Did the lawyer realize that was a trigger? Well, yes, she did. So why did she do it? Because, after thinking she was severing her representation of Joe in 2010, Joe makes her an offer she can't refuse - he has one of his following sever two of her fingers. A psychotic fantasy fulfilled for any one who's ever been dropped by an attorney, I guess - and another reason why The Following is such good kick-in-the-gut television.
And what was the trigger for? A plan to kidnap Claire, which works. Question: why would she be so stupid as to give her FBI security the slip and not even tell Ryan what she was doing? To see her boy Joey, of course - but, still, she knows what she's dealing with regarding Joe, and I can't quite believe she'd be so quick to throw caution to the wind.
As for Joey, he's pretty bright, and is seeing through his captors. He almost escapes - but lets Emma talk him into taking him back to their cottage. Surprising, given that Joey has just overheard Emma say she was lying to him.
But Joey looks good to be rescued, anyway, with Ryan closing in, and even though the episode ends with a gun to Ryan's head. I'm predicting he will spring Joey, and that's why I'm seeing a swap in The Following's future.
I'm thinking as Joey is freed, Claire will be taken hostage. In The Following, there is not yet any redemption. The kidnapping must go on. And so must this addictive show.