THE PATH returns for its second season today with a two-part premiere showcasing all the ways the events from last season have scarred our main characters, both emotionally and, in the case of Eddie, physically. Eddie has left Meyerism, although he refused to sign the official form declaring himself a “denier”, putting Sarah in a difficult position. She wants Eddie to be able to see Hawk and Summer, but must keep their visits a secret from the rest of the movement. She’s now co-guardian of the light with Cal, working with a man who she can barely stand to look at—and this is before she learns that Cal killed Silas.
I was curious as to whether or not anyone else would uncover Cal’s dark secret and the show got this out of the way in the first episode. Sarah, distraught over her situation with Eddie, accidentally runs into a deer while driving. She breaks down on the side of the road, crying over killing the animal. Cal comes to her aide and she immediately demands the truth of Silas. She’s accepted the fact that Steven has “become one with the light”—she knows he’s gone from Earth, but doesn’t believe he just died—but hasn’t been able to let go of Silas’s disappearance. Maybe the deer is actually Silas’s spirit, forcing her to stop and ask for answers, because it turns out they’re right by where Cal buried Silas’s body. Sarah forces Cal to dig up the corpse, because she needs to see that he’s really dead. Cal knows she isn’t going to turn him in—doing so would mean effectively ending Meyerism and destroying everything she’s ever believed in. It’s a terrible position to be in, but I have a feeling she’s not going to keep his secrets forever.
There are two new big plot developments this season. The first revolves around Cal buying a large piece of property in New York City, intending to turn it into a sort of homeless shelter run by Meyerists. He goes to the property auction with Sarah’s brother Russell, where he promptly proceeds to go way over the approved budget of $2 million, buying the building for $5 million. Cal justifies the purchase by saying that once they’re officially registered with the government as a religion, they won’t have to pay any property taxes anymore. Sarah’s against this idea from the beginning, as Steven warned to never get involved with the government. The whole plan backfires when Meyerism’s religion status is denied by the IRS. Abe, who’s still undercover, but now seems to be working the district attorney’s office, had his superior pull strings to stop it from happening. Since it will be hard to pin a murder on Cal, he wants to get him for financial impropriety, which will be easier if he doesn’t have the protection of being labeled a religion.
The other big plot development is the Meyerist’s involvement with a local community who claim that a big corporation is poisoning their water supply, making all of them sick. It’s a direct reference to the Flint water crisis, but it doesn’t really go anymore this week. It just felt like the show trying to be timely. The Meyerists begin helping the community, specifically the 1Rs, who bring them bottled water. The movement’s newest class of recruits includes Abe, undercover as Sam, Hawk, who’s apparently stopped doubting and recommitted himself to the faith, and a new character, a young woman who dropped out of NYU because she wanted to do something that will make an actual difference. This young woman is in multiple scenes—she’s being set up as a new love interest for Hawk—but I swear they never mention her name and her problems aren’t that engaging.
The weakest part of this season so far is the romantic entanglements our characters find themselves in. Hawk/the new girl doesn’t have the emotional depth of his relationship last season with Ashley—it was interesting seeing Hawk seriously consider leaving the movement for her. Eddie also starts a new relationship. He runs into an old high school classmate, Chloe Jones, and hooks up with her after the two bond over their grief over Eddie’s brother’s death. Sarah rebuffs any attempts at friendship, let alone romance from Cal, but she drunkenly hooks up with an obnoxious partygoer at a fancy party Cal dragged her to in order to try to raise funds to save the movement.
Also at the party are Mary and Sean. Mary is now pregnant and the way that she knowingly tells Cal that she’s five months along makes it seem like there’s a chance it’s his baby, not Cal’s. The party doesn’t go as planned. Cal trots at Mary and Sean as two examples of how Meyerism helps people and Sarah charms at least one man, but the party hosts—the rich couple whose son Cal saved from drug addiction—tell him that it’s more of a “fun-raiser” than fundraiser. They warn him that he doesn’t want to seem desperate in front of this crowd, but he ignores the warning and basically begs for money while deriding them for their wealth. It isn’t a good look. The host quickly shuts him down and kicks him and a drunken Sarah out.
It’s a solid start to the season, beautifully shot as always. This show has always been great at striking visual design. However, these first two episode’s emphasis on the romantic relationships between the characters instead of the more interesting explorations of faith and what it means to believe they delved into last season was a bit troubling. Hopefully this season will be more contemplative than melodramatic, but I’m either way I’m excited for it to be back.
Season 2, Episode 1-2 (S02E01-02)
The Path airs Wednesdays on Hulu
Jennifer Trofa | Contributor