The Path – Season 2, Episode 10: “Restitution”

Hulu’s The Path
Season 2, Episode 10: “Restitution”
Directed by Patrick Norris
Written by Jessica Goldberg

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Oz” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, click here.
Pic 1Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) wakes in her hotel room, alone. She and Cal (Hugh Dancy) spent a passionate night together. But what’s next in that regard? Do they empower one another to keep being awful? Well, she’s having a dream right now. She sees Marshall the farmer down at the buffet, where she starts pounding down bacon before almost choking.
She’s actually right next to Cal, in bed. A strange dream, though with those involved in Meyerism there’s often something true in all their dreams.
Abe Gaines (Rockmond Dunbar) brings all Sarah’s blackmail to his boss. They think it’s possible to bring down the movement, although many “morally reprehensible” people won’t get their just desserts, walking away for just a couple of the higher ups. Still, that’s the usual reality for many of these white collar crimes.
Meanwhile, Hawk (Kyle Allen) is meeting up with Ashley (Amy Forsyth) for the first time in so long. He also downplays his relationship with Noa (Britne Oldford), that they’re only friends. Very clear he hasn’t gotten over Ashley, still holding onto strong feelings under the surface, and barely.
Also there’s Eddie (Aaron Paul), still in contact with Sarah’s estranged sister Tessa (Alexia Landeau). They talk about the cult, as well as the Denier Policy. He wants a group of Deniers to walk onto the Meyerist compound and say: “We exist.” Yet Tessa doesn’t believe that it can happen, or she isn’t sure. The more Eddie talks, the more she’s convinced. But it still isn’t so easy.


Back with his mother and the cult deprogrammer, Sean (Paul James) is being pried out of the movement. All the same Mary (Emma Greenwell) isn’t there, and the deprogrammer casts further doubt on all the Meyerist bullshit. Sean is paranoid, worried, and who wouldn’t be? These people play hardball.
Ashley and Hawk talk about their former relationship. Why she broke it off, got away. He has to run off, they’ve got to be back to the compound by sundown. Before that he tells Ashley about watching his mother onstage, that she talked about “self love” and things that weren’t related to Meyerism. Is he finally seeing the real light? That of TRUTH outside their cult? He and Ashley embrace with a kiss. Perhaps it’s the first step.
Hypocrites Cal and Sarah speak about “transgression” that they’ve all experienced, meditating in a group for restitution. Helping others to find their own transgressive acts, to cast them out. What nonsense. Yet there they all are, meditating and thinking of their faults, all crying. And none of them will ever really face the truth, only the veiled truth in Meyerism. At the same time, Felicia (Adriane Lenox) guides Eddie through his own meditation.
Felicia: “Rest. Tomorrow, we act.”


Sarah finds out Marshall the farmer died weeks ago. This is one of those strings of guilt that keeps tugging at her heart. I wonder if she’ll manage to get herself past all the horrible things she’s done. Can she make ACTUAL restitution, instead of feigned restitution in the form of Meyerist meditation? Not sure. If so, she’ll be going to jail. Straight up. Even if she doesn’t do it herself, Abe is on the case.
And Cal, he’s got far more than just what we’ve seen in the series weighing on his shoulders. The fact Dr. Meyers molested him long ago is the bottom of the iceberg; what he’s done throughout the episodes of this series, what we’ve seen, is merely the tip.
At the park Eddie gets to hang with his daughter Summer (Aimee Laurence). And it’s sad to see her worry about their family, dragged into all the mess of cults and the madness of her mother’s side of the family. Tragic. At home she isn’t too happy with her family and doesn’t want to do take part in their latest celebration, or whatever they do.
Simultaneously, big brother Hawk is in bed with Ashley, suddenly falling farther from the movement yet hanging on at the same time; I’m interested most in seeing his arc, what’ll happen with this new development of Ashley showing back up in his life. Best of all is her influence, pointing out how Hawk’s only moved from the control of his mother to the control of Cal. She wants better for him, to make him see he can control his own life without needing others, even her. He can be his own man.
During dinner, Tessa arrives, out of nowhere. She confronts everybody – her brother Russel, sister Sarah, her mom, her dad, everyone else. She likewise reveals she and Eddie are in touch. Nobody reacts too well, Hank (Peter Friedman) is devastated. Then Tessa tells everybody Sarah wanted to leave, too. Had her bags packed and everything. Nice; another family divide. This throws everyone into a mixed up place, even Russel, particularly considering the fact Hank sees his daughter fairly regularly and keeps it secret from others.


Sean later tells Mary about who the deprogrammer is, that she’s trying to get him back home, away from the Meyerists. Mary doesn’t like that he lied. He says he’d like to go home, with her. To make a life together away from the movement. “The only thing thats keeping me here is you,” he tells her. Love this shot – as they talk, essentially discussing life in a cage with the cult, their faces are captured through the bars of the crib they’re painting. Beautiful visuals.
More revelations: Cal offered Ashley and her family a house to break up with Hawk. She says he is a bad man, that Eddie never would’ve done that to him. This confuses and frustrates Hawk, obviously. Never easy to see the world you know and love and bought into start crumbling around you. Regardless, Ashley’s only trying to help him. She has nothing to gain. It breaks her heart to see him entrapped by that insane cult.
Eddie gets a visit from Sarah, a pissed off visit. He tries to tell her it’s all about fixing things, mending bridges. She wants him to let go of their relationship, she doesn’t want to move outside of her safe little Meyerist world; especially not after all the crimes she’s committed in the name of Dr. Steven Meyers’ movement. Next day with Felicia and Richard, Eddie tells them he doesn’t want all the responsibility of leading the movement in the right direction. He says he can’t do it. But it’s all left up to the Light, Felicia says.
Pic 5Everybody’s painting tiny coffins. They put their sins inside, to “relinquish” them, or y’know, whatever the hell they believe. Hank relinquishes the Denier Policy. Nicole relinquishes Sam Field a.k.a Abe. So basically, it’s a type of confession, in aid of their own souls. To cleanse themselves. To lie to themselves about their guilt, their mistakes.
A couple good things: Mary agrees to talk with the deprogrammer for Sean, and Gab tells Hank she wants to see their daughter again.
Cal uses this time to relinquish his mother, her ashes into the waves. To let go of her, all that she represents. Yeah, right. It’ll take far more than a bit of water to cleanse ole Cal.
On the beach, Richard burns all the relinquishing coffins in the other half of their ritual. He remembers the one bearing Sarah’s sins. He brings it to Eddie, who opens and reads, discovering his estranged wife has been with Cal, though she’s willing to bear the burden of guilt for every other horrible thing she’s done all year. This is heartbreaking for Eddie to read. Necessary, to push him towards leadership.


What I love most about The Path is its resistance to tell a clean, happy story, where the families are likely to rejoice at the end and come together again. No, it isn’t like that. The Lanes are on the brink of all out destruction; hard to tell which of them will be left standing, or faithful, once all is said and done. Such a great show, excellently paced writing with plenty of drama and mystery to steer the ship. I don’t know what others are talking about when they trash the series. Spectacular show, that I hope will have another season despite however things wind up in the remaining episodes.

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The Path – Season 2, Episode 9: “Oz”

Hulu’s The Path
Season 2, Episode 9: “Oz”
Directed by Patrick Norris
Written by Coleman Herbert

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Return” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Restitution” – click here
Pic 1The unburdening tapes are being used now with more force by Sarah Lane (Michelle Monaghan). She goes to one person, then the next, the next. Using the dirty little secrets of everybody against them. Such a creepy sequence. Reminds me of something you’d see from Scientologists, blackmailing people to stay, or else their “fragile house of lies” come toppling down. Clearly Sarah knows she’s doing awful things, yet she is so tied to Meyerism she has no identity otherwise. So, she’ll fight dirty to save what she loves.
Eddie (Aaron Paul) sits alone in a church thinking. A priest comes and sits with him. They talk about their life’s path, how they came to faith, their calling. He’s searching for his own answers about his calling with the Meyerist movement.
In other news, Abe Gaines (Rockmond Dunbar) is in shit with the higher ups. Because the movement’s paid off their back taxes. No more leverage for the feds. This puts Abe in a tough spot. Now he’s going to try harder to catch Cal (Hugh Dancy) and the movement red-handed. And that could lead to some trouble.
Pic 1AEddie meets with Richard (Clark Middleton) and Felicia (Adriane Lenox) in a hotel. To talk about what’s next for Meyerism. She doesn’t totally believe what’s happening, in regards to Eddie as Steve’s choice to lead them forward. The only way she’ll accept it? He must “continue the climb” to 8R.
Mary Cox (Emma Greenwell) is introduced to the cult deprogrammer Sean’s (Paul James) mother has brought in, though she isn’t interested. She can tell what’s going on, and there’ll be resistance.
Finally, Sarah reveals to Cal she’s paid off the back taxes to keep them afloat. This stresses him out. He’s not the saviour, he isn’t the leader. She is taking charge like never before. You can see how it bothers him. He’s not exactly great at hiding his inner feelings, despite what he may think of himself. Note: more instances in this scene of how Cal is cast in shadow often, behind the veil of darkness, and there are other times he’s half in the light, half in shadow to convey a split sense of who he is as a person.
Abe a.k.a Sam goes sniffing around the donors who helped with the tax bill. He figures out about the blackmail, something he already suspect, anyways. I only keep worrying about what’ll happen to Abe if he pokes in the wrong places.


Hawk (Kyle Allen), Hank (Peter Friedman), Russel (Patch Darragh), they all worship Sarah’s supposed good deed of saving their cult. The only one unsure, as usual, is Nicole (Ali Ahn). And more every episode I start feeling as if she’s going to play a part in Abe’s eventual plan to catch Cal and the movement in their ugliness. On top of everything, the guilt is flowing through Sarah as eager as the blood in her veins.
Like you didn’t see it coming, Cal still keeps in close contact with Mary. He goes to see her before the upcoming trip to Baltimore. She talks to him about The Wizard of Oz, which she was given by the deprogrammer. He’s there because a family is what he needs, only he’s far too dysfunctional and damaged in his own right to be with anyone properly. As for Mary I’m starting to think she’s seeing the truth about Meyerism. Or at least, I want her to see.
Cal: “Im a husk, Mary. I wanna be vapour. I wanna metamorphose. We can do it together. Swim in the sea. What do you say?”
On his way up the Ladder, Eddie’s guided by Felicia into his own mind. He’s at a bus stop, and when a bus arrives it’s filled with people who have no faces. Just a head covered in skin. What does it all mean? He believes it has to do with the cult’s Denier Policy. He wants it changed, as per his vision. The faceless were those outside the movement and this isn’t any way to treat the outside world, nor is it any way to treat those who’ve been shunned as deniers.


Physically, Abe and Nicole get closer. He also gets a bit of information: the unburdening tapes are in the movement’s archive room. In the meantime, they bang on the floor in a storage room. A little secret to keep between each other.
Out in the real world, Eddie goes to see Tessa Bishop (Alexia Landeau) – Sarah’s sister, who long ago broke away from the Meyerists and all their nonsense.
Cal and Sarah keep on having issues. He says he can’t get up and speak with her at the conference. He says he’s having problems with his conviction. Then she admits to her blackmail for the donations. Essentially, after the murder and the blackmail they’ve both got to keep going, for one another. If only for the sacrifices they’ve made to get to that point. This is an effective point in the series overall, is that anyone who gets lost in a religion, a cult, anything of that, eventually becomes so lost they don’t even know why they’re still walking further.
But Meyerists, they have a weird little ritual they do similar to the Catholics’ confession, to wash away their sins/convince themselves that their sins are washed away. Sarah and Cal find themselves on the same page again. For better or worse.
Sarah (to Cal): “Make me believe
What Eddie wants to do, underneath his new leader exterior, is change the movement. To show them the truth. When Tessa walks out on him because she can’t deal with any of that, he winds up running into Ashley (Amy Forsyth), Hawk’s old girlfriend. Hmm. I wonder if she’ll play a further role, maybe to help get Hawk away from all the madness. She actually turns up at the centre to see him later. One big surprise.


Back at the hotel after their conference, Cal and Sarah become one. Not only in their emotional headspace, their wants and needs. They fall in bed together. And this just feeds into their shared delusions of Meyerism, it won’t help anything. Not to mention it’ll take Sarah farther from Eddie than she already is. Above all, she’s fallen into a black hole, one crime after another with Cal.
Abe is snooping in the archives. He finds the tape of an unburdening with Don Hendren written on it.
Eddie receives a visit from Hank, about his meeting with Tessa. “Our families need to be mended,” he tells his estranged father-in-law. He says Steve chose him to lead, and that soon he will replace Cal; that they can make something better out of their movement.
We end on a strange moment, when Hank and Eddie embrace. Suddenly Eddie is bleeding from his side/back, almost like one of the wounds of Christ.


This second season is fantastic! I can’t believe that some critics have said there’s nothing overly enjoyable or worth fleshing out in these episodes.
Are they watching the same series? I don’t think so.

