The Following “Kill the Messenger” Review (Season 3 Episode 9)

The Following Kill The Messenger Season 3 Episode 9 01

On the latest episode of “The Following,” as Joe’s execution loomed closer, Ryan and the team continued their pursuit of Theo, this time with slightly better results, albeit coming up ever so slightly short in the end, in “Kill the Messenger.” (On a side note, interestingly enough, this title would have gone perfectly with lead-in “Gotham,” as- spoiler alert- one of the characters actually did, in fact, kill a messenger!)

We began with a fake-out, as Joe crept into Ryan’s room and hovered over Gwen, and then Ryan got up out of bed and joined him, with Joe showing him the ropes, as to how to effectively kill someone. Naturally, it was a dream, but that’s to be expected, I guess, on a show like this. Back IRL, Gwen hears Ryan and invites him back to the bedroom finally. It’s obvious the two are still struggling, but trying to make it work nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Theo breaks into the office of Juliana Barnes, aka Strauss’ paralegal, and goes through her things, ripping up her couch, clearly looking for something. It turns out to be a small, passport-size notebook, with a lot of coded scribbling, which was obviously stashed away by Strauss at some point. A security guard catches him in the act, and Theo swiftly dispatches him. That accomplished, he heads to another of his alter ego’s homes, this one in New Jersey, where he now has to decode the book, which appears to be a list of all of Strauss’ special “students.”

To buy himself some time to do so, Theo uses his computer savvy to mess with Ryan and his loved ones, reporting Ryan’s car stolen and the thief armed and dangerous, which gets him pulled over by some cops and nearly shot, then he starts messing with his credit cards and finances and the like. He also causes Ryan to wreck his car by messing with the traffic lights. He tops it off by getting Gwen in trouble for supposedly overprescribing drugs, putting her job in jeopardy, which doesn’t go over too well with her, just as she and Ryan were headed towards patching things up.

Ryan and his team realize that Theo must have many identities, and that Theo and the others he used previously were just the tip of the iceberg, so they start looking into cases that fit what little MO he has, specifically cases made to look like murder/suicides. The team also discovers that there’s a laptop missing that belonged to Mark that was unaccounted for in the evidence. Of course, we know that Tom, Max’s boyfriend, has it, but no one else does.

Eventually, he catches wind of it and is forced to destroy it. For a hot minute there, I thought Tom might try and put it in Mike’s locker and frame him for it, but he didn’t sink that low, thankfully. Still, the team did trace the computer as far as their own building, so now they think there’s another mole in the FBI building, working for Mark and/or Theo, so expect heightened security in the next few episodes moving forward.

Meanwhile, Theo manages to decode one name: Gary Benson (Evan Hall). Theo, decked out in another disguise, this one involving some heavy-duty 70’s style sideburns, approaches Benson and sweet-talks him at a gun range before talking him into confronting the source of his ire, his former commanding officer, Robert Tubbs (Bill Dawes, “All My Children”). It seems the military vet was tossed out for failing his psych evaluation, and Tubbs was the one mostly responsible. The two tie Tubbs up, beat him, and Theo ultimately shoots him. Then he tells Benson he wasn’t there by accident and has more work for him.

As this is going on, Joe gets a visit from his court-appointed lawyer, who informs him of his rights, in terms of his impending execution, which is looming ever closer. Joe, clearly in denial, makes a last bid effort to contact Ryan after he spots Theo in a newspaper the lawyer has in her bag and recognizes him. We see that Theo was either in Joe’s class he taught at the university, or crashed it one day. Either way, the two talked about Poe together and interacted briefly. Not sure why Joe thinks this will help him help Ryan to catch Theo, but either way, Ryan refuses to talk to him again.

Also, we check in with Daisy, who’s working in disguise at a casino in Atlantic City, where she catches the eye of a rich sleaze-ball named Walter (Ben Cole, “Unforgettable”). He tips her big and invites her back to his place and she accepts. Once there, they start to make out and she asks if she can call him “Kyle,” which he happily goes along with. Unfortunately for him, he gets a little too aggressive for her liking and she kills him. No big surprise there- crazy is as crazy does- but things take a turn for the worse when Mark arrives, now convinced he’s Luke.

