As is the curse of going without any show for an extended period of time, you always run the risk of forgetting certain details or even the majority of the storyline altogether. (Don't worry, it happens to the best of us.) So now that The Following Season 3 is about to premiere, I figured now would be as good a time as any for a little refresher of everything that happened in Season 2. First of all, let's start with the most obvious detail: Joe Carroll was not actually dead as the Season 1 finale indicated because of course he wasn't. No self-respecting Poe fanatic would allow themselves to be thwarted in such a way.
So he hid out in the boonies with a longtime admirer and her daughter Mandy for an entire year until his identity was in jeopardy, forcing him to come out of hiding with a very poor-decision-making Mandy in toe. And his timing couldn't have been better. In celebration of the one-year anniversary of his alleged death, Joe's remaining cult followers were just as dedicated as ever and hoped to lure him back out into the open by attacking a subway car full of people in his honor. Which, naturally put our beloved Ryan Hardy back on the case. And from there on out, the body count continued to climb.
But let's dive into more of the specifics, shall we? Major Season 2 spoilers ahead!
The Curious Case Of Lily & The Twins
Proving once again that Ryan Hardy has terrible luck with romance, he began falling for the lone survivor of the subway attack only to later discover that she was the one who actually orchestrated the entire thing in the first place. You see, Lily was a big fan of Joe's and believed he was still alive. She even developed her own cult of followers, including her close sidekicks Mark and Luke, who referred to her as their mother. But admiration soon turned to resentment when Joe appeared and didn't want to do things the way Lily did. He managed to escape her grasp, but after several encounters with Ryan and the FBI, she eventually met her demise as did Luke, which left Mark on a warpath for revenge. (Dun, dun, dunnn.)
When things between him and Lily went south, Joe took Emma and Mandy to a cult compound called Korban, where he manipulated his way into becoming their ruler. Joe used his new followers to help tell the world that he was alive. However, when a preacher by the name of Kingston Tanner started criticizing Joe to the press, Joe decided to teach him a lesson by kidnapping both him and his son Preston and forcing them to fight to the death. Tanner opted to kill himself instead, though, in the hopes of saving his son's soul from further corruption. Unfortunately, Preston still ended up getting killed.
Mike's Descent To The Dark Side
Poor, sweet Mike really did not have a great year. As a way to teach the FBI a lesson for going after her family, Lily broke into Mike's father's house and videotaped Mark killing him so Mike could see firsthand what his actions had wrought. Mike later came face-to-face with Lily and chose to kill her in cold blood rather than send her to jail. When the twins caught wind of what Mike had done, they swore vengeance on him and the FBI. Luke was killed in the process, but Mark grabbed his brother's body and left town with the help of a mysterious truck driver. Suffice to say, that's definitely not the last we'll see of him, so watch your back, Mike! However, it wasn't all bad news. Mike also became very close to Ryan's niece, Max, and the two ended up kissing by the end of the season.
Claire's Return & Emma's Death
In another shocking twist, Claire ended up surviving the attack at Ryan's apartment after all. Mike decided to place her in witness protection along with her son, but told her that Ryan could never know that she was alive. However, upon hearing that Joe had returned, Claire wanted to help and showed up on Ryan's doorstep. She managed to send Joe a message, proving to him that she was still alive in the hopes to lure him out into the open. They made a plan to meet up, but Emma arrived in his stead and attempted to kill her. After a violent struggle, Claire wound up killing her instead. But before Claire could make it back to Ryan safely, the twins abducted her and threatened to kill her if Ryan didn't deliver Joe to them. This meet up, naturally, ended in a big shoot out, which resulted in Luke's death and Mark's escape.
Before the FBI arrived to take over, Ryan had the opportunity to kill Joe once and for all. However, he couldn't bring himself to do it. Like it or not, his obsession with Joe had become his Achilles heel to the point of where he doesn't know who he is without Joe. So he ended up placing him under arrest again. (Really, Ryan? Now was not the time for morals!) Afterward, he approached Claire about the two of them getting back together. However, she believed that they both needed to live separate lives if there have any hope of being happy. They said goodbye and parted ways, supposedly for good.
As for what happens next… we'll find out soon enough.
Images: Christopher Fragapane, Sarah Shatz (4), Giovanni Rufino/FOX