The Following “The Reckoning” Review (Season 3 Episode 15)

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On the second of two back-to-back episodes of “The Following” that served as both the season and series finale (for my take on the first, go here), the time had come for Ryan and Theo to have “The Reckoning”- but who would win out in the end, if anyone? Given that the show-runners didn’t yet know they weren’t going to be renewed for another season at the time they made it, it was a pretty safe bet what that answer was going to be. Sure, taking out Joe was huge, and some would say, a perfect place to end the show, anyway, but would they actually have the guts to take out leading man Kevin Bacon? Well, yes and no, as it turns out.

We began with Ryan in the trunk of a car, unsure of where he was being taken, but no doubt well aware it probably wasn’t going to end well. Along for the ride with him and Theo was an injured, but still alive and kicking Officer Barton (Kumiko Konishi, “Hyde Park on Hudson”), who might as well have been wearing a red shirt, for obvious reasons. Taking them to a random isolated locale, Theo tossed them both into a locked section of some creepy building in the middle of nowhere, which Barton confirmed to Ryan was some four hours away from the former Agent Mendez’ house.

Theo calls Eliza and tells her the deal is off- he doesn’t care if he gets out of the country anymore, he just wants to kill Ryan. Eliza, who decided she wanted him alive, if only to confirm what he did or didn’t know, was not pleased about this development, and promptly sent some of her people to track Theo down. Naturally, Theo wasn’t about to let Ryan go quietly into that gentle night, so he swiftly proceeded to give him a dose of his own medicine- or rather a taste of what Ryan did to his sister, Penny- and held him down repeatedly underwater until Ryan passed out.

Meanwhile, Max went to the hospital to see about Mike, who had a setback on account of sepsis and was back in surgery and fighting for his life yet again. Gwen shows up at the hospital and Max finally tells her that Ryan is missing and has been for some time, but that they were doing what they could to track him down. A source in the FBI forwards Max the video of the area in which Ryan and Theo were last seen, but after a certain point, they seemed to have just disappeared. How was that possible? Max was working under the assumption that Theo still has an inside track within the FBI and possibly messed with the footage and erased where he really went with Ryan.

Alas, Theo shouldn’t have played with his prey because Eliza and her people somehow find him and grab Theo and Ryan alike and one of her people promptly sets about torturing Theo with electrical wires for his actions. Eliza then questions Ryan, only to discover he didn’t know anything, and ironically enough, probably would have forgotten about it if she hadn’t inserted herself into things the way she did. Now, he assures her, he will certainly be looking into things once he’s out of there. But how in the world did she find them in the first place?

As it turns out, Eliza has an inside man of her own in the FBI- or should I say, woman, as it is none other than Lisa. Granted, up until this point, it was easy enough to buy why she would want Ryan out of the investigation- after all, he was even more of a loose cannon than usual, in light of his near-constant drinking. But finding this out makes much more sense, as one can absolutely see where Lisa could be bought with a higher position in the FBI, along with a sizable amount of money, no doubt. Eliza tells Lisa she’ll cover her tracks and make sure Theo is identifiable, but in the meantime, she needs to continue to steer the FBI in the wrong direction. That obviously explains how the video footage of Theo transporting Ryan to their current location also disappeared.

Except that technically it didn’t, and one of the members of the FBI team has sent it over to Max on her tablet at the hospital to further investigate. She is able to approximate the rough location of where Theo and Ryan went missing, and calls Lisa to tell her, which, needless to say, was the wrong person to ask. Mike wakes up and she and he have a moment and he tells her to go get Ryan and he’ll be waiting when she gets back. Lisa picks her up and they head to the scene, with Lisa doing her best to steer Max in the wrong direction as well, but Max will not be deterred.

Eventually, Max spots the car that Theo was driving and she and Lisa split up to look for Ryan and Theo. As this is happening, Theo warns Eliza and her people that if he dies, everything he has on them will be leaked publically to the press and they will all be exposed. Eliza thinks he’s lying and calls him on it, continuing to torture him, while likewise upping the ante on Ryan, showing him that she knows about Gwen and her baby and even showing him the ultrasound she procured. If he doesn’t tell her who all he told about her, then she’ll kill everyone concerned just to be sure.

Ryan manages to get loose from his restraints and attacks Eliza and all hell breaks loose. Ryan shoots one of her guards, but Eliza herself gets away. As this is happening, so does Theo, who also kills a guard and escapes, but sees Ryan and goes after him. He sees the ultrasound Eliza drops and gets the jump on Ryan, escaping through a manhole and waits for him to catch up. He then tells Ryan he’s going to find Gwen, hold her hostage until she has the baby and then he will proceed to raise the kid as his own- perhaps he’ll even name it after Ryan if it’s a boy. That’s pretty messed up.