The Path – Season 2, Episode 8: “Return”

Hulu’s The Path
Season 2, Episode 8: “Return”
Directed by Michael Weaver
Written by Annie Weisman

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Providence” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Oz” – click here
Pic 1Last we saw Eddie (Aaron Paul), he was swept off violently by Richard (Clark Middleton) and Kodiak (James Remar), leaving Chloe’s (Leven Rambin) boy in the wind. The two men want answers from their captive, about what happened with Dr. Steven Meyers (Keir Dullea). They need to know, because of the implications in his death.
Cal (Hugh Dancy) goes to see Jacqueline Richards (Melanie Griffith) at a swanky pool. He claims it’s “fate” but surely he’s tracked her down. Her daughter bought into the Meyerist cult, though Jackie isn’t overly interested. She’s preoccupied with everything in her life. And this provides him with the perfect way inward. Another rich person to exploit.
Then there’s Sarah (Michelle Monaghan), who slips further down the rabbit hole each day. She listens to tapes of unburdening sessions, going through all the people and their lives ripe for blackmail. She gets a call about Brenda Roberts (Kathleen Turner), Cal’s mother. She is in hospice – liver failure – and ready to die, at any moment. Hmm, I wonder how that’ll affect Cal once he finds out. Sure to run another few cracks through his weary foundation.
Pic 2Things elsewhere are sketchy, as Chloe tries to deal with her son being left on his own, and Eddie’s sudden disappearance. Meanwhile, he’s struggling with the drugs he’s been given by Kodiak and Richard. He’s being taken back through his memories – seems he had a mean, violent father, on top of the memories of his brother Johnny, and more. The two Meyerists holding him captive try to lead him through to memories of Peru, up on the mountain with Steve. Until Eddie stops breathing.
Cal works his eerie charm on Jackie, helping with her current problems but also chipping away at her doubt in terms of the movement. He rattles on about the power of Meyerism, and it works. If he can solve Jackie’s problems it’s worth $50K to her. Once more, the snake slithers its way into another life.
At the hospice, Sarah goes to see Brenda. The old woman isn’t well, awaiting death to come take her away. She desperately wants to see her son before she goes. Is there something she needs to tell him? Or is it merely a mother wanting to see her boy one last time? What we see is that Brenda knows all about the Meyerists, definitely all about her son. Confirming what we all know, that Cal’s been in love with Sarah forever.
Between reality and coma, Eddie wanders. He finds his way back to the Meyerist commune, walking through an otherworldly space. There, he sees Doc Meyers greeting him. Is this death? A place between life and the afterlife? He goes further and sees his dead brother Johnny in a garden, tending to plants.


Seeing Cal amongst regular people is kind of like watching an alien walking through human beings. Weird watching him at a poolside party. “Im in someones idea of oblivion,” he tells Sarah when she calls. She bears the bad news about his mother, also that there’s something holding his mother back from death. Definitely a secret, a hope for closure, anything similar. But Cal won’t assuage his mother’s guilt before she dies leaving Sarah to take the brunt. In the meantime, he meets Jackie’s friend Luna, the one he supposedly needs help. Then in one of his relapse moments, he sniffs coke with them. Off the deep end. This has the potential to get very messy.
At the centre in the city, Hawk (Kyle Allen) is dealing with a pay shortage, not knowing the dire straits in which the Meyerist cult has fallen financially. With people threatening to leave and stop working he goes looking through Cal’s office. Only to find all the Past Due notices from the IRS, so on. Finally, the Impending Seizure notice. Here he was, thinking Cal had everything under control. Hard to watch your idol crumble into nothing. Also, his faith in his mother only worsens.
Brenda: “Fuck all of you
On her death bed Brenda reveals to Sarah the true nature of Calvin Roberts and Dr. Steven Meyers. She says that Steve loved her son, a bit too much. In the wrong ways. WHOA! I didn’t see that coming, at all. I expected many things. Not that. And like myself, Sarah is rocked by the revelation. If true, it’s beyond devastating. In all the obvious ways, and also on a deeper level of faith, trust, it’s somehow even more sick.
Eddie and Johnny talk in that limbo or afterlife space. He tells his dead brother about trying to save someone, obviously Steve. He couldn’t, that’s when the storm came in and when he was struck by lightning. Eddie’s overcome. Then he’s back in that old shack with Kodiak and Richard, they were able to give him a shot to wake him up.


On a beach Cal spins a speech on freedom for pop star Luna. He offers a “chance to feel unlimited fulfilment.” All that cult shit. And then he gets offended when Jackie calls Meyerism a cult, too. No surprise. But he’s further put off when she doesn’t immediately buy into his “pitch” about their movement. “Youre not even convincing yourself,” Jackie tells him plainly.
At home, Sarah’s confronted by Hawk about the money trouble the cult is in. He is definitely betrayed. She spouts off more nonsense about the movement being stronger, the “path to the Light” and all the greatest hits. Now with the revelations concerning Steve on Brenda’s end, there’s even more danger to anyone young near Meyerism.
Eddie tries to make Kodiak and Richard see Steve was only a man. He didn’t ascend to any Light. He got cancer, he was ready to die before they were on that mountain. But Eddie’s also at peace, with himself, with everything. After his visit to the garden with his brother. He goes back to tell Chloe about what happened and she’s rightfully freaked out. She wants him to call the cops; he doesn’t want anything to happen to his kids at the commune.
Cal relates to Luna about not having a childhood. Being told he was “special” and separated from the rest, in more ways than one. She’s got a lot of pain inside. Fucked up on drugs, gun in hand. He offers her help, though it’s only a means to an end for the cash. Another mind for him to manipulate. If only she’d buy into his cult hypnotism.
Later on the phone Cal asks Sarah about his mother, and she lies, telling him she was proud, blah, blah, blah. Hiding that she knows the truth. Does Cal even remember the abuse? Hard to know for sure. He winds up falling into the arms of Jackie, anyways.
Pic 8So, in lieu of other money, Sarah’s already out putting more blackmail into motion. Becoming a worse person all the time, in order to save their dying movement.
Richard gives Eddie a necklace belonging to Steve, the first one made after “the Ladder was revealed.” He believes that Eddie was marked by the Light. That he will build the Garden, “and we will follow you there.” Shit.
Pic 9I didn’t really expect the stuff between Eddie and Richard at the end of the episode. Neither did I see the Steve revelation concerning Cal coming, whatsoever. Truly rocked me.
Cannot wait to see the next episode “Oz” coming up.

The Path – Season 2, Episode 7: “Providence”

Hulu’s The Path
Season 2, Episode 7: “Providence”
Directed by Michael Weaver
Written by Vanessa Rojas

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “For Our Safety” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Return” – click here
pic-1Eddie (Aaron Paul) drives with his daughter Summer (Aimee Laurence) singing, laughing. Everything is lovely. Until she isn’t in the car anymore. She’s outside, on a nearby bank. He pulls over, yelling out to her. When he goes towards his daughter she runs, then she’s gone. An old house looms in the distance. At the fore is a ragged-looking tree. He approaches the house, opens its door.
Then he wakes up. Chloe (Leven Rambin) argues on the phone with her ex, as he comes to in bed. He offers to watch her kid while she has to run off to work, which impresses her more than she’s been already.
Over at the compound, Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) finds a foreclosure notice on the gate. She worries that others have already seen it, and of course when her mother Gab (Deirdre O’Connell) sees her face she doesn’t even need to see the notice itself. Sarah and Cal (Hugh Dancy) have words, as you’d expect. They decide selling the centre is the only way forward. Although he has a strange complacency about him that doesn’t bode well for anybody.
pic-2Kodiak (James Remar) watches Eddie. He chants a mantra to himself: “Give me your patience, your strength, righteous and good.” Then as Eddie heads out with Chloe’s boy, he’s followed not far behind by the close friend of Dr. Steve Meyers.
In other news Abe (Rockmond Dunbar) is finding trouble on the side of his boss, who wants results. Abe doesn’t get the test on the water he wanted, pissing him off. I hope he doesn’t go off the rails at some point; he is a good guy at heart, I’d rather he not get lost in Meyerism, or in the pursuit of taking down Cal and the Meyerist cult. Speaking of Cal, he’s going through an intense bit of turmoil. He takes a moment to himself, punching the walls in at the thought of losing the centre. And what is it that bothers him most: the fact they’re in such dire straits financially, or the fact he can’t solve it all himself?
At a military museum, Eddie and the boy check out all the neat stuff. Trailing them is Kodiak. I’m worried about what happens next. Then there’s Richard (Clark Middleton) – he’s picking out a room, some shack, for a specific purpose. This also concerns me.
Fixing and licking his wounds, Cal receives a visit from Mary (Emma Greenwell). For all her trying she falls into his arms so often, unable to wholly give herself over to the relationship with Sean (Paul James). She helps his wounds, in terms of his ego.
Out in the street, Hawk (Kyle Allen) and Noa (Britne Oldford) and others help the homeless. Washing their feet, showing that everyone is equal. When Sarah shows up to see her son she offers to help, and for the first time in a while Hawk and his mother actually feel close again. But the wedge there, more and more, is Cal, as always. He goes to the kid and pours the Kool-Aid in his ear whenever possible.


In the meantime Sarah and his family are struggling with the news of the impending foreclosure. Hank (Peter Friedman) continually feels the group are losing sight of Steve’s original intentions, which is probably true. While Nicole (Ali Ahn) and Russel (Patch Darragh) fret that they’ll lose their homes, included in the compound. A few nonsense prayers, then they’re all on the same page. Tenuously.
At the museum, we see a side of Kodiak not yet seen. He looks around at the images of war, the sounds of explosions and gunfire. He’s having a PTSD-like attack. So, did he spend time in Vietnam perhaps? Did his experiences over there lead him to the Light? Either way he misses his chance for action when Eddie and the boy head off, left bewildered by all the army noise around him. Over at the shack with Richard, he tells him he couldn’t take Eddie: “Its taken me years to feel clean. To accept the Lights forgiveness. I nearly forfeited that for this.” He did experience flashbacks to the atrocities, making him see the error of his ways. However, he reluctantly agrees they’ll try again soon enough.
On a walk somewhere Sean winds up at a store, where he calls his mother. He tells her about the baby, about his worries over what might happen in the future. She wants to come see him, though he refuses. It’s clear he wants to get away from the Meyerist movement. Just not sure if that’ll happen.


Eventually Eddie finds out from the kid someone was following them. Now, the paranoia becomes worse. No telling how Eddie will react. Everyone he sees is suspect now, from a man walking his dog to the mailman to people driving the street in their cars. His own PTSD-type symptoms flare up. Especially bad seeing as how he’s with his girlfriend’s kid.
Together, Sarah and Cal try finding out a way to keep the centre while also chipping away at their debt. She wants to keep the place because of Hawk’s progress, his good work. So she offers to sell a property she owned with Eddie.
But whoopsy – need Eddie to sign off, too. How’s that going to work? Plus, they have no steady cash coming in, except from donations of their members. Oh, the bubble’s been burst this time. Cal looks positively rotted to his core. Although Sarah pushes him forward, asking him to “be exceptional” again. I’m sceptical about how he’ll interpret that, how he’ll go about doing exceptional things. Because he’s really good at murder, and covering things up, and dirty secrets. He’s already asked Hawk to pry Noa for money. And this is already corrupting the young man, beyond repair.
Sarah: “We are really fucking this up
Meanwhile, young Hawk falls deeper into the Light and the Meyerist movement. He’s at the point of preaching to others, particularly Noa about the relationship she has with her mother; hoping to siphon out a bit of money for the cause. Not gonna happen, and not good for their budding relationship.
pic-8Sean walks along a lonely road where his parents pull up. They’ve found him, and want to take him away. They’ve got a cult de-programmer wanting to help. Also to help Mary, so they can have a normal life, and so his parents can see their grandchild sensibly. He’s clearly distraught. Still, they take him off from his current existence.
At the Armstrong family table, Cal apologises to everyone for putting them in debt. He promises they will “not suffer” due to his mistakes. Afterwards, he’s invited for supper, as well. Not everybody is happy. Not Nicole. Not Hank, really. That mask of Cal’s, it isn’t exactly holding firm. You can see it slip every now and then.
In the car we find Eddie. Just like in his dream. This time, he’s with Chloe’s boy. At the roadside he sees the crooked tree. Nearby is a van. He gets out to see if somebody needs help, finding Richard inside. Then Kodiak knocks him out. Shit, this is getting scary.
Sarah looks through all the piles of unburdening tapes. The voices of guilt filter back through her mind. Nasty things. Unforgivable. Through these, we see how awful the Meyerist cult is underneath, how they’re not good people. Rather they’re blackmail artists.
pic-10In that shack – we realise now the one Eddie saw in his dream – Richard and Kodiak start to enact the next step of their plan, as Chloe’s boy is left at the roadside all alone. Spooky end to this episode.
pic-11What a troubling finish! Lord. I can’t wait for the next one. Interested to see what Richard and Kodiak are going to do, as well as what revelations will come from their methods. Seems to me Eddie definitely has deep, deep secrets.

