The Following “A Simple Trade” Review (Season 3 Episode 13)

The Following "The Edge; A Simple Trade" Season 3 Episode 12 & 13

On the second of two back-to-back episodes of “The Following”– click here for the first of the night- Ryan was forced to make “A Simple Trade” of Penny for Mike, but this being the kind of show it is, you could rest assured that it would probably end up being anything but simple. Picking up where we left off, Theo talked Mark down from the ledge of being upset he wasn’t going to have his revenge by assuring him that Mike was only going to be used as bait and that he’d have his revenge after they’d successfully gotten Ryan out of the picture.

Of course, Ryan is no fool, and was planning on doing much the same thing with Penny, although the odds were stacked against him, what with it being three against one and all. Unfortunately, the booze- as well as phantom Joe- convinced him that the odds weren’t so bad, all things considered, so he started to prepare his strategy, trying to figure out the best way to handle this delicate situation so as to emerge relatively unscathed.

Good thing for him then that Max knows him all too well, as, after tracing and finding Mike’s cell phone in the area Tom was shot in, she went directly to Ryan’s with the FBI team and new recruit Lisa, back again to lend a hand. After stashing Penny and playing it off, he agreed to get himself together and meet them down at the station, but Lisa wasn’t completely clueless and recognized a drunken Ryan when she saw one. She warned him to get it together and he promised to do just that, but Max opted to hang back, and snuck back into Ryan’s, catching him in the act of moving Penny out of the bathroom.

Admitting what was really going on- albeit with a little embellishment to cover his own butt- Ryan tells her about Theo and company having Mike and the impending exchange. Though he’s not thrilled, she insists on tagging along, but if she hadn’t, he would have been pretty screwed, so he should count his lucky stars she knows him all too well herself. That said, he so had that punch Max delivered coming!

First, though, before the exchange, they have to get some supplies, and to do so without tipping off the FBI in the process, as Ryan knows after Max tells him about Tom’s actions that the FBI has been compromised and that Theo will be watching their every move. He’s not the only ones making plans, however, as Theo and company descend upon a theater in the area and take out the caretaker. Actually, Mark does, even though Theo only wanted him incapacitated, having had some questions about the place before he took the guy out. Oh well- psychos will be psychos.

When Ryan arrives at the station, Lisa sees him, but he evades her- at first, at least. Grabbing some stuff from his locker- including a stash of booze he had hidden there (Max goaded him to get rid of his booze back at his place)- he then heads down to the equipment room, where Max distracts the guard while Ryan grabs what he needs. On the way back up, Lisa finally catches up to him and forces him to show her what’s in his bag. I guess Ryan must have stashed everything in his clothes, because all he has in the bag is the booze. She lets him go, but it’s clear she’s swiftly reaching the end of her rope with him.

Meanwhile, Theo returns to a house where he’s been keeping Mike, only to find that Mike has duped Daisy into believing he was choking and head-butted her and escaped somewhere in the house. Everyone splits up to search for him, with Mark being the one to find him first. Clearly looking like he’s going to take his revenge sooner than later, Daisy points her gun at him yet again, warning him to back down. He doesn’t and she proceeds to shoot him in the arm and he runs off looking upset and betrayed as Theo arrives, having been slowed down by Mike beforehand and close behind them. Now down to two, Theo and Daisy head to the theater, with Theo handing Daisy a sniper rifle and having her train it on the stage for the exchange.

Ryan arrives at the theater, Penny in tow, and with Max as back-up, hanging back as she waits for Ryan to disarm the camera out front with a signal jammer he got from the FBI equipment room. Ryan enters the main floor, seeing someone who appears to be Mike on stage, but which turns out to be the theater caretaker guy from earlier. A showdown between him and Theo ensues, with Ryan ultimately leaving Penny in the middle of the theater, along with the key to her handcuffs, while Theo tosses the keys to Mike’s handcuffs on stage and Ryan runs to free him.

Max spots Daisy hidden in the wings with the rifle and alerts him while Theo and Penny make a break for it, with Theo firing off rounds at Ryan as he leaves, just missing him and Mike. He frees Mike and they split up to go after Theo and Penny and the shoot out continues. In a really stupid move, Penny, still upset about the water-boarding incident, wants to stay and confront and kill Ryan, but Theo begs her to leave with him. She refuses and rushes towards Mike, who shoots her dead, much to Theo’s dismay.

Theo sprints to the van, where Daisy is waiting. She asks Theo what he wants her to do and if he wants her to leave, and he said he’ll decide when that happens- if that happens. Ryan just misses them, and after everyone’s reunited, they call for back-up. Lisa arrives and is super-upset at Ryan for lying to her yet again, and tells him she’s going to recommend his suspension. He says it doesn’t matter, as Theo is going to be after them all now after what happened.

