Joe’s hold over his new religious cult strengthened as he began teaching them how to be killers in The Following’s “Teacher’s Pet.”

Claire Matthews Lives

The episode began and ended with Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) in bed with the self-serving-journalist-turned-ally, Carrie Cooke (Sprague Grayden). Meanwhile, Mike (Shawn Ashmore) is secretly meeting with a not-so-dead Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea). Contrary to what Ryan, and the viewers, believed, Claire did not die as a result of the stabbing that ended the first season of The Following. She survived and was put into witness protection with her son. Mike convinced her to go, as she might be targeted by any remaining members from Joe’s killer cult, and lied to Ryan when he told him that Claire had died. Now that Joe is alive and in the public eye, Claire has demanded a meeting with Mike to know what, exactly is going on. She struggles with him, demanding to talk to Ryan. She can help him, she says, but Mike tells her that she needs to be safe with her son, and, after finding a leak in the FBI, she will have to move again. Claire has other plans. At the end of the episode, she demands to be taken to New York, no matter what.

Ryan goes to visit Dr. Strauss (Gregg Henry) to try to get more information on Joe’s school days and beginnings as a serial killer. The viewer is treated to a few flashbacks of a teenage Joe being approached by Strauss and told that he is a psychopath. Dr. Strauss became Joe’s mentor, eventually teaching him how to kill. One thing he can’t condone, however, is Joe’s demand for attention. While he was perfectly content killing in secret, Joe seems to crave worldwide recognition. Dr. Strauss doesn’t give him much information, but he does inspire Ryan to come up with a plan to track down Joe (James Purefoy).

Ryan Attempts To Track Joe

Ryan calls Carrie Cooke and asks her to run a story about how the FBI has captured Dr. Strauss and that Joe’s mentor is singing like a canary. Ryan believes that Joe’s response to the news will be to call Jana (Leslie Bibb), the FBI mole who killed herself last week, and whose phone is in their possession. He’s correct, and, though Ryan does his best to keep Joe on the phone long enough to trace him, it doesn’t work.

Joe sends a team of four killers, selected from those Micah kept in isolation, to New York City. The gang of killers picks people at random to stab and kill, with each getting a turn to choose a victim. The killings reflect Joe’s terrorist message given to Carrie Cooke: a man is murdered on the street and a family is murdered in their home. Ryan realizes that their next target must be a restaurant, but where?

Ryan and Mike are convinced that Joe must have found new followers, but considering his status, he must have co-opted some kind of already established religious cult. The dead bodies popping up around New York City with a note that reads, “no redemption without blood,” confirm their suspicions. Joe has taken control of some kind of religious cult that believes in blood sacrifice. Once Ryan realizes this, he believes that the group of killers could include Mallory, girlfriend of Lance, who died in the bookstore attack. Mallory disappeared at the same time as Lance and must also be a member of their cult.

A background check shows she ran away after being fired from her job as a waitress – bingo. By the time Ryan and the FBI have arrived at the restaurant, Mallory is in the bathroom attempting to stab a woman. She gets cold feet, and the woman runs out, screaming, “She’s got a knife!” Mallory’s accomplice, Patrick, grabs the woman, holding his own knife to her throat and using her as leverage to get Ryan and Mike to lower their guns. When Mallory runs out, Ryan tries to talk her down, telling her that she doesn’t have to do this, and can come with them and put all of this behind her. Mallory looks like she’s going to cave, so Patrick pushes the woman into Ryan’s arms and slits Mallory’s throat before Ryan shoots him.

'No Redemption Without Blood'

The two killers that return to Joe’s cult, Lucas and Tilda, are honored and anointed with Joe’s blood. Joe asks his new followers who else wishes to be honored in this way. Skeptics from the cult have already been shepherded into isolation by Emma (Valorie Curry), and Mandy (Tiffany Boone) could be next in line. Mandy shies away from Joe’s murderous teachings, clearly skeptical, but Joe warns Emma to give her a chance. While Mandy remains terrified of the cult, she stands up to Emma, telling her that she isn’t the only one who killed her own mother.

In other news, it looks like The Following is aiming to form a new couple out of Mike Weston and Ryan’s niece, Max (Jessica Stroup). When Mike returns to the apartment and lies about having been at his mom’s, Max admits she was worried about him and called his mom to check up on him, so she knows he’s lying. She’s not mad, she just wants him to know that he doesn’t have to lie to her; he can tell her it’s private. Mike deflects by teasing her.

The Following airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on FOX.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

More on The Following:

> Kevin Bacon Revisits 'Footloose' On 'The Tonight Show'

> 'The Following' Recap: Mike Joins Max And Ryan On The Hunt For Joe, Luke Is Fatally Wounded And Joe Leaves Lily

> 'The Following' Recap: Joe Rediscovers The Art Of Killing With Lily's Help; Ryan And Max Hunt Down Gisele

> 'The Following' Recap: Emma And Joe Reunite; Max And Ryan Get A Lead

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