy in danger.
In this episode of The Following: The Messenger it is truly a case of “all masks off” as all of the major players, and at least one secondary character, reveal their true nature. This show continues to impress. Kevin Bacon as Hardy; Shawn Ashmore as Mike Weston; James Purefoy as Carroll; Valorie Curry as Emma and Jessica Stroup as Max, never fail to impress and enthrall with their performances. The two latest additions to the cast, Joe Weber as the publicity seeking Micah and Jacinda Barrett as his wife Julia have slid into their roles with a reality that is as convincing as it is disturbing. It is definitely getting more difficult to wait an entire week to see what happens in this thrilling show next.
By Michael Smith