After a slow burn of an episode last week, it’s nice to see things finally happening on THE PATH. Cal initiates a full scale investigation of the compound, calling “sourcing”, in order to try to expose the mole working for the FBI, while Sarah’s decision to move forward with the water testing results in Libby following through on her threats and having Hawk arrested. Libby must be incredibly influential, as she convinces the police to hold him on a litany of charges—breaking and entering, vandalism, assault with a deadly weapon, and ecoterrorism. Yes, Hawk, an innocent young boy, could be branded a terrorist, essentially ruining his life at sixteen due to a mix of youthful passion, his mother’s beliefs, and a vindictive CEO.
Hawk actually goes to a juvenile detention center, spending two days there, as the district attorney has 48 hours to hold a hearing to set bail. The Hawk in juvy subplot had some issues. It’s a very generic, white boy hears about real issues for the first time and suddenly becomes “woke” story that you’ve doubtless seen play out on social media amongst your acquaintances many times before. Hawk’s cellmate, a black young man who’s introduced reading The New Jim Crow teaches him about the struggles minorities face in a society that’s clearly still stacked against them. He rightfully points out that the Meyerists’ insistence that they’re more enlightened than other people allows them to ignore the problems of people outside the movement if they want to.
Hawk insists that he’s different, as he’s in jail for standing up for others, but his new friend tells him that he’ll be out of there in two days while the rest of them will be stuck there until trial, as that’s how the system works. He’s right. Hawk is released, as he has parents willing and able to pay his bail, a luxury not everyone has. He also has a dad ready to do whatever it takes to save him. Eddie is mad at Sarah for choosing the movement over her son, as she knew the consequences of going against Libby and infuriated at her choice of a lawyer, a Meyerist mouthpiece who believes they will prevail because they have the light on their side.
Eddie drags Sarah along to confront Libby. He did some digging and found out that Libby and her son are very publicly estranged. He managed to get the son on the phone, presumably having the son tell her that he’ll speak to her again if she drops the outrageous charges against Hawk. It’s unclear how Eddie got this phone number or why the son would be so willing to help. The whole thing feels like a deus ex machina, but Eddie’s commitment to Hawk brings him and Sarah closer together. They sleep together, although Sarah later tells Cal that seeing Eddie didn’t bring up any emotions. Sarah’s whole situation is very complicated, as Summer reveals to the rest of the family that she’s still seeing Eddie. Her parents are supportive, or at least not outwardly hostile about it, but Sarah might need to watch out for her sister-in-law Nicole. She’s furious that Sarah breaks rules and gets to be Guardian of the Light, while Russell does everything right and is consistently overlooked.
As predicted, Cal discovering that there’s a spy in his midst has sent him into a paranoid spiral, interviewing everyone at the movement for signs of deception. He makes a crucial mistake, however. He looks at Abe’s (who he thinks is named Sam) background—he’s ex-military with years of experience running covert operations—and instead of finding it suspicious, he enlists him to help find the rat. This makes Cal seem a bit dim-witted. If he’s supposed to be this manipulative, dangerous leader, one would think that he wouldn’t overlook the most obvious suspect. There’s a line about how paranoia leads people to make dumb decisions, but it’s not enough to really justify Cal’s huge mistake. Sarah agrees that Abe/Sam is a good choice to lead the search, making her just as easily fooled as Cal.
Abe relishes his new task in the movement. He tells his boss that he doesn’t see the sacrifices he’s making to close the case as noble. He just really likes winning. This is on full display this episode and will probably be his downfall. He leads a search team through the infirmary, urging them to search under any surface, as bugs can be hiding anywhere. And wouldn’t you know it, they just happen to find a burner cell phone taped underneath an examination chair. Cal and Abe blame it on poor, sweet Shelby, the nurse who works there, forcing her to leave the compound in disgrace. Abe definitely planted the phone to drive Cal’s paranoia to new heights, hoping that it will cause him to slip up.
Sarah goes to the farmer from Clarksville to personally apologize for the fact that she can no longer fund the water testing. In a scene straight out of a horror movie, the farmer plunges a knife into a sick cow, causing blood to splatter all over Sarah’s face. The blood is black, so there’s definitely something poisoning the people and livestock of the community. Just how involved the Meyerists will be in this moving forward remains to be seen.
Season 2, Episode 5 (S02E05)
The Path airs Wednesdays on Hulu
Jennifer Trofa | Contributor