The Following “Flesh & Blood” Review (Season 3 Episode 8)

The Following Flesh Blood Season 3 Episode 8 04

On the latest episode of “The Following,” things came to an unexpected head with Theo, forcing him to make some tough decisions, in the aptly-titled “Flesh & Blood.” As I’ve noted here in previous reviews, Ryan and company have really been on the ball this year, when it comes to doing their job and keeping things moderately on the up-and-up, at least in comparison to last year. However, when it comes to one person- Theo- they have constantly and consistently been a few steps behind. That’s certainly not a criticism, as Theo is as wily a foe as the team has come up against, but you can be sure that it’s going to come back and bite at least some of the team in the end- in the case of Max, it already has.

That said, in this episode, the team finally caught some unexpected breaks, just as it seemed Theo was about to be in the wind for good. After disposing of his boss, Tucker Moore, in a decidedly grisly fashion- he grinded up the pieces of Tucker’s body, one by one; shades of the movie “Fargo”- Theo headed home, satisfied he’d taken care of all the evidence that needed taking care of. Unfortunately, his constant trips out of town had aroused the suspicions of his wife, Cindy (Susan Kelechi Watson, “Louie”), who along with her friend Nancy (Julie Ann Emery, TV’s “Fargo”), was beginning to wonder if he was sleeping around. To put them off, he asks Cindy if she wants to have another kid, then throws her an impromptu surprise party.

This seems to work, insofar as Cindy is concerned, but nosy Nancy is not so convinced, and makes the mistake of pressing the matter further, implying that she is going to look into Theo’s job a little more closely to his face in a manner that’s a bit too threatening for her own good. Thus, Theo is forced to pay her and her husband a late night visit after the party, where he dispatches them both, making it look like a murder-suicide. Obviously, this sets off some red flags with the FBI, who by then have figured out which of the employees at Theo’s place of work was the real culprit instead of Tucker.

However, when they try to download his picture, it causes it to morph into other people and basically self-destruct, which is a pretty neat trick. Of course, Max got a look at him, so she is able to work with a sketch artist to put together a picture of Theo, while Ryan and Mike investigate his given address. It’s an empty house, save for a suitcase which includes a picture of Theo and some random stuff. Unfortunately, Ryan spots a camera and realizes that they’re being watched. Shortly thereafter, Mike triggers a booby trap and sets off a bomb, which destroys what little evidence they have and nearly kills Mike in the process.

By this point, Ryan’s new boss, Nick Donovan (Mike Colter, “The Good Wife” and soon to be Luke Cage in a series of impending Netflix shows that includes “The Defenders”) is onboard with Ryan’s theories that the killer isn’t Tucker, so he finally gets the support of the FBI behind him. This includes agent Mendez, who earlier in the show, had told Ryan she was leaving, citing the stresses of dealing with all these crazy people as the reason, understandably. Also affected by being in Ryan’s orbit of crazy is girlfriend Gwen (Zuleikha Robinson, “Homeland”), who is none too amused when he goes off on her boss at a dinner date that he was already late for when he objects to Joe’s impending execution, being anti-death penalty.

The FBI team get the bright idea to look into who hired Theo in the first place, tracing it back to Eldon Wyck (David Pittu, “Law & Order: SVU,” who looks like Ty Burrell’s psycho brother), who turns out to be a serial killer in his own right, as Ryan and company discover upon arriving at his house. Ryan finds a trap door in the floor, which leads to a basement of horrors, including, oddly enough, a series of ears literally strung up from the rafters, and one guy whose brain is fully exposed. So much for making things “less violent” this season! Wyck arrives, late to the party, and Ryan apprehends him, but he’s actually thrilled to be arrested by “the” Ryan Hardy.

Wyck eventually tells Ryan that Theo knew exactly what he was and agreed to keep it secret if he helped him fabricate an identity and get a job, which Wyck did. However, he kept some evidence of the matter, just in case, an USB drive, which he directs Ryan to. This leads back to Bob Gibbs (Dave T. Koenig, “Damages”), aka Nancy’s husband. Needless to say, when he turns up dead, Ryan is suspicious and goes to Baltimore to investigate. This is, of course, Theo’s stomping grounds, family-wise, and when Max sets off an alert by looking into wife Cindy’s DMV records, Theo knows the jig is up.

The bad news: he kills the wife, making it look somewhat like a suicide, complete with an altar of candles. The good news: he merely drugs the kids, leaving them alive for Ryan to find when they finally get an accurate address on Theo. This proves all a bit too much for Mendez, who turns in her badge after their latest discovery, having officially reached the end of her rope on serial killer hunting. She suggests Ryan do the same, which may not be a bad idea, all things considered. The episode ends with Theo calling Ryan personally, saying that he was going to destroy Ryan’s world, piece by piece for what he’d done. So, you know, business as usual for Ryan!

This was an effective, chilling episode, filled with creepy moments and stomach-churning visuals. The basement of Wyck was particularly grisly- nice ear collection!- and watching Theo emotionlessly dismantle his “friends” and family was pretty gruesome and alarming. I’m grateful he wasn’t crazy enough to kill the kids, too, but I’m not entirely sure it was necessary to kill his wife, as Ryan and company already knew who he was- and I’m guessing Cindy didn’t have a clue about anything “real” about her husband, so I don’t know that she would have shed much light on anything. Then again, you can never be too careful, I suppose, as Theo himself learned from the mistakes he did make which led to his identification.

What did you think of the latest episode of “The Following”? Were you surprised that Ryan caught up to Theo so quickly? Were you shocked that Theo killed his wife? Did you think he killed his kids, too? Do you blame Mendez for quitting? What did you make of Joe’s “daydreams”? How about Ryan’s hallucination of Joe? Do you think that Joe will evade execution? How? Sound off on this and more down below, and see you next week!