The Path – Season 2, Episode 2: “Dead Moon”

Hulu’s The Path
Season 2, Episode 2: “Dead Moon”
Directed by Michael Weaver
Written by Annie Weisman

* For a recap & review of Season 2 opener, “Liminal Twilight” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Father and The Son” – click here
screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-12-42-35-amSarah (Michelle Monaghan) has seen the skeletal remains of Silas in the ground, unearthed by Cal (Hugh Dancy) at her request. She’s trying to work through the emotional baggage, as Richard (Clark Middleton) guides her in their Scientology-like therapy. He thinks that Eddie (Aaron Paul) is a constant source of disruption and pain in her life. He brings up Eddie’s trip to Peru, after the pair separated. But Sarah refutes his playing a part in her damage right now.
Meanwhile, Eddie’s off with Hawk (Kyle Allen) and Summer. The older child is still unhappy about his father’s leaving the commune, leaving them, essentially. Dad continually tries to do his best and to make them happy.
At the same time Abe Gaines (Rockmond Dunbar) is catching Mark Penetti (Matt Bailey) up on his undercover investigation into Cal Roberts and the Meyerist movement. Things are going smooth, and Penetti seems invested. Career is looking up for ole Abe. Unless something bad happens along the way.


When passing over the kids, Sarah talks to Eddie for a minute. She’s upset, though. She hates being apart and at once won’t let go of Meyerism, she’s trapped in her delusion that it’s all worth what they’re giving up (i.e. their intelligence, their lives, and much, much more).
And other things crop up at the ranch. The movement isn’t going to get their tax-exempt status like planned, a snag’s come into play. Just another bit of stress for Cal. More faith lost on the part of everyone else, especially Sarah. He’s not listening to Steve, who told them never get “involved with the government.” Needless to say the pair of Cal and Sarah are growing further apart, and they’re struggling to stay united as one; all a farce for their followers.
At home, Eddie meditates. Then in juxtaposition he’s out in front of a ton of big screen television sets, everything so loud and so modern and it’s as if the world is right inside his head. The real world is too loud. Almost like he was in prison. And in a way, he was in a cell. Only one constructed from the mind.
Mary Cox (Emma Greenwell) continues to get further into the fold. She and Nicole (Ali Ahn) bond over babies, motherhood, breastfeeding, and such. They talk about mixed race children, considering that Mary and Sean (Paul James) are expecting. But that’s all a cover: Mary’s worried the baby won’t have any trace of her man, and that it’ll be clear Cal fathered him or her. Should be a tense pregnancy.


Eddie goes to check on Sarah, but things devolve into an argument over Peru before he takes off again. He knows there’s something going on. Now it’s worse, as he sees Sarah ready for a big cocktail party of some sort. This makes Eddie worry about what’s going on between Cal and his estranged wife.
Out in the woods, Russell (Patch Darragh) leads a retreat for the 1Rs, such as Hawk, who are getting more and more indoctrinated into the Meyerist movement. It’s a journey in darkness: “Tonight, youll have to find the Light inside of you.”
Cal and Sarah are out at a party, showing off Mary after her battle with drugs. They talk about their focus on social justice, and plenty of other issues. One interesting note: Sarah decides to have a drink, shocking Cal in front of their friends. Hmm, that’s not a good sign. However, she’s just fine. It’s Cal that isn’t doing well, watching others around him indulge while he can’t even face his own demons. Things between him and Mary are getting stranger, plus the fact Sean can tell there’s something not quite right in the way Cal treats his wife.
And then Eddie, he’s out having a guilt-free date with Chloe Jones (Leven Rambin), after assuming his wife is out doing the same thing. They’re having a chat, some drinks over a meal. Will anything more come of it? They’re both obviously interested in one another. Still, Eddie does love his wife despite the few feelings stirring for Chloe in his newfound freedom. Things start breaking down after she talks about the cult, asking questions, making him uncomfortable. It’s all mixed in with the fact Chloe used to be with his brother Johnny before he died. She’s lost and believes he found “answers” in the Meyerist movement. Or at least she doesn’t judge him for fleeing into the arms of a cult after what happened. Through it all they actually do fall into each others arms.
In the midst of the party, Cal calls everybody out for their rich bullshit. For a killer he is awfully high and mighty. This is one large portion of what Cal is all about, thematically. He represents, quite literally (and very well), the hypocrisy of those who sit in power of some movement, whether an organised church or something lesser like Meyerism; they do their nastiness out of the public eye, then preach on the pulpit within the same breath.
screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-1-10-54-amscreen-shot-2017-01-26-at-1-15-59-amSimultaneously, Sarah and Eddie get intimate with other people. This is an intense scene, both for the viewer and the characters. You can see Eddie’s initial reluctance, before he goes headlong into making love to Chloe. For her part, Sarah refuses her would-be lover and walks out. All the while Cal is being taken to town by the Ridges for making the guests look ridiculous. When the would-be lover emerges, he taunts Cal, and the whimsically hypocritical Cal lays a punch into him, for everyone to see. Ah, the monster emerges, further each day.
Those aren’t the only relationship troubles. Sean’s getting less happy with the way Cal brought them out like trophies. Whereas Mary liked having someone show her off after a lifetime of abuse. Her husband hates how Cal touches her – “Like he owns you” – and rightfully so, as it’s weird, and creepy, and symptomatic of a larger, more unsettling problem of which Sean is still sadly unaware.
NOTE: Watch how many times Cal is cast in shadows. Whether he’s fully submerged, or just a part of his face obscured, there’s often a shadowy light over him when onscreen. I’ve noticed it more this season, but I know they’ve done this in Season 1 at least a few times, too. Great technique. In this episode, as he and Sarah talk about his “living, waking hell” of guilt, Cal is literally divided by shadow: one side of his face is visible, the other darkened totally. Such a slight thing that some might cast off, but in this scene we see that hypocritical side of his character given to us totally through imagery, you don’t even have to pay attention to his dialogue (though you should). Testament to some of the well executed techniques of this series and those who make it.

screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-1-24-20-amSarah knows Cal is devious, that he is a murderer. And yet she continues on, for the sake of her own soul, for the sake of others. With every bad deed comes a few good ones, he redeems himself then undoes it, like clockwork. It sucks her back in every time. And waking up in bed with another woman, Eddie remembers the better times he had within the movement, with his wife. Everybody’s stuck in some way.
Now Hawk is stuck. Because he’s having a vision, of lifting off the ground. Some of that gorgeous magic realism in The Path. Except it’s bittersweet, as Hawk finds himself mired in the movement further. I feel a tragic end to his story, and it’s going to devastate me, if so.
screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-1-29-14-amAnother great episode. I love this series, unabashed. Can’t wait for the next episode, these first two got me back in the spirit! The actors are all pulling their weight, times ten. The writing’s getting better. Don’t listen to those who complain: judge for yourself. And let me know what you think in the comments.

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