The Path – Season 2, Episode 6: “For Our Safety”

Hulu’s The Path
Season 2, Episode 6: “For Our Safety”
Directed by Norberto Barba
Written by Justin Doble

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Why We Source” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Providence” – click here
pic-1We begin with Sarah Lane (Michelle Monaghan) taking part in a purifying ritual, of sorts. She sits by a fire, smokes from a Native American-style pipe. Her guilt. The face of a dead and rotting Silas. That poisoned cow. Images flash through her mind. She and Eddie (Aaron Paul) making love; the strange scar on his back. Everything passes like flipping through photographs.
Speaking of Eddie, he’s with Chloe Jones (Leven Rambin) and they’re out socialising, with un-cult people. Something he’s not used to anymore. But bless him, he’s trying hard to reintegrate back into the real world.
Hawk (Kyle Allen) has made a decision: he’s moving into the city. “Theres so much need and injustice in this world and Im just, sitting here in this big, warm, comfortable house.” He doesn’t want to be all talk. He wants to do actual work. The time inside jail changed him. For the better? Impossible to tell yet.
pic-2Oh, poor Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy). Always something to plague him. Whether it’s a past due notice from the IRS, a murder he committed, a secret baby – there’s forever a burden on his shoulders; self-inflicted or otherwise. Soon enough Hawk arrives and finds that Cal’s trying to play dad, hampering his need to get into the city.
Meanwhile, Eddie runs off from his barbecue with Chloe to meet with his wife, both in their glee. Oh, my. I foresee a snap of tension in this little plot sooner than later. Because already she’s missing from a meeting Cal has called. Alas, they go on. Abe Gaines (Rockmond Dunbar), a.k.a Sam Field, tells the crowd of their new security measures: ID badges for everyone coming in and out of the compound. This puts worry into many, including Kodiak (James Remar) and Richard (Clark Middleton), though the former a lot more. And then there’s Nicole (Ali Ahn), who angles for her husband Russel (Patch Darragh) to be the Guardian of the Light with Cal instead of her sister-in-law. Again, all the pressure lands on the shoulders of Mr. Roberts, taking everything and anything personally.
Kodiak: “The snakes poison is finally hitting our bloodstream.”
In the city, Noa (Britne Oldford) questions Hawk and his motivations, acting as if he knows the racial struggle of black people after spending a few nights in prison, reading a slice of James Baldwin. However, Hawk refuses to apologise for caring about the “disparity” between treatment of white people and people of colour, in all walks of life. Maybe he’ll be a freedom fighter yet.
Now Cal’s followed Sarah, he has found her embracing lovingly with Eddie. Is her lie about feeling anything for her estranged husband going to push Cal over an edge? Well, in a moment of vindictive anger he decides on playing dad to Hawk further. He also now wants the young man to climb to 2R, with him alongside as a guide. Of course the kid’s thrilled. Can’t be sure that isn’t all a way for Cal to try breaking up the Lanes past what they’ve already broken so far.
Simultaneously, Eddie tells his support group about his guilt over still loving his wife and spending time with Chloe. He’s stuck in the “hive mind” of Meyerism, the horrid cult. With everything going on, between him and Sarah, Hawk’s falling away from him, he feels stuck between two worlds.
There are other nasty things brewing. Such as when Mary Cox (Emma Greenwell) seems to cast a bit of judgement onto Sarah. And now this stirs up things in Sarah, wondering about who knows what, what Cal’s intentions are, so on. Note: another bunch of good examples in this episode of how Cal gets physically cast in shadow during many scenes, all working towards the idea of a duality and a darkness in him.
Stranger things come to a head when Richard doesn’t like what Kodiak is planning, talking about a boy being held over Steve’s head, all kinds of wild things, and then decides on locking him away in a little room. Shit.


On and on the Meyerist nonsense goes, as Cal starts Hawk’s climb with monotonous chores, repetition of mantras. When Sarah shows up the kid bolts, too righteous even for his own mother. So, she and Cal head out for tea together, and surely some passive-aggressiveness on both parts. And definitely on his side, without fucking doubt. He’s a danger because that passive-aggressive nature eventually, for him, boils over into vicious, real anger. Extremely dangerous, as we’ve seen already.
His attitude only drives Sarah back into Eddie’s arms, which leaves the couple both wondering what happens next. “Why are you here?” Eddie asks his wife. He wants to get to the bottom of their shared anguish. It isn’t hard to understand why Sarah is mixed up, after Steve going, then Eddie, now Hawk’s slipping from her grasp. Then out of nowhere, Eddie tells her about his time in Peru, when he got hit by lightning. His vision of Steve sent him there: “He wasnt some magic, immortal light. He was a god damn man.” What he now realises is that Sarah has been under a spell, so many years, one that will not break. She doesn’t care that Steve withered away, he’s gone to the Light, no matter what. Ugly psychological state. Yuck.
But what about ole honest Abe? He’s got his eye trained on the whole place, watching, waiting for something big. I wonder how long until Cal slips up hard, trusting ‘Sam’ too much.


Kodiak remembers a time with Steve, unburdening himself. He killed a man once. Then as they conduct a session, young Cal walks in. How much did he hear, exactly? Hmm.
Off on his own, Hank (Peter Friedman) goes to see somebody – his other daughter. He’s been doing this awhile. They chat, smoke cigarettes. What’s clearer every episode is that Hank feels left behind, that the commune he built long ago has become something else, unrecognisable.
During a session, Sarah tells Richard about sleeping with Eddie. He says that love is stronger than faith, though weakens them. He guides her through memories, of she and Eddie. Then she must mentally turn him away, turn away from him. And in the session, she reveals Eddie was struck by lightning. This startles Richard, deeply.
He’s sure now: Eddie killed Steve.
Eddie, he’s out with Chloe at a wedding. Trying to be normal, whatever that is, really. There’s something awakening in him, but that’s constantly held back by his former life. No matter how hard he starts falling for Chloe, some piece of the old cult still hauls him backward.
pic-8What will happen next? This was an excellent episode, once more. Some say this second season isn’t holding up, and I have no idea what they’re talking about! Crazy, man. This is a great follow-up to the first season. Many mysteries left unsolved.

The Path – Season 2, Episode 5: “Why We Source”

Hulu’s The Path
Season 2, Episode 5: “Why We Source”
Directed by Norberto Barba
Written by Jessica Goldberg

* For a review of the previous episode, “The Red Wall” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “For Our Safety” – click here
screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-10-42-34-pmCal Roberts (Hugh Dancy) gives a speech to a crowd, more of the Meyerism Kool-Aid. Next to him stands Sarah Lane (Michelle Monaghan), playing her role. Then in the wings are Richard (Clark Middleton) and Kodiak (James Remar) still try getting to the bottom of Dr. Steve Meyers’ (Keir Dullea) death.
Simultaneous is the trajectory of Eddie Lane (Aaron Paul), on his second meeting at the support group for people who’ve left cults. He talks fondly of his children, of course. “I really thought that I was freer than Id ever been,” he laments, knowing that’s not true at all.
At their latest meeting Cal and Sarah, uncovering the damage of others, are actually looking for the mole in their midst. Nothing on that front yet. The rooms are checked by Russel (Patch Darragh) under the pretence: “This is why we source.” They claim to be helping when they’re only digging for answers they hope to find. Abe Gains (Rockmond Dunbar) sweats through one of the sourcing sessions opposite Cal, and for the time being is safe from being rooted out.
screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-10-42-59-pmLife outside the cult is wildly different for Eddie. He’s back to eating all the things he did once. Living away from a commune. Taking pills to help his mind rather than burrowing himself into a useless ideology. But things are much worse for Sarah, as she’s called to a house where Hawk (Kyle Allen) is being hauled away by the police on a warrant for his arrest. Hmm. I smell Libby Dekaan (Molly Price) behind this one. Did the scientist testing the water give something up? Either way, young Hawk is in the clink.
Everything really gets heated once Eddie and Sarah meet down there. He’s pissed because it’s clearly out of his hands. But Hawk doesn’t even want him there, and Sarah gets hot under the collar about her estranged husband calling Meyerism a cult. Compounded by the fact a domestic terrorism charge is on the books. The Meyerist lawyer is all about “the Light” and that’s terrifying, both to the viewer and definitely to Eddie.
Back at the compound, Cal talks to Abe about the death of his child; or, what he believes was the death of Abe’s child. We know that Cal is digging, we know that Abe is undercover. It’s one of the best types of Hitchcock schemes where you show the audience the bomb under the table, then let them sweat until it explodes. Whenever that may be. As it stands, Abe – aka Sam – is recruited by Cal to help them suss out the rat. Oh, really? Could mean ramifications for Meyerism if Abe’s privy to anything sensitive. Maybe just a way for Cal to reel him in closer.
Later on Sarah’s letting the kids see Eddie comes out, upsetting her mother Gab (Deirdre O’Connell) and father Hank (Peter Friedman) a bit. Although grandma reassures young Summer (Aimee Laurence) that Hawk’s predicament has nothing to do with them seeing their “denier” father. This further brings out tension between Gab and Hank, about the presence of Kodiak, why he left many years ago.
All the pressure comes down on Eddie, too. He returns to his prayers, to his Meyerist roots. I hope it doesn’t suck him back in permanently.


Sean (Paul James) has a sourcing session with Cal and Richard. Essentially, the younger man tells his leader exactly how things are going to go. Such as they need a new fridge, he and Mary (Emma Greenwell). None of this seems normal to Richard, certainly, and you can see the strain on Cal. Without many words Sean made clear he won’t be sitting by silently, not forever.
In prison, Hawk comes up against other ideologies. A black inmate (Hubert Point-Du Jour) from his cell challenges his Meyerist shit. He tries to show Hawk that things aren’t as simple and as loving and equal as his book The Ladder makes the world look.
Over at Dekaan, Eddie lays out his plan when he and Sarah confront Libby. Turns out she has a son who won’t talk with her anymore. Even has him on the phone. This doesn’t exactly appease her, though it made a difference. “Youre sadistic,” she tells Eddie as she leaves. Not long after, Sarah and her husband connect again, if only for a moment.
Mary receives a visit from Cal, looking mighty angry. He doesn’t like blackmail. She has him wrapped around her finger. But how long will it last? And it’s a dangerous game for her to play. Given what we know about Cal’s impulse control.


Together again, Richard and Cal sit. Only  now the sourcer is being sourced. Cal’s asked questions, then he comes clean about a mole in their legions. However, Richard wonders why the FBI is even poking around in the first place. He can so clearly see the lies in Cal, anybody can. He all but runs away after they’re finished. Leaving behind his old friend to wonder exactly what the leader is up to, and how bad things are going to get sooner than later.
Sarah and Eddie, after making love, lie together and talk about life, calm, open. He talks about being struck by lightning when she comes across the tree-like scar on his back. More and more, Eddie’s secrets are revealed.
That night in prison one of Hawk’s cellmates tries to touch his hair all creepy in the dark, which prompts him to freak out. This starts a fight and now things are likely looking worse for Hawk. Aside from that he gets further into the speech of his black cellmate, who preaches to his friends in the prison yard. I wonder if this whole experience will alter Hawk’s worldview.
Abe goes on leading his search effort for the Meyerist mole. In the doctor’s office they find a burner cellphone taped under the patient’s bed. Shelby (Allison Layman) denies it being hers, yet Cal and Russel believe otherwise.


Hawk gets released from the Juvenile Hall to find his father waiting. But Eddie only wants to make things better, right between them. And the ever ungrateful, foolishly idealistic Hawk turns his back on his father, wishing they’d left him in jail. Lots of people are turning their backs. For instance, Shelby is now cast out, and I sort of worry for Abe’s ethis at this point. He knows he’s the one undercover. Shelby is sent away, crying, with him left to do more work. Might’ve been the best thing for the woman, I don’t know. Just brings other elements into the picture when considering Abe as a character.
Sarah has to go down and see farmer Marshall Small (Tracy Howe). He is outright disgusted with her, particularly with his latest sick cow. She tries softening the blow, but it doesn’t do much. Because Marshall opens up his poor cow, spewing black, tar-like liquid into Sarah’s face: “I dont need to have the water tested. I know whats in the fuckinwater.” The animal’s veins are nearly entirely filled with poison.
screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-11-31-41-pmWow. That’s one of the more intense episodes and final moments of any yet on The Path. Very interested to see where all the threads lead from here. Many possibilities, none of them anything other than grim.

The Path – Season 2, Episode 4: “The Red Wall”

Hulu’s The Path
Season 2, Episode 4: “The Red Wall”
Directed by Michael Slovis
Written by John O’Connor

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Father and The Son” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Why We Source” – click here
screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-3-13-15-pmLast we saw Eddie Lane (Aaron Paul) he got punched out poolside while drinking with old friend and possible new flame Chloe Jones (Leven Rambin). He was then carted into the ER having a bad reaction to the booze. Will he be okay? Is it a physical reaction, or a more emotional one?
We start with Sarah Lane (Michelle Monaghan), listening to a tape of Lisa Jackson (Megan Byrne) when she came to Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy) and Meyerism. She was helped, now Cal wants his return on that investment. Because these are exactly the types of things he does, he puts in a good deed to make up for the bad he’ll do, and so the vicious cycle goes. Now Sarah wants the tax exempt status in order to quell her guilt knowing what Cal’s done. At this point she’s no better than him, either.
Back to Eddie, he’s awake and in the hospital. Doctor Sally Hollins (Gretchen Hall) talks with him about why he’s there, why he lost it at the pool, the fight, all that. Chloe told Dr. Hollins about him spending “the last two decades in a cult” and now the doctor wants to help. Although this is nothing but opening a wound for Eddie. Especially when his brother’s suicide comes up.
screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-3-17-44-pmThings get trickier for Lisa, too. She’s been summoned to the compound, and this frightens her. So she goes to Abe Gaines (Rockmond Dunbar) and the authorities. But none of it’s easy, not for Lisa, not for Abe and the law. The higher-ups want the Meyerists taken care of, soon. Yet Gaines worries Cal will manipulate Lisa. Still no telling how Abe’s undercover work is going to go in the end, we might see something nasty happen. Right now they’ve got Lisa with a recording device, heading into the meeting willingly. Uh oh. Even Abe doesn’t look too sure about any of it.
Everyone sees Cal differently. Hawk (Kyle Allen) buys into his bullshit, as do many of the others, Noa (Britne Oldford) and certainly Mary (Emma Greenwell). However, we can see, more and more, how Sean (Paul James) looks at him with contempt. There’s an inevitable confrontation. At the same time we see the sadness of one of Cal’s lectures, as they each take turns changing the colour of the wall. All visualisation. Seeing everybody excited like they’re literally watching it change is soul crushing. And now Sean can see through Cal. It hurts for many reasons, not only because that baby’s likely not his, but rather most of all because he actually let Cal hypnotise him into that way of life.
Richard (Clark Middleton) and Kodiak (James Remar) aren’t stopping in their quest. They don’t know who hurt Steve (Keir Dullea). Kodiak is intent on finding who did, Cal or not, by any means necessary. While Richard’s worried big accusations will “harm the movement” and, rightfully, wants proof. They’ll eventually discover one kill Cal has under his belt, sooner or later I’m sure. But was it him who killed Steve? Could it have been Eddie?


