Joe Carroll goes through the business of brainwashing his new flock into killing without reservation in The Following: Freedom he also has some dissatisfaction brewing in the ranks and it won’t be long before he splits his forces to take on three different factions. Two men wearing white Joe Carroll masks slice and dice their way through a crowded cafe and while Ryan Hardy and Mike Weston are investigating, Emma is busy trying to seal Mandy’s fate as a “lost cause.” Ryan is getting more involved with the Carrie Cook and Claire wants to see Hardy. Joe wants Emma to keep Robert in line and her doing so moves her up that little bit more in the power stakes in his new cult.
Emma proves just how far she is prepared to go in her efforts to make sure Joe succeeds. With Robert now under control, Mandy is making good her escape before she gets punished for her “lack of belief.” The wounded staff and customers fill up the emergency room of the hospital where Luke is being treated under police guard. Two of the “wounded” turn out to be men who are there to break Lily Grey’s boy out. This international terrorist looney is, so far, much more ruthless than Carroll. She’s proven just how deadly she is by killing Mike Weston’s father and now she’s turned two professional killers loose on a hospital full of innocents.
As Ryan and Mike figure out that it was Grey who was behind the cafe bloodbath, Luke learns that he’s about to be freed. Weston and Hardy rush to the hospital to stop Lily’s sibling from leaving. Police guards are mown down and cameras shot out as the two professionals and the woman who murdered a hospital employee to get her ID card start getting Luke out of the building. Joe Carroll learns of an evangelical preacher who has called war on him and his new cult and he learns of Lily’s grandiose and bloody rescue of Luke. In Freedom on The Following Joe decides to split his forces and take on, not just Hardy, but Grey and the preacher to teach them all a lesson.
Mike Weston comes within a gnat’s whisker of learning where Lily is from the woman who has the stolen ID, but before he can question her, she pulls a knife and goes on the attack. Another officer shoots her dead and Weston’s frustration is written all over his face. Back at Joe’s “camp of Corbin” Mandy has packed her bags and gotten out. Joe has to win over Emma, again, and explain where he is going with this new plan. His little girl has grown up and she may get too questioning for his taste if she is not careful.
The first thing that Mandy does when she gets away is call Mark. Sadly, this does not look like the best move in the world and she doesn’t seem to realize that this group of international crazies are much worse than Carroll. Back at the hospital, there is a nerve wracking search through the hospital and Luke just slips away from Hardy by the thinnest of margins. Carrie shows up after the smoke has cleared and it’s obvious that these two have become very, very close.
Later, as Mike Weston and Ryan are winding down from the day’s events, there is a knock at the door. Claire has finally gotten her wish and she is there to see Hardy. Mike, who has known all along that Claire was still alive tries to break the news to Ryan just as she comes into view. Hardy looks shaken to the core as he looks at his former lover, whom he thought was dead, and says her name.
This episode was one that kept the audience on the edge of their seat, perhaps more than any other in season two. The attack in the cafe; the search and rescue in the hospital and Mandy’s escape from Joe’s cult; all three of these set pieces were brilliantly set up and filled with white knuckle moments. This show also points out just how powerful Emma is becoming in her relationship with Joe. It remains to be seen if Carroll will really be happy about this further change in her.
In The Following: Freedom Carroll is splitting his forces and in three cases, four if you count the poor girl murdered, aka set free, at the beginning of the show, there has indeed been a form of freedom. Luke’s freedom from incarceration in the hospital, Mandy’s freedom from the cult, however short lived that may be, and Claire gets her own form of freedom when she’s finally allowed to see Ryan. Previews of next week’s episode looks like Mandy has jumped from the frying pan into the fire.
By Michael Smith