'The Following' Season 2, episode 11 recap: Lily and Claire complicate Ryan's life in 'Freedom'

the-following-freedom-recap.jpg Just when Ryan was finally happy again a year after losing Claire, his whole world came crashing down on "The Following" on Monday (March 31). Even though viewers have known that Joe's ex-wife and Ryan's ex-love was actually alive for the past two episodes, Ryan finally learned the truth when she showed up on his doorstep with no warning at the end of "Freedom."

This is going to complicate Ryan's life even more than it already is ... and that's saying something. First of all, he's happily dating Carrie Cooke. They're having tons of frequent dinners and adult sleepovers, and he even admits to Mike during a girl talk sesh that she's making him optimistic again. Of course, Mike knew the truth about Claire being alive so not only will her return mess up Ryan's relationship with Carrie, it will most certainly mess up his relationship with Mike. You could see the desperation and anxiety and panic in Mike's eyes when he saw Claire's Witness Protection officer walk into Ryan's apartment and he realized Ryan was about to learn that two of the most important people in his life have been keeping the mother of all secrets from him for over a year.

How will Ryan take the surprise ambush by Claire? The episode ended with Ryan staring in wide-eyed shock at Claire, so there's no way to tell if he'll be happy to see her, pick up where they left off romantically, or if he'll be angry with her and Mike. Either way, things are about to get messy.

But Claire wasn't the only woman to return to wreak havoc on Ryan's life. Lily Grey also came back with a bang ... literally. She hired a bunch of hitmen to attack the hospital where Luke was being treated in custody, and the ambush was violent, brutal, intense, and almost thwarted by Mike and Ryan, who figured out Lily was behind the latest attack attributed to Joe Carroll's new cult to station her hit men in the hospital. The FBI and police caught or killed most of the hired guns, but one got away and safely delivered Luke to Mark and Lily.

Even though these are the bad guys, and despite knowing all the horrible and sadistic things they've all done, watching Lily, Mark and Luke's tearful reunion was ... admittedly heartwarming. Is that bad? The twins holding each other's faces was so emotional and moving that for a second, you forget that we're rooting for them to get either arrested or killed for what they did to Mike's dad. This show is bananas.

Other notable events from "Freedom" ...

- Joe Carroll not only has followers, but he also has fans clubs all around the country. It's mostly groups of idiotic teens thinking they're making a statement about individuality or something, but it's just horrifying nonetheless.

- At Korben, Joe is teaching his followers how to kill by using the less enthusiastic cult members as victims. Robert starts getting second thoughts after watching his friend Carla get murdered by one of their own, and questions Joe's sincerity to Korben and if what they preach is actually true about death just meaning "going home." Joe asks Emma to "get close" to Robert to "sway" him back to their side, and she does. A.k.a. they end up hooking up. Not sure what's more disgusting: The fact that Joe pimped out his lover/partner in crime so easily, or the nonchalance with which Emma used her sexuality to persuade someone she doesn't care about.

- Another Korben member not feeling the new murder-y way of things is Mandy. She looks visibly upset watching Carla get murdered, and when she overhears Emma and Joe talking about how she might be a "lost cause," she gets freaked out. We all know what happens to people that are expendable to Joe and Emma, so she does the smart thing and packs up her things and gets out of there. However, she makes a less smart move and calls up Mark. Doesn't she know how Joe basically ruined their family and will do anything to get revenge? Oh Mandy. Not the best move.

- Joe confesses to Emma that he has a new plan going forward. He wants to show the world "the truth" about religion, how it's not about love or hope ... it's about blood and violence. He's going to wage war against those who use religion to publicly shame him.

What did you think of Claire and Lily's returns? How is Ryan going to react to seeing Claire again and learning the truth about what happened over a year ago?

"The Following" airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.
Photo/Video credit: FOX