At the hospital Sarah arrives to see Eddie, who isn’t impressed he’s being followed. Is he? I believe it, though I also believe she had nothing to do with that. Probably Cal, knowing his devious nature. Sarah keeps talking about knowing “your damage” and using all the Meyerist buzzwords. Simultaneously, Eddie rejects the movement and loves his wife deeply. One of the saddest parts of any of the plots in The Path.
Over in the new building Cal runs into a man who’s now homeless because of the building the Meyerists bought. He also gets a bottle tossed at him in the dark. Oh, the joys of being in a cult!
Dr. Hollins diagnoses Eddie with PTSD, giving him medication to soothe the anxiety, et cetera. She refers him to a support group, as well. “Youre free now, Mr. Lane, and you can have a wonderful, productive life.” To which he has no real response. He knows it’s true, and all the same, isn’t it tough to admit you’ve spent a huge portion of your life working towards a fraudulent goal? I think so. Eddie is caught between so many things. On top of that could be the guilt of killing Steve. At least he’s got Chloe around, she does care for him and wants to see him escape the cult, sheltered life he was living behind for good.
Hawk has a charged moment with Noa, as she rejects him for being a “boy” when they’re at a private concert together. What we do see is that Hawk’s not totally lost in the movement. Not yet, anyways. That is coming quickly. In other news, Sarah flips at Cal for having her husband followed. Then they get into their shared darkness. We see in this scene, as we do others, how the people in a cult – even the leaders – start at a point where they want to do good, they even are good people, and somewhere along the line that disappears, fading into obscurity as the individual good winds up above the good of the whole.
Cal: “You cant win. Someone always suffers.”
screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-3-34-53-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-09-at-3-39-21-pmThe day of Lisa’s visit to the commune comes. Before Cal can go meet her, Kodiak hauls him aside; he’s found a rabbit eating his strawberries. He asks Cal about the “weight of leadership” on his shoulders. Or does he see the weight of something else, and this is his way to get under the new leader’s skin? Oh, I think he’s a tricky one, that Kodiak.
Once Lisa gets to her meeting, she finds out she’s meeting Sarah. Hmm. Now Sarah brings up everything about when Lisa was there, how they helped her. This is a wildly tense scene. Then Lisa reveals she’s recording them, silently, and the meeting is over. The law thwarted. A situation getting more crazy by the minute.
Speaking of crazy, Sean goes to see Eddie. About his doubts. They sit and talk together, Sean worries about his child – that’s not his – with Mary, and everything else bearing down on him. Eddie says he wishes he could be with his family: “But, I cant have that,” he says solemnly. He tries to tell Sean that it’s all about his life with Mary, their marriage, nothing else.
Eddie: “No one can change the colour of a white wall


Later, we find out Noa’s mother is a music mogul, of some sort. Sarah then tells Cal about giving Lisa the tape of her ‘unburdening’ back, after she revealed the recording device on her. We hear more of her tape, too. She hit a kid on a scooter, a street kid she says. And then she lived with the guilt. So finally, Cal figures out there’s somebody undercover in their ranks. This visibly has him shaken; Sarah’s equally disturbed.
And Eddie, he’s decided to start taking his medication. He sees further how the damage of the cult spreads. First him, now Sean, and countless more will come eventually. He even takes off his ring, heads out to a support group and introduces himself.
Can he turn the page on Meyerism? Or will events now out of his control pull him back into the void?


Fuck, what a great series! This second season is stellar, no matter what others say. Plenty of material to keep going, plus there’s a couple extra episodes this time around.

The Path – Season 2, Episode 3: “The Father and The Son”

Hulu’s The Path
Season 2, Episode 3: “The Father and The Son”
Directed by Michael Slovis
Written by Julia Brownell

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Dead Moon” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Red Wall” – click here
screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-10-24-17-pmWe begin with Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy) giving us a talk on Meyerism, saying it must not “remain static” – these are actually the words of Dr. Steven Meyer (Keir Dullea), as he talks of Cal and Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) being Guardians of the Light. Meanwhile, we flashback with Richard (Clark Middleton) to his first time taking the drugs the Meyerists do. He trips hard then Dr. Meyer comes out to comfort him. And imparts that it isn’t for him to decide who’ll lead them after he’s gone isn’t up to him: “Thats up to the Light, man.” Ah. Now, he’s got doubts about Cal and the supposed words of the doctor coming from his lips.
screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-10-24-47-pmIn other news, Mary Cox (Emma Greenwell) is worried about first time motherhood, so the cult prays for her; Abe Gaines (Rockmond Dunbar), undercover, included. Then out of nowhere, police arrive. You can see just from the look on Cal’s face this worries him. Their mere presence enough to disturb that quiet underneath the surface. Likewise, Sarah’s worried, and she isn’t as good as Cal at hiding it; not that he’s great. Well the cops were there about Hawk (Kyle Allen) and Noa (Britne Oldford) throwing a rock through a window on their previous night walk. Nothing too serious right now.
Speaking of Hawk, he and his father Eddie (Aaron Paul) talk about the retreat he went on, that he “floated” and that he received a sign. When his dad brings the sceptical real world into the picture Hawk does not respond well. The kid doesn’t want anything to do with his denier father anymore. These are the first steps of Hawk’s indoctrination, fully he’s being submerged in the dangerous side of this so-called faith; the side convincing him, in his youthful idealism, that there’s something real about “the ladder” and all the other Meyerist nonsense. And he’s stuck between one parent who’s come to their senses, as well as another that’s also stuck between a rock and a hard place with her own faith. Later, Sarah takes Hawk to see the woman whose window he smashed, Libby Ducaan (Molly Price). She makes an offer: she’ll not worry about the window at all, if they “stop their campaign of false propaganda” involving the people of Clarksville. Libby even provides result of the tests on the water, to show she’s on the level. Is she? Or are we seeing another aspect of a cult where they can’t even see how their philanthropic ideals, in a rush to ‘be good’ in the eyes of the outer world, are being misused?
screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-10-29-53-pmThen we’ve got Abe and his wife Jocelyn (Jasmin Walker). Things aren’t going well. She knows that he’s doing important work undercover, she’s understanding. But it’s all Abe talks about, and simultaneously she has had to bear all his training, all his work, all this undercover stuff taking up his time. She feels as if the family’s being alienated. And y’know, we already see Abe getting too close to Nicole (Ali Ahn), so it’s not hard to imagine he might be slipping into Meyerism a little.
Kodiak (James Remar) is feeling terrible about what happened to Steve, believing he let the man down. All the same, Sarah’s mother Gab (Deirdre O’Connell) comforts him; they have a history, these two. I wonder will Kodiak being around cause friction? Seems like there’s an unresolved love there, or at the very least a passion.
In a not unexpected development, Hawk starts opening up to Cal, who begins playing the father figure role. Yeah, that’s going to turn out well. Nevertheless, they bond and Cal willingly steps in to try giving him direction. And across the street Eddie watches, as his son slips away, from him, and further into the cult. So he makes a split decision to confront them. Eddie tries appealing to his boy, he tries to be understanding. He’s desperate. Hawk runs off while Cal puts up a tough front, and Eddie makes clear: “I will fucking murder you before I let you take him from me.”
Together, Richard and Kodiak look over the final few Rungs, the former believing Steve didn’t write the last three Rungs. And Kodiak’s inclined to believe he didn’t. They wonder now if the man drawn on the cave in Peru, involved in Steve’s death, was in fact Cal.

screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-10-50-10-pmMary goes for a talk with Sarah. She reveals that her baby may or may not belong to Sean (Paul James). She’s concerned that he’ll be devastated finding out the child isn’t his (no telling what Cal will do if he knew for sure). However, Sarah has other things on her mind. Eddie contacts his estranged wife. They met and he’s clearly angry about Hawk, what Cal and possibly Sarah are putting in his head. No telling where all this is headed, but I know it ain’t good.
Note: Truly fantastic score from Will Bates (Imperium). In the next scene, this pounding rhythm takes over and drives the tension you feel mounting. This goes on for a stretch of time, as paranoia begins setting in.
On the road Eddie notices someone following him. Does he? Soon the car vanishes, and he’s relieved. Then at a gas station the car pulls up, a young guy gets out. Quickly, Eddie pumps his gas and takes off. He meets Chloe Jones (Leven Rambin) for a drink at a casino, telling her about all the madness of his life as of late. When Eddie sees the guy from the gas station this sets his paranoid mind off, big time: “Im not letting them control me, okay?” he all but yells at Chloe.
When Sarah talks to Hawk, he says he’s filled with rage. And therefore Cal will help him “channel” all that. Like an unknowingly oxymoronic statement. He further rejects his father, and his mother worries for what she can’t say: Cal is a god damned murderer, one who’s killed his own friend. Super choice of a role model. Somehow Sarah continues falling for him and she’s, essentially, asking him to offer up money in exchange for her silence re: his sins.
screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-10-59-22-pmFinally, Mary suggests to Sean the baby may not be his, and without words confirms she may be carrying Cal’s child. Uh oh. I wonder, will Sean let his old self through and take out his frustrations on the cult leader?
Sarah finds out Ducaan’s testing isn’t complete. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are needed to do the rest, which is, of course, why nobody has found anything major yet as proof. But she knows there’s something wrong. She’s trying to reassure a Clarksville farmer they’re doing their best to help. “I will take on your burden,” Sarah tells him before taking a drink of the contaminated water herself. Stupid faith, and now poison, runs through her veins.
In a car park Cal confronts Lisa about their tax exempt status. He wants their application pushed through, though she says exemptions are being pushed back for a while. Cal wants to be repaid for Meyerism helping her in a time of need. He’s being unbearably creepy, physically threatening without ever uttering a threat or raising a hand.
And while everyone else goes on with their lives, Richard and Kodiak summon the spirit of Dr. Steven Meyer. They beat drums, hoping to speak with him. Kodiak reveals Steve is “not in the light.”
Worst of all, Eddie starts having a bad reaction to the alcohol he drank with Chloe. He’s rushed to a hospital, his breathing staggered, his face going deep red. Will he make it through?


I loved this episode. The personal tensions between characters are coming to a head, and the family of Lanes is coming apart at the seams. Like a juggling act, seeing who’ll be able to carry the biggest emotional load, and who’ll succumb to defeat.

The Path – Season 2, Episode 2: “Dead Moon”

Hulu’s The Path
Season 2, Episode 2: “Dead Moon”
Directed by Michael Weaver
Written by Annie Weisman

* For a recap & review of Season 2 opener, “Liminal Twilight” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Father and The Son” – click here
screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-12-42-35-amSarah (Michelle Monaghan) has seen the skeletal remains of Silas in the ground, unearthed by Cal (Hugh Dancy) at her request. She’s trying to work through the emotional baggage, as Richard (Clark Middleton) guides her in their Scientology-like therapy. He thinks that Eddie (Aaron Paul) is a constant source of disruption and pain in her life. He brings up Eddie’s trip to Peru, after the pair separated. But Sarah refutes his playing a part in her damage right now.
Meanwhile, Eddie’s off with Hawk (Kyle Allen) and Summer. The older child is still unhappy about his father’s leaving the commune, leaving them, essentially. Dad continually tries to do his best and to make them happy.
At the same time Abe Gaines (Rockmond Dunbar) is catching Mark Penetti (Matt Bailey) up on his undercover investigation into Cal Roberts and the Meyerist movement. Things are going smooth, and Penetti seems invested. Career is looking up for ole Abe. Unless something bad happens along the way.


When passing over the kids, Sarah talks to Eddie for a minute. She’s upset, though. She hates being apart and at once won’t let go of Meyerism, she’s trapped in her delusion that it’s all worth what they’re giving up (i.e. their intelligence, their lives, and much, much more).
And other things crop up at the ranch. The movement isn’t going to get their tax-exempt status like planned, a snag’s come into play. Just another bit of stress for Cal. More faith lost on the part of everyone else, especially Sarah. He’s not listening to Steve, who told them never get “involved with the government.” Needless to say the pair of Cal and Sarah are growing further apart, and they’re struggling to stay united as one; all a farce for their followers.
At home, Eddie meditates. Then in juxtaposition he’s out in front of a ton of big screen television sets, everything so loud and so modern and it’s as if the world is right inside his head. The real world is too loud. Almost like he was in prison. And in a way, he was in a cell. Only one constructed from the mind.
Mary Cox (Emma Greenwell) continues to get further into the fold. She and Nicole (Ali Ahn) bond over babies, motherhood, breastfeeding, and such. They talk about mixed race children, considering that Mary and Sean (Paul James) are expecting. But that’s all a cover: Mary’s worried the baby won’t have any trace of her man, and that it’ll be clear Cal fathered him or her. Should be a tense pregnancy.


