Airtime: Wednesdays on Hulu
Episode: Season 1, Episode 9 (S01E09)
Tweetable Takeaway: #ThePath delivers an emotional, gripping penultimate episode
In its penultimate outing, THE PATH delivers an intense, emotional episode as families are ripped apart and hearts are broken. I’ve touched on it before, but this show might have the best score of any television program out there. The music and sound were pitch perfect tonight, augmenting the tense and undercutting any hopes we might have of calm, peaceful resolution.
This episode opens in Cuzco, Peru, where Cal has gone to visit Steve, who’s still very much in a coma. He apologizes for everything he’s done that is wrong, and everything that’s wrong that he’s going to do next. From that ominous wording, I’m guessing that he’s going to kill Steve. He’s already killed Silas, as this one can he can justify to himself. We don’t get this theory confirmed in this episode, but he does go back to the compound and tell Sarah that Steve has finished the last three rungs on the ladder, which means he’ll be leaving them soon. He then asks Sarah to work with him to usher in the new era.
Eddie and Hawk from returned from their Walk, impressively finishing the 250-mile trek in 10 days. Everyone greets them heartedly and excitedly, but as Sarah approaches him the music grows harsh and alien-sounding. As she embraces him, she tells him that she knows about Allison. Their conversation at home illustrates that although they be standing next to each other, they’re thousands of miles apart.
Sarah’s understandably upset that Eddie lied to her, but Eddie makes things worse by saying that if he told her the truth, she would have put him in a program and he would have become a brainwashed pod person. Eddie’s finally decided to be truthful. Rather than pretend to be faithful to appease her, he flat out tells her that he loves her, loves his family, and believes in the work they do, but the rest is “just fucking fairytales”. Their opposing viewpoints are distilled as Eddie tells her that their relationship is what matters and she replies that “We’re a part of something that matters, and we matter because we’re a part of it.”
At the Gathering, Eddie tells the group that his wife and kids are his truth, but at home, he’s sleeping on the couch. Sarah comes downstairs, breaking a glass when he greets her. Eddie holds her while she cries, but it soon turns into something more. They have sex right there on the floor, but the music ratchets up in intensity. This isn’t a loving reunion of two spouses. It’s a desperate battle between two damaged souls.
Then comes the dinner from hell. Sarah testily preaches to Eddie, Summer, and Hawk that they know nothing about suffering compared to people in other countries, as they get to return home to their beds after the Walk. Summer says that Uncle Cal kept Hawk’s bed warm for him while Hawk was gone, as he was sick. Anger flares in Eddie’s eyes when he tells her that Cal isn’t her family. Hawk chooses this moment to tell Sarah that he’s leaving. He isn’t taking his vows when he turns sixteen. Sarah turns to ice. She tells him that if he does that, he won’t talk to her, or his sister, or anyone in his family every again.
Meanwhile, Cal goes to a trendy burlesque club to meet with John Ridge. After his time in Peru, Freddy is a totally new kid. He’s even back in school. Cal’s there to ask John for help. He wants him to manage their investments, branching into real estate, off shore accounts, and tax shelters. What Abe said to his boss earlier in this episode while he was suspending him was right. The movement is only growing more powerful.
He returns from his meeting to find Sarah sitting his house. He can tell that something is really wrong with her, but can’t overcome his desire. He begins kissing her while she cries, with the high-pitched whine of his tea kettle adding an eerie tension to the scene. She tells him that Hawk is leaving and she needs his help.
Cal tracks down Ashley at the high school. He’s arranged for a house for their family (they’re currently living in their car), but he needs her help. Hawk wants to leave, but only because he met her. Hawk will lose his faith and his family. He plays on her own loss, reminding her that she knows how it is to lose a parent. We don’t hear Ashley break up with him, just watch the scene from afar, but even from inside a car Hawk’s heartbreak is raw and transparent.
Defeated, Hawk returns home. He tells Eddie that Ashley broke up with him, saying it was too much responsibility to have him leave his family for her. Ashley kept saying that Hawk is special because Meyerism is special, which makes no sense, as she doesn’t even like the movement. Eddie immediately knows that Cal must have interfered, and confronts him and Sarah in front of everyone. Cal had just finished telling the members on the Upper Rungs that Steve finished the ladder, even promising that he will be at the next Gathering, when Eddie punches him, dropping him in one hit.
Sarah met with Allison Kemp at the beginning of the episode, giving her her husband’s journal that was a part of his file. Whatever is in that journal is clearly very shocking, as after reading it, Allison wanders through the forest in a depressed haze, tearing off pages while filling her pockets with rocks. She walks into a frozen lake, but she must have survived, as she approaches the compound at the end of the episode. If she has returned, will Eddie rethink his doubts?
There’s also a subplot about the simmering resentment between Betsy, the redheaded nurse, and Sean and Mary. Betsy can’t stand seeing the two of them together again, and when Sean confronts her about her dirty looks, she announces in front of everyone that Mary slept with her for drugs. Cal mediates a discussion between the two of them, basically suggesting that Mary and Sean get married, which is a crazy idea. Mary’s the character I’m least invested in, as she’s pretty much a blank slate, but I’m curious to see if she’ll ever reveal to the movement the weird sexual relationship she had with Cal.
It was an impactful, emotional episode that made me both excited for the finale next week, and sad that this season is almost over. Even though he’s suspended, Abe received a coroner report on Jason Kemp. He did fall off a mountain, but his hands were extremely burnt. Will Abe be able to pin a murder on the movement? How will Cal explain Steve’s absence? And what in the hell is Eddie going to do now?
Jennifer Trofa lives for two things: spreading the “Superstore” gospel and themed “Law & Order: SVU” marathons on USA. When she’s not binge-watching her favorite shows, she’s reading any book she can get her hands on.
Jennifer Trofa | Contributor