Airtime: Wednesdays on Hulu
Episode: Season 1, Episode 3 (S01E03)
Tweetable Takeaway: Cal makes moves on his quest for cult leadership on a dramatic #ThePath
In its third outing, THE PATH delivers a dramatic episode, building up the cult’s mythology while further developing the stakes for the rest of the season. We see the disastrous effects of Eddie’s lie about Miranda Frank and Cal begins laying the groundwork for his takeover of the movement. The episode opens with Cal watching over Steve as a doctor seems to tell him that his condition is deteriorating, or, even worse, can’t be cured. It’s hard to tell, as her voice echoes and comes in and out, as he struggles to process this disastrous information.
Eddie emerges after his brutal fourteen-day stay in cheater’s jail, returning home to his not so-happy family. Hawk seems to resent him still. We see that Miranda essentially got kidnapped and sent away. Cal lies to the congregation, making it seem like Steve is still alive and responsive down in Peru. Sarah asks him for a report on Miranda’s status. Cal tells her that she didn’t “unburden” (admit to cheating), so he brought her from the Midwest to the compound to force her to go through the fourteen-day program. He wouldn’t do this for just anyone, but Sarah’s family is high up in Meyerism, and he clearly has feelings for her.
Cal gets called away and drives off, listening to more self-help tapes, this time about nonverbal symbols of power and dominance. He drives past homeless people and goes into an apartment that clearly belongs to an alcoholic or an addict. Turns out it’s his mom’s house.
The FBI cult investigator, Abe, now going by “Sam”, goes to the Meyerism compound. He pretends like he wants to join the religion. His initial interview is recorded, which sets off his alarm bells. Tears well up in his eyes when he explains in three words why he’s there: curiosity, pain, and hope. His act certainly would fool me, but I wonder if they’ll be able to suss out that he’s a government spy. If/when they do, it will probably just fuel their persecution complex.
Eddie goes to see Allison, meeting in an old parking lot. She’s upset that he has recommitted himself to Meyerism, but he’s dedicated to getting his family back. She says that they are lying about the fact that her husband committed suicide and seems to threaten to expose him as a defector.
Sarah talks to Miranda. Miranda is in the same cheater’s prison where Eddie was, but she refuses to admit to infidelity. Of course! She didn’t do anything. Poor Minka Kelly. Sarah threateningly tells her to drink the juice. You think at this point Sarah would question Eddie, but instead she just doubles down on her efforts to make Miranda confess.
Cal’s mom wants him to move back home. She’s clearly an alcoholic, but she also seems to miss her son. We later learn that she was a Meyerist, but left. Cal’s father stayed with him, but left once he was older. They both blamed Steve for stealing their son. His mother agrees to move into an assisted living home, but only if Cal drinks with her. He symbolically takes off his Meyerist necklace and agrees.
Sarah and Eddie’s martial problems are the least interesting part of the show, perhaps because we’ve never seen them happy, so we don’t know how great their relationship was before the cheating allegations, and also because Sarah increasingly shows herself to be unhinged and controlling. They try to “connect”, a Meyerist technique which involves holding each other while talking about their energies flowing together, but Sarah isn’t feeling it.
Hawk talks with Ashley, the girl from his high school, explaining his faith more. She tells him that she doesn’t believe in God, but might if the power in her house was miraculously turned back on. Later in the episode, he steals a generator from the compound and brings to her house, restoring the light. It’s adorable, but also shows that his faith isn’t perfect. He’s sneaking around and stealing, all for a non-believer. Also, I still can’t get over how much he looks like Heath Ledger. It’s seriously uncanny.
Cal’s mom gets moody when Cal goes to sign the paperwork for assisted living home. She tells the worker that he runs a cult and repeatedly calls him a quack. He completely freaks out, yelling and grabbing her arm, scaring her. Cal definitely has a dark side, as we saw last week when he beat up Mr. Cox.
Sarah talks to her mom. She wants to talk to Eddie about Miranda, but he isn’t on the proper rung of the ladder. Sarah thinks that they bend the rules all the time. This scene really isn’t all that interesting, except for the fact that they’re drinking wine. If it’s ok to casually drink in Meyerism, why did Cal make such a big deal about taking his necklace off before drinking with his mom? The tenets of their belief system still could be better explained, but it’s clear that Meyerism influences all aspects of their lives. Last week, we saw Eddie reading Hope a Meyerist children’s book. This week, we get Sarah’s brother strumming a guitar and singing a Meyerist children’s song.
That night, Eddie confronts Sarah about her inability to forgive him. She breaks down and tells him that Miranda Frank is there. Eddie is floored. He obviously didn’t think his lie would hurt her. Meanwhile, Sam talks to Mr. Cox, who’s recovering in the hospital. He says they’re building a case and they have the possibility of putting away his attacker for thirty years. Mr. Cox tells him that the man who attacked him has his daughter. Sam swears he’s going to get him. I can’t wait to see how this develops, because there’s no way Cal’s going to let a lone FBI agent and an abusive father derail his plan for world domination. My bet is that he somehow blackmails (or even kills) Sam.
The next day, Cal visits Sarah. He seems like he’s about to tell her about Steve’s condition, but lies. He says that Steve let him know the final rungs of the ladder are about succession of leadership and what happens after he dies. Sarah believes that Steve has personally appointed Cal as his successor. Michelle Monaghan is great in this scene. Her eyes shine with true pride and belief, looking every bit like a brainwashed cult follower.
Eddie goes to see Miranda, claiming to the security guard that he was authorized by Cal. He knocks on the door, but gets no response from Miranda. He flings it open to find her on the floor, dead. Blood is coming out of her mouth and a bottle of juice is smashed next to her. My guess? She was poisoned, and Sarah either ordered it or will help cover it up. I wouldn’t put anything past that crazy woman.
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