Eddie goes to check on Sarah, but things devolve into an argument over Peru before he takes off again. He knows there’s something going on. Now it’s worse, as he sees Sarah ready for a big cocktail party of some sort. This makes Eddie worry about what’s going on between Cal and his estranged wife.
Out in the woods, Russell (Patch Darragh) leads a retreat for the 1Rs, such as Hawk, who are getting more and more indoctrinated into the Meyerist movement. It’s a journey in darkness: “Tonight, youll have to find the Light inside of you.”
Cal and Sarah are out at a party, showing off Mary after her battle with drugs. They talk about their focus on social justice, and plenty of other issues. One interesting note: Sarah decides to have a drink, shocking Cal in front of their friends. Hmm, that’s not a good sign. However, she’s just fine. It’s Cal that isn’t doing well, watching others around him indulge while he can’t even face his own demons. Things between him and Mary are getting stranger, plus the fact Sean can tell there’s something not quite right in the way Cal treats his wife.
And then Eddie, he’s out having a guilt-free date with Chloe Jones (Leven Rambin), after assuming his wife is out doing the same thing. They’re having a chat, some drinks over a meal. Will anything more come of it? They’re both obviously interested in one another. Still, Eddie does love his wife despite the few feelings stirring for Chloe in his newfound freedom. Things start breaking down after she talks about the cult, asking questions, making him uncomfortable. It’s all mixed in with the fact Chloe used to be with his brother Johnny before he died. She’s lost and believes he found “answers” in the Meyerist movement. Or at least she doesn’t judge him for fleeing into the arms of a cult after what happened. Through it all they actually do fall into each others arms.
In the midst of the party, Cal calls everybody out for their rich bullshit. For a killer he is awfully high and mighty. This is one large portion of what Cal is all about, thematically. He represents, quite literally (and very well), the hypocrisy of those who sit in power of some movement, whether an organised church or something lesser like Meyerism; they do their nastiness out of the public eye, then preach on the pulpit within the same breath.
screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-1-10-54-amscreen-shot-2017-01-26-at-1-15-59-amSimultaneously, Sarah and Eddie get intimate with other people. This is an intense scene, both for the viewer and the characters. You can see Eddie’s initial reluctance, before he goes headlong into making love to Chloe. For her part, Sarah refuses her would-be lover and walks out. All the while Cal is being taken to town by the Ridges for making the guests look ridiculous. When the would-be lover emerges, he taunts Cal, and the whimsically hypocritical Cal lays a punch into him, for everyone to see. Ah, the monster emerges, further each day.
Those aren’t the only relationship troubles. Sean’s getting less happy with the way Cal brought them out like trophies. Whereas Mary liked having someone show her off after a lifetime of abuse. Her husband hates how Cal touches her – “Like he owns you” – and rightfully so, as it’s weird, and creepy, and symptomatic of a larger, more unsettling problem of which Sean is still sadly unaware.
NOTE: Watch how many times Cal is cast in shadows. Whether he’s fully submerged, or just a part of his face obscured, there’s often a shadowy light over him when onscreen. I’ve noticed it more this season, but I know they’ve done this in Season 1 at least a few times, too. Great technique. In this episode, as he and Sarah talk about his “living, waking hell” of guilt, Cal is literally divided by shadow: one side of his face is visible, the other darkened totally. Such a slight thing that some might cast off, but in this scene we see that hypocritical side of his character given to us totally through imagery, you don’t even have to pay attention to his dialogue (though you should). Testament to some of the well executed techniques of this series and those who make it.

screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-1-24-20-amSarah knows Cal is devious, that he is a murderer. And yet she continues on, for the sake of her own soul, for the sake of others. With every bad deed comes a few good ones, he redeems himself then undoes it, like clockwork. It sucks her back in every time. And waking up in bed with another woman, Eddie remembers the better times he had within the movement, with his wife. Everybody’s stuck in some way.
Now Hawk is stuck. Because he’s having a vision, of lifting off the ground. Some of that gorgeous magic realism in The Path. Except it’s bittersweet, as Hawk finds himself mired in the movement further. I feel a tragic end to his story, and it’s going to devastate me, if so.
screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-1-29-14-amAnother great episode. I love this series, unabashed. Can’t wait for the next episode, these first two got me back in the spirit! The actors are all pulling their weight, times ten. The writing’s getting better. Don’t listen to those who complain: judge for yourself. And let me know what you think in the comments.

Digging Up the Past in THE TRIANGLE

The Triangle. 2016. Directed & Written by David Blair, Nathaniel Peterson, Adam Pitman, Andrew Rizzo, & Adam Stilwell.
Starring Andrew Rizzo, Lee Rizzo, Brick Patrick, Nathaniel Peterson, Ciara Rose Griffin, John Budge, Nicholas Daue, Hendra Mylnechuk, Andy Greenfield, & Karen Jean Olds.
Firework Brain/BadFritter Films.
Not Rated. 94 minutes.
Horror/Mystery

★★★★
img_3997When found footage films go for different concepts from what we see so often, there’s always a bit of worth in watching them. Not that it automatically makes them good; not at all. But credit where credit’s due. Every inch of found footage could be the exact same plot, over and over, if it weren’t for a few great titles out there. Even a few that follow the repeatedly lifted plot of The Blair Witch Project are still good, simply for the fact they’re actually scary.
The Triangle is a horror, yet it isn’t traditional. Having loved Ti West’s The Sacrament and its fictionalised retelling of the tragic Jim Jones story, my initial worry with this movie was that it might follow too closely in line with his, either ripping it off or just feeling way too similar to be any good. It actually goes in its own unique direction, to surprising lengths. The story starts out as a real documentary, in that the postcard these guys receive from an old friend is true to life. From there, reality gives way to beautifully organic plot, to strange horror bordering on science fiction.
This is one found footage flick that has great camerawork, which is an added bonus to all the weird, wild plot developments over the course of a lean 94 minutes. You won’t quite know what to expect, and part of that works on your nerves. A lot of complaints I see online are simply due to the slow burn plot. So, if that’s not your thing maybe you’re not the target audience here. I’d still suggest giving it a chance because of the unique events that unfold in front of the camera, as well as some of the questions you’ll be left asking later.
img_4001Just starting from the premise it’s an interesting way to begin this faux-documentary. A vague, mysterious opening with the postcard, holding endless possibilities. Wondering about many of those sketchy possibilities is a reason why the initial scene is kind of tense. There’s also this hopeful mood, too. Still, a lingering sense of uneasiness accompanies the postcard and even once they decide to head out after their friend there’s an undeniable apprehension inside them all. Like them, we feel on the precipice of a life changing adventure, never knowing if what’s next could be something terrible dark, or if it’s all worry for no reason. You might doubt your thoughts, which is a recurring feeling, and it’s in those moments The Triangle catches you in its tangled web.
There’s talk in the community, as it is with these types of places, about self-sufficiency. What does that really mean, in the end? What must one sacrifice in order to gain it? Or, do these cult-like people simply give themselves over to something or someone else to replace modern society (et cetera)? Often so-called self-sufficiency in these communes, in reality, requires devotion to an Other: a god, a deity, or in these situations a charismatic leader in Rizzo. And when there are these hierarchical positions amongst supposedly open, free communes, there are always secrets, things kept from people and those people kept in the dark about something. Of course we find this is truer than ever throughout the course of the plot.
Any horror, mystery, thriller needs suspense and tension. If not, there’s nothing to grasp onto and even an interesting story can end up plenty less compelling. From the time these guys get to the Ragnarok commune there’s a great deal of slow, mounting tension while the documentary crew – representative of the modern world, that old society from which the commune tries escaping – clashes with everyone they meet. Not in a totally overt way, either. That’s  one reason why it feels dangerous. There is a gruelling passive-aggressiveness about their behaviour, especially Rizzo; he’s the number one. His sense of domineering status and narcissistic attitude comes out more and more after we get to know him a bit. At first, he doesn’t seem to hold that narcissism. He’s open, welcoming, friendly, foolish. As the time passes this changes, and Rizzo emerges, subtly, as absolutely like all those other cult leaders in history. That’s his, and their, ultimate aim is to talk the talk, walk the walk, no matter what lies behind the veil. Perhaps scarier is the fact Rizzo isn’t the only narcissist in the cult, that he’s a mere figurehead for a main group who all share something in common that others in the commune don’t – what that is, you’ll have to find out on your own. Such a thick tension goes on for a long while, then once the mystery of the plot breaks the impact of the coming horror feels significant. We get time with all the main characters, not only Rizzo, so after having spent that portion of the film getting into their lives and their emotions, et cetera, it’s gripping to watch what goes on past the halfway mark.
img_3999SPOILERS: from here on in there’ll be a bunch of spoilers – turn back, lest ye be spoiled!
The commune is named Ragnarok, based on the Ragnarök of Norse mythology which is most commonly translated to mean “the final destiny of the gods.” Later in the film we discover a core group in the commune has had what they call “the dream” and it’s about being led on a journey by this shapeshifting creature, at the end of which it disappears leaving a dinosaur skull – a tyrannosaurus – and then, as one of them puts it, “at the end of the dream, were gone.” Certainly by the time this dream comes up we’ve seen the skull they’ve dug up in a nearby cave, we get the sense it has an effect on people emitting a high-pitched noise the closer you get to it. When the end of the film comes, the main group from Ragnarok who’ve had the dream are all ill, going a bit crazy, and they wander off up into the hills. We see a flash of light in the cave, and everyone is gone.
What does it all mean? Here’s my take.
One of the purposes of their commune was to try and get back to a time they felt was lost in modern society. These people reject the modern world so much that when it comes time for them to sign releases for the film crew, at first there’s significant contention. This changes, yes, but Rizzo even talks about simply not having time for the logistics because they live in the middle of a desert, no real houses, self-sufficient, so they’ve rejected that entire system of living. Point being, they wanted to go back to a lost time, a time before, another place almost. In the end, as it went in their collective dream, a nearly genderless woman comes to take them up to the dinosaur skull, and then they’ve disappeared (“at the end of the dream, were gone“). Have they been transported through time, back to another place? Did they will it to happen through their collective brain power and wanting it to be true? They strip down, almost in a primitive sense. As if going somewhere closes aren’t needed. Everything speaks to going back to the past. Right on down to the fact they’ve dug up the past, literally, by finding the fossil. We’ll never know where they’ve gone. Not for sure. We can only assume from what we’re given, and it’s good fun trying to piece the puzzle together.
img_4002I’ll probably be in the minority, although I couldn’t care any fucking less. The Triangle is an interesting addition to the found footage heap, definitely nearer to the top of the pile. When I felt it was about to rip off West’s recent Jim Jones-inspired effort, the plot threw me for a loop. Not everything was perfect. Even for a slow burn this one takes its sweet time drawing out the story.
All the same, no matter its mistakes this is a weird, worthy little movie. The camerawork is top notch for found footage, giving it more credibility than about half of them in the sub-genre. Better still, I enjoyed the performances and they help make this faux-documentary feel more like the real thing, giving the emotionally charged moments a sense of gravitas. You can do much worse than this movie, as the suspense does a fine job making the stretched out plot feel like an enjoyable breeze.
The Triangle deserves a watch. At least one. Maybe you’ll be pissed off, having felt it was a waste of time. Or maybe, like me, you’ll enjoy trying to figure out the answers to all the questions left after the finale. Either way, it makes you think. And that can’t be said for so many other found footage horrors out there. This one isn’t filled with shaky camera angles, screams, or even blood. It works on your brain until the last moment.

American Horror Story – My Roanoke Nightmare: “Chapter 2”

FX’s American Horror Story
Season 6, Episode 2: “Chapter 2”
Directed by Michael Goi
Written by Tim Minear

* For a review of Chapter 1, click here.
* For a review of Chapter 3, click here.
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Last we left Matt and Shelby Miller (Cuba Gooding Jr. & Sarah Paulson in the “dramatic reenactment“; André Holland & Lily Rabe in the documentary-style clips), things were bad. Shelby’s lost in the woods, finding a strange torch wielding cult (including Wes Bentley) and a man whose skull has been… partially removed. The strange woman Shelby thought she’d run over chants in the darkness (Kathy Bates), a group of people surround a man having a pigtail nailed to him. Terribly creepy little cuts.
After running and running, Shelby stops a moment. Only to find more madness. “I never thought about what could be in the wilderness, hiding in the dark,” the real Shelby recounts. We see Bates’ character lead a strange ceremony involving a man put up on a cross, a pig’s head stuck on his shoulders. Shelby takes off again until passing out in the middle of the road, where Matt’s sister Lee (Angela Bassett) finds her. Of course it all sounds mad to the police and everyone else. Poor Shelby. God damn. Ultimately she too believes it’s the “mountain men” trying to drive them out of the house.
A very bad, tragic misunderstanding.
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We get to see more about Lee now, she and her ex-husband Mason (Charles Malik Whitfield) exchange their daughter Flora (Saniyya Sidney) for a while. Yeah, that’s a great fucking idea. Bring a little girl into a haunted house, or at the very least a house out in the country being laid siege to by hillbillies. Anyway, things kick off real quick once Lee finds Flora talking to somebody upstairs. Who? Oh, just somebody named Priscilla. Who isn’t there. A ghost? Or something more? Lee does the smart thing and pries a bit. “She said shes tired of all the blood,” Flora responds when questioned about Priscilla and her bonnet. When Lee literally finds one laying around, she gets spooked.
The great thing about any haunted house film or show is that part of everything is the human, psychological drama happening. There’s Lee and her girl, as well as Matt and Shelby, everyone with their own issues, taking things in differently.
That night more pig noises come from outside. Shelby takes action and insists on tracking them down, so Matt tags along. In the dark, out amongst the trees, they get separated. As one would expect from any horror. When they find each other, they come across a large stick figure with a pig’s head on top, roasting in fire; the skin and meat hanging below dripping into the flames. “This was beyond having a cross burned on your lawn. There was something demonic about it.” the real Matt speaks through voice-over.
With a bit more evidence this time, the police reluctantly look into what’s happening around the Miller’s place. Then a phone call comes through to Matt in the night. Except the phone’s disconnected. In the shadows, he finds an apparition: mean nurses tending to an old, frail and sickly woman named Margaret (Irene Roseen). They can’t hear Matt, but he watches on as one of the nurses tells their patient “Youve been warned” before blowing her brains out with a revolver. Now he’s seeing terrifying things, it isn’t only Shelby anymore.

