The FBI task force is holding a briefing in conjunction with an alphabet soup of folks from DHS, CIA, NSA, ATF and the bigwigs at the FBI’s headquarters in Quantico. Well, it’s supposed to be a briefing but it sounded more like a dressing down of both Debra and Ryan, calling them out for their lack of progress in rounding up Joe Carroll and Company. Even Nick thought that the criticism had gone too far, and asked the video conferencers if this was really meant to be an inquisition. Maybe it’s just me, but the brain trusts who were doling out the snark might want to take a look at their own track record. Now, just how long did it take them to find and kill bin Laden? Joe Carroll’s only been on the loose for a couple of episodes. Anyway, the powerful ones decide that the investigation should be run by the smart guys in D.C. and that Debra should be Ryan’s babysitter.
While this was going on Joe was gathering his followers for his own meeting – it was part motivational speech and part pep rally. He explained to the rapt crowd that they had so much good work ahead of them and that they were going to write their own chapters of the highly anticipated sequel to Joe’s first failed book. One follower in particular, Amanda Porter (I think my recaps are crossing into each other’s territory), has done her homework. Armed with her writing tablet, she tries to explain to Joe what her chapter is about – happy endings. I wasn’t expecting that one but Amanda has a pretty crazy history. She found out that her husband was having an affair, so she took out the two illicit lovers with a shotgun, then drove what was left of them to a swamp in Florida to become alligator food before making a beeline to see Joe in prison. That’s how she found Roderick and made her way to her new home among her ilk.
According to Amanda, Joe deserves a happy ending and she’s just the one to provide it, but it’s not a Hallmark kind of happy ending. Love hurts, you know, but the question is just how much pain can one man – that would be Ryan Hardy – endure before he breaks. In my opinion, Ryan’s already broken, but that doesn’t stop Amanda from going out to begin her chapter. What she’s planning to do is kill everyone named Claire Matthews that she can find, and that, in turn, will draw out the real Claire and have her running back to her ex. Amanda has really raised the bar for all aspiring koo-koo for Cocoa Puffs Followers. She starts her mission at a diner where two women have just sat down for lunch. Amanda, under the watchful eye of Louise, starts jabbering absolute nonsense to them while fumbling around in her bag. Before you know it, she’s killed proxy-Claire # 1 with a spear gun, then causally walks out the door, but not before leaving a message for Ryan about love and pain to be delivered by the shocked friend of the victim.
When the Task Force shows up, Ryan finds out what the deceased woman’s maiden name was and the FBI starts looking for everyone with the name Claire Matthews within a 50 mile radius. A second proxy-Claire is in her apartment when she gets a call from a friend telling her to turn on the TV. While she’s watching the press conference about Amanda’s intended targets, someone announcing that they’re the police knocks on her door. It’s Amanda and proxy-Claire # 2 is pushed through her window and dies, by falling several stories to the ground, just as the local cops are arriving to take her into protective custody.
While Amanda is writing her chapter, Joe is showing come cracks in his leadership armor. It’s one thing to write blogs and have a few chats with visitors in prison, but it’s a whole different thing to rein in a group of wackos who think that you’re going to give their lives meaning. Joe broke a very basic rule in his game by sleeping with Emma and, at the same time, affirming his love for his ex-wife. Emma didn’t take that night lightly and now she’s desperately trying to score a second night with him. Joe, however, is disappointed in himself for falling for the temptations of the flesh and tried to explain to Emma that they shouldn’t advertise their little tryst. To rub a little more salt into the wound of her broken heart, Joe tells Roderick that he should see if he can find out what happened to Jake and Paul because Emma would be ever so grateful for any news. Roderick is loving the fact that Emma looks like a fool and tells her that he’s checked her cell phone and discovered dozens of message from Jake, asking for her help and declaring his love. Joe decides that he should call Ryan so that the two of them can reminisce about their love for Claire and the suffering one must endure in the name of Cupid. Joe also expressed his concern for Mike and asks Ryan how he’s doing. Ryan then says that he’s sorry about what happened to Joe’s followers at the warehouse – “They’re kinda dead.” Joe isn’t worried in the least and tells Ryan that it’s okay because he has more. Why yes, yes he does, but they’re dropping like flies. Joe might have to write a few more blogs to up his follower numbers.