Mark stalks her down and forces her to strip at knifepoint- shades of “Lost Highway”- but Daisy turns the tables and heavily comes on to him, which brings Mark back to the surface, quivering in fear. Daisy chides him and he threatens to kill her, but she stops him by claiming she can still get to Mike if he’s interested. He is, so Daisy lives to kill another day, I suppose. She tells him that someone has Mark’s laptop but for whatever reason, hasn’t turned it in. Of course, it eventually gets destroyed later in the episode, but it’s clear that Daisy believes that Mike has it.

Meanwhile, as Theo cleans up the crime scene at Tubbs’ house, Benson uses Theo’s phone to make a call on the sly to his ex, Linda, telling her she’ll be sorry, because good things are coming his way. This proves to be a big mistake, as the cops are monitoring Theo’s phone after he made a threatening call to Ryan earlier. Word gets back to Ryan of Tubbs’ death and the phone call made after, which traces back to Linda, who tells them what she knows. They eventually find out that Benson works as a security guard- at Joe’s prison.

Theo gets Benson transferred to Joe’s wing and wires him up for sound and camera and has him approach Joe. Theo, using Benson as a conduit, talks to Joe, asking for help with breaking Strauss’ encryption, saying that, if he helps, Theo will kill in his name, as if Joe were killing “from beyond the grave.” Joe says that isn’t enough, and asks for more information, finding out Ryan’s new girlfriend’s name in the process. Ultimately, though, Joe opts to kill Benson, taking his sunglasses away in the act of doing so, and stashing them away.

Ryan arrives at the prison and confronts Joe, who teases him with his newfound knowledge of Gwen’s name, prompting Ryan to attack him. The guards pull him off and he goes quietly, but says he has no intention of attending Joe’s execution. Later on, he almost has a drink, but back down at the last second when Gwen calls out to him. He tells her he loves her, as she discovers in the bathroom that she’s pregnant. We end with Joe twisting up the glasses, no doubt to use either to escape his handcuffs later and/or to use as a weapon when the time comes for his execution. From the looks of next week’s preview, it looks to be both.

This was another solid episode, with the team back in fighting mode, much more on the ball than in the last episode. At the same time, Theo, caught off guard for once by Ryan almost catching him in said episode, was back on his game, managing to stay one step ahead of Ryan every step of the way, if not his usual two steps ahead. After all, Ryan and company did get wind of his plans with Benson pretty quickly, even if they weren’t able to stop it in the end. Although, to be fair, they probably wouldn’t have if Benson hadn’t used Theo’s phone. Still, Theo should have gotten rid of that thing by now, anyway, so that’s on him.

As Joe’s execution is scheduled to take place in the next episode, it will be interesting to see what goes down there. Obviously, Joe is going to attempt to escape, but I can’t imagine him getting far, beyond taking out a few guards and the like. Sure, he can hold someone hostage, but that still won’t get him too far, right? Am I wrong in that it looks as if the execution will be televised? Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t that seem a bit far-fetched? Last I checked, that sort of thing wasn’t legal. I know it’s a fictional show and all, but still.

Whatever the case, it should make for an interesting episode. I must say, thus far, it’s been a solid season, much better than the last one on the whole. There have been lots of unpredictable twists, and Theo is a formidable and intriguing opponent. Factor in the fact that the show has thus far kept Joe on the sidelines until recently, and I feel the show has gotten back on track, though the jury will have to remain out until we see how the show wraps up the season.

With ratings down, it may end up being the last season of the show, so I hope they have something big planned, because this may well be it. To the best of my knowledge, only three episodes to go, but that’s plenty of time to wrap things up, IMHO. Ideally, it would end with Joe dead once and for all this time and Theo either dead or caught. Ditto Daisy and Mark, but I suppose they will want to leave the door cracked, just in case. I guess if I had to choose one, I’d go with Theo, who is by far the most interesting psychotic character to come along on the show since Joe himself.

What did you think of the latest episode of “The Following”? Will Joe escape next week? Will he take Ryan with him? Will Theo get caught or will he get away? What will his next move be? Will he decode Strauss’ notes and seek out more of his students? How about Mark and Daisy? Will they avenge themselves with Mike? Will Max find out what Tom did? What will Ryan do when he discovers Gwen is pregnant? Sound off on this and more down below, and see you next week!