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This incident sets things into a frenzy. The police, as suspected, can’t find anything to backup Matt’s story. He starts questioning the integrity of his brain, literally, after the incident in the city. Problem is the cops are gradually getting less interested in helping, which isn’t all that abnormal by real world standards.
When Mason shows up for Flora, they can’t find her. It used to be a game she played with them. This time, not finding her may have something to do with the house. They find Flora in a crawlspace talking to Priscilla, who disappears quickly. Apparently Flora tried to make a trade: a doll for their lives. Seems Priscilla is homicidal. And it’s not just her. Flora warns her parents: “Theyre going to kill us all. And save me for last.” Fuck. That’s eerie. Dad hauls his daughter off and things aren’t looking any better for Lee as a mother. Especially considering she started drinking afterwards, off the wagon again. She broke a few things. Shelby’s not happy to find knives in the ceiling, although we can guess that probably wasn’t Lee. Those nurses are creeping about, too. In her drunken state Lee sees a lot of things from pigtails to pig heads and it’s one bad hangover she’s headed for in the morning.
There’s a little girl hanging around outside to boot, which sends Matt and Shelby outside. They come to a trap door with a ladder leading below ground a ways; hmm. Inside are a number of things including tapes in a camcorder. On them is a man named Dr. Elias Cunningham (Denis O’Hare). He speaks frantically saying things like “Im not what I am” and generally in distress over “forces that will not let me sleep.” He speaks of the house and its forces wanting to kill him. He further assures the viewer he’s not crazy. Then Cunningham tells us of his book about two nurses – Miranda and Bridget Jane. Oh yes, you guessed which nurses. Twisted bitches. They killed people with specific names to spell out MURDER. Everything got even wilder as it went on turning into one of those epic, insane tales of true crime.

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More craziness to set the Millers off. Peeling away wallpaper, Matt finds the unfinished word MURDE written on the wall. Everything gets more real at this point. They keep on listening to Cunningham’s rambling tape. Doesn’t help any, except to frighten the shit out of them further. Scariest yet is when the tormented doctor heads inside the house with only his camcorder, night vision on, to guide him through the silent hallways. “Show yourself,” he yells to whatever’s in the dark. Before something, someone appears and startles him. And downstairs, a butcher’s knife with blood on it is stuck in the front door.
They just wanted to leave. Not so easy, though. No getting out of that mad house. Everything amps up a notch after Lee shows up with Flora again. When she’s clearly not supposed to have here there. More of that impulsive Lee behaviour already. Her brother tries to talk sense into her. Shelby tries talking the ex-husband down from calling the cops.
But can Mason get there to take his daughter away before anything worse happens? The little girl whom I assume to be Priscilla beckons Flora to come outside, out near the trap door in the field. Then she goes missing. The adults start to search frantically.
In a clearing, Lee finds her daughter’s yellow sweater at the top of a thin, ridiculously tall tree, its trunk looking almost stained with blood. They stand below, not sure what to do next.
And what can they do?

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Very pumped for “Chapter 3” next week. Some people keep complaining, and I have no idea why. I love the re-enactment stuff, it adds a fun twist to the show. I’m still feeling like there’s going to be an angle to all that. Just like My Amityville Horror had its drama, My Roanoke Nightmare is going to bring something with that faux-documentary posing as a real documentary. Mark my words.
Also, did you catch Lady Gaga in her brief appearance? She shows up a couple times early on. Very unnerving look to her character. Can’t wait for more, of everything!

Dead of Summer – Season 1, Episode 10: “She Talks to Angels”

Freeform’s Dead of Summer
Season 1, Episode 10: “She Talks to Angels”
Directed by Steve Miner
Written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz

* For a review of the previous episode, “Home Sweet Home” – click here
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The finale is directed by none other than Friday the 13th Parts II and III alumni, Steve Miner! Very exciting, as we finish off Dead of Summer‘s wildly fun and unpredictable first season.
Amy (Elizabeth Lail) has been fully taken over by Malphas, as the rest of the crew are left without much clue. Jessie (Paulina Singer), Deputy Garrett (Alberto Frezza), and Alex (Ronen Rubinstein) only have the camera with all of Joel’s (Eli Goree) taped material. At least they have some kind of proof. For now, if Malphas doesn’t decide to eradicate that, or them, too.
They shove off from Camp Stillwater, each unsuspecting of the evil still lurking in Amy. When the cop car Garrett drives goes dead, the battery suddenly shutting off, things get spooky. The demon in Amy reveals itself, saying that Holyoke (Tony Todd) left the “last piece of his soul” inside Jessie. Worst is when Amy brings out the dead t0 help her – Joel, Cricket (Amber Coney) – and now everything is scarier than ever before.
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Garrett sees his father Jack (Dan Payne) out on the dock at Camp Stillwater. He disappears into thin air. Then he wakes up. It’s the day before all the counsellors show up for summer in 1989. He tells Sheriff Boyd Heelan (Charles Mesure), a.k.a the teacher. But no real help there, clearly. I guess hanging out with a weirdo you don’t yet know is a weirdo would be much better than where they are now, running from Malphas and his legion of undead.
How do we stop a demon?” asks Alex. Right before they discover a bunch of murdered corpses in the cabin. Afterwards, Malphas drops in to cause a bit of mischief. Meanwhile, bussing all the kids away from camp Drew (Zelda Williams) and Blair (Mark Indelicato) get an eerie, urgent warning from the little boy who used to see Holyoke. He tells them to go back; their friends need help.
And they do. Garrett’s hurt, although he makes sure Jessie and Alex know: “This is bigger than us.” They’re forced to leave him behind. Such is the case when you’re in a supernatural horror mystery for real, I guess.
A flashback takes us to Blair before camp. Cricket comes to see him with a new mix tape. He’s busy washing HOMO off his car; so sad. She tries to assure him things will change now that they’re finished high school. He’s a romantic, though, and wanted to meet a guy. Sadly they take about it being “me and you forever” and things we know can’t come true because of her untimely death. In their present situation, Blair and Drew try calling the cops. I don’t know if that’ll do any good. Kudos to the writers: not often in horror does anybody actually try the police.

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Lots of creepy shit is happening now in the woods. Alex and Jessie come across Blotter’s severed head on a tether-ball pole. At the same time, Malphas-Amy is calling out to anybody left at camp to play a game of capture the flag. Except the flag “is Jessie,” the demon cackles through the speakers. That scene honestly felt like it came right out of Stephen King. Dig it.
When the cops arrive at Stillwater they’re greeted by Amy – similar to how she looked as child, informing the firefighter her family is dead: “Theyre dead. Theyre all dead.” Only problem being that she now has the place totally under control. Over the speakers, Malphas-Amy talks in the policeman’s voice; the one she’s dispatched. Because the demon needs more blood to fill the lake.
Alex tries going head-on with the demon. He gets an axe to the chest, savage and bloody. Yikes. A quick and nasty death for the poor Russian immigrant, just looking for a better life. Now, Jessie is on her own out in the forest with the demon hunting her down. Soon enough she finds Garrett, Drew, and Blair.
Either way, Jessie lures Malphas-Amy into a cabin where they circle her inside purified water along the floor. In the other cabin Garrett plays the music from Holyoke’s recording, but there’s nothing on it anymore. Remember when Amy stroked the wax before they discovered she was still possessed? I knew it. God damn you, Malphas!
Well the shit hits the fan. Undead Joel, Cricket, Deb, they all show up.
Ah – Garrett remembers the tape. It has the music on it. So he broadcasts it through the walkie into the cabin, causing Malphas-Amy and the undead great pain, repelling them.
And when Malphas is weakest, Jessie plants an axe right into Amy’s head. The blood runs out of her, the demon returning to Lake Stillwater and disappearing below the surface, hopefully never to return again.

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They’ve survived, those who are left – Garrett, Jessie, Blair, and Drew. Out in the water, the dead wade back down to the depths. A fitting goodbye to them all, as the friends watch them all go.
Plus, Townie and Braces are once again together. Or are they? He’s just a ghost. I knew it, again! He died out on that bench in the woods. Love allowed him to linger on as a spirit; the light from Holyoke gifted him the extra time to help. That’s better than what I predicted before – him becoming another undead during the last big fight.
The three remaining souls walk themselves out of Camp Stillwater, for the final time. Ghostly Garrett heads into the water of the lake, to his friends, and his father. A place for everything and every thing in its place. Life moves on with Jessie going to college, Blair and Drew road tripping to Seattle for a Bowie concert (and totally in love with each other). All is well once more.
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I honestly loved this show’s first season. Hoping there’ll be a Season 2. While it wasn’t perfect, it both played up to the horror genre tropes and also subverted expectations in that regards, as well. It didn’t have to be perfect. The nostalgia, without going too overboard, along with decent writing and interesting characters made for lots of fun.
And now Stillwater’s up for rent. What could happen there? Oooooooooh.

Dead of Summer – Season 1, Episode 9: “Home Sweet Home”

Freeform’s Dead of Summer
Season 1, Episode 9: “Home Sweet Home”
Directed by Alrick Riley
Written by Ian B. Goldberg

* For a review of the previous episode, “The Devil Inside” – click here
* For a review of the finale, “She Talks to Angels” – click here
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Heading into our penultimate Season 1 episode, Joel (Eli Goree) is dead, and the others have now discovered that Holyoke (Tony Todd) isn’t the madman they thought he was, nor is anything as it seems.
A young woman hitches a ride to Camp Stillwater, saying she’s worried about a friend. Hmm.
Amy (Elizabeth Lail) is possessed. Everyone is prepared to do what they can to turn her back into who she was once upon a time. At Holyoke’s cabin, Garrett (Alberto Frezza), Jessie (Paulina Singer), and Alex (Ronen Rubinstein) prepare to do a “purification” on Amy, to try and get the demon out of her. Holyoke explains what must be done, as well as the fact it’s not going to be easy. At all.
While the counsellors are trying to get rid of the demon, Deb Carpenter (Elizabeth Mitchell) busses the campers off, as Blair (Mark Indelicato) and Drew (Zelda Williams) make preparations of their own.
Everybody’s waiting to face off with the big bad demon. Soon enough.


Back to 1980 – a young Amy doesn’t get much love from her family, mostly just annoyance and misplaced aggression. Her brother is the worst, telling his younger sister their parents don’t want her anymore. She winds up killing her brother’s pet rat, by accident. And we can see that Amy has always been a little different, a little innocent. Meanwhile, in ’89, Holyoke is explaining things about the demon to the young people now helping him. “We must call to the spirits of light,” Holyoke tells them. It all starts with a few hymns on the piano. From the lake something rises. Then Holyoke himself is evaporated into thin air, blood and bone and all.
Nobody is safe.
Once again in ’80, Amy’s brother plays a trick on her. He locks the little girl in their garage and she’s there until morning. A firefighter comes in to find her laying on the floor. This act of childishness by her brother wound up saving her life: Amy’s entire family die of carbon monoxide poisoning after the flue in the fireplace closed. Wow. That’s god damn heavy.
In ’89, the young counsellors and deputy try figuring out what went wrong. Garrett wants to go the original recordings of the hymn Holyoke played. But Jessie wants to “be the spirits of light” on their own. She thinks by using the knowledge they have, the books and notes, so on, they can do the ritual themselves. In order to save Amy’s soul. Reluctantly, Garrett and Alex go along. Not as if they’re wrong to do so. Jessie has her heart in the right place, and also – who the hell knows how anything works in a world filled with ghosts, demons, Satanist cults, and more? Either way, Jessie, Alex, and Garrett do their best to call Amy back to herself, away from the demon. That demon Malphas doesn’t make anything too easy for them, though.
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Blair, Drew, and Deb bus the kids through the woods. Yet the further they go, the thicker a mist appears in front of them. Like a wall. Until blood starts raining down over the bus, covering the windows, frightening all the children. The bus driver heads out to make sure they didn’t smash something onto the road. Big, big mistake, as he gets dragged off into the misty horizon. Something outside scrawls LET ME OUT on the bloody windows.
At the cabin, Malphas uses Amy to toy with each of the counsellors – talking to Garrett in his father’s voice, coming on to Alex with seductive Russian. Not a good time. Jessie and the boys press on with the ritual, and it isn’t any easier on Amy than it is on them. All the pain of her life flows outward. She later bites into Garrett’s neck. Malphas fights to stay in his vessel and they fight against him. Things get real wild once Malphas takes full control, tossing people around the cabin and manipulating everyone/everything in his path. He has Amy prepare Garrett for a hanging, unless Jessie opens the cabin door to let him free.
But I can’t help worry for Deb, out in the woods alone, as Drew and Blair try getting the bus to move. She finds the bus driver, dead and bloody, and something growling in the nearby woods. “If you want someone, take me,” she says in the darkness. Keith (Dylan Neal) comes out of nowhere. To comfort? No, to kill. He strangles Deb telling her all the young people will die, because of her: “You brought her herethe perfect vessel.”
And in the cabin, Jessie allows Malphas to take her as the vessel.
In he goes. So what next?
Alex puts Jessie in the lake water, closing her in. Keith disappears into the lake, the blood clears from the bus and it starts again. All is right once more. Well, not everything. At least Amy’s alive, Garrett is safe, so is Alex. Except Jessie gave herself over to defeat Malphas, which isn’t something Amy feels good about. So she pulls her friend out and tries doing CPR. After a properly dramatic wait, Jessie spits out the water, breathing hard. And defying the prophecy of Holyoke that nobody could survive the process; Jessie is one pure lady!

