Hulu’s The Path
Season 3, Episode 11: “Bad Faith”
Directed by Jacob Hatley
Written by Coleman Herbert
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Strongest Souls” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “A New American Religion” – click here
Note straight away the episode title, “Bad Faith.” Likely a reference to Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir’s existential concept of bad faith. A compelling concept in regards to characters in The Path. I’ve also been thinking about “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in relation to keeping up the lie, not wanting to give up a belief simply because you’ll have to face the truth. Not unlike where both Vera (Freida Pinto) and Cal (Hugh Dancy) find themselves at this juncture.
At a fancy Asian restaurant, a man named Gede (Jojo Gonzalez) reveres the “mythical American,” Mr. Eddie Lane (Aaron Paul). He wants “to climb.” He wants to help the Meyerist movement expand into Asia. In private, Vera worries about this expansion, and she’s wondering if this is what will lead to the death of Eddie.
Meanwhile, Hawk (Kyle Allen) has received a letter from Caleb (Titus Makin), but it sounds like one of those letters they make LGBTQ+ kids send from conversation therapy, forcing them to break ties with people in their life; in this case, Caleb has to reject his lover. Compelling to see one cult against the other. The people of Meyerism need saving, as do the followers of Christ; it’s all a cult.
Elsewhere, Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) has paid her way into the apartment of Lilith (Sarita Choudhury), searching for clues. What she finds is the mother-daughter link between Lilith and Vera. Finally.
There’s a road trip going on. Eddie and Hawk are going to try tracking down Caleb, which could lead to something tragic. Or, it could lead to something good. Who knows! We’ll certainly see. In the meantime, Vera’s slated to do “accelerated AL,” whatever that is, and this has Cal feeling some kind of way. He’s not great at hiding his feelings. Nevertheless, he’s got to hold down the fort while Eddie leaves. This, in turn, leaves Mary (Emma Greenwell) to deal with Congressman Buck Harbaugh (Vincent Kartheiser) and the rest of their side business. She’s fine with that. Cal? Not so much.
AL stands for absence of light. Out in the woods, Vera is preparing for this accelerated version with Cal. The process is meant to draw out things deep in the psyche that are, stuck. What’s most notable about this scene is how Cal mentions he can’t remember his own AL. Because what he’s really saying, underneath, is that he’s spent so much time focused on making others well, somewhere along the line he forget to make himself well, too.
At Sacred Hope Academy, Eddie and Hawk have to listen to a man named Clayton Hall, who runs the joint, talk about LGBTQ+ youth as “waywards,” among the rest of the typically repressed Christian rhetoric. The father and son are there under the pretence they’re taking Hawk to enrol at the academy. While Eddie and Mr. Hall chat alone, Hawk follows an eerie-looking dude in a soda shop outfit bringing drinks down to the academy’s students. They’ve got a whole ’50s-era malt shop setup, to get back to the mythical purity of that bygone era. It’s so twisted how the fundamentalist Christians somehow think that LGBTQ+ orientations. Hawk tries to go in after Caleb, then he gets punched in the face. So sad to see a young man deny his sexuality so deeply. Especially after he’s the one who basically introduced Hawk to his own sexuality, as well.
And it’s worthy of note that Eddie sees the clear cult-ish nature of this religion, whereas he can’t see his own anymore.
Congressman Harbaugh is doing his best to save face, lending his hand to a group campaigning for women’s reproductive rights. At the event dinner, he only displays more of the private behaviour that will get him in trouble. Things get tense after Mary puts herself between Buck and his perceived manliness, though she manages to keep him cool.
Back at the compound, Sarah slips in past security trying to find Vera. Eventually she’s wrestled into submission. She gets thrown in one of those white rooms. Cal goes in to see her later trying to keep things civil. Sarah goes on to mention Dr. Steve Meyer’s “paedophilia,” and the “hypoxian cleanse” Lilith helped pioneer to aid the doc in trying to cure himself. She also tells Cal she’s struggling to find a foothold in the world now that her faith in Meyerism’s been irreparably shaken. Then there’s Cal who is slowly losing himself in his own ways, too. Part of that’s simply due to trauma he experienced at the hands of Dr. Meyer. I’m curious/scared what will occur when Cal goes out to that cave with the painted flowers. He could totally unravel.
“But instead of losing my perspective because of contradictions and half truths, I feel blinded by emptiness; nothingness.”
Later on, Sarah’s out of that room, and she goes straight out to where Vera is doing her AL. The two women have a frank discussion about the truth. Vera warns her mother’s dangerous and of the prophesy her mother made concerning the death of the current leader of Meyerism.
After so long, Cal returns to that cave. There, he finds the memory of Dr. Meyer lurking along with the paintings on the walls. This is the place where the worst things in Cal’s life happened to him, both to his flesh and to his psyche. Thus, he’s decided to “cleanse” himself. He does a makeshift hypoxian cleanse. AMAZING SEQUENCE, as we switch between Cal and Dr. Meyer – the latter losing his breath as the former chokes it from himself – and Eddie in the car, also seeming to have the breath choked from him in a psychic link to Steve.