Hulu’s The Path
Season 3, Episode 13: “Blood Moon”
Directed by Phil Abraham
Written by Jessica Goldberg
* For a recap & review of the penultimate episode, “A New American Religion” – click here
Both Eddie (Aaron Paul) and Sarita (Lilith) respectively pray to “the Light” for guidance. Albeit in vastly different senses. At the same time, Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) is at a real turning point, too. She has to help Eddie figure out how they’re going to confront the others in the movement with the brutal truth about Dr. Steve Meyer’s (Keir Dullea) legacy.
And at the same moment, Cal (Hugh Dancy) is writing letters for Forrest and Mary (Emma Greenwell). If he uses that gun on the Meyerist leader, will this become a self-fulfilling prophesy akin to what Lilith’s predicted?
At her place Lilith is dealing with fallout after the rest of her own followers find out from Vera (Freida Pinto) that the trip to Bali’s been cancelled. Nobody’s happy. Lilith tells them that “the sun will die” and everything will still occur. She speaks about “the cleanse.” That’s terrifying rhetoric; David Koresh-style cult rhetoric.
Cal has effectively lost Mary and his son, even though he gets to see Forrest a bit. He just can’t retain what little he and his lover once had; they were never truly man and wife, anyway. It’s particularly scary because a story such as Cal’s is ripe to blossom into a psychopath; he’s already half of one. He’s on the precipice of turning into something dangerous.
At the house, Eddie and Sarah tell Gab (Deirdre O’Connell) and Felicia (Adriane Lenox) that Dr. Meyer made Meyerism up entirely. Right away the two women do not believe any of it, refusing to accept their whole faith and lives have been fake. Both women think Eddie’s doing this to serve himself, and they won’t listen to any more of what they believe are lies. Ever the optimist, Eddie is determined on revealing the truth of Dr. Meyer to the movement, and even Freida doesn’t think it’s a good idea. He wants to tear things down and build the movement back up. Not sure if it can withstand that type of pressure, though.
In the bunker, Lilith meets with Dr. Costa (Philip Hernandez), her faithful follower. “I don‘t know what happens next,” she admits. He believes in her nonetheless, going so far as to offer himself up to assassinate Eddie. Except he can’t hold a gun without shaking. It has to be someone else. Lilith’s dying faster. I wonder if she’ll be the one to pull the trigger in the end.
In the city, Mary’s with Congressman Buck Harbaugh (Vincent Kartheiser), telling him about her relationship finally falling apart. It’s then when she finds the letter in her purse, and it sends her fleeing for the compound full of fear.
After a while, Felicia comes clean to Sarah about when they were doing 7R: “Everything is revealed.” She sat by the fire with a young Steve years ago. He told her of haunting, unnatural thoughts. People knew, and they had to reconcile all the hideous transgressions of Dr. Meyer. They saw it as a twisted test of their faith. All complicit in the paedophilia and the abuse of a young Cal, and who knows who else.
“We thought the Light would make him well”
Over the phone, Mary calls Sarah to tell her Cal is planning on committing suicide. And he’s out there, walking in the deep woods. Maybe he’s not going to shoot Eddie after all like I thought. He’s heading out to that cave with the painted flowers. Sarah finds him out there, but Cal isn’t willing to give up; he feels much guilt, especially about Silas. She tries to reel him back in. It’s tough. Cal is deeply wounded. But he drops the gun.
Back at the compound, Eddie commences “Revelation,” and takes the stage in front of a big crowd of Meyerists including Hawk (Kyle Allen), of course. The leader starts his cleansing, announcing they will unearth the past and face the truth. He tells his followers about the diaries, as well as the “first person to have the vision of the Ladder,” and it shocks people.
This is right about the moment Vera sees her mother amongst the crowd. Lilith pushes through people towards the stage. Just as Eddie speaks her name and tells everybody about her. Yet he refutes that she’s the “true prophet of the Light” and asserts himself as the prophet. This prompts Lilith to shoot. Only her daughter steps in front of her and takes a bullet right in the chest. Everyone flees, as Eddie holds a dead Vera in his arms.
In the aftermath, people lay flowers at the spot where Vera was killed. Everyone mourns her death. Summer worries about her dad and that maybe other people will try to shoot him. On top of it all, the Meyerist leader’s dealing in new lawsuits from parents of “novices” in the movement. Now he’s gearing up a David Miscavige-type crusade against the IRS to gain “religious recognition.” That way he can protect his people better.
Because many younger members are already questioning their faith; they don’t want to die for it, exactly. So Hawk tries appealing to them, too. He wants to be authentic and form his own beliefs instead of blindly following. He wants a new Meyerism to emerge, in a way. It’s most interesting that Caleb (Titus Makin Jr) has turned up once more, seeking forgiveness from Hawk.
“It’s this place that ruined me, but it also saved me.”
At his place, Cal meets Mary, who’s beyond angry with him. He says he’s going to get help, so he might get better, and so he may someday have a relationship with her again, plus his son. One problem: he’s staying with Meyerism. He still can’t tear himself away from its toxicity. Likely a symptom of his trauma. He may never be capable of letting go.
Eddie feels as if he’s failed everyone. He feels guilt for Vera’s death. He also feels guilt for not being able to help Sarah “believe again.” He is lost and adrift, though tethered to his fate. Simultaneously, Sarah is twisted up inside, unsure of what she’s meant to do after all this madness.
The ceremony is set to see Vera off. Eddie, Sarah, and Cal stand by her body, and Cal talks about being young there on the compound, playing with Vera. Eddie says his personal goodbye, as well. It’s all too bittersweet. Then, they pray. They can’t even say the words of the prayer. That is, until Eddie takes up the story of the Light’s revelation on his own. So, it’s all still made up. They’re just clinging further to the belief. Eddie and Cal, in a sense, are very much two sides of the same coin.
In hospital, Lilith gets a lock of her daughter’s hair from Sarah. By herself later Lilith has a vision of Dr. Meyer, who tells her about wanting the cleanse to happen, and explains his motives for taking the Light from her. “And the end will come,” he tells her.
The burial ceremony for Vera goes on, as the Meyerists gather to listen to Eddie speak before she’s finally put in the ground. He talks about anger, and he promises that he’ll protect the movement from hate. We also see Eddie and Cal removing “the rot,” such as Felicia. If they’re able to take out those who were complicity, they can begin building a “fortress of protection” to shield them from further harm. This also involves tracking down Lilith’s followers.
Once this happens, Meyerism can move forward. They throw out many of the old traditions Steve began, from the electronic readers they use to measure damage to the various weird rituals like the embracing of children.
But can they move forward? Eddie’s juxtaposition against Congressman Harbaugh is interesting; another two sides of the coin situation. They’re each selling redemption for a failing product. Then there’s Lilith’s followers, some of whom are keeping up the fight.
Maybe the worst is the fact there’s construction being done out somewhere in the woods. In that place where the corpse of Silas was buried long ago. That’ll mean renewed trouble for Mr. Roberts.
Oh, lord. Please, Hulu – give us Season 4! We need it!
All hail Jessica Goldberg. Didn’t expect the season to end this way. And it was fantastic.