Airtime: Wednesdays on Hulu
Episode: Season 1, Episode 10 (S01E10)
Tweetable Takeaway: #ThePath closes out its first season with an ambitious, dreamlike episode.
THE PATH concludes its impressive first season today, but those seeking a firm resolution, be warned. We’re left searching for answers, trying to decipher what is real, exactly like our main characters. It’s an ambitious move by the show’s writers to conclude the season with a scene that could be a dream sequence, could be game-changing reality, but this show has always been ambitious.
This show has also always been thoughtful in its exploration of relationships, and its treatment of the dissolution of Sarah and Eddie’s marriage is no different. Sarah remains committed to the movement, but pulls rank on record-keeper Richard when he tries to get Eddie to sign a document labeling him a Denier—according to Meyerist principles, Deniers aren’t allowed to see their children. Sarah and Eddie work out a compromise. Eddie can see the children on Sundays.
Later in the episode, Sarah’s mother tries to tell her that she did the right thing and she’ll feel good about it soon. Sarah breaks down. She loved Eddie, and now her children will have to grow up without a father, telling her mother, “Fuck you, ‘it’s going to feel good’. Fuck all of you.” Michelle Monaghan has been consistently excellent throughout the series, but she gives some of her best work in this very raw, emotional, real moment.
After meeting with Richard, Eddie bids an emotional goodbye to Hawk and Summer, with poor Summer questioning whether or not Eddie will be joining them in the Garden. However, there’s a scene in the beginning where she asks Eddie about Christmas and Santa. She’s still young, and open to new ideas. It also happens to be Hawk’s birthday, which means he can leave school and take his vows. Ashley tearfully confirms that this is indeed the road he’s taking in their high school hallway. I really enjoyed the authenticity of their relationship, and I’m sad that it seems to have come to a permanent end, as Hawk is engulfed by the light flooding in from the school doors as he strides off, before disappearing from the frame completely.
Almost immediately after leaving his family, Eddie begins experiencing visions—creepy stuff, like a snake crawling across his hotel room floor, and a dead bird in a toy store hallway. In one of the show’s most unsettling scenes, that snake slithers up and under his covers while he’s sleeping, before baring its fangs while resting its head on his chest. It’s interesting that in both cases with the snake, the viewer sees it before Eddie himself does. If we can see it when Eddie can’t, is it really a hallucination? This episode seriously messed with my sense of reality.
Eddie tries to get advice from Richard, but gets angry when Richard insist the visions must be the Light attempting to contact him. Eddie also visits Abe in the hospital, uninvited. Abe is there as his daughter is preparing for open heart surgery. His cover is also almost blown, as a nurse addresses his wife by her real last name, not the fake one Abe (or Sam, as Eddie knows him) has been using, but his wife covers by quickly saying it’s her maiden name. Eddie tells Abe that he’s leaving the movement, but prays for his daughter anyways.
In what could be the miracle the title of this episode is referring to, right before Abe’s daughter is about to go into surgery, the doctors discover that the valve in her heart closed on its own. Abe bursts into tears, his hands together as if he were praying. It’s clear that Abe’s involvement with Meyerism isn’t over, but maybe next season he’s going to return as a believer.
Meanwhile, Cal is preparing for his promised unveiling of the final three rungs, complete with an appearance from founder Steve himself. He asks Sarah to join him on the stage. She initially refuses, but reconsiders. However, when she goes to tell Cal about his change of heart, he won’t let her through the door. This is because inside is Mary Cox, who he slept with the night before.
Poor Sean. His parents have visited the compound, for seemingly the first time, in order to meet his future bride. His mom even gives Mary a veil she was saving for her daughter, Sean’s twin Sheila, whose tragic and senseless murder drove Sean to the movement. Mary doesn’t feel worthy of Sean’s goodness, so she seeks out Cal, who’s like her. As she puts it, “People hurt us and we got broken.” And despite me yelling at my screen in protest, Cal succumbs to his dark side, kissing her.
Although Sarah has agreed to appear on stage with Cal, she’s still suspicious about Silas. Things just don’t add up—Cal wasn’t at the vote, and she found the Pachamama idol on her desk. She even interviews the security guard Isiah, but he corroborates Cal’s lie that he was out drinking all night. Cal promised him a reward in the next phase of the movement in exchange for this.
But take the stage she does, presiding over three different Meyerist ceremonies—Allison’s recommitment (Cal declares that forgiving Deniers is part of the new rungs), Hawk’s vows, and Sean and Mary’s wedding. Cal makes a speech about how although Steve isn’t there in person, he transcended his earthly form and became pure light, so he’s essentially all around of them, always. He then introduces him and Sarah as the two co-leaders of the movement as they move into the next phase together. I really thought people would have more questions about Steve, but they seem to have accepted Cal’s explanation.
Sarah gets pulled away from the celebration to deal with a commotion at the front gate. Mary’s awful father is there, basically demanding money or the return of his daughter, unless they want him to show up every month and cause a commotion. Sarah’s understandably repulsed by him, but that catches her attention. He was there the previous month at the same time, the night of the vote. He saw Cal drive off the compound, like a man running from something.
She breaks into his house and logs onto his computer, as she figures out that his password was her name. She finds that Cal wrote the last three rungs himself. Cal attempts to win her trust by telling her the truth, that Steve is dying of cancer, but Sarah is completely done with him. She can’t expose him, as the people love him, but she will find out what the hell happened to Silas. I can’t wait to see how this rivalry develops next season. Thank goodness this show got renewed.
During all of this, Eddie is in Peru. He finds the retreat completely abandoned, littered with the corpses of dead animals. He finally makes his way down the hallway and into Steve’s room, finding only an empty hospital bed. However, when he turns around, Steve is standing in the doorway, seemingly alive, which would be another miracle. Or this could all be a hallucination—one of the corpses was the same dead bird Eddie imagined in the toy store.
But if Steve is really alive, what does that mean for Cal? Maybe Eddie will reunite with Sarah and they’ll start a rival faction. It’s hard to draw any definitive conclusions about future storylines, but this season was remarkably self-assured for a freshman show, with killer performances, haunting visuals, and one of the best scores out there. I can’t wait for season two.
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