Hulu’s The Path
Season 1, Episode 8: “The Shore”
Directed by Roxann Dawson
Written by Annie Weisman
* For a review of the previous episode, “Refugees” – click here
* For a review of the next episode “A Room With a View” – click here
Last we left Eddie Lane (Aaron Paul) and his son Hawk (Kyle Allen), they were preparing for The Walk. And Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy), well… he’s got plenty of other things of his own happening.
Cal’s drunk and wondering what to do next with the dead body of Silas sitting in his house. This series was always poised for a dark turn, but does it ever get dark. Here’s Cal now left with disposing of a corpse. On the way out of the commune, Cal finds himself confronted by the father of Mary Cox (Emma Greenwell). This time Cal’s got nothing except threats for him: “Next time I see you, I finish the job.” Yikes. Believe THAT. Particularly from a man who’s on his way to bury a body. A man he killed that was a friend. Imagine what he’d do to somebody like Mr. Cox, a despicable predator.
Love some of the shots in this opening ten minutes. Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) has a dream of Hawk walking down the highway towards her, which then becomes something entirely different. Terrifying nightmare. You can almost tell it’s a dream sequence right off the bat and then it still throws you for a loop.
No, Hawk and Eddie are off for The Walk. Supposedly Dr. Steve Meyers worked for the U.S. Army doing “psychological warfare” and all sorts of stuff. Actually sounds crazy coming from Eddie’s mouth. Totally brainwashed-type nonsense. Then there’s this really awkward encounter with some soldiers at the the military gate where the father-son duo starts their walk. Meanwhile, Cal is in the woods burying Silas. He sees an omen of sorts in a white owl perched nearby, as he sits covered in mud and leaves. More of that great cinematography captures the forest in such an incredible light, all the while such a dark story weaves itself through.
Over at the commune, Sarah’s getting all kinds of praise for representing the movement well. And her husband, her son walk continuously. I still just
needwant Hawk to break away. Although there’s a bond of family, he needs to get past the cult. They’ll only bring him down. Guided by Cal everyone seems to think it’s fine. They don’t see the terrible, ugly side beneath that mask he wears up at the pulpit.
In fact, nobody is in good shape. Mary falls deeper into the high she gets off her stolen drugs. She and the pharmacist girl get much closer, despite her becoming a junkie once more. I can only wonder how her relationship with this girl will be put to the test, or in danger, by Cal. Because he’s got a vicious fascination/obsession with her.
Speaking of Cal, he’s drunk and off to Milton. To find Sean. And at the same time, Sarah talks with Felicia (Adriane Lenox). She’s given a figurine that looks exactly like the hallucination from her dream. Creepy as hell.
Detective Abe Gaines (Rockmund Dunbar) is still trying his hardest to track down the dirt on the Meyerist movement. He manages to stay outside their influence. For now.
Out on the road in a shelter, Eddie has to assert himself when a man steps up to Hawk. But worse, his son seems off. Regardless, you can see how much Eddie cares for his son. Through all the cult bullshit it is just his son that matters. When Hawk talks about Ashley (Amy Forsyth) and their family not wanting any part of the Meyerists, with Hawk, his family. Eddie sticks by his son no matter what, simply asking what’s next. The Walk is all that’s next.
An interesting moment happens when a priest walks in and leads a prayer. Eddie starts to pray, too. Hawk watches on. Then we drift back to the Lane house where Sarah and her daughter hang out by themselves. Until she sees Cal outside, drunk in the yard: “I need help,” he tells her.
Mary and Sean meet out by the lake. She’s obviously surprised. Apparently there’s some decency in Cal yet, as he brought Sean back to be with Mary. Is this a good thing? Hard to trust in a man that just murdered a person he’d known for years.
Dt. Gaines and his wife have dinner with his boss, congratulating him on all the hard work, so on. The Meyerist case is done apparently. Homeland Security’s now on the job. But Abe isn’t too pleased. The whole thing is about politics, not the case. Likely the whole thing ends up in the lap of the IRS. Gaines loses his shit in front of everybody, putting the cherry on top with “I fuckin‘ hate pot pie” before storming out, his wife trailing not far behind.
