Hulu’s The Path
Season 3, Episode 6: “Messiah”
Directed by Stacie Passon
Written by Andrew Hinderaker
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Awakenings” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Gardens at Giverny” – click here
Dr. Jackson Neill (Raúl Esparza) is helping Sarah Lane (Michelle Monaghan) look through all the notebooks she found in the cave. He believes it’s the “very first draft of The Ladder,” as well as that he believes there’s a “second author” after paying close attention to the writings. Sarah thinks that could be Lilith (Sarita Choudhury). Not just that she’s finally seeing that maybe the whole thing is a farce, that with two creators the entire foundation of Meyerism doesn’t work. Certainly the good professor tries to show her that life, faith, these involve doubt, too. But it’s a hard pill to swallow when your entire life’s been built around your faith, something in which you truly believed. Nevertheless Sarah’s beginning to feel a sense of safety and comfort and protection in Jackson. They’ve fallen into bed together, too; finally.
Back at the compound, Mary Cox (Emma Greenwell) is working in a little room marked as 1R. That’s when she gets a visit from none other than Harold (William Popp). Oh, wow. He’s there for those rings, the symbols of his struggle. She blames it on Small Saul, except that’s before Harold ever mentioned the rings. Now there’s going to be trouble. She has to go back home, with the former footballer, to Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy), who already knew nothing of it in the first place. Harold says they’re going on a “treasure hunt.”
Returned from Peru, Hank (Peter Friedman) is building his granddaughter a tree house. He chats with Eddie Lane (Aaron Paul) about all the latest in Meyerism, glad to see such development, all the centres opening up. Then suddenly Hank collapses to the ground and the Guardian of the Light calls out for help. Sarah’s too busy rolling in the hay with her new man to get the call about her father.
Vera Stephens (Freida Pinto) is supporting Eddie in such a tough time, rearranging his schedule, making sure he has time to grieve for his former father-in-law. Later, the family stands around Hank’s body, covered in a white sheet, when Sarah shows up at the compound. A depressing day, for everyone. What’s most intriguing is seeing Sarah deal with the death of her father at the exact same moment when she’s questioning everything about Dr. Steve Meyer, her faith in Meyerism. Like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. She’s also watching Hawk (Kyle Allen) get lost deeper in his own faith, as well.
Cal has to go with Harold back to the drug dealer’s place where Mary pawned off those championship rings. How will they get them back? They’re already sold off. To find out where, Harold’s got to snort more coke than the dealer. Not great seeing as the guy’s been battling addiction issues. Plus, if the dealer wins, Cal gets shot. Holy christ. Lucky for the two of them the former football champ is used to railing Hollywood lines.
The Armstrongs and Eddie sit around, remembering Hank, playing and singing songs in his name. Tessa (Alexia Landeau) is even there, she recounts the two of them meeting at the racetrack when her dad “broke the rules.” Her brother Russel (Patch Darragh) doesn’t like hearing it, and as usual Nicole (Ali Ahn) talks shit, which eventually makes Hawk leave. This begins a big tear in the family, making Sarah erupt over the bullshit.
Outside, Hawk gets a visit from Caleb (Titus Makin Jr.), he starts breaking down and his new friend offers what comfort he can. He talks about his grandfather’s love for the family. Caleb offers to take Hawk somewhere fun, to do something that Hank loved. I wonder if these two will cultivate a romantic relationship, it’s exciting! Definitely headed in that direction.
At dinner, Vera and Lilith have dinner and talk about Eddie. Mom knows her daughter’s been falling for the Meyerist leader. She also knows that Vera is much like her father, Dr. Meyer. Oh, all the twisted connections. We see that these two women don’t particularly see eye to eye. Vera is more loyal to her mother than she is a woman who does things out of love for her mother.
Eddie later finds out Sarah’s new man has been helping her question Meyerism. She expresses her belief that maybe Hank is just “some ash” and that the Ladder, the rest of it is all fake. Strange to see the reversal from the first two seasons, where Eddie was the one constantly questioning and Sarah blindly followed; here, Eddie’s just as lost as Sarah once was, whereas she’s finally seeing the real light, shining on the darkness beneath their faith.
With an address, Cal and Harold are breaking into a house quietly to get the championship rings. The coked up footballer smashes the place up a bit, alerting the owner. Cal uses all his abilities of persuasion and rhetoric to ensure an arrest-less evening. But before they can get out the guy makes a personal jab that sends Harold over the edge, putting a baseball bat to his jaw.
That night Eddie goes to Dr. Neill’s door, asking what he’s been doing. He puts hands on the professor telling him that she just lost her father, that it doesn’t help to be questioning her faith all in the same moment. This is also when Jackson discovers the leader of the Meyerist movement is his new girlfriend’s estranged husband.
Cal goes to Vera and tells her he and Harold left a man outside an ER. He needs the whole thing to go away. She refuses to do anything. She also has to break Hank’s death to Cal, who’s not had a chance to hear from anybody. The loss hits him hard, though after all of that Vera agrees to help, so long as he gives over any evidence about what Steve did to him all those years ago. Vera goes to see the injured man, using the shadiest of blackmail in order to make sure Harold and Cal are off the hook legally. Yiiikes.
And what’s Mary doing out on the streets in some shady basement? She’s bringing little Forrest with her to go find her father, fucked up on heroin and strung out. She shoots him up some more, even though he’s blitzed. Maybe enough to kill him.
Everybody gathers for Hank’s funeral. Eddie gives a touching speech about his father-in-law, and in it he issues several jabs at Sarah, without having to say so. Bill sings a Meyerist hymn. Gab walks into the grave beside her husband, saying goodbye. Rather than go against her faith, Sarah chooses to go along with the ceremony.
But afterwards, Sarah brings Eddie those notebooks from the cave. She wants to believe. “I need you to give me back my faith,” she tells her husband. So, they join hands, and begin a new journey together.
Wow, this is all so confusing in the best kind of way. What we’re seeing is the tortured give and take, the lure, the pull of religious faith. Sarah’s a perfect example of how difficult it is for anyone, especially someone in a cult, to leave behind their faith. It doesn’t just rip off like a Band-Aid, either.
“The Gardens at Giverny” is our next episode.