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Sometimes the best-laid schemes do aft gang agley (thank you Mr. Robert Burns) and this week’s episode of FOX’s The Following proved that, or so it seemed. “The Siege” introduced two new characters of Carroll’s cult (albeit one didn’t make it to the end), an incredibly stupid decision, and the FBI finally mobilizing to the suspected area where they thought Joey was being held. “The Siege” was easily the strongest episode of The Following to date but still found itself marred by many of the same problems that crop up week to week.
It was about to Joey figured out that things weren’t exactly right with his current situation and finally stole the cellphone to call his mom, Claire. Joey was soon discovered by Paul who was about to cook breakfast forcing a premature end to the call. Unfortunately this call didn’t help the FBI much as they were sent on another wild goose chase trying to trace the signal across cell towers around the world. Once Joey is caught Emma tells him that the police are actually the bad guys and, of course, he’s dumb enough to believe her. During this time Paul tries to give Jacob a pep talk and the confidence to kill Megan who is still alive in the basement
Meanwhile Carroll somehow knows that his plans are in need of speeding up so he calls his former attorney, Olivia, to meet with him in jail. She delivers a message, a passage from another Poe piece, in a press conference that the national media picks up. This triggers Roderick, one of the two new followers introduced, to call Hank, the other new follower, to begin the next phase of the plan. Ryan watches the cryptic press conference on the news and decides he’s tired of sitting on his hands and forces Debra to allow him and Mike to fly to Dutchess County in New York (the unconfirmed suspicions of Joey’s whereabouts) to investigate the farmhouses. Debra also gives Ryan his gun back.
Ryan and Mike visit the local police station and they debrief them on the suspects and the situation, triggering a police officer to pull up some surveillance footage that might be Paul in a convenience store. Thank goodness the FBI has awesome technology because Mike sends himself the video to his machine and is able to create a crystal clear image of the zoomed in footage to reveal that it is in fact Paul. This sends Ryan and a policeman and Mike and the policewoman to go check every farmhouse that fits Joey’s description.
While Ryan et al. go to every house one-by-one Joey runs away from the farmhouse into the woods. Emma and Paul don’t notice at first because Jacob still can’t find it in himself to kill Megan. Joey stumbles across an old man in the woods who brings him back to his house so that Joey can call his mom. The old man’s wife recognizes Joey from the TV when the man and Joey return to the house but before they can go inside Emma catches up to them and takes him away. The old couple allows Emma to take Joey ridiculously easily considering they know he has been kidnapped, which is completely absurd. Paul is quickly sent to kill the older couple but not before they could telephone the police to tell them they had found the kid (well thank goodness they did something). Emma then locks Joey in his room after promising him he could call his mom.
As this is all going on Claire has decided to go into the city to meet up with her son, or so Olivia told her earlier in the episode. Even though the FBI follows Claire she all too easily gives them the slip and takes off for the meeting spot. Roderick pulls up in an SUV and tells her to get in if she wants to see her son. Without even thinking she gets in…
Yeah. She decides to get in the car.
Ryan and the policeman arrive too late for the old couple that have already been slain by Paul. They do take off for the next farmhouse over through the trail in the woods only to find Paul and Jacob checking out Hank’s car in the driveway. Hank just recently arrived to tell Emma that it was time for them to move. The policeman calls in their position before Ryan and he go in for a closer look and eventually split up. Unfortunately for the policeman Hank notices his movements in his side view mirror while unpacking some things from the trunk and meets him in the stable. Hank quickly shoots the policeman with his own gun but Ryan immediately comes to his aid and kills Hank. The policeman dies.
Ryan decides to enter the house through the basement after telling Mike and the police force of the policeman’s death. Ryan finds Megan but doesn’t release her yet. Emma, Paul, and Jacob heard the gunshots and went to investigate which left the house empty for Joey to break out of his room and for Ryan to explore it. Ryan finds Joey but Paul comes up behind him holding a gun to his head. The episode ends with Carroll telling Olivia he is going to be using her to get his messages out and for more information regarding his plan. Her writing hand reveals two missing fingers that were cut off by Hank a few years ago.
“The Siege” was at its best during the Dutchess County manhunt. The story moved along quickly and it had built some really nice tension as Ryan and the policeman were surveying the farmhouse. In fact most of the episode was solid. However, Claire’s decision completely breaks any suspension of disbelief, which was already on thin ground mainly due to previous ineptitude by the FBI. The fact that the show wasn’t mired in the land of pointless flashbacks also helped keep the audience engaged. Hopefully future episodes of The Following will follow this fewer flashback approach.