After the big reveal at the end of last week’s “The Following” — you know, that tiny little detail that Claire’s been alive this whole time — many viewers expected “Teacher’s Pet” on Monday (March 24) to focus on what Claire’s been up to and what she decides to do now that she knows Joe is also still alive. Unfortunately, it looks like that will have to wait until next week, because this episode was all about Joe’s new religious killer cut.
Now that he has a holy army praising him, Emma makes Joe promise to include her in all his decisions now, and not to shut her out again. He agrees, telling her that he needs her. Mandy overhears their conversation, and looks pissed. Is a Mandy/Emma showdown inevitable?
Mandy also looks extremely uncomfortable at what Joe preaches to his new followers — Joe has Robert introduce him to the psychos that Micah was keeping locked up — about “No redemption without blood” or some religious mumbo jumbo like that. She doesn’t seem to be on board with what he’s preaching, even though she brags to Emma about killing her mom. When Joe kills a cat in cold blood as a demonstration, it makes her burst into tears. Is Mandy having second thoughts about her choices?
Since Joe made his presence known to the world, Mike tells Claire that Witness Protection needs to move her and Joey again until they know that Joe is once again in custody. If Joe or his followers find out that she’s still alive, a lot more innocent people will die like last year. But Claire is tired of running. She echoes what both Ryan and Mike have said this season: She doesn’t want Joe to be caught, she wants to kill him. But even though Mike tells her to let it go, she can’t, and she decides to go back to New York to see Ryan (which will awkward since he’s got himself a new girlfriend).
Oblivious to the romantic drama heading his way, Ryan visits Joe’s mentor Strauss in prison to see if he will tell Ryan about other killers he mentored. Ryan thinks that might be who Joe is reaching out to now. But Strauss unsettles Ryan, telling him that he’s the perfect example of obsession. He even goes so far as to say that Ryan copied Joe’s life, stealing his wife, writing a book about him, even becoming a teacher, all because Ryan is obsessed with Joe. Ryan leaves, and Strauss looks pleased.
But that gives Ryan an idea: He has Carrie Cook announce on live TV that the FBI caught Strauss to goad Joe into calling Jana to find out what Strauss has said. And since the FBI now has her phone, Ryan happily picks up when Joe calls. The fact that Ryan caught his mentor and killed his FBI mole enrages Joe to the point where he brags to Ryan about his new “holy army” that will rain “merry terror” later that very day.
And his holy army does, picking people at random, killing them on the sidewalk in plain daylight, in their own homes at night. It’s all absolutely terrifying, because they can literally strike anyone anywhere at anytime. But Ryan and Mike figure out that Lance’s girlfriend is still with the cult they ran away to (Lance is the cult member that Ryan killed at the bookstore massacre), and they figure out she’s going to kill someone at a restaurant she used to work at. They catch up in time to prevent the last sacrifice, but before they can convince the girl to give up Joe’s location her partner slits her throat and Ryan shoots him. They were so close!
At least now Ryan and Mike and Max know that Joe is using a religious sect for his purposes, and that gives them a way to narrow down where Joe could be hiding.
Other notable moments from “Teacher’s Pet” …
– After visiting Claire, when Mike finally gets back to Ryan’s apartment, Max tells him she was worried about him. They share a cute moment together, and if they don’t hook up by the end of Season 2 it will be a travesty.
– Flashbacks reveal Strauss’ first meeting with Joe, and when he taught the teen how to control his impulses and that killing is okay. The show did an amazing job casting the young Joe, as he seriously looked exactly like James Purefoy. He even sounded like James Purefoy. Just perfect.
“The Following” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.