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When all is said and done Amy takes a moment alone. To say goodbye to the place.
We go back to a month before Camp Stillwater opened. Amy meets Deb at the edge of the lake. She finds that there’s no space for another counsellor – unless a counsellor doesn’t show up, or drops out, the like. So we go to that night when Amy and her friend Margot went to the party; that fateful night. Now, the events are shown in a much different light. All to get to Camp Stillwater, Amy lets her friend go. “Unfortunately there is only room for me,” she chillingly tells Margot before letting her grasp slip. That girl from the opening scene of the episode – it’s a friend who witnessed the aftermath at the party. That’s intriguing. Even more so once she shows up, only to get murdered with an axe by Amy.
Yikes. Poor Deb has really been through the ringer. She has to deal with an axe-wielding Amy, confessing to killing her own family and all the evil she’s been up to, even before Malphas came along. She was an evil little seed, anyway. The demon only made things more epic in nature. Oh, yes – Deb gets the axe, too.
A nice little montage takes us through the deaths at Camp Stillwater, each perpetrated by Amy herself under one of those eerie cult masks made out of wicker. She was there, lurking everywhere. Behind Garrett when he shot the Teacher. When Blotter got his head cut off. Every single death.
And for the time being, Malphas has everyone convinced he’s long gone.
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Wow – this is my favourite episode so far! I loved it. Death, blood, wild revelations, some backstory. All sorts of madness. The finale is titled “She Talks to Angels” and I’m so excited to find out what Dead of Summer has in store for us.

Dead of Summer – Season 1, Episode 7: “Townie”

Freeform’s Dead of Summer
Season 1, Episode 7: “Townie”
Directed by Mairzee Almas
Written by

* For a review of the previous episode, “The Dharma Bums” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Devil Inside” – click here
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In 1982, a pair of little dudes ride bikes and then head to their principals house to “redecorate his car” a.k.a smash the shit out of it. One is more reluctant while little Garrett is the more angry of the two. Then Jack Sykes (Dan Payne) shows up with his partner. He takes his son for dinner, to try and explain to his young boy he needs to calm down. He’s trying too hard to buck back against his dad’s rules, his profession. “Youre fourteen now, its time to decide what kind of man you want to be,” Jack tells his boy.
In ’89, grownup Garrett (Alberto Frezza) is laying out what he knows so far about the creepy cabin up near Camp Stillwater for Sheriff Boyd Heelan (Charles Mesure). He talks about the ritual the Satanist cult members are trying to finish. Next up is “sacrificing an innocent” – or, murder like Garrett makes painfully clear. But does Heelan know more than he lets on? I believe so.
And remember that little kid with Garrett? That’s one of the Satanists, Damon (Andrew J. West). Whoa.
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Boyd and Garrett have a plan. They bring it to Deb Carpenter (Elizabeth Mitchell), although she’s not at all pleased with having all the campers, the counsellors in harm’s way. Sykes wants to use Amy Hughes (Elizabeth Lail) as bait, seeing as how she’s the cult’s main target, so it seems. Well, at least Heelan doesn’t seem too greasy. Yet.
Everybody’s in either way after Amy says she’s willing to do what is necessary. Drew (Zelda Williams), Alex (Ronen Rubinstein), Joel (Eli Goree), Blair (Mark Indelicato), they’re all prepared to help however they can.
At the same time, Damon and his cult are getting ready, too. They have a sacrifice: a nice tongue. A bit of blood never goes astray in serious Satanic worship.
Before anything else, we skip back to ’82 after young Garrett is forced to go to camp. He meets a younger Jessie (Paulina Singer). They begin a bond that will last a long, long time, as he takes part in a team with her for tug-of-war. Mostly he proves how volatile of a temper he has after somebody makes a nasty joke about his mother. We also get the first utterance of their little nicknames – Braces and Townie, though they’re said in anger.
So now in ’89, Sykes and Heelan initiate their plan. Amy sets up for camp games pretending to be unsuspecting, as Heelan hovers waiting in the trees. Then he sees one of the eerie wicker masks drawing him away.
When Garrett goes to check on Amy and talk with the Sheriff, he finds neither of them nearby. Only their radios are found. Further out, Amy wanders as if in a trance until meeting Damon and his cult members, blowing a bloody horn to call her. Now that’s some creepy madness.
’82 again. Garrett’s dad shows up, but not for him. Someone is having visions of a cave, needs to be checked into a psychiatric wing. Hmm. Is that Michael (Lovell Adams-Gray), Joel’s older brother?
Quickly, we’re back to ’89. Garrett frantically looks for Amy, calling back to Deb who further asks everybody to come back in. Blair and Drew are on lookout, not wanting to go back, and he ends up twisting an ankle. Uh oh, that definitely means mayhem coming up; when a character in a horror trips and falls, hurting themselves, you just know there’s a death or a near miss soon. And we get an answer on Michael – when Joel, Jessie, and Alex bring Garrett a picture the young boy Anton (who sees Holyoke) drew earlier: the same cave Joel’s older brother once drew. Daaaamn. That was the summer that really messed up Michael’s head. All these elements add up to make Garrett incredibly suspicious of what’s about to come next.
At the Satanist ritual, Amy hangs by her torso from a rope, as Damon tells her the “teacher” will arrive shortly. They’re all geared up to finish, to summon up the demon for which they hope to dearly. “Were just gonna need some of your blood,” says Damon.
Amongst everything evil going down, Drew and Blair get a little closer, talking about their respective experiences. I love this little plot between them because they were semi-romantic, and yet they still are, despite any biological gender Drew might inhabit. I’d love to see them come together further because regardless of any orientation, there’s an obvious connection happening.
Another brief flash back to ’82 makes me wonder exactly what Boyd Heelan is holding onto. I can’t tell if he’s complicit in anything, or if he’s a decent local cop who’s unaware of the depth of all the events surrounding Camp Stillwater.
In the cave with the Satanists, Amy is graced with the presence of their teacher finally come to claim his prize.

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Drew: “Far as ways to go, death by Satanists is pretty punk rock.”

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During ’82, Garrett is drawn into a trap while playing Capture the Flag. Instead of them getting the upper hand Garrett distracts them long enough for Jessie to sneak the blue flag away and back to win the game. “You did it, Bracesyou won,” Garrett cheers her on.
This time, in ’89, Garrett has a team behind him again. Except he’s by himself when he comes upon the cave. Within it he finds the horrifying ritual underway, a now conscious Amy screaming for help. Damon and Garrett, those old buddies, they’re confronting one another for the first time in so long. Damon tries to sell his one time friend a good load of bullshit about being “powerless” and so on. He’s deluded by the cult.
Then one of the craziest things yet occurs – the cult members all slit their own throats, mixing their blood with that of Amy’s. Speaking of her, she slips from the rope and falls into the pools of blood and water below, disappearing in its depths. Garrett dives down to save her. Until something deep down comes up to grab her; a scaly, creepy hand. It lets go after Jessie turns up in the cave to pull the rope for Garrett. Yay Team Stillwater! Poor Amy, though. She’s left scarred emotionally and physically. Safe for the time being.
As is the Sheriff – could he be the teacher? I’m really beginning to wonder.

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Back at camp, other things are happening. We FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY get a kiss between Drew and Blair. Yes! Lots of good things. Plus, Jessie, Garrett, Alex, Joel, each of them are on the same page together. They all know about Holyoke, the cult, the eeriness of the cave. Yet Garrett is now convinced it’s all just people, no demons or ghosts or anything. Joel especially, he believes otherwise. Also, Garrett’s lying to them and himself about seeing anything unexplained (that fucking hand!).
Ah, the slip up. Boyd mentions Damon taking his own life. He didn’t know that officially. He’s revealed himself as the teacher. Luckily, the younger of the officers is able to draw his gun. Then he discovers what he told Boyd, back in ’82, is why his father was killed; he got too close to Michael’s visions. Boyd claims none of the dead bodies lately were his doing. So, we can be sure Holyoke is about, doing. If you didn’t already know. Heelan wants Garrett to join the cult. When he underestimates Sykes, he takes a few shots to the chest.
In the distance, a wicker-masked cultist lurks, watching. But who’s left? Deb? Who could it be?
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Excited for “The Devil Inside” because I feel the show gains steam as the episode wear on. Loving some of what’s happening, digging most. Stay with me, fellow fans.

Dead of Summer – Season 1, Episode 6: “The Dharma Bums”

Freeform’s Dead of Summer
Season 1, Episode 6: “The Dharma Bums”
Directed by Michael Schultz
Written by Richard Hatem

* For a review of the previous episode, “How to Stay Alive in the Woods” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Townie” – click here
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At Camp Stillwater in 1970, a young Deb and a young man named Keith obsessed with Jack Kerouac are out in the woods burying a book by the author, so that if they ever need to remember they can just dig up their greatest summer. The episode’s title comes from the Kerouac book, The Dharma Bums.
Back to their present – 1989. Cricket (Amber Coney) is dead, her things are being cleared out. A grown up Deb (Elizabeth Mitchell) counsels everybody, allowing them to call anybody they need to, whatever’s necessary. Poor Cricket’s family is left devastated. As are Amy (Elizabeth Lail), Joel (Eli Goree), Blair (Mark Indelicato), Alex (Ronen Rubinstein), Jessie (Paulina Singer), and Drew (Zelda Williams). But Deb blames herself, for not leaving “the past in the past” and trying to recapture her own glory days.
Then in her cabin, Deb finds Keith (Dylan Neal). He’s turned up after all these years? Something is definitely afoot at Camp Stillwater.
Joel still thinks Holyoke is the culprit responsible for Cricket’s death. The others sceptical, though anything is possible. Blair and Alex look throughan old cellar until they come across an old Ouija board. There’s talk of Santería, Blair’s abuelita was into the whole thing. They all agree to meet back there later to try talking to Cricket beyond the grave.
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With Deb, she’s not particularly interested in having Keith around. Although it’s what drove her back to Stillwater that part of her life is over. At least that’s what she feels in the moment.
We flash back to Deb at a Children’s Defence League table outside a building. She reads poetry by Keith, asked by a friend about him. Deb gets a little sass from a lawyer, before being hit on. We see that she’s very passionate, in many ways. Another flashback later, Deb is in a big office, and the lawyer that sassed her is now her man. She went from hippy to big shot lawyer, married to another lawyer.
Finally we’re back to Deputy Garrett Sykes (Alberto Frezza). He’s asking his mother (Janet Kidder) about what his father may have been investigating out at the cabin in the woods. In the cuff link Garrett found, there’s a tiny piece of paper with a file number on it. Something that likely got him killed. After Garrett starts looking he comes across the file. It’s filled with creepy drawings, and an ominous note left by his father to warn anybody that might be following “the trail” like he once did.
Blair gets a bunch of things together – like ginger, chicken blood. Y’know. Santería-type shit. When Deb shows up, he gets a bit pissed. He throws everything in her face, figuratively, and runs off. So we get another look at the old Deb, or the new Deb that came after the old one. She and Keith run into one another. He’s having a rough time financially. Being a poet isn’t proving much for the wallet. Keith wants them to run off and dig up their time capsule. Or really, he just wants to sleep with her. The conflict is clear in her. Perhaps why seeing him again at the camp in ’89 is more thrilling. Yet she’s still conflicted: “I dont deserve to be this happy,” she tells him while they dance next to the fire together.
In their cabin, Blair starts the Santería ceremony – he sets out three candles, brings out a white rose, then begins a recitation involving the chicken blood. “Dont do this,” Joel begs him quietly. But the boy is determined to contact his friend Cricket in the afterlife.
When nobody feels it’s working, the Ouija board rocks, the fire lights up. And something makes its way inside Amy, possessing her, nearly cracking her back in half. Through Amy, the voice of Cricket speaks to them. Blair weeps for answers. All they get is a cryptic message, someone coming for her. Then it’s Holyoke, possessing Amy to try and kill some more. Blair manages to quell the magic. However, Jessie gets a bit possessed, too. Her hand unwillingly scribbles an eerie Satanic drawing before the pen whips from her fingers, pinning it to the wall. Awesomely creepy stuff. A little while later they all try to figure out what to do next. Joel is optimistic that at least they’ve got a better idea of what’s going on, but there’s still plenty they don’t know.


Deb’s busy getting down in the woods with Keith. They’ve had quite a good reunion. Of course he’s ready to up and take off, which doesn’t feel too good after their romantic night. He basically disappears into the woods.
Simultaneously, Jessie goes to Sykes. He reveals what he’s found so far, about Holyoke, Satanic rituals, all that nasty stuff. He thinks he’s an idiot, that none of it is really happening. Once she hands over the drawing from their seance, this only helps compound all those weird things Garrett’s uncovered so far. When he puts the drawing over the map, there’s a suggestion of where the cult may be operating.
Worse is our flashback to Deb, going up to meet Keith. That’s where she finds him on the floor, drugs in his arm. Next to him a map of where they buried their capsule, the Kerouac book.
It’s now we finally understand that Keith is a ghost, an apparition. He’s there to remind her: “You have to stay here for them.” She wants to go with him, into the darkness of death. The ghost of her old lover reminds her that he’s always there for her. Although he warns of “dark things” on their way, coloured with a slight optimism that she may be able to help the kids under her care now. Another flashback shows us that Keith’s ashes were poured on the grounds of Camp Stillwater. So are there more ghosts to come? And what about Cricket, Blotter, will they turn up somewhere eventually?
In ’89, Deb has decided to take initiative. She admits her own faults, as well as the fact that talking to ghosts isn’t the best way; something she and Blair now fully understand. Deb uses the idea of the time capsule to preserve their memories of Cricket, everybody placing an object in the old box where once Deb and Keith kept their own memories. It’s a beautiful, highly emotional scene. One that also sees Blair and Drew get a bit closer in a sweet way. But everyone gets a chance to try moving on.