Mike and Max make up and he amusingly chides her for her taste in men after the whole Tom thing, and they head to the parking garage to leave FBI headquarters. Meanwhile, Ryan goes back home, only to find Gwen there, getting the rest of her stuff, still upset with him for earlier. He admits he’s a mess, and that he’s drinking heavily and that she should leave him at this point. She finally tells him she’s pregnant and says that, if he wants to be a part of his child’s life, he really needs to get it together for real this time or they’re done. To that end, Ryan finally hits an AA meeting, where he sees Joe once more, nodding his disapproval.

Back at the parking garage, Mike tells Max he still loves her and she invites him back to her place. It’s at that point I knew things were about to go south, big time, and that indeed proved to be the case, as Mark emerged and stabbed Mike in the back repeatedly and dived at Max in her car afterwards to take her out. Mike managed to get to his weapon and shoot Mark down before he could inflict any damage upon Max, thankfully, but the damage to Mike was clearly done. He might not be dead, but he won’t be joining the hunt for Theo anytime soon, that’s for sure. As Max calls for help, we fade to black and that’s all she wrote for episode number two.

Arguably even more intense than the previous episode, what this lacked in twists, it made up for in action, as one incident spiraled out of control into the next one, with casualties on both sides. Sad to see Mike’s past finally catch up to him, but Penny walked right into her fate, so that’s on her, definitely. What a bonehead move. She might not have necessarily deserved the water-boarding treatment, but it’s not like she was some innocent waif, either, so the dubiousness of Ryan’s methods notwithstanding, she only has herself to blame for what happened. Be that as it may, Theo is definitely going to be on the warpath for Ryan now. I definitely worry more for his loved ones than anyone, as Theo is almost certainly going to go after Max at the very least, and quite possibly Gwen as well.

Some unique touches throughout this one, with what would seem to be some nods to the master of horror himself, Stephen King, with the music from the end of Kubrick’s take on “The Shining” cropping up at the spooky theater and then an evil clown popping up at the house Theo stashed Mike in, amusingly giving him a fright. I guess even serial killers aren’t too fond of creepy clowns! Those two locales were well employed in some exciting, pulse-pounding sequences as everyone rushed around trying not to get killed- or do the killing, depending on what side they were on.

Obviously, if Mike doesn’t make it, that will be a tremendous loss, but as FOX recently announced that this season of the show will be its last, I suppose casualties are to be expected. With Joe gone, I suppose it’s just as well. Though Theo is a decent enough adversary, and the business with Eliza was somewhat promising, I can live with this season being the last one. At least the main drive of the series was wrapped up adequately enough, even if there’s no guarantee that the current storyline will be.

If I had to guess, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if Theo meets his demise at the end of the season, but they set up some stuff with Eliza, with the intention of that being the focus of the fourth season, which isn’t likely to happen. Sure, these days, what with various shows being picked up by other networks and/or streaming services online or what have you, it could happen, but I’m not holding my breath. For one thing, Kevin Bacon still commands enough of a paycheck to make it a tough deal for a smaller outfit like Netflix or Hulu.

Yes, Netflix in particular has come a long way, so it’s not completely out of the question, but I’m not sure the show is a strong enough ratings contender to keep around at this point. Factor in the fact that they’re nowhere near the amount of episodes needed for syndication and it doesn’t seem likely to me. Still, like I said, the main storyline has already run its course, so why not quit while they’re ahead?

Besides, of the Kevin Williamson-created shows on the air right now, aside from the already-renewed “The Vampire Diaries,” I’d think that “Stalker” would be a better bet, as it is still relatively fresh and probably would cost a lot less to keep going than “The Following,” anyway. It was also cancelled, but unlike this show, the company that owns it isn’t the company that aired it, so it probably has a better chance of getting a second shot than this one for those reasons alone.

Another factor: stars Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott are a real-life couple, so they have good reason to want to continue their own selves. Also, its ratings aren’t much different than “The Following,” so you do the math. We shall see, I suppose. Until then, there’s still another two episodes of “The Following” to go, so the best we can hope for outside of someone else renewing the show is a strong finish. Here’s hoping that proves to be the case.

What did you think of the latest episodes of “The Following”? Were you sad to see Mike get attacked? Will you miss Penny or Mark, or were you glad to see them go? Who do you think will be left standing at the end of the season? Will Ryan even make it? How about Max? What do you think Theo and Daisy’s chances are? Will Eliza be set up as the next main villain, whether we continue on or not? Make your predictions down below and see you next week for the big finale!