Hulu’s The Path
Season 3, Episode 2: “A Beast, No More”
Directed by Patrick Norris
Written by Annie Weisman
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 premiere, “The Beginning” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Locusts” – click here
At night in the Meyerist compound, Eddie Lane (Aaron Paul) searches for any kind of evidence of someone snooping around. The gates of their land are open now, anyone can enter easily. So, is it really a threat coming from outside? Or, could it be possible someone on the inside is trying to force him to put the security back the way it was before?
“Make me a vessel, so that I may bring strength, hope, guidance to all of those in your embrace. If darkness falls, make me a light. When darkness falls, make me a light.”
Vera Stevens (Freida Pinto) and her mother (Sarita Choudhury) talk about their shared “autonomy” as a pretty amazing mother-daughter duo, both powerful, tough women; this is mostly in the emotional/relationship context. What’s also clear is that these women have a connection to Meyerism. But what, exactly?
After her penance via hypoxian cleanse, Sarah Lane (Michelle Monaghan) wakes up with a few marks, naturally. She seems to be looking at the world in a new light. Can she make herself whole again like she plans on doing with the space where Mr. Fuller blew his brains out?
Then, we have Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy). Being back in Florida is odd for him, after his strange penance-BDSM session with Sarah he’s acting strange. Cal looks at Mary Cox (Emma Greenwell), all he sees are those images of Sarah in his mind. He’s a man constantly denying himself. He’s already killed, no telling what his bottled up emotions will destroy next.
At the Meyerist interfaith space, Eddie talks to a group of young people, his boy Hawk (Kyle Allen) at his side. Suddenly a girl named Monica’s (Amy Sheehan) parents have come to drag her away. The father sort of accuses Eddie of using drugs to brainwash kids, raping them. Intense. They’re seen as a cult, so people treat them like one. And they kind of are a cult. Part of my curiosity about Season 3 is how Eddie’s going to navigate his newfound sense of faith, his position of leadership in the face of having only a short time ago rejected the movement for a time.
Vera meets with Sarah. The two women are at odds over the “unconventional” branding techniques that Meyerism will be using going forward. The publicist shows Sarah some wellness packs that will be distributed to millenials, which the latter finds slightly offensive, as those are drinks used in a “sacred ritual.” However, such is the changing face of Meyerism.
Oh, bad things are going on in Cal’s brain. He is going through tough times after his time in the motel. Old memories have surfaced. Mary finds him in the bathroom, cowering, holding a razor like a weapon his hand. We’ve already seen trickles, but clearly something awful happened to him as a boy, in the care of Dr. Meyers.
Under Eddie’s tenure as the leader he doesn’t want people losing touch with their families, not like the excommunication that preceded him, under Cal and before. Not only that, it’s the right thing for a PR move. He asks Monica to go home. Instead, she bows at her feet: “You are the only father I want, you are the only father I need.” He’s not comfortable, though; he urges her, she must leave. This, as expected, makes Hawk angry.
At a gym, Cal finds himself off his game speaking to friends of his buddy Harold. He begins stringing together a bust of words, fumbling a Hamlet quote. He’s like a robot, his circuitry has gone haywire. He tries again, then the words come back, at least partly, anyway. He calms down, gets into motivational speaker mode, and everybody gets with him. A PERFECT SCENE. PERFECT. Exemplifies the brainwashing aspect of the Meyerist cult. It’s the first real time we’ve seen Cal shaken so hard, despite what we’ve already witnessed.
On a campus, Sarah is confronted by a man named Dr. Jackson Neill (Raúl Esparza) who isn’t at all sold on Meyerism. He sees the juice, their whole appeal, he doesn’t have much time for it. All the same, he studies “new American faiths.” He’s interested enough to want to talk, and hit on Sarah.
Later that day, Eddie and Sarah get together to go see their daughter Summer’s (Aimee Laurence) teachers, the ole parent-teacher night. Everyone sees the new Meyerist leader, they whisper. Before they can go inside, they’re stopped – a flyer about Eddie was posted calling him LIAR, ABUSER, CULT LEADER. Nobody wants them around. The family has to stay away from the school. Jesus.
Whereas Sarah wants the hypoxian cleanse again, Cal cannot help her go through that again. He can’t go through it again himself. It brings back terrifying, ugly memories, and here he is falling apart while trying to keep Harold together. There’s something truly sinister coming for Mr. Roberts, eventually. At the same time, we’re seeing a dangerous fusing of religion and abuse, essentially what the HC was devised as, and through Cal there’s an examination of what happens when a person of religious authority abuses someone below them whom they’re teaching. Just as the Catholic boys and girls raped by their clergymen, Cal has developed a dangerous strain of faith. And with the BDSM cleanse he did for Sarah, all that’s starting to encompass his whole life.
Note: The music by Will Bates is fantastic, should be getting more love!
Vera goes to see Monica’s family, she dug up things about them. Seems a relative has a criminal record. She tells the family to “end their campaign” against the Meyerists. Not afraid of playing dirty, I guess. Wonder what that’ll do for the image of the movement. Or is that all part of a hidden agenda? Judging by her mother, there are secrets.
Putting herself in the line of fire academically, Sarah goes to see Dr. Neill, and ends up talking to one of his classes. They ask her questions about the Meyerist movement. She does well, enough. It’s obvious the doc likes her, and we know Sarah is slipping away from Meyerism, despite claiming she is a “devout” believer; will we see her fully let go of the cult in the face of Dr. Neill’s logic? Hmm.
At the compound, Eddie checks around during the nighttime. He’s suddenly tackled. He manages to pin the guy down; it’s a man with a swastika tattoo on his forearm. Shit.
Just spectacular. This series is going where I hoped it would, we’re moving into some impressively disturbing, emotional, intense territory. Cannot wait for more with “Locusts” next.