In this week’s episode of The Following, “Welcome Home”, Carroll attempts to reunite with his former wife Claire, while Weston proves his trustworthiness during a deadly interrogation about her whereabouts. Is Carroll’s plan finally revealing its holes?

Carroll, now out of prison, continues to search for his ex-wife Claire, forcing his followers to kidnap and interrogate the one man who knows where she is – Mike Weston. But when Weston’s convictions prove to stronger than anyone could have imagined, it’s up to Hardy to track down the whereabouts of his captured co-worker before he is forced to give up his life to keep Claire’s location a secret. Meanwhile, Carroll must deal with the positives and negatives of being beloved.

With Carroll no longer in prison, it was now time to see what television’s newest serial killer could do with a more hands-on approach to the manipulation of his followers. Like always, The Following delivered and then some, throwing Carroll’s would-be cult up against the convictions of one of FBI’s finest agents and Hardy, who was ready and willing to eliminate any and all threats.

Chapter 2 may very well have just begun, but it appears nobody – including Carroll, himself – could have known that first his true face-to-face meeting with his many followers would be his first mistake. As Roderick is revealed, and the search for Claire continues, the need for Carroll’s constant approval drives his followers further down a dangerous, unplanned path, where the need to provide for their leader overshadows their will to live.

For all intents and purposes, this week’s episode of The Following largely sets Hardy aside, instead allowing Carroll and Weston to help drive much of the suspense. Shawn Ashmore’s Weston character has, up until now, felt quite similar to the one-note characters you would likely see his twin brother, Aaron, take on. However, when pitted against the illusive Roderick, Weston grew exponentially as a character with each hit he took, securing himself as an equal to Hardy in the eyes of the audience, even before revealing the heroic tag the writers brilliantly included at the end, which helped accentuate his actions even further.

For Carroll, his role in this episode was, like always, subtle in nature. Now outside of the confines of his prison cell, he’s forced to deal with the expectations of his many followers face-to-face and witness their true dedication – some which even surprised the master murderer. And as Carroll sat on his proverbial throne of power, with any of his “wants” ready to be filled by his murderous conclave, his love for his wife (somewhat) remained, suggesting that there are more to his plans than destroying Hardy. But as this episode shows, it’s going to take a lot to bring Hardy to his knees.

With the draw of his gun, Hardy kills five of Carroll’s followers who were interrogating Weston, essentially evening the score with his nemeses. Although the nameless, relatively faceless characters that Hardy killed were all-but-new to the series, the fact that the writers decided to give Hardy such a big win means that Fox’s freshman series is beginning to escalate its storylines to lead into the season 1 finale next month.

As The Following begins to make its way towards the finale, Carroll’s search for Claire will likely ramp up, forcing Hardy to pull out all the stops to protect his one-time lover from the man she married. But with Carroll’s Chapter 2 plans just now beginning, don’t be surprised if television’s newest serial killer ends this season on a high note – for him, anyways.

———

The Following returns next Monday with “Love Hurts” @9pm on Fox. You can check out a preview of next week’s episode below: