Channel Zero – Season 2, Episode 5: “The Damage”

Syfy’s Channel Zero
Season 2, Episode 5: “The Damage”
Directed by Steven Piet
Written by Harley Peyton & Lisa Long

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Exit” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Hollow Girl” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 11.23.14 AMMargot (Amy Forsyth) and Jules (Aisha Dee) drive away from the No-End House, seemingly free from its haunting horrors. They’re out again. However, they’ve got no idea that John (John Carroll Lynch) escaped with them. On top of it all, the house was feeding on their memories, they barely have any left.
Speaking of John, he’s out lurking around someone’s backyard, waving to the little girls. A concerned dad comes out to confront him, so John goes on his way. A cannibal, feeding off the memories of others, out in the real world.
When they head back to Margot’s place, the girls are both freaked out. Their memories all slipping away. Margot calls her mom (Corrine), they get to talking: mom reveals dad’s death by allergy, his actual suicide, helped them in a dire financial team, allowing them to keep the house. A terrifying sacrifice to save his family.
Im sure he did it for us
Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 11.28.04 AMKnowing the truth doesn’t set Margot free, she’s weighed down by it. She doesn’t want to keep carrying the burden of knowing. Jules talks about the previous summer, after John’s death. She hated seeing Margot “getting attacked by a beast” mentally, in brutal pain; she admits to running away from it, her friend. Meanwhile, just outside, dad is lurking, and he’s very, very hungry. Ravenous, in fact.
Out of nowhere, Seth (Jeff Ward) arrives, warning Jules: “Hes in the house.” Dear ole dad slips in while Margot sleeps. He’s feeding again, draining those memories while she rests. Memories of her old dog. And soon enough, a black puddle on the floor opens up, birthing an eerie looking thing. One which John starts tearing apart to eat. Seth cracks him over the head. They’re all worried about him being out in the real world.
Dad wants a family again. Margot doesn’t want to be fed upon anymore. They’re not sure what to do with this… creation. They’re not free from the No-End House if it follows them out into the world. She asks him to go into the basement until they can figure it all out.
But papa ain’t happy. And he’ll just get hungrier.
Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 11.36.37 AMSeth tells Margot the only sure way to get John back into the No-End House is if she leads him. Fuck that. Neither she or Jules is willing to go back there. It could mean getting trapped inside, all over again. If the house disappears for another year, dad is left in the real world, and who knows what’ll happen then. So, they might have to “kill him.” A cruel twist of fate: losing your dad to suicide, then having to kill him, too. We also hear more of Seth, discussing his life back at the house; those people caged in the suburb were his family, he couldn’t hurt them and he locked them away for protection.
Poor Jules isn’t well, either. That fleshy orb knows where she’s gone, she made a connection with it. She’s starting to slip between reality and the world of No-End House. Can she actually ever escape? Or is the house a part of her, and the rest of them, now?
Upstairs, Seth and Margot allow John to eat more of the memory dog. He digs in, feeding. A disgusting scene. They sit and wait to see how it goes. She wants to see what her memories “feel like,” so dad lets her hold the dog’s head. He talks about their past, camping, happier memories. This is when John begins succumbing to the medication Seth put in his food. He must die again, as his daughter watches the death. In a way, it’s like a grim healing process. Because she only saw the aftermath before his suicide, now she sees the other side. They’ve got to get John back to the house before it’s gone, as well. Doesn’t help things when mom gets home in the middle of it all, and John is still alive. He gets up and starts throwing everyone around, chasing after his daughter.
Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 11.48.56 AMJohn starts feeding off Margot’s memories again, as Seth grabs him off her. But this only leads dad to nearly jamming his finger through the guy’s head. Finally, Margot pleads with him, agreeing to go back to No-End House with him. And poor ole mom, she has no idea what’s been going on, waking up from being knocked out by her formerly living husband.
Now, Margot, Seth, and John head back to No-End House.
Across town, Jules is still trying to figure out her own life, the memories all faded and the real world blending with that of the house. She’s nearly driven mad, and she starts running down the street. But when she gets to where No-End House recently appeared to the others, it isn’t there anymore.
Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 12.04.59 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-19 at 12.07.06 PMA favourite of mine, this episode really digs into all the disturbing memory stuff. Can’t wait for the finale. Not sure how it’ll end. But that’s what makes Channel Zero so damn good! “The Hollow Girl” is next.

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Channel Zero – No End House, Episode 4: “The Exit”

Syfy’s Channel Zero
Season 2, Episode 4: “The Exit”
Directed by Steven Piet
Written by Nick Antosca & Katie Gruel

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Beware the Cannibals” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Damage” – click here
IMG_0316Margot (Amy Forsyth) and Seth (Jeff Ward) wake the next day, after becoming intimate. Dylan (Sebastian Pigott) is still trying to show Lacey (Jess Salgueiro) the truth about what’s happening, that they’re actually married; however, that’s just us going on what he’s said, it isn’t necessarily true. Although currently his word, the strangeness of the No-End House, these are all we have to go on.
Of course it gets a bit nasty because she’s “not remembering anything” and she’s attacked him with his own knife. And out in the middle of the nearby neighbourhood is still that cul-de-sac, a group of people stuck inside. Everybody else is strange, like they’re all lost. Of course, they are, in various ways. “Theyre part of the house,” Dylan tells them, and they’re not keen on the group’s trying to leave. A parade of people follow behind them as they go.
Naturally, one of them is John (John Carroll Lynch), who’s looking paler, more awful than ever. He heads further after them while the rest of the neighbourhood stays behind.
IMG_0317On their way, in a field, the group finds a decimated man lying on the ground. He’s one of the cannibals, unable to feed and wasting away. JD (Seamus Patterson) questions Seth, as to why he hasn’t said anything about his peeling skin; the former threatens to expose the latter if he does say a word. Because something fishy’s going on, either way. Regardless if Seth is one of the doubles.
Soon they come across a corn maze. Within are people calling out, all kinds of them. They stop outside for the night and light a fire. Seth tells Margot he’s not who she believes him to be; “someone who doesnt belong.” He claims he lives in this place, or that he came there before and that living there can “be beautiful.” Meanwhile, Dylan ties JD to Lacey as he goes to check out noises in the dark. Then a woman comes from out of the darkness, digging her fingers into Lacey’s eye sockets before walking back into nowhere. This is when an angry, grief-stricken Dylan sees the withering skin on JD’s arm.
Dylan stabs him, telling the others to keep away. “Hes not real,” Seth says. So Dylan lights the cannibal JD on fire while they all run into the maze. Yet Margot tells them all that Seth lives there, that he can’t come. But now they’re all divided, so many eerie things culminating at once. Not to mention surrounding them in the corn maze is a sea of lost voices, calling out to their loved ones.
IMG_0319IMG_0320Soon they’re all lost themselves. Margot can’t find Jules (Aisha Dee) anymore. Then she comes across one of those black pools, a person materialising out of it. She stumbles onto her friend touching another big, fleshy orb. She takes Jules away from it; simultaneously, we see the person sinking back into that black pool of blood-like substance.
Just as they get away, dad shows up to plead with Margot. He needs a taste. To tide him over, y’know. He needs something on which to subsist, a cannibal, a junkie. He tells his daughter to flee before anything bad happens, so she does, with Jules in tow.
John: “Im only a reflection that lived in you
The remaining trio come to the No-End House. Where Dylan says they have to go on alone. He wants to burn the place to the ground. Inside they find more of the masks, only this time a bit different; each of their faces is a mask with a cracked open head, one hand hauling a dark face out from within, a visual metaphor of what we’ve been seeing already. They go further, into Room 2. The place goes dark, when the light returns a black pool expands across the floor almost like it’s alive, chasing them both, spreading in arm-like streams. Jules attempts jumping across to Margot. They manage to get out as the pool takes over the whole room.
Outside, Dylan’s not so lucky. John finds him, sinking a knife in his guts and ripping his throat open. Leaving him to die in the grass, as dad heads on towards his daughter.


Margot and Jules hear more of the Russian, an old teacher of theirs; the old woman writes DON’T GO over and over across a chalkboard. Except it isn’t an old woman, it’s the creepy man from the hallway, from Margot’s earlier visit. He tries hauling her away, but Jules pulls her back to the next room with her.
This takes them into the gruesome sounds of John’s death by allergy, a mask of his swollen face in front of the girls. He chokes and coughs and sucks for air. A nasty experience. Finally, they make it to Room 5. “We got this,” Jules assures her friend. In there is a bloated, ghostly version of John, in a living room but with a bathtub. He runs his hands through the water, silent. Afterwards he lurches for a hug.
But the girls escape, out into the open air. They don’t see the white flowers anymore, instead a normal dandelion. Dudes are out front trying to get in, so Margot and Jules tell them the house is “finished eating.” They head back to normal life, in a normal neighbourhood. As if none of it ever happened.
Problem is, John’s escaped, as well. He has come back to the world. That can’t be good.
IMG_0326Oh, this is probably my favourite episode now! Wow. Just incredible how Channel Zero consistently ups its game. And here I was concerned there was no way they’d be able to do better than Season 1. Pfft. Amazing.
“The Damage” is up to bat next week.

Channel Zero – No-End House, Episode 3: “Beware the Cannibals”

Syfy’s Channel Zero
Season 2, Episode 3: “Beware the Cannibals”
Directed by Steven Piet
Written by Don Mancini & Erica Saleh

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Nice Neighborhood” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Exit” – click here
Pic 1Jules (Aisha Dee) keeps seeing the room with huge, white, semi-translucent orb. She touches it and something all but reaches out. She flashes back to her childhood briefly. Then, nearby, her sister grows out of the memories in one of those black pools we saw last episode. Last thing he sees is the thing in the orb, reaching out.
Jules and Seth (Jeff Ward) are both awake now, as the former wants to make sure Margot (Amy Forsyth) is safe. Speaking of Margot, she’s waking to another day at home with her father John (John Carroll Lynch), as well as a strange house. Her closet’s become like a hallway to… nowhere, or who knows. She closes it and heads out into the hallway, hearing her father talking to himself, practising his “Morning, Margo!” He has to seem like a real person, her real dad. Spooky.
Meanwhile, J.D. (Seamus Patterson) is burning in a fire, after his double killed him. All the eerie nastiness is lurking just beneath the surface. Like dad, and his cannibalism.
Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 11.18.55 AMOur mysterious drifter is Dylan (Sebastian Pigott), husband to Lacey (Jess Salguerio). He has her strapped into a chair, trying to get her to remember her life. But in this house, there’s pictures of her and another man, married. Troubling. Is that part of the illusion of No-End House? Or, is Dylan the one feeling its illusory pull?
In the meantime, J.D’s double arrives to see Jules and Seth. Uh oh. I wonder if he’s a cannibal, too. I’m sure he is. That leads me to also wonder if he’ll try and kill/eat his original self’s friends.
The hardest part for Margot now is dealing with her father being back, how he left them, killing himself via allergy. She talks about how death feels distant until it’s there, before your eyes. She wonders how it felt, what he was thinking, everything. Then she finds mom’s face in the garbage. Suddenly, her memories of her mother have no face. Margot wants to go for a walk, but dad won’t let her. Instead she goes to her room, terrified. She can’t get out of there, either. The windows are sealed, they won’t even break. She’s trapped in that house. Afterwards he admits that what he eats is in the trash, he thinks it’ll make him “lose control.” And this means he must be fed, some other way.
At the empty home, J.D. version 2 is talking with Seth and Jules, trying to figure out where the No-End House has gone. But Jules needs to make sure Margot is okay first.
Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 11.26.23 AMWhen John goes nuts, it prompts Margot to go into her closet. When she pushes through the clothing she’s underwater, swimming up to the surface. And after a moment, she emerges from the pool in the yard, as dad watches from the window. Margot runs down the street, only finding odd people. Then J.D. the 2nd, Jules, and Seth watch John chase his daughter, fighting violently with a neighbour before jamming the hose into the guy’s face, blood spurting everywhere.
Margot runs into a nearby school, looking for refuge in its dark halls. She only finds a woman shushing her endlessly who falls to the floor, repeating something similar to Russian. In fact, there seems to be Russia everywhere. She runs deeper into the building, where she meets Jules. They hide from John in a classroom. Soon, Seth and J.D. start making noise, which sends the father to investigate. For now, Margot’s safe.
You know when you loose a tooth, and you, like, push your tongue in the spot where it used to be? Theres this mother-shaped hole in my brain. I mean, I know I have a mother, but I cant remember anything about her. Its like he took the memory and ate it.”
Lacey’s husband (Sean Skene) arrives at home to find his wife tied to a chair, Dylan pointing a gun. But this husband is tough. Until he has a knife planted in his neck. A gruesome scene, as she watches him die. Her supposedly real husband tells her not to worry, it’s not real. Down the road, Seth and Margot see what they believe is “the edge of the world” – on the horizon is an inky, cloud-like formation, dark and shadowy. This is the border of the No-End House’s dreamworld, whatever that means. In a clearing at the middle of the border, it looks like the No-End House standing in the distance.
Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 11.45.58 AMOn the streets, Jules is searching for Margot. So is the father; and he’s hungry. When Margot and Seth go to her, John’s coming, too. They have to flee. They go into a house’s garage, discovering a hole in the floor where they might drop dad inside unknowingly, like a pitfall for a bear in the woods. While he tries apologising to Margot, she understands he’s essentially feeding off her memories, even just as he talks, let alone his dietary habits. For now, they manage to let dear ole dad slip away into the hole under the garage.
When the friends get back to their hideaway, they find Dylan. He explains a bit more about the No-End House, what’s happening, the hungry memories. People in the neighbourhood rambling, they’ve been inside too long. The message from the wall in No-End House “Beware the Cannibals” becomes very clear to them all. He says some people aren’t “ready to leave.” Such as his wife Lacey. He wants to get her back to the real world, hoping it’ll fix her. The No-End House moves, to stay out of sight long enough people become “so hollow” they forget to even look anymore.
How will they escape?
During the night, Jules has more visions of the orb, of whatever’s inside. She dreams of her family, her sister. Suddenly there are several black pools around her, growing. Holy shit.
That’s not all. The second J.D. is picking his skin off, he’s falling to pieces. This also makes me wonder, is Seth also a double, a cannibal? The way he asks J.D. if he’s “falling apart already” and how he looks next to Margot in bed certainly makes it seem that way.
Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 1.08.41 PMAnother fantastic episode, this season is exceeding expectations. Just can’t wait for more macabre, unsettling plot. “The Exit” comes next week.

Channel Zero – No-End House, Episode 2: “Nice Neighborhood”

Syfy’s Channel Zero
Season 2, Episode 2: “Nice Neighborhood”
Directed by Steven Piet
Written by Harley Peyton & Mallory Westfall

* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “This Isn’t Real” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Beware the Cannibals” – click here
Pic 1We open on Jules (Aisha Dee) having a weird dream, underwater in a bathtub. She seems scared. But she wakes up on the couch to a normal day, though she’s visibly unsettled, at least a little. She and her family talk about Margot (Amy Forsyth). She’s acting strange. Cut to her crying in her car, trying to compose herself. Then she’s at Margot’s house that morning.
Flash forward further to when they came out of the No-End House. They discuss what happened in the rooms after they separated. Jules went into Room 5 where there sat a large orb on the floor. She touched it, the thing lit up, sounding like voices were coming from inside.
When she goes to Margot’s place later in the morning, she finds her friend and her previously dead father John (John Carroll Lynch) making breakfast. Like he’d never ever died. So, where do the girls go from here? That’d be one hell of a head trip.
Pic 1ASeth (Jeff Ward) and J.D. (Seamus Patterson) meet up outside, in the daytime, talking about their experiences inside. They don’t see the girls there, obviously. Poor J.D. is tripped out bad, having seen the masked man in a second room, where he removed it to reveal another mask underneath, worried about seeing his own face in one of the masks. He’s headed home while Seth wants to make sure the girls are fine.
Im not waiting around, thats what theyve got Uber for.”
What, to get away from haunted houses?”
John doesn’t remember dying, even if Margot’s been without her dad for a year. There’s also a sense of everything having been affected, from Margot’s perspective. Right down to too many eggs in the fridge. She and Jules try not to let their heads explode. Whereas John can’t taste anything. Ah, things are already getting dicey.
Then there’s our Mysterious Drifter (Sebastian Pigott), trying to find a way out. His story’s an enigma, as is the place where this town exists; or is he existing in some other timeline, in another place? He meets a woman, one he knows. Afterwards, he blows her brains out, and a guy bringing his garbage to the curb doesn’t even notice.
Meanwhile, Seth is in a strange place, too. He comes to a cul-de-sac, where an island at the middle is blocked off with an iron fence all the way around. Within it are people who know him. Seems like coming out of the No-End House was, for everyone, entering another parallel universe. Is it ONE universe? Or various universes, for each of them? J.D. sees himself through a window, a girl with him as they close the curtains, then the other him opens the door to let him in.
At the Sleator home, Margt heads upstairs. When she looks outside, she sees the same two cyclists riding by twice. Like a loop. Downstairs, John tells Jules: “Im not supposed to be here.” He does have a gap in his memory. He also has doubts about Jules’ love for her close friend, an upsetting conversation for her.
Pic 2Jules shows Margot that instead of marigolds in her backyard, there are white orchids. No-End House somehow alters space and time. “What if this is Room 6?” Jules wonders. Couldn’t be, right? “This is not your home, and that is not your dad,” she tells her friend, echoing the Talking Heads in a much creepier sense. After that Margot reveals she knows her father committed suicide, after he had an allergic reaction previously then took more of the same stuff again before he died. However, none of it matters now. She believes he’s alive. He’s there, physically. She can’t seem to deny it. And the whole thing’s tearing the two best friends apart, bringing up the recent past with a lot of angry sadness.
The drifter is on the intersection of Ash and Oakley, the brief glimpses we saw in the first episode. He’s looking for the girl, Lacey (Jess Salgueiro), whom we witnessed running from another man. We also know the drifter’s in that same place, with the white orchids. He finds Lacey in one of the houses, but she says she’s home, that she doesn’t know him. He tells her this house, the neighbourhood is “not in our reality, we dont belong here.” That they went into No-End House together, she didn’t get out. He’s her husband.
Jules finds Seth again. The No-End House is gone, not where it was when they went inside. At home, J.D. sits with himself, the girl, they have a drink. The other him explains a few things, or at least discusses them. Says he’s made of J.D’s own memories, what him HIM. The subconscious cobbled together from bits and pieces. At the same time Margot’s hanging with dad, going from present to past as her own memories shape what she sees, too.
In another part of town, Jules and Seth hole up in a house for sale. When she wanders upstairs, she comes across the orb again. Like her dream. She touches it, the light appears, the voice-like sounds. Something inside moves to her hand, like there’s a person trapped.
Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 2.02.30 PMJ.D. ponders whether his double is there to help. But things get nasty, real quick. The other him cracks his head with a bottle. Continually whacking until there’s nothing left, just blood flicking everywhere. Yikes. What happens when a real person dies in the No-End House universe? Does it mean real death?
While Margot sleeps, dad seems to be sucking the memories out of her brain. Thoughts of her mom Corrine (Kim Huffman), specifically. They fill his mind. Simultaneously, a black, blood-like pool seeps from a crack in the floor of the basement. John is growing another version of Corrine out of his daughter’s memory. She’s birthed from the bloody pool out of the concrete. John goes down and tears off one of her arms. Before eating some of the meat. Abstract life becomes real, only to be consumed by an unreal man. Hideous, haunting.
Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 2.16.18 PMNow give us “Beware the Cannibals” before I scream!

Channel Zero – No-End House, Episode 1: “This Isn’t Real”

Syfy’s Channel Zero
Season 2, Episode 1: “This Isn’t Real”
Directed by Steven Piet
Written by Nick Antosca (based on the story by Brian Alan Russell)

* For recaps & reviews of Candle Cove episodes, click here.
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Nice Neighborhood” – click here
COVER1We open on a neighbourhood, like any other. At the side of one house is a girl named Lacey (Jess Salgueiro), crying, looking petrified. Soon she walks out to the street, looking all around her, paranoid. And then we see the end of the street, where there stands an eerie, dark house. The girl walks quickly towards the place. Suddenly, a man is behind her. She runs, so does he. When he catches her, he tosses her hard into the ground, knocking her out. “Whyd you do this to yourself?” he asks. We see what looks like deep cuts in her arm reading: THIS ISN’T REAL.
Cut to an ordinary house, a family. John Sleator (John Carroll Lynch) and his daughter Margot (Amy Forsyth) when she wasa little girl, growing up with dad at her side. Although a darkness looms over them clear from just about the minute we’re introduced. Now Margot’s older. She and her friend Jules (Aisha Dee) are the average American teens, trying to figure themselves and their lives out. Mom Corrine (Kim Huffman) is the typical mom, looking out for her daughter, taking care of business at work.
Out of nowhere, both the girls get a video on their phone: images of the dark house’s door, a blooming flower, morphing into other sinister shapes. They pass it off, just some stupid viral shit. They go to the bar, meet a couple guys for drinks, pool. One of them brings up the No-End House. “It just shows up,” he tells them. Now it’s in their town. Jules figures it’s a “super bougie haunted house” but he insists terrifying things happen inside, even disappearances. Although they all laugh.
Pic 1Later we discover more about Margot. Her father died, complications from medication and allergies. She found him, too. All puffed up, sitting there dead. Worse, she blames herself for not being home on time that night, worrying that she might’ve been able to save him.
That night Margot sees the weird video on her TV. The No-End House appears, numbers, images, street names. Just as quick as it came, it’s gone. Cryptic messages calling her to the place. So, of course, they all hop in the car. Off they go to find the place together, the girls, Seth (Jeff Ward) and J.D (Seamus Patterson). When they arrive there are people everywhere, like a true carnival ride. Someone stumbles out and vomits, one guy heads in with a backpack on as if he’s heading on a journey. All kinds of people, lining up to go inside.
Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 1.28.35 AMFaster than expected, they’re in. They come into a room with some 1920s-style music playing through crackling speakers, as well as containing a bunch of moulds that look like they’re fashioned as their faces. Everybody has one corresponding to them. Guy with backpack seems to know more about this place than anyone, having told J.D. he’s been “looking for” the house. Hmm. And naturally, the lights go out.
When they come back on the music’s distorted. The moulds of their faces are now cracked in half, moulds of hands breaking them open; all except for J.D’s face. Behind them a wall opens up revealing a passageway. They stumble into a new room, almost like an empty pool but still a room, a couple doors.
Except they’re locked inside. In the corner is someone wearing a black mask, he circles the group. Until finally coming around to Margot, leaning in and whispering to her. And it visibly affects her. When the lights flicker, there’s a smear of blood running along the floor, into the wall. This sends one girl from their group running back out.
Welcome back, Martian.”

 


But Margot must go on, compelled by the words of the masked man. She heads in further, through a revolving door and into a hallway. A creepy man lurks partway through, half-laughing, half-screaming. She makes it past, though finds herself in a room like in an attic. She sees the morphing visions, her father. Then she goes into the next room, which leads her back to where she found her father on the couch. His corpse is there, puffy, grotesque. While Margot watches home movies playing on the TV, the sounds repeat, her father’s voice loud, calling to her. His corpse comes alive, trying to grab her, standing and reaching out for her, as if wanting a hug. And he does grip her in his arms, holding her against his bloated body while she struggles, repeating: “I want to go home.” But she’s reminded: “You have to go through to go home.”
She makes it through to find Jules outside. They can’t find the guys, assuming they went on home without them. After a long night comes morning, following a walk home when the car won’t start. It’s almost as if Margot’s been cleansed, having confronted part of her darkest fears. However, at home, life isn’t exactly the same as before. From the kitchen she hears the happy whistling of her father, cooking away. Like he never ever left.
Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 1.45.19 AMMan, I loved Channel Zero‘s first season. This is already shaping up to be just as interesting. Love these stories, and love how the directors bring out the visuals so well. Some of this episode was downright creepy as fuck.
“Nice Neighborhood” is next week. I’m already dying.

The Path – Season 1, Episode 9: “A Room With a View”

Hulu’s The Path
Season 1, Episode 9: “A Room With a View”
Directed by Michael Weaver
Written by Julia Brownell

* For a review of the previous episode, “The Shore” – click here
* For a review of the finale, “The Miracle” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 7.41.32 PM
Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy) sits at the bedside of Dr. Steven Meyers (Keir Dullea). He talks about the dying of their movement, and what happens next. Furthermore, Cal reveals how deeply he cares about Steve, the entire Meyerist cult (though he’d never use that word). “Im sorry for everything I have done is wrong and everything wrong I do next,” Cal says tearfully to his father figure-mentor.
In a bar, Sarah Lane (Michelle Monaghan) meets with Alison Kemp (Sarah Jones) about all the calls between her and Eddie (Aaron Paul). We also discover there was a diary left behind by Alison’s husband Jason before his death, in Peru where he’d been staying. Now more of the “doubts” Eddie has are coming out, not from his own mouth but from that of Alison this time, like Cal spilled at the end of last episode, too. Alison makes clear it doesn’t matter if Eddie has faith, he is willing to “drink the fucking juice” all for his wife, and that ought to matter most.
Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 7.42.17 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-18 at 7.42.50 PM
Finishing their walk together, Eddie and his son Hawk (Kyle Allen) have clearly connected more than ever in their time on the road. Meanwhile, Mary (Emma Greenwell) and Sean (Paul James) are connecting more, as well. She asks him to help her get off the drugs that are hooking her in. For now he helps. I’m just not so sure he isn’t brainwashed already. Perhaps he’ll end up ratting her out.
Then finally, the Lane boys get back to the commune. Sarah and Cal are each on edge certainly. Everyone else is glad to see them once again. Eddie’s wife quickly tells him she knows all about Alison, now we’re faced with whatever fallout’s to come. At home Eddie faces the music. The truth is out in the open. Not only is Sarah feeling betrayed, she feels stupid for trusting in Eddie after all they’ve been through as of late. Love the “pod person” reference by Eddie, bringing us back to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Sarah finds her husband admitting that the faith is bullshit, except for the good work they actually do: “The rest is just fucking fairy tales,” he tells her sternly. He compares it to the people that eat communion in the Catholic church, how most sane people don’t ACTUALLY believe they’re eating the legitimate body of Christ, they just do it as a ritual. Regardless, Sarah walks away from her husband. She doesn’t even bother letting him in on the fact that she’s now cheated on him with Cal briefly.
On the other side of things, Detective Abe Gaines (Rockmund Dunbar) is finding himself coming up against the higher ups. He is genuinely worried about the new “charismatic” Roberts at the helm. At the same time, they’re forcing him into time off. Will this drive him undercover on his own? He doesn’t strike me as the type to take things lying face down that way. He’s going to take charge of this situation. But maybe that’s a bad thing. Maybe he’ll find himself in a terrible situation that way.


Sarah isn’t happy with Cal, either. She chastises him for not telling her about the truth re: Miranda Frank. Then Cal drops a bomb on her about Steve supposedly finishing the rungs, and also preparing to leave. Whatever that means. You can guess there’s a Jim Jones-esque/Heaven’s Gate-type shit going on. Apparently, Steve also wants Cal and Sarah, together, to be “Guardians of the Light“, which I’m sure we’ll find out the meaning of soon enough. Does this mean they’d actually have to be… together? And what does that mean for Eddie, especially since his crisis of faith is becoming more known by the second.
At school, Hawk and Ashley (Amy Forsyth) come back together. She is more than happy to have him. They embrace and then head off to be alone together. This warms my heart to a puddle because I hope Hawk someday shrugs off the damn cult and gets free. Ashley may be the key. Time being, she’s living in a car with her family, but Hawk finally reveals: “Im leaving the movement.” He will do anything possible to help her. A strong, deep love.
In front of the congregation, Eddie tells everyone about his experience on his walk. He says there is no truth, for him. Rather, he just wants to be home. No matter where he ends up. Not everyone is exactly impressed with his talk, though it’s from the heart. Buried deep beneath all the Meyerism, culty bullshit.
And underneath it all, he and Sarah do love one another. She loves him, he loves her. The doubts in his belief are an issue. However, their passion and care and lust and love for one another is more than obvious.
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A situation develops between Mary and Sean after the redhead she was with for a short time causes a huge scene. Her drug use is revealed to everybody. Then Mary snaps and attacks her. This is going to create a big mess now. Something is on the horizon for poor Ms. Cox.
Speaking of mess, Dt. Gaines gets a call from Eddie. The detective is not doing well between trouble at work and the emotional trauma of his daughter going under the knife. Abe rails against Eddie and the entire Meyerist movement. The most ironic part is that Eddie knows all that. He even agrees not to call again, and this is the inkling Gaines hangs onto: “Fuck the Light, just do not give up on your kid,” Eddie says. Wow. Are those calls recorded? That’d be some god damn wildness.
The Mary Cox situation has found its way to Cal’s office. Sean, of course, feels betrayed. For his part, Cal seems to understand sometimes things happen when “people with deep wounds” come together. Plus, for all his faults Cal’s doing his best not to be hypocritical. He isn’t exactly the guy who suppresses his urges.
The divide between Hawk and his cult family has started widening. At dinner, the littlest Lane reveals “Uncle Cal” slept over while the men were on their walk. Yikes. Then Hawk drops the bomb he’s leaving the commune, the cult, all of it. Sarah has this brutal look on her face, one of malice. She plans to exile and shun her son. The impressive turn of Michelle Monaghan only gets better with each episode; here, she wows with a range that is hard to find. The way she changes expressions here is almost chilling.
At the very same time, Alison holds her husband’s diary walking out onto a frozen lake, weeping. Oh my, that is crazy sad. I hope it isn’t what I think.
Well Hawk is packed and ready to leave already. Mom says fuck him, basically, which does not sit right with Eddie. The extent of their cult beliefs is now surpassing any line Eddie can handle. This is it now. Sadder still, their daughter is caught up in the mix. The parents-in-law are no less crazy than Sarah, they’re the ones who bred it into her and made her part of the whole cult. This penultimate episode of Season 1 is where we watch Eddie finally have the breakdown that’s been coming. The ultimate collapse of his faith in Meyerism.


Eddie: “Theres gotta be some fuckinroom for doubt
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Cal heads inside a club where scantily clad women are dancing, serving drinks. He takes of his outer wear, under it all wearing a suit and tie. There he meets John Ridge (Michael Countryman), the one who had him beaten awhile back. Seems his son Freddie turned around big time. Now their friendship is back on track. Cal wants to expand the mission of the Meyerist movement. “Were still in the Dark Ages,” he tells John hoping that he’ll help with investing, real estate, et cetera. Now the cult is starting to grow. This is becoming a scary thing. Even worse, Cal wants only him involved, to keep things close to the chest.
In the office, Sarah calls Silas for help. He could’ve used some himself. Too late now. A short time later she meets Cal at his office. They kiss again, their longing more than evident. She tells him about her son leaving, which Cal says is “unacceptable“, so now I’m officially worried. Both for Hawk and Eddie alike.
The next day Cal picks Ashley up from school. This is getting more frightening. He takes her to a house where she could stay, instead of the car with her family. He even semi-quotes Virginia Woolf. Cal tries convincing her to help Hawk, to not let him walk from the cult, or else he loses everything.


A coroner’s report on Jason Kemp comes back. Ends up in the hands of Abe due to a friend. Seems Kemp had serious burns on his hands, though his apparent suicide was from jumping off a mountain. Strange, no? This may well be what prompts Gaines to keep moving despite being almost fired.
Hawk goes back home when Ashley doesn’t meet him. She actually broke it off with him. But will Hawk let it go that easily? Surely someone’s got to realize there are strings being pulled behind the scenes. Eddie tries comforting him, then feels the touch of Cal on the situation because of Ashley’s words to his son. With that, Eddie rushes off.
Is this the final break of his faith?
Eddie confronts everyone, specifically Sarah and Cal. “You broke your sons heart,” he yells at her before eventually punching Cal out. Now the entire group is aware of his faith slipping. This is the event that starts a downfall. What will the finale bring after this revelation?
And outside, Alison arrives. Back to the commune, back to Meyerism. Really? This was an intense finish.
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Very excited for the finale. Glad to know they’ve already got a renewal. The final episode of Season 1, “The Miracle”, is bound to bring out a whopper of an end. Stay with me, fellow fans and fanatics and friends.

The Path – Season 1, Episode 4: “The Future”

Hulu’s The Path
Season 1, Episode 4: “The Future”
Directed by Michael Weaver
Written by Julia Brownell

* For a review of the previous episode, “A Homecoming” – click here
* For a review of the next episode “The Hole” – click here
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After Eddie (Aaron Paul) found Miranda Frank (Minka Kelly) laying unconscious, likely dead, on the floor o that room, The Path continues on, darker than ever.
At home, Eddie and Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) wait for news. Apparently Miranda’s been taken to the hospital, and trusty Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy) will call when there’s anything to report. Yes, I’m sure the cult leader will keep everything on the level and not dust it all under the rug.
Well Sarah wants to “unburden” to her husband. She reveals: “I did this.” But the problem is that Eddie’s lied. He lied about even having an affair, all to cover up a crisis of faith in Meyerism. Then they get word that a Bill and Felicia are coming. What does it mean? Are these higher ups? Elders?
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Detective Abe Gaines (Rockmond Dunbar) is sure there’s something “dark going on” in the Meyerism community. He doesn’t even know the half. It’ll be interesting to see him become further mixed up with their craziness.
In hospital, Cal talks with Miranda. She’s bewildered as to why this is all happening. But whereas she doesn’t think anything even remotely close to an affair has happened, Cal uses Meyerism to convince her to talk with him. She reveals Eddie’s demeanour in Peru after taking the medicine, hallucinating, et cetera. Though, no affair. Only a hug to comfort him. But now Cal knows of Eddie’s crisis, his claim that “there is no light” and all his doubts. We’ll see exactly how Cal goes on to use this, you know he will exploit it at some point, for some reason.
Out in the forest, Sarah gives a weird Meyerist-type talk, as everybody sits around with electrode-like suction cups on their heads holding their little readers, talking about finding the “damage” back beyond in our minds. Absolutely mental. But at least the junkie Freddie Ridge’s (Max Ehrich) parents Cal is raking in donations from are happy with his progress.


Cal’s got other issues, though. He wants to know more about Eddie, calling Silas (Steve Mones) who took the drugs/medicine in Peru with him. Most of all, Cal worries about why Bill and Felicia are at the commune. He believes there’s doubt about his leadership. What sort of chaos will this bring? Because it will bring some, in some sense. There’s a storm brewing inside him that could burst at any moment from behind the dam he puts up against it.
Trying to convince the Ridges of the Meyerist way to wean people off drugs, using Ayahuasca, Sarah hopes the parents will keep their son there to be treated. But the father won’t have any of their hippie bullshit.
Meanwhile, Eddie finds Cal to figure out where Miranda is, after she’s been moved from the hospital. The magnetic Cal wants Eddie to do 7R, to climb the next rung of the ladder. There’s that old saying, right? Keep your friends close, your enemies closer. Cal wants to push Eddie further to see if that crisis of faith will become anything more. Simultaneously, Cal chews Sarah out for her treatment of the Ridges; he doesn’t want the medicine used, apparently. Likely Cal is afraid of losing their donations. Greedy, greedy, Mr. Roberts.
And Hawk (Kyle Allen) is still semi-dating his lady friend Ashley (Amy Forsyth). He resists certain things, though, she ends up giving him headphones and some music, saying it can “change the way you see the world” – very true. Only another member of the Meyerist community spies Hawk with Ashley. There’ll be some fallout, no doubt.


The relationship between Eddie and Sarah is starting to mend. He talks of moving up to 7R, one rung below his wife. “Thats because Im coming after you,” he says sly and sweet. I’m glad they’ve started coming around to a better marriage again. Because he never cheated. Now he’s just got to try tackling that crisis of faith, or else tell his wife about it, so they can figure out a way forward. Problem is Cal is in their midst, and even with Sarah’s steady faith to Meyerism her old flame will end up becoming a problem if there’s dissent from the Lane family, in any way.
More of Cal and Mary Cox (Emma Greenwell). He wants her to speak during “Ascension Day“, some kind of Meyerist day of nonsense. Does this have anything to do with Felicia coming to see him, saying her and Bill will take over duties for the big day? Of course it does. Nothing in their world happens without reason. For now, Cal talks suggestively with Mary, he undoes his belt listening to her describe being with her boyfriend, kissing; a very disturbing moment. We can see that there’s another person inside Cal, one which he represses constantly, one that wants to come out but he wills to stay hidden. And that’s always going to create a problem. Soon, it will escape. We just have to wait and see how long he can tame it.


So the big thing about Felicia is that she apparently tried to climb The Ladder after Steve Meyers (Keir Dullea). Only it was burning hot, singing her hands. She even holds them up for all to see. Oh really, Felicia? Well everyone there buys into the propaganda. Cal doesn’t like it because he wants to be the man, the one and only behind Steve. I’d like to know the real story behind those burned hands. Perhaps we’ll see some of that eventually.
The dangerous part about Meyerism and young people is the repression of sexual desire. Hawk is confronted by the girl who saw him with Ashley, she pleads that they all feel horny now and then. Yet those feelings are just lies, they corrupt. That is a terrible thing to convince young people of, a bad way of life to lead them on. At the same time, the adults are all so deluded, and for so long, that they’ve convinced themselves completely of their hoax and it will never let go.
Eddie talks briefly with Felicia. They want someone close to Cal, so it seems. She also mentions Sarah doesn’t necessarily see Cal in an unbiased light. So we’re beginning to understand Bill and Felicia are definitely there to exert some sort of control over the commune. Because of Cal. The suspicious look on Eddie’s face says it all.


Mrs. Ridge calls Sarah to go find Freddie in an extremely sketchy-looking drug house. The place is disgusting, though, she pushes on in to find the kid. He’s there, stuck full of needles and strung out. He definitely needs help. I’m not convinced Meyerism is the answer to that call.
Across the fire, Bill and Felicia bring their concerns to Cal. They don’t like his way of doing things. He makes it clear that the cult needs a leader. He also says he’s going to write the last few rungs of the ladder because now he has seen the light, just as Steve did all those years ago. They bring up Alison (Sarah Jones), now Miranda, they don’t like his mishandling of those who’ve lost faith, and so on.
But he’s got a lid on Miranda, he’s brainwashed her once more, essentially. She’s off in a little trailer, “grateful” to the movement for all they’ve done. A marked change since her time in that bare, white room. It all looks like Cal’s got things under control now. It also gives him too much confidence, believing himself to be the “chosen son“, but Bill and Felicia still aren’t happy.


Cal: “I can go out on the fucking street and make people believe
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The cult may be starting to get to Detective Gaines, even slightly. After infiltrating them so far, only just a bit, he’s already starting to see his own life differently. And speaking of different lives, Hawk ends up going to a big party to meet Ashley. His life is changing drastically. He lays a big kiss on her and things start moving quick for them.
Before leaving, Bill and Felicia head to see Eddie. They bring Miranda to see him. She keeps apologizing, and now it turns out she’s back in the movement. “Keep the faith, honey,” says Felicia. They ask him to watch Cal. And it all clearly worries Eddie, knowing Miranda did nothing yet there she is, unburdening herself all over the place.
Later out in the woods at night, Eddie meets Cal in private. “Dig until you find something,” he tells Eddie handing over a shovel for him. What’s the meaning? What will he find down there?
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Suspenseful little finale for this episode. Loved it all. The whole series gets better as the episodes wear on. Next up is titled “The Hole”, so naturally, we’ll figure out to where Eddie is digging.

The Path – Season 1, Episode 3: “A Homecoming”

Hulu’s The Path
Season 1, Episode 3: “A Homecoming”
Directed by Michael Weaver
Written by Annie Weisman

* For a review of the previous episode, “The Era of the Ladder” – click here
* For a review o the next episode, “The Future” – click here
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Further down the spiral we go, alongside Eddie Lane (Aaron Paul) as he wavers on the precipice of losing his faith in Meyersim, in Doc, in the far too enigmatic Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy).
After last episode when Eddie went in for his fourteen days, leaving behind son Hawk (Kyle Allen) and wife Sarah (Michelle Monaghan), we pick up in Peru.
In his bed lies Steven Meyers (Keir Dullea), net to him Cal. The Doc is not well, as we’ve already inferred. It’s becoming more and more Cal isn’t so much in it for their religion. He’s in it for the power.
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Back into the world, Eddie shares his experiences. Everything is renewed, everything is fine again. Then there’s Cal, pumping everyone up saying there was “light dancing” in Steven’s eyes when he was told about all their work. Capable of seeing both sides we’re able to stay wary of Cal and his wiles. How long can he keep the wool over everyone’s eyes?
Meanwhile, the whole Miranda Frank (Minka Kelly) situation is devolving. She apparently would not “unburden“, and therefore creates an entirely new pocket of troubles. Because how can Eddie explain himself if Miranda will not confess (to something she did not do)?
Most interesting so far is Cal going to see his previously briefly mentioned mother – Brenda Roberts (Kathleen Turner). One thing I have to mention, as I’ve said before: the score from Will Bates is phenomenal. As Cal goes into the apartment building to see his dear ole mom there is such a great piece of music that builds and builds, it has an unasy, warped feeling, and almost puts you directly into the mind and headspace of Cal.
Detective Abe Gaines (Rockmond Dunbar) is still pursuing the cult. He’s out at their camp talking with Richard (Clark Middleton), pretending to be someone else of course. Naturally, he’s trying to get a lead on what these people are all about.
Still meeting with Alison (Sarah Jones), Eddie tries to cut himself off from their previous incognito investigation. He’s drinking their “juice“, but believes he’s “living the truth“; something she will not buy.
In one of the locked rooms, Sarah goes to talk with Miranda, whose confusion only grows more by the second. Except Sarah is convinced of their affair. The layers only twist around one another, wrapping up in a pit of snakes that’s only bound to make things worse for everyone involved.
Back at his mother’s place, Cal tries to clean up. She’s more interested in trying to draw him back into her life. For a seemingly narcissistic man Cal appears concerned for his mother, her safety, her health and sanity, too.


Home in bed, the Lanes “connect” and try to get their energies flowing together. All of their Scientology-like teachings and beliefs make it right into the bedroom. So, like all other major religions, this cult is just like any other operation. They want to control life, they want to lock down personality, to crush individuality. And it’s obvious: Eddie and Sarah have a big Meyerist Eye hanging in their bedroom, right there in the place where they make love.
The sour relationship between Cal and his mother comes out further. She clearly has never had time for any of that cult religion bullshit, though, Cal’s dad entrenched his son in the workings of Meyerism. What’s interesting about their relationship is that there are guaranteed many people Cal’s age, in real life, whose families were torn apart by quasi-hippy nonsense like Meyerism during the 1960s and 1970s. A guy like Mr. Roberts took his son under his wing and immersed him into the cult, which had lasting repercussions on Cal, as well as the family overall. Yet, it’s still clear also that Cal cares deeply for his mother. He even has a drink for her.
Hawk is still trying to live a normal life. He explains the ways of his religion to his new sort-of girlfriend, Ashley (Amy Forsyth). Part of him comes off very abrasive, likely a result of his being raised in the cult of Meyerism. While Ashley doesn’t exactly understand, or dig, the whole religion thing, she does like Hawk a lot.
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Cal’s trying hard to get his mother into a care home. But she pushes and pushes and pushes, until he snaps on her in front of the people there. The rage in him is clear, even though she is on ragged, rough bitch. There’s a hatred in him which runs deep. It’s scary, actually.
At the same time, Eddie is dealing with being pushed, too. The stress of having to admit something he did not do grows around his shoulders. Everybody knows, everybody thinks that he’s “transgressed“, and it is a burden. No matter if he wants to make things right again. Likewise, Cal’s secret life with his mother, his drinking, it puts him in touch with Sarah. Funny, how Eddie never actually cheated, and yet Sarah and Cal have a strange, semi-emotional relationship with one another, very personal, private. I wonder if there are any other secrets of theirs we don’t know about yet. Because she’s already lying about why Cal called.
Further than that, Eddie finds Alison lurking around outside their house. He actually threatens to kill her if she comes around again: “You do not know where I come from,” he warns. It’s like a massive whirlwind of trouble brewing around their lives, ready to encompass everything nearby, everybody has something threatening the integrity of their cult, something about to crash down on top of their systematically structured universe.


Later when Eddie finds out that Miranda is at the compound, unwilling to admit to their non-existent affair, he is rocked. Now what will he do? Somehow this has to go away.
Over at his girlfriend’s house, Hawk does what he can to help Ashley and their family in harsh times. It’s intriguing to watch Hawk go against the wishes of his community because he knows what’s right, he knows to help someone is the ultimate goal, and yet the others around him, his own family, they’re falling way of the path in their own various ways. So to watch the kid be the one whose intentions are lining up true is sort of ironic, when the adults act as if they’ve got it all figured out.
And Cal, he knows exactly where he came from, unfortunately. His mother warns of trying to outrun his identity. That never ever goes the way it’s planned.


Brenda: “Wanting to be someone else never works. Just brings you right back here.”


A fire is lit under Gaines by the father of Mary Cox (Emma Greenwell). The detective is definitely going to start causing some issues for the Meyerists and their community. Coming up against the wrath of Cal, I wonder exactly how out of control things are about to get.
Once Cal gets back to the camp he meets with Sarah. He tells her about something “in Peru” about Doc Meyers. He claims the “next rungs” deal with “succession of leadership” and so on. Of course. No surprise there, right? Cal wants to install himself as the next leader of the Meyerist movement. “Its always been you,” Sarah even assures.
In the end, Eddie goes to see Miranda. And she’s unconscious, likely dead, having drank the juice she was brought earlier by Sarah, or at least that’s what it looks like. Whoa. Is it really the case?
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Let’s find out together. Next episode is titled “The Future” and more revelations are bound to expose themselves.