On the road again, Hawk and Eddie are planning their next trail. From nowhere the son asks his father: “Did you stop loving mom?” So what we forget is how wide the lies spread out. Eddie didn’t even cheat on his wife, he had to make up a lie to cover up a bigger secret. Further than just all the regular cult madness, Eddie’s doing him a disservice by covering up his own crisis of faith in the Meyerist movement. They end up hitching a little ride down the road a ways, with which Eddie struggles some.
Not as much as Cal struggles back at the commune, sweating, shaking out the booze. Some good news from Sarah – big donations coming in, all because of Cal. She assures him everybody has a “rock that [we] carry” and almost excuses his alcoholism breaking out. She lavishes a ton of praise on him now, though unknowing of his deep transgression. And from the corner of the room beams that little figurine, staring at Cal and boring into his brain.
At Coney Island, the father-son stop. Eddie’s old life almost calls out to him from the attractions, the very stones on which he walks. There is an ever present sense Eddie needs to get away from the cult. Because it’s all about repression, that place. The memories of his brother linger and Eddie can feel them burning, lingering in his soul. Back down they go, and off on their walk once more. Still, they go past all the rides and the games, Eddie telling his son about their adventures. It’s all so foreign to Hawk. That is totally tragic and sad. Hawk will never experience all that, yet his father got to, and there’s an unfairness that is nearly smothering. When they come across the famous clam rolls Eddie ate as a kid, they opt to spend most of their remaining funds on reliving that childhood. There’s a bittersweetness to this whole scene. My absolute favourite of the series thus far.
Nicole (Ali Ahn) is trying to have a baby. All the while kids are running around, she’s sitting in a baby pool, Sarah reels off her creepy nightmare. Lots of fun. As Nicole rages, Sarah assures “anger can be a good engine” with more pseudomedical fuckery. And Cal draws a bit of weird energy off Nicole’s pregnant moans. This whole episode is entirely wild, each moment is more intriguing than the last.
Eddie: “The greasy, crunchy bit. I mean… it‘s so terrible, but it‘s perfect.”
Hawk asks his father about when the moment came, where The Light washed over him. The elders, Joy, they all talk about a single moment where the pain washes away and there are “no more questions.” But Eddie says there was nothing like that for him. It was only when he met Sarah. Then Hawk breaks down talking about Ashley; the kid is truly in love. The divide between Meyerism and real life is preventing him from living like a normal teenager. Is this something that will eventually be able to push Eddie towards getting out? I hope. For the time being, he gets Hawk to a payphone to call Ashley: “You can‘t stay with your eyes closed,” he tells his son.
Then while Hawk makes his call, Eddie locks eyes with a young man across the way. Then he’s gone. A vision of his brother? This sends Eddie into a bit of an intense state.
Back at the birthing, Nicole’s baby comes out not breathing. Sarah saves the day, though. And the little baby lives! Even Cal steps in to touch the child, whimpering like one himself. Happy days.
Sarah: “Welcome, little one, to our world. You are whole and you are broken, just like the rest of us.”
After the birthing, Cal and Sarah find themselves kissing at the sink. She starts to protest, asking him to stop. Then it ends with him weeping against her. He then reveals Eddie’s been lying to her. Now things are about to get difficult.
They’re already difficult for Eddie. He follows the vision of his brother out on the beach. Along the way he drops their rocks, to mark sacred spots. Eddie stares out seeing his brother for a while and it nearly crushes him. Simultaneously, Sarah is at home searching through everything – the bedroom, the car – until she finds any evidence of Eddie’s lies. She finds a cellphone with the same number in it. Over and over. The various paths are coming together here now.
Best episode yet. Amazingly emotional, layered, the writing was fantastic and both Hugh Dancy and Aaron Paul are on fire in their various scenes.
Next episode, “A Room With a View”, will definitely get intense. This one setup so much more suspense and tension that it’s unreal. Let’s stay tuned together, friends and fellow fans!