Hulu’s The Path
Season 2, Episode 3: “The Father and The Son”
Directed by Michael Slovis
Written by Julia Brownell
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Dead Moon” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Red Wall” – click here
We begin with Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy) giving us a talk on Meyerism, saying it must not “remain static” – these are actually the words of Dr. Steven Meyer (Keir Dullea), as he talks of Cal and Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) being Guardians of the Light. Meanwhile, we flashback with Richard (Clark Middleton) to his first time taking the drugs the Meyerists do. He trips hard then Dr. Meyer comes out to comfort him. And imparts that it isn’t for him to decide who’ll lead them after he’s gone isn’t up to him: “That‘s up to the Light, man.” Ah. Now, he’s got doubts about Cal and the supposed words of the doctor coming from his lips.
In other news, Mary Cox (Emma Greenwell) is worried about first time motherhood, so the cult prays for her; Abe Gaines (Rockmond Dunbar), undercover, included. Then out of nowhere, police arrive. You can see just from the look on Cal’s face this worries him. Their mere presence enough to disturb that quiet underneath the surface. Likewise, Sarah’s worried, and she isn’t as good as Cal at hiding it; not that he’s great. Well the cops were there about Hawk (Kyle Allen) and Noa (Britne Oldford) throwing a rock through a window on their previous night walk. Nothing too serious right now.
Speaking of Hawk, he and his father Eddie (Aaron Paul) talk about the retreat he went on, that he “floated” and that he received a sign. When his dad brings the sceptical real world into the picture Hawk does not respond well. The kid doesn’t want anything to do with his denier father anymore. These are the first steps of Hawk’s indoctrination, fully he’s being submerged in the dangerous side of this so-called faith; the side convincing him, in his youthful idealism, that there’s something real about “the ladder” and all the other Meyerist nonsense. And he’s stuck between one parent who’s come to their senses, as well as another that’s also stuck between a rock and a hard place with her own faith. Later, Sarah takes Hawk to see the woman whose window he smashed, Libby Ducaan (Molly Price). She makes an offer: she’ll not worry about the window at all, if they “stop their campaign of false propaganda” involving the people of Clarksville. Libby even provides result of the tests on the water, to show she’s on the level. Is she? Or are we seeing another aspect of a cult where they can’t even see how their philanthropic ideals, in a rush to ‘be good’ in the eyes of the outer world, are being misused?
Then we’ve got Abe and his wife Jocelyn (Jasmin Walker). Things aren’t going well. She knows that he’s doing important work undercover, she’s understanding. But it’s all Abe talks about, and simultaneously she has had to bear all his training, all his work, all this undercover stuff taking up his time. She feels as if the family’s being alienated. And y’know, we already see Abe getting too close to Nicole (Ali Ahn), so it’s not hard to imagine he might be slipping into Meyerism a little.
Kodiak (James Remar) is feeling terrible about what happened to Steve, believing he let the man down. All the same, Sarah’s mother Gab (Deirdre O’Connell) comforts him; they have a history, these two. I wonder will Kodiak being around cause friction? Seems like there’s an unresolved love there, or at the very least a passion.
In a not unexpected development, Hawk starts opening up to Cal, who begins playing the father figure role. Yeah, that’s going to turn out well. Nevertheless, they bond and Cal willingly steps in to try giving him direction. And across the street Eddie watches, as his son slips away, from him, and further into the cult. So he makes a split decision to confront them. Eddie tries appealing to his boy, he tries to be understanding. He’s desperate. Hawk runs off while Cal puts up a tough front, and Eddie makes clear: “I will fucking murder you before I let you take him from me.”
Together, Richard and Kodiak look over the final few Rungs, the former believing Steve didn’t write the last three Rungs. And Kodiak’s inclined to believe he didn’t. They wonder now if the man drawn on the cave in Peru, involved in Steve’s death, was in fact Cal.
Mary goes for a talk with Sarah. She reveals that her baby may or may not belong to Sean (Paul James). She’s concerned that he’ll be devastated finding out the child isn’t his (no telling what Cal will do if he knew for sure). However, Sarah has other things on her mind. Eddie contacts his estranged wife. They met and he’s clearly angry about Hawk, what Cal and possibly Sarah are putting in his head. No telling where all this is headed, but I know it ain’t good.
Note: Truly fantastic score from Will Bates (Imperium). In the next scene, this pounding rhythm takes over and drives the tension you feel mounting. This goes on for a stretch of time, as paranoia begins setting in.
On the road Eddie notices someone following him. Does he? Soon the car vanishes, and he’s relieved. Then at a gas station the car pulls up, a young guy gets out. Quickly, Eddie pumps his gas and takes off. He meets Chloe Jones (Leven Rambin) for a drink at a casino, telling her about all the madness of his life as of late. When Eddie sees the guy from the gas station this sets his paranoid mind off, big time: “I‘m not letting them control me, okay?” he all but yells at Chloe.
When Sarah talks to Hawk, he says he’s filled with rage. And therefore Cal will help him “channel” all that. Like an unknowingly oxymoronic statement. He further rejects his father, and his mother worries for what she can’t say: Cal is a god damned murderer, one who’s killed his own friend. Super choice of a role model. Somehow Sarah continues falling for him and she’s, essentially, asking him to offer up money in exchange for her silence re: his sins.
Finally, Mary suggests to Sean the baby may not be his, and without words confirms she may be carrying Cal’s child. Uh oh. I wonder, will Sean let his old self through and take out his frustrations on the cult leader?
Sarah finds out Ducaan’s testing isn’t complete. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are needed to do the rest, which is, of course, why nobody has found anything major yet as proof. But she knows there’s something wrong. She’s trying to reassure a Clarksville farmer they’re doing their best to help. “I will take on your burden,” Sarah tells him before taking a drink of the contaminated water herself. Stupid faith, and now poison, runs through her veins.
In a car park Cal confronts Lisa about their tax exempt status. He wants their application pushed through, though she says exemptions are being pushed back for a while. Cal wants to be repaid for Meyerism helping her in a time of need. He’s being unbearably creepy, physically threatening without ever uttering a threat or raising a hand.
And while everyone else goes on with their lives, Richard and Kodiak summon the spirit of Dr. Steven Meyer. They beat drums, hoping to speak with him. Kodiak reveals Steve is “not in the light.”
Worst of all, Eddie starts having a bad reaction to the alcohol he drank with Chloe. He’s rushed to a hospital, his breathing staggered, his face going deep red. Will he make it through?
I loved this episode. The personal tensions between characters are coming to a head, and the family of Lanes is coming apart at the seams. Like a juggling act, seeing who’ll be able to carry the biggest emotional load, and who’ll succumb to defeat.