Hulu’s The Path
Season 3, Episode 5: “Pageantry”
Directed by Stacie Passon
Written by Vanessa Rojas
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “De Rerum Natura” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Messiah” – click here
Back in the saddle again, Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy) is in the public eye for Meyerism again. He’s out there repping the Meyerist movement, as well as the big leader, Eddie Lane (Aaron Paul). Eddie has “come a long way,” Cal tells people gathered to hear him speak. We see that Cal and Vera Stephens (Freida Pinto) have to work together. The more they do, the more the publicist worries her real agenda could soon be revealed.
While Eddie and Cal and Mary (Emma Greenwell) are on the road, Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) is continually digging further into Dr. Steve Meyer’s past concerning the hypoxian cleanse’s true purpose. She’s also not happy about the play being put off, the reverence for the creator of the movement, now that she knows the dark secrets behind Meyerism.
Eddie gives one of his big speeches. We can further see the Light warping him, the leadership turning him into someone else. During the talk, Mary sees a man who she seems to recognise, and it worries her very clearly. Hmm. Forever a woman of mystery.
At dinner, Ga (Deirdre O’Connell) argues with Sarah for hauling Summer out of the play. Of course the worried mom can’t tell her family why she’s doing it, the deeper reason. Grandma believes her “damage” is coming up because of the violence in the play, bringing her back to the man who committed suicide in front of her. Finally, Sarah lashes out: “I don‘t want her idolising Steve.” She tries to tack more on at the end to make it seem different, but both Hawk (Kyle Allen) and Gab know something is seriously wrong.
Nothing’s changed between Eddie and Cal, the former trying to assert his will as the new leader, the latter biting his tongue and trying to stay obedient. Then there’s Vera and her mother Lilith (Sarita Choudhury), she has “melanoma” and needs her eye removed because of her advanced condition; the stubborn woman refuses, neither has she told her daughter, either. Her friend Dr. Costa (Philip Hernandez) says he and others are “beholden” to them and they need her on “the other side of this.” Regenerative imagery, yet destructive, apocalyptic. We already know Lilith said Eddie must die for them. What exactly is coming?
Staying at a motel, Eddie meets a man named Daniel Givens who saw him speak in Memphis. The guy’s had a rough life, he’d like for Eddie to speak with his daughter. We see he has to pass the guy off to one of the Meyerists because Hawk’s called, worried about his mom; Eddie and Sarah argue over the play, all that she’s hiding, and she refuses to let Summer take part in the farce. In the meantime Daniel is driven off by a touchy-feely Cal, angry; I wonder if that’ll have repercussions.
And off on her own in a store, Mary runs into the man she saw earlier: yes, it’s her father.
Sarah goes to see her sister Tessa (Alexa Landeau) who’s “still paying” for leaving the movement, her life was irreparably changed no matter if it was the right thing to do or not. It’s too obvious that Sarah is having an existential crisis. And if what she believes is true about Steve is, in fact, true, then it’s going to get very rough. Despite that, she decides on letting her daughter be a part of the play once more.
More clashes. Eddie and Cal keep bumping up against one another, the former deciding he wants his old pal out of the way on the road. Regardless, Daniel shows up again, urging that he needs to speak with Eddie; the great leader agrees to try helping the guy’s daughter, then they head off together.
Over at the Givens place, Eddie waits with Daniel for the daughter to get home. Things feel awkward. Something’s not quite right. Eddie has a look around, when Daniel finds him. Then the old guy reveals his daughter’s been gone 12 years. Some guy reeled her in with talk of “the Light” or something similar, that they had to kill themselves. A sinister turn. Daniel grabs hold of woozy Eddie and feeds him more red juice laced with cyanide. Jesus.
At a diner, Mary sits with her father for a chat. It all doesn’t go exactly as she planned. Ole dad spent time in jail, took the Lord into his heart. Blah, blah, blah. He wishes his daughter would get married, for the sake of her boy Forrest. After his little rant she refutes his fake religious awakening. “I‘ll never see you again and I‘ll forget you,” she tells him before leaving. Except she forgets her bag there; ohhh, shit.
Vera worries, nobody’s seen their great leader for hours and hours. She asks her mom if it’s time, if their big apocalyptic-type event is coming; mom says not yet. Lucky for Eddie he’s got Cal looking out for him, following Daniel’s truck down to the Givens house. Good thing, too. Seeing as how Eddie is buried out back somewhere six feet underground. Cal finds the old guy putting the finishing touches on Eddie’s grave. He knocks Daniel out, then spends a moment standing atop the burial ground, maybe pondering if he should bother digging. Funny enough, as Eddie’s down there he starts uttering the Lord’s Prayer from his days as a Catholic. When his life is on the line it isn’t to Meyerism he clings. Very interesting. Then, he’s dug out of his would-be coffin.
“Who we are is who we follow, and who we follow is Eddie Lane.”
Has this event maybe altered Eddie’s perception of what it is to be the face of Meyerism? Either way, Cal’s giving the latest speech while the leader takes a well deserved day off. Back at the compound, Summer is part of the play turning Steve Meyer into a symbol of mythic stature, and dad shows up to watch.
But Sarah, she’s got other ideas. She goes looking in the woods, finding the cave from the video of Steve ad Lilith behind the camera, the walls painted with floral patterns. There, she discovers more books belonging to Dr. Meyer. Oh, my. Can only imagine what’s in those.
That last sequence was impeccable filmmaking for television. Just, absolute breathtaking, from cinematography to the score to the sound design, editing, everything was working on one solid, dreadful unit. One of my favourite endings to any episode of The Path thus far. “Messiah” is next week’s episode, Season 3 is really cracking now.