Hulu’s The Path
Season 3, Episode 1: “The Beginning”
Directed by Michael Weaver
Written by Jessica Goldberg
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, “Mercy” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “A Beast, No More” – click here
Back into the Meyerist movement again. At her place, Sarah Lane (Michelle Monaghan) gets a surprise visit from one of the people whose lives she destroyed with the blackmail, Mark Fuller (Brian Faherty). He’s there with a gun; to blow his brains out. After two full seasons, this premiere begins with a poignant visual metaphor of the life Sarah is living, as she has blood sprayed all over her face.
So, how are things going with the Meyerists? Eddie Lane (Aaron Paul) is explaining “the call” he found coming from his faith, when suddenly an earthquake rumbles, their chapel shakes and the walls split and after it stops, he urges everyone to rush out of the building, including Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy), Mary Cox (Emma Greenwell) and her baby, all the rest of them.
When Eddie goes back for a pregnant woman they’re caught in an explosion. Fire rips through the halls. When the smoke clears, he walks out through the fiery doorway in front of everybody with the woman, untouched. A startling vision, which sends the Meyerists to their knees, even Cal. Hawk (Kyle Allen) embraces him, as do others. Whoa. An impressive way to begin his tenure. Naturally, someone is recording on an iPhone. It hits the web: “Meyerist miracle, or hoax?”
Skip ahead six months.
A publicist named Vera Stevens (Freida Pinto) comes to see Eddie, he’s busy looking to open the latest NYC Meyerist centre. She’s not so much looking to help them with publicity as she’s hoping to be part of the branding for their movement, she sees it taking off with him as the “new face” of faith in the 21st century. So, Vera gets to work, and soon the centre opens. Definitely going to be interesting to see this season of The Path unfold in a post-Trump America. One new thing for the movement? Eddie’s getting rid of the guard booth, the gate, opening the place to anyone and everyone. Of course many of them don’t agree, they believe it’ll put them in danger, especially Sarah, who’s dealing with the aftermath of the suicide she witnessed. Moreover, nobody knows where Cal went after the day of the explosion.
Because Mr. Roberts is doing the circuit as a motivational speaker. Beside him is trusty Mary, playing her part in his little act. He does the same thing as every other speaker like him, although he’s absolutely more intense than many of them. He’s using what Meyerism taught him to live this other life. He’s also on-call 24/7 for some big shot named Harold, a former football player. But can he keep living it, both financially and emotionally?
Eddie continues his climb on the last few rungs of “the Ladder” along with Felicia (Adriane Lenox) as his guide. After they’re finished, he gets some news: something, or someone, was trying to get into the Meyerist’s place. Elsewhere, Hawk is taking on a bigger role with the movement, a corporate position, he’s looking after their “interfaith space,” which gets allocated to groups in need.
Then there’s Sarah, trying to move on with her life, as well as continue with the movement. She’s navigating a space where she’s dealing with guilt, trying to find a way to forgive herself for what she’s done. Now she dug up old writings of Dr. Steve’s, plans for certain penance.
We see that the Armstrong family are definitely in a different place. Sarah’s been reconnecting with her sister Tessa (Alexa Landeau). Russel is off dealing with his wife Nicole’s (Ali Ahn) transgression. Eddie, of course, is back and part of the family once more, though just as leader of the cult. Before supper, Sarah and her estranged husband have a chat about Cal, who’ll be getting a “cease and desist” for using the Ladder as his own life coaching system. Yikes, that could get ugly.
Around the compound there are weird things happening. First, the blood on the door, then there are skinned animals hung from the trees. Felicia advises security might be best reinstated; Eddie says no, he wants to solve the problem himself in his own way.
“I have new responsibilities now. I have to be everyone‘s father.”
Sarah goes to find Cal in Florida. The two of them sit for coffee, she informs him of the coming C&D letter from the Meyerist’s new “secular liaison.” She wanted to give Cal the chance to cease and desist on his own. He’s busy running away from being “second fiddle to God.” Clearly, Sarah has doubts about Eddie, and she’s also determined to find release from her prison of guilt, something she shares with Cal; though he’s not as concerned with his own punishment, something else from which he’s been running.
Also, Cal has his hands full with his rich client Harold, who’s a nervous wreck full of pills and booze. The former Meyerist leader’s trying to help the man; it’s a far cry from being a man of faith, standing by while Harold vomits, preparing for the graduation of his kids. That’s when he decides on calling Sarah, revealing what “the HC” – a type of penance mentioned in the book of Dr. Meyers – actually entails: it stands for “hypoxian cleanse,” and if you know what hypoxia means, this is VERY scary coupled with the small drawing sketched in the book.
Some at the compound worry about the strangeness in the woods. Others assure them, if they follow Eddie, they are safe. “From many, we are one,” they all chant as they pour the blood of the dead animals over a fire in an eerie ceremony to honour the dead, or y’know, whatever. And already Vera’s displeasing Eddie, he doesn’t like that she taped the whole thing.
Cal goes to Sarah, finding her in a motel room. He’s brought the HC contraption – a series of ropes tied together, bound at the back where they’re tightened and tightened, others are looped up and tied at the neck, all connected. Cal tightens more, cutting the oxygen off to various areas of her torso. Sarah chokes, confessing her transgressions to “choke” from her body until she admits: “Meyerism doesn‘t work for me anymore.” One thing’s for sure, Dr. Steve Meyers was a sickie. Cal is, too; he’s got serious issues. And the HC seems to be bringing out a lot of deep, dark memories for him.
Oh, and Vera? Her mother may have a connection to Meyerism. Maybe Vera’s got an agenda.
Just a perfect way to open up this season. This show finds a new way to reinvent itself now with different, fresh plots to take us into new, dark territory. Excited to see how leadership affects Eddie, plus what sort of dangerous path down which Cal seems poised to head. Most of all, it’s Sarah who interests me, I’m looking forward to more of her story.
“A Beast, No More” is the next episode.