One way I like to keep track of what's happening on The Following is noting, in each episode, how many of the following Ryan and any of the good guys are able to bring down. Often the only killings in the show are victims and law-enforcement. In fact, nearly an episode goes by without some innocent being killed by one of the psychos, or a cop or FBI agent wiped out by one of them.
In episode 2.5, we get a refreshing reversal. Although the young woman that Lily kidnapped to serve to Joe is indeed slaughtered by him, Dexter style, Ryan at the end of episode has taken out two of the following, including Gillian, one of the worst psychos of all. That's a pretty good tally for the agents of good, and one which we didn't see too often last season, and only one other time this season, when all of Emma's group were eliminated. But they were already sidelined, and didn't pose much of a threat.
Also a development for the better is Mike finally realizing that Joe is alive, which Ryan's niece Max is starting to acknowledge, too. The only chance of getting Joe and his new band is all law enforcement working with Ryan.
But the forces of bad are coalescing, too. Joe may be accepting Lily as a benefactor, and certainly as a lover. The twins are still alive and very much kicking. And Emma, while not forgiving Joe for abandoning her, is at least on the premises, and will be a force to reckon with as Ryan and the FBI close in.
But the most deadly weapon Joe may have at his disposal may be Mandy. She has already demonstrated her attachment to Joe and willingness to kill for him, and as powerful a force as Lily may be, Mandy may be more so. A lover of his own age and stature in Lily, and a surrogate daughter in Mandy, will be formidable allies indeed.