"The Following: The Poet's Fire (#1.3)"
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Synopsis for
"The Following" The Poet's Fire (2013)

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A man in a Poe mask recites "The Raven" for an audience on the street. He sees a man getting coffee at a cart across the street then calmly takes his canister of gasoline, douses the man and sets him on fire. He walks away as the man burns.

Claire wakes up from a nightmare about Joe.

Ryan joins Debra at HQ. They've identified fingerprints from Emma, Paul, Jacob and Jordy in the creepy house -- but there are five others.

Debra is trying to sort out Joe's objective. Ryan remembers Joe was an amazing teacher.

2003 Ryan attends a lecture Joe gave on developing a moral code to give writing a voice.

In the present, Ryan and Debra visit Jordy, who is confident that he'll never be put to death because, as a guard, he'll be killed in prison.

Ryan tries to get in his head by telling him Joe is disappointed in him for not killing Claire, as was the plan. Jordy blocks him out by singing "Greatest American Hero" to himself.

Back in HQ, they watch video of the immolation of Stan Fellows. Ryan recognizes him as a book critic who wrote a scathing review of Joe's book. They worry Joe is directing people to go after his critics.

At the country house, Paul reads up on the fact the police are calling them a cult. They watch video of Rick's flaming.

2010 Up in the attic, Jacob, Paul, Emma and Rick talk about how they'd go about killing. Someone suggests fire for Rick. Emma reminds them they're supposed to find their own "voice".

Back in the house, Jacob tries and fails to convince Paul to get along with Emma.

At FBI HQ, Mike finds surveillance of the Poe mask man putting it on at his car. They trace it to Rick Kester and storm his house.

The nice, big house seems empty when they get there. A woman charges out of the pantry with a knife. She's Rick's wife, Maggie.

Federal Detention Center Maggie talks to Ryan and Debra. She's separated from Rick and ignored his call last night. She hid from them because she was scared. Rick still has a key and can be scary.

They have a file of a police report from a few years back with her with stab wounds. She asked him for a divorce. She remembers him stabbing her in the abdomen.

She refused to testify.

She says he changed after he lost his job and made new friends who talked a lot about death.

Debra plans to put her in protective custody.

Out in the hall, Debra tells Ryan she believes Maggie. She decides it's time she go talk to Joe.

At the house hideout, Paul tries to apologize to Emma. She happens to be in the kitchen holding a giant knife. He offers a truce and she slices his arm.

"Don't try to turn Jacob against me, it won't work," she cautions.

Debra visits Joe, complimenting him on his planning. She asks why he'd torch his critics.

2009 Rick visits Joe in prison, saying he likes fire. For his chapter, he wants to follow Poe's teachings on revenge and go after Joe's critics.

Back in interrogation "Everyone has a story to tell, agent," Joe says. He only holds three people responsible for his professional downfall. Joe addresses Ryan through the camera but Ryan heads to their HQ to look something up.

Joe holds Ryan and the dead critic responsible. He thinks the third is Phillip Barnes, the dean of literature at Winslow University, where Joe taught.

Winslow Phillip Barnes returns to his office and finds Rick waiting for him. Rick asks him why he denied Joe tenure then stabs him. He slices him a few more times for good measure, then marvels over his first kill with a knife.

Later, at the Winslow crime scene, Ryan blames himself for not seeing Joe's next move.

2003 Ryan introduces himself to Joe after class. He's excited to help with Ryan's murder investigation.

At the hideaway house, Jacob takes pictures of Emma with Joey. Paul watches.

2010 At the creepy house, Emma tries to convince Paul and Jacob to pose as gay neighbors to get close to Sarah. She says it's what Joe wants and dares them to try kissing. Jacob sits down and declares a game of "gay chicken" then goes in to kiss Paul.

Paul remembers and gets angry. He takes the car keys and drives off, telling Jacob he's a liar.