Emma’s gone but not forgotten friends, Paul and Jacob turn up at a cabin in the woods that happens to belong to Jake’s family. His mother enters the house, expecting to get a little alone time, away from the feds – I guess the FBI missed the place when they were checking out the family’s properties – and the media, only to find the fugitive cult members inside. Paul isn’t looking too good and Jake’s mom says that he’s in dire need of some real medical attention, surgery, antibiotics and the like, not a couch in some cabin with a role of gauze and a bottle of iodine. She does the best she can, but she’s just as concerned about Jake’s father coming home and finding the two men there. She’d also like to understand her son’s reasons for joining a cult but I don’t think that there’s anything he could say that would make her feel any better. He knows that too and tells her as much. And nope, she’s not calling the police, she’s just looking for a way for them to avoid Jake’s Dad and whatever can of worms that opens. I have a feeling Jake’s Dad would’ve called the cops in the blink of an eye.
The FBI have rounded up every Claire Matthews in the area with the exception of one, a college student who’s at a Mardi-Gras-like festival without a cell phone. Amanda and Louise are there, as well, and they’re hunting the hapless girl. A young man, who knows proxy-Claire # 3 from class stops her and shows her the news story about the Claire killings. She sees Amanda chasing her and runs to the nearest police officer. Her fellow student is stabbed by Amanda simply for getting in her way. As the officer is on his radio, reporting that he found the missing Claire, he’s shot and killed by Amanda. Now Ryan is chasing them and comes across Louise. When he tells her to put her hands up and turn around, she says that he won’t kill her. Wrong. Never dare an alcoholic, former FBI agent with a pacemaker to do anything. Ryan runs after Amanda and Claire who have gone into a construction area. When he turns one corner, Amanda shoots him in the arm with a nail gun, then runs off. He finally reaches her a second time, but she has proxy-Claire # 3 with the nail gun pointed at her head.
Ryan and Amanda have a little talk about love and pain and happy endings. He tells her that the reason he slept with Joe’s wife is because he really loves her and always will. He even tries to reason with her telling her that the coed is not the real Claire Matthews. In the best line of the night, Amanda tells him “It’s a freakin’ metaphor, Ryan”. Well, duh, of course it is Amanda. Ryan goes on to say that the only way Joe will ever have a happy ending is if Ryan is dead. He tells Amanda that she should shoot him instead of the young student. Amanda, after some thought – you can see right then and there, as her little hamster wheel of a brain is turning, why she’s a follower – points the nail gun at Ryan, giving him the chance to tackle her and save proxy-Claire # 3.
Jake’s Mom is trying to get her son and his friend out of the cabin, and soon, because Dad is only minutes away. Jake is doing his best to get Paul out of there, but Paul isn’t in any shape to be going anywhere. He tells Jake that he should go without him, but that he wants his life to mean something, in that way that Joe described. Jake then takes a pillow and smothers Paul – another fallen follower. That wasn’t easy for Jake to do. He and Paul loved each other, maybe not in that fake gay way we saw in the beginning but from some flashbacks we saw where they bonded in a rather ghoulish and gruesome way. That flashback, where a young woman was killed by Paul during what was supposed to be a training session for Jake, was when the two of them began to keep secrets from Emma and set the tone for what their relationship really meant. Jake had never killed anyone, until he suffocated his best friend, Paul. Jake’s compassion, if you can call it that given the circumstances, as well as his love for Paul, could mean his downfall or that Joe Carroll may not be all that Jake thought he was. Whatever father issues he has aren’t going to help him understand Joe’s line of thinking, either.
Roderick sent Jake an email telling him where he can find the rest of the group. Roderick also has a bunch of news for Joe. He lets him know that Amanda and Louise didn’t quite complete their mission as planned and that Louise died. Joe looks at Roderick and begins to express his condolences, believing that Roderick actually gave two hoots about the woman. Roderick says, well, yea, I did, or maybe I didn’t or no, come to think of it, she didn’t mean a damn thing. Too bad, because I thought they were made for each other. The good news, at least for Joe, is that Roderick has managed to narrow down Claire’s location by intercepting some calls made by the FBI. Then Emma gets her own surprise because Jake is at the door. Looks like everybody may find out how much love hurts after all.
That just leaves Debra and Ryan to wallow in their own misery. She’s feeling like a failure. He’s pining over Claire. Nick thinks the Ryan/Claire love affair is twisted, and I’m not so sure he’s wrong.
This post is really late and I apologize for that. I could bore you with the details of a week that didn’t go quite as planned but instead I’ll just thank you for understanding. 🙂