THE PATH Review: “The Red Wall”

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This week’s episode of felt like a building episode. It ended with two big realizations that will undoubtedly influence the course of the season going forward, but wow, it took a while to get there. Eddie attends a support group for people who’ve been victims of mind control, finally admitting out loud for the first time that he was in a cult—he protests to a doctor earlier this episode that it’s a movement—and Sarah and Cal learn that Meyerism is under investigation by the FBI, with a rat living among them. These are both things the audience has already known for weeks now, so it’s not new information. We’re basically watching the characters catch up, but it does change the stakes dramatically now that Cal and Sarah know they have a Judas in their midst.

The most interesting thing this episode was seeing just how dirty Sarah is willing to play to get what she wants. She’s always been portrayed as the moral one in her partnership with Cal, but apparently hiding his secrets has caused her to lose sight of what’s right and wrong. Cal tells Sarah that Lisa doesn’t seem to be able to help them their quest to get religious exemption status, but Sarah won’t take no for an answer. I sometimes forget that Meyerism is loosely based on Scientology, but the connection is made explicit here. Sarah still has tapes of Lisa’s “unburdening” where she’s confessed to something terrible and she wants to use them to blackmail her—similar to what people have accused Scientology of doing with their audits.

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Cal is nervous about the idea, but he agrees to set up the meeting. Abe’s boss asks Lisa to bring a recording device with her, as they think this is an opportunity to get Cal to blackmail and/or threaten a federal official on tape. The higher ups want an arrest quickly in the Meyerism case, to show that they’re tough on organized crime. Lisa goes to the meeting, with Abe and a colleague listening in their car. Abe’s shocked to hear Sarah’s voice on the tape, not Cal’s, but before Sarah can play the unburdening confession, Lisa stops her, writing down a warning that they’re being watched.

Sarah gives Lisa the unburdening recording, deeming her loyal. We eventually find out that the tape contains a recording of her confessing to killing a kid in a hit and run, which really makes you wonder what dirt the Meyerists have the ones who are active members of the community. Sarah shows Cal the warning note, causing him to wonder who the traitor in the movement must be. It’s not clear whether or not Lisa ever saw Abe’s face, so it’s possible that Lisa could recognize him as a FBI agent if she ever sees him at the compound. What is clear is that this realization is definitely going to drive Cal to new paranoid heights.

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The Meyerist’s money problem is temporarily averted due to a large donation from Noa’s mother, a wealthy music mogul. Noa is the new 1R recruit who dropped out of NYU and has been hanging out with Hawk. Noa thinks that her mother’s donation is just an attempt to continue controlling her and laments to Hawk about how they can’t ever escape their parents. Hawk and Noa’s budding romance continues to develop this episode. The pair go to a private Andrew Bird concert together, but Noa leaves when Hawk tries to kiss her, calling him a boy and rightfully pointing out that he seems to still be in love with his ex-girlfriend.

Eddie wakes up in the hospital this episode, where a helpful doctor suggests that he might have PTSD from his time in the movement and prescribes him pills to help with his anxiety. Sarah visits him in the hospital. She denies sending people to follow him, but when she confronts Cal, he admits to doing it. Eddie at first doesn’t want to take the medication, but after a conversation with Chloe, he decides to go through with it, even visiting a support group for mind control victims.

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Eddie realizes that he was in a cult, but when a distraught Sean visits him, he admits he still believes in the light. He just doesn’t like what the group has become. Sean comes to talk to him because he’s reeling after Mary’s revelation that he might not be the father of her baby last episode. Eddie tells Sean that even if he’s questioning the movement, he should do whatever it takes to keep his family together. Sean returns to the compound, embracing Mary and telling her that the baby is theirs, not anyone elses. Sean and Mary’s storyline has been the least compelling of all the plots this season, so hopefully all this drama leads to something soon.

I still stand behind my prediction that Eddie will return to be the true leader of Meyerism. Kodiak and Richard are still searching for evidence to prove that Cal murdered Steve. It’s a necessary development to move the story forward, but Kodiak is a tiresome character, always talking in annoyingly faux-profound statements. Hopefully the realizations from this episode lead to some real plot developments next week. This is still an interesting, beautifully shot show, but it occasionally seems to rest on the tone its established without really doing anything with it. It’s good, but since all the elements of a great show are there, good is a little disappointing.

TB-TV-Grade-B

Season 2, Episode 4 (S02E04)
The Path airs Wednesdays on Hulu

Read all of our reviews of The Path here. 
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Jennifer lives for two things: spreading the “Superstore” gospel and themed “Law & Order: SVU” marathons on USA.
Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jtrof
Keep up with all of Jennifer’s reviews here.

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