At HQ, Ryan finds something noteworthy in Rick Kester's credit card statements. He calls Claire and reads her the items, all toys for Joey. He points out that them buying Joey toys is good news.

Ryan brings the statement to Maggie, who denies knowing anything about it. Rick calls her and she puts him on speakerphone. She tells him she's with the FBI and Rick tells her to tell Ryan it was all for him. His call is routed internationally and they can't trace it.

Debra tells Ryan to go get some sleep, but Mike can tell he has no intention of doing so. Ryan thinks Rick knows where Joey is. Mike offers to drive.

At the house, Emma is angry that Paul left since their faces are all over the news. She's waiting to hear from Rick before she sends an email and is annoyed "no one is doing what they're supposed to do."

At a convenience store, Paul smiles at a woman but creeps her out. He chats up Megan the store employee instead, asking when she gets off.

Agent Riley checks out the Kester house with Maggie. Mike calls him to let him know he and Ryan are outside. Mike tells Ryan that Debra told him to watch him.

Mike tries to make conversation, but Ryan gets annoyed and gets out of the car.

2003 Ryan visits Joe at home, showing him crime scene photos and asking about Poe. Joe says Poe's eye allegories fit the crimes. He offers Ryan a drink.

In the present, Paul makes out with Megan the store clerk. She freaks out when he chokes her a little bit and says she needs to get home. He walks her to her side of the car and slams her against it repeatedly.

Debra visits Jordy, telling him Joe wants to see him. But she'll only let him if he talks to her.

Agent Riley hears a noise in the house with Maggie and pulls his gun. He goes to investigate a banging noise outside but sees nothing. He tells Mike there's someone in the backyard.

Jordy tells Debra they divide the secrets so no one knows everything. He tells her who has Joey. He doesn't know if Rick knows where he is, but his wife does. Maggie and Emma planned their part.

Debra calls Mike to tell him Maggie is one of them. Mike and Ryan race to the house. Inside, Agent Riley sees an incoming text for Maggie. It says "Now." He turns around and Maggie stabs him through the chin.

Maggie runs out the back door to find Rick waiting.

2010 Flash back to him stabbing her in the stomach and her saying it's too deep. We see they're in the house HQ and Emma says Rick sucks at games. They realize she needs a hospital.

Back at the Kester house, Mike tends to Agent Riley and Ryan chases Maggie outside. She plays innocent as he draws his gun on her. He whirls around and shoots Rick as he sneaks up behind him. But Rick keeps coming. Ryan fends him off and shoots him again. When he turns back around, Maggie is gone. Inside the house, Agent Riley is dead.

Emma and Jacob come downstairs to the sounds of whimpering. They find Paul with Megan tied up and gagged in the kitchen. Paul says he's tired of being the third wheel.

When Emma's out of the room, Paul asks if Emma knows what a liar he is. Jacob reminds him they promised they wouldn't tell.

2011 One night after a party, when they've both had a little too much drink, Paul kisses Jacob and then they both go for it.

Back at the hideaway, Jacob offers to help Paul take Megan into the basement.

The next morning at the Kester house, Rick and Agent Riley are taken away in body bags. Debra is mad that she let Maggie fool her.

2003 Joe signs his book for Ryan. Ryan mentions how hard it is to turn off his investigation. Joe says he admires him and charms him, offering him more to drink.

Ryan tells Debra that Joe fooled him.

In the hospital, Jordy cries out apologies to Joe then tears at his bandages, swallowing them until he chokes.

Ryan knows how seduced Joe's followers must feel. "I fell for it," he says.

Ryan visits Claire. She shows him an email she got of Jacob showing Joey how to torch a bug with a magnifying class, telling him if he kills it, his life will mean a little more. Then Jacob encourages Joey to suffocate a mouse. When Joey says he's never killed anything before, Jacob says they're just getting started.

Emma encourages Joey to wave to the camera and say "Hi, Ryan."

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