Theo locks the exit on Ryan and bails, while Ryan is forced to backtrack and find another exit. Lisa finds Eliza and warns her what’s going on and Eliza does the same, in terms of Theo and Ryan. Eliza bails with her people, while Lisa goes to do the same, but Theo sees her and nabs her, forcing her to take him to Gwen, who is being held at Ryan’s. She calls in and tells them they need to prepare to transport Gwen to a new locale just to be safe, and she’ll meet them at Ryan’s.

Ryan finds a way out and almost gets killed by a remaining guard, but Max saves him and they also leave, with Ryan quickly calling the FBI to warn them of Gwen’s imminent danger. They also call Lisa, who confirms that plans are already in motion to move Gwen and that they are headed that way now. The fact that Lisa seemed to know this before he or Max told her does not go unnoticed by Ryan, but he doesn’t say anything at first. He and Max head back to the hospital and tell Mike what all is going on, including that Ryan and Gwen are expecting a baby, and he confesses he wonders if a happy ending is in the cards for him, given what tends to happen to people he cares about.

Theo arrives at Gwen’s safe-house at Ryan’s and waits for Lisa to fetch her and the guards. Theo kills them all, and shoots Lisa as well, then goes after Gwen, who escapes in the melee. He eventually finds her and takes off. Ryan arrives at his place, sees Gwen is already gone and calls Lisa, to no avail. Worried that Theo has her, he checks the exits and finds the dead guards and a wounded Lisa, who informs him that Theo does indeed have Gwen and that she tried her best to stop them. Ryan assembles a team, including a helicopter, to look for Theo and Gwen, and finds them near a large dam and lands the helicopter to pursue them.

Ryan eventually corners Theo on a bridge in the area and tells Theo to let her go. Theo refuses and Ryan starts to drop his gun, pretending to cooperate, but then pulls a fast one and shoots Theo in the head. Theo drops and Ryan rushes to Gwen’s side, but Theo isn’t quite dead and jumps Ryan and the two careen off the bridge. Theo falls, possibly to his death, but Ryan manages to hang on, at first, before plummeting into the water himself. After fruitlessly searching for him until daylight, the team finally gives up, presuming them both dead.

Eliza calls her people and tells them it’s all over and she’ll take care of any loose ends soon enough. Then we see what might be one of those loose ends, as someone sneaks into the hospital, looking sketchy and evading the cops and guards. Is it Theo? He sees Gwen arrive and go into Mike’s hospital room, where she meets with Max and they all agree to help support each other and help raise Ryan’s baby together. But the figure doesn’t go towards that room, instead, ducking into Lisa’s room, where we see it’s actually Ryan, not Theo.

Ryan confronts Lisa and says he knows good and well she was in on it, or she wouldn’t have known to move Gwen when she did. He demands she tell him everything she knows about Eliza and her people, and she does, though we don’t hear any of it. Then he kills her and leaves the room after telling her he’s going to bring them all down. After all, they all think he’s dead, and thus, won’t see him coming until its too late. Ryan makes it clear he intends to stay that way until he’s finished, so as to better keep the people he loves safe. Ryan takes one last look at Gwen and company and leaves the hospital and that’s where we leave things for the season.

All things considered, not a bad ending at all. Sure, we don’t get to see Ryan go after and take down Eliza and her people, but it’s safe to assume that he likely would have succeeded. I suppose there’s also an offhand chance Theo survived, too, but that will have to be left up to the imagination as well. (Though one of the show-runners did do an interview in which he revealed what direction things might have gone in from there, had the show been renewed, which you can find here.)

I can live with that ending, and at the very least, it wasn’t a total cliffhanger, which would have sucked. We know that Ryan’s alive and that his people are safe for the time being, and while Eliza is still out there, we know that Ryan is after her, and he usually gets his man- or woman in this case, so that’s a reasonably happy ending by this show’s standards, I suppose.

All in all, I thought this was a much better season than the second one, and if it wasn’t as unpredictable as the show has been in the past, it was still pretty engaging and exciting on the whole. Hey, at least we didn’t have to deal with any wacky cults this time around, am I right? In the end, Mark, Daisy, Kyle and Theo all went down for their crimes, along with various other nefarious baddies, like Strauss and naturally, Joe. That’s pretty decent closure as far as I’m concerned.

What did you think of the final episodes of “The Following”? Were you satisfied with the resolution of the main storyline with Theo and Daisy? How about the way the show handled Joe’s death? Are you happy with where they left the show? Are you confident that Ryan would have taken down Eliza’s organization eventually? Do you think Theo was still out there, or is he really dead? Will Gwen, Max and Mike get their happily ever after? Do you think Ryan would have eventually caught up to them? Sound off on this and more down below and thanks for reading!