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Elsewhere in the woods, Sykes and Jessie find a box with an unmentionable item inside. Furthermore, Garrett notices the points of the pentagram with the skull in it from Jessie’s drawing have numbers on it, each corresponding to where Cricket was found, Dave, et cetera. This leads them to the next number where they find a hole seeping blood.
Funny enough, the weird biker Satanists are watching, and even they don’t know who moved their bloody little treats. In another hole, a masked cult member buries what looks like Blotter’s head, or could be any head. The madness is getting madder.
Plus, there’s the next number on the pentagram. Who will meet death next?
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A pretty intense, fun episode. I like the Deb storyline, as it sorts of amps up the ghostly aspects of Camp Stillwater more. Excited for the next episode titled “Townie” because I bet, by the name, we’ll get more on Sykes, and hopefully on his father’s connection to the investigation into Holyoke and the Satanist cult.

Aquarius – Season 2, Episode 3: “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road”

NBC’s Aquarius
Season 2, Episode 3: “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road”
Directed by Timothy Busfield
Written by Alexandra Cunningham

* For a review of the previous episode, “Happiness is a Warm Gun” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Revolution 1” – click here
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We start with Manson (Gethin Anthony) meeting Charles ‘Tex’ Watson (Cameron Deane Stewart), another one involved in the hideous deaths at Cielo. We see him in the flashes forward to the murders, as well. The family is coming together, and Manson’s terrifying power of persuasion gets clearer each episode. He’s defeated that old influence in his life, and now the triumph over Ralph Church has made him seemingly invincible. In his head, anyway. In a season filled with episodes named for Beatles songs, we can be sure that the Helter Skelter of Manson’s wild dreams is surely coming, closer, closer.
Will this season end with those savage killings? We’re on the road to finding out.
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Back 16 months earlier, slowly edging our way towards those fateful events, Detective Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) and Officer Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) have received another picture in an envelope – a new woman, tied up. So the duo sets about making calls trying to suss out a lead or two.
Ole Charlie’s busy over at the house owned by Dennis Wilson (Andy Favreau). You can see the stars in his eyes already, as Wilson shows up. “I am everyone and everyone is me,” Charlie starts with his craziness, which kind of impresses Dennis. But he makes a mistake, and tells the madman to make himself at home. Little does he know how long that will come to last.
Sam comes across a bloodied woman on a rooftop after heading to a scene where someone was heard yelling loudly. She’s in terrible shape and succumbs to her injuries. This sets fire to Hodiak. He checks with some witnesses that heard the screams and does the normal routine, though things are looking darker than ever. Later he tails Ron Kellaher (Tim Griffin), more to make a point than do anything sinister. A funny situation sees Kellaher’s wife come out to talk. Turns out she knows Sam, too. Hilarious. But Ron gets the point, no doubt. Back at the office there are more pictures, a ton, waiting for Sam. The plot keeps on thickening.
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Interesting stuff comes from Kristin Shafe (Milauna Jackson), involved with the Black Panthers, and her cop husband Brian. She wants him to quit, to do something else. He isn’t exactly willing. There’s a huge contradiction and conflict lying between them, though. Not an unbeatable one, just a wide one.
Mr. Manson is playing guitar for Wilson, handing down prophecy about the music business. He doesn’t exactly play much guitar. He holds one, then makes excuses for not playing and singing anything. In other news, Sadie (Ambyr Childers) and Tex Watson (Cameron Deane Stewart) start to get to know one another. Y’know, now that they’re in a cult together. She starts introducing him to a bit of LSD. Ah, the tool of the Manson Family. “Youre seeing the world through a dirty window,” Sadie tells Tex; Charlie’s words coming out of her mouth. This is where we begin to see further how the brainwashing of Charlie works on his followers. Tragic, how the lost and lonely come together and become hypnotised by a character like him. Then in turn it’s worse how those hypnotised go on to do the same to others. A perpetual cycle, similar to the emotional, mental abuse children suffer in families, and some of them go on to do the same when they have a family of their own. Manson’s clan was merely a large family of broken souls that worked like any other, only dark and devious.
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Out on the trail Detective Hodiak is doing more of his typical bad cop shtick. Works, though. And honestly, with some of these criminals it’s probably warranted. You can argue all you want about the moral line. Certain criminals know no line. Either way, Sam gets shit done right now in the name of young girls going missing, dying, and who knows what else. He and Shafe are checking things out. Sam interrogates Ben Healy (Morgan McClellan), estranged husband to one of the missing women in the pictures. Meanwhile, Shafe interrogates a suspect (Carlos Pratts), or does so casually without being too suspicious. He manages to get the guy to talk, seeing as how his father turned him in. Not too hard for Shafe to spin it all into working for them. At the same time in Sam’s life things are spiralling on the personal side. He and Grace (Michaela McManus) are headed in different directions.
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Wilson just wants to hear Charlie play some tunes. He thinks there’s a bit of nervousness, apprehension on Manson’s part. “Just rise above it, rise,” Dennis says. Prophetic, as that very word ends up written in blood at the LaBianca murders later on. We get flashes to the fateful night at Cielo Drive down the road. We cut from a normal Tex to one filled with Charlie Manson madness: “Im the devil and Im here to do the devils business,” he speaks while initiating the sequence of murder on the unsuspecting victims at Sharon Tate’s home. A chilling finish to this episode.
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Enjoyed the first season. Loving this one. They’ve improved greatly, as well as pumped the action and intensity. Look forward to the next episode “Revolution 1” – it ties into Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination and puts Sam Hodiak in the racial line of fire. Should be interesting!

Eyes Wide Shut in Pursuit of Sexual Understanding

Eyes Wide Shut. 1999. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Screenplay by Kubrick & Frederic Raphael; inspired by Traumnovelle by Arthur Schnitzler.
Starring Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack, Marie Richardson, Rade Sherbedgia, Todd Field, Vinessa Shaw, Sky du Mont, Fay Masterson, Leelee Sobieski, & Thomas Gibson. Warner Bros. Pictures/Stanley Kubrick Productions.
Rated R. 159 minutes.
Drama/Mystery/Thriller

★★★★★
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Stanley Kubrick is one of the best directors to have ever lived, certainly if we’re considering American directors. It’s hard for me to choose my favourite film out of his filmography. Although, I do absolutely prefer some over others. I believe 2001: A Space Odyssey is his best work, yet my all-time favourite is Dr. Strangelove; Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, followed by A Clockwork Orange.
And right alongside those two in my top three sits Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick’s final film. Based on Arthur Schnitzler’s Traumnovelle, known in English as Dream Story, Kubrick and writer Frederic Raphael take us through the strained relationship of a married couple, as the husband finds his way down into the eerie underbelly of the upper crust. All those awesome Kubrick techniques we’ve come to know and love are here: long and luscious tracking shots, dreamy fades between most scenes, an almost uncanny ability for perfectly composed frames, and much more. When you add in two solid actors such as Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman (the former is undeniably crazy yet a talented performer), a Kubrick picture can only get better. Such is the case with this masterpiece.
Not everyone loves this film as much as I do, and many deride it as a lesser work near the end of a great director’s life and career. Me, I believe Kubrick left life having bestowed us with one last work of tantalizing art.
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I’m always intrigued by real life couples willing to act in a film together, especially when it comes to a film such as this one, its themes, the wild subject matter. There are a few incredibly raw moments. For instance, early on when Bill and Alice are arguing after smoking pot together she starts laughing at him; the look Cruise gives his wife, his real wife, is a genuine look of an open wound hurt. Maybe being husband and wife in reality gives actors a further depth they can reach in thinking of what it might be like if their characters lives were actually their lives. That entire scene where Alice reveals her fleeting, though thoroughly shocking feelings about a Navy man she saw during a vacation at Cape Cod is, in my mind, a master class in acting. Kidman and Cruise are both in top form. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the writing from Kubrick and Raphael is downright compelling. Whereas the plot of the film gets much weirder, and wilder, these personal moments are what the entire picture is all about.
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Aside from acting this film is built upon Kubrick and his eye for gorgeous shots, the way those shots are composed from framing to the actual look of the sets and everything in between. More than that, the atmosphere and tone of Eyes Wide Shut is so impressive. The cinematography of Larry Smith, who’d been a gaffer on Barry Lyndon and The Shining (later working with Kubrick-lover Nicolas Winding Refn), uses all natural lighting, as the director did not want to use studio lighting. So the visual look is beautiful and interesting, a combination of natural light sources and push processing (a developing process which works on the actual sensitivity of the film itself). The processing makes all the colours much more intense. Couple that with some of the interesting lighting Smith resorts to in order to capture many scenes and it makes for a lot of strange, tinted shots with hues of neon, blue light washing through windows, and lots of deep shadows amongst the vibrantly coloured rooms. On top of the cinematography and the expert directorial choices of Kubrick is the score. Kubrick was the master of musical choices, he opted to use such fascinating stuff to flesh out his efforts. Here, there’s original music from Jocelyn Pook, the stuff we hear as Bill ends up confronting the masked crowd, that ominous piano and other weird sounds which end up recurring. Also, as usual, Kubrick employs the use of classical pieces, which all work impeccably for where they’re placed. Often I feel as a director he was able to mimic the feel and flow of ballet. Never more so than in this film, fitting enough his last. This is most clear in those scenes where the Steadicam takes us through the large, mysterious cult mansion where they’ve all gathered, the various rooms, as if we’re moving around a stage. All together, the elements of this movie work so well together in a gorgeous, strange unison.
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Eyes Wide Shut is a story of sexual relationships, both in and out of marriage. Of course we’re framed by the marriage of the Harfords. However, the entire journey Bill finds himself on over the course of that one especially wild evening takes him out of the realm of marriage, into that vast, mysterious sea of sex with faceless people. In a way, you can see it as Alice has a face: she is his wife, the mother of his child, the love of his life, his best friend. Many, many things. We know her, we see her perfectly, flaws and all. She represents, obviously, the married life. Then there’s the cult, all those people under the hoods and masks and costumes. They are the deep unknown of bachelorhood, which Bill confronts. They are the faceless mass of people only looking for sex, anonymity in their relationships, without feeling and without responsibility or any of that which marriage brings. Those lavish, secretive parties – never in the same place twice, their piano player given an address where to head an hour prior, so on – are representative of how the ultimate bachelor sees their lifestyle, as better than anything marriage offers. The cult itself is closed off, they do all in their power to keep others from getting in because their parties are just way too interesting for outsiders; certainly for a married doctor.
Furthermore, the men in this orgy cult are the basest form of men, guys like Ziegler (Pollack) – one minute he stands with his wife downstairs hosting the big party and the next minute is upstairs having sex with a girl that proceeds to nearly overdose on a speedball. The types which let people die, or worse, then cover things up, all in the name of power and pleasure and control. Whereas to the deceptive, lusty man marriage is a loss of control, to a caring man marriage is sharing control; something Bill seems to eventually realize, one way or another. To the people that belong to this high society sex cult, marriage is a loss of freedom. So a large part of this story, if not the majority, concerns Bill effectively struggling with his faithfulness. The catalyst is the revelation from his wife, setting him forth on a quest to figure out if being faithful is truly his choice, or rather if it’s something he’s merely settled into casually because of societal expectation. Bill is not like Ziegler, nor the rest of the faceless cult members at the orgy. He discovers the dangers of insane, swinging single life later, as well; after going back to the apartment of Domino, a young prostitute he’d nearly slept with, her roommate lets him know that she is HIV-positive. This and the sinister danger of the cult are enough to propel him back to his happy family life. By the end of the film he discovers he can both have his cake AND eat it, too. It’s called having a wife and being in love, Bill.
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There’s not enough time in the world to talk about every last thing I love. Eyes Wide Shut is not given the proper respect it deserves. Maybe if Kubrick made a couple more films before he’d passed, then this wouldn’t be so maligned. Over time, more people have warmed to it, though still not enough. That doesn’t matter, really. I couldn’t care less about the majority. This is a masterpiece from one of the great masters in our time. Kubrick’s sensibilities make this a ride through strange cityscapes, through the darkened corridors of mansions where the rich and powerful conduct their suspicious activities, and we come out on the other side not totally sure of where we’ve been, or where we’re headed. If anything, Eyes Wide Shut is a well crafted mystery-thriller, masquerading as an erotic thriller. At its heart the film concerns the sexual politics of relationships, and of the single life. Nothing is ever simple or bland when in Kubrick’s hands. If only there were a hundred more of his movies.

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
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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.
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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.

Banshee – Season 4, Episode 7: “Truths Other Than The Ones You Tell Yourself”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 4, Episode 7: “Truths Other Than The Ones You Tell Yourself”
Directed by Ole Christian Madsen
Written by Adam Targum

* For a review of the previous episode, “Only One Way A Dogfight Ends” – click here
* For a review of the series finale, “Requiem” – click here
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Penultimate episode of Banshee. Forever. Can we handle it?
Let’s make it there together.
Left hanging alongside Agent Dawson (Eliza Dushku) at the hands of Declan Bode (Frederick Weller), last episode came with a shocking finish. This episode begins as Deputy Nina Cruz (Ana Ayora) washes away some of the blood from her fight with Carrie (Ivana Milicevic).
But oh my, Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch) arrives while Nina’s showering. Seems the job wasn’t performed up to task for Mayor Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen).
Lights out for Nina. Not too surprising, but grim and grisly.
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For all her faults, Carrie at least tries to keep up with therapy. Court ordered, but still she does it and does everything possible to try being a good mother for Deva (Ryann Shane). However, the guilt inside Carrie for always having loved Hood (Antony Starr), Gordon’s death, all of it, just bursts out of her constantly. Her therapist sort of agrees with her, though: “So go finish it,” he tells her.
Mayor Kai is having a drug shipment problem it seems. Or rather, a problem with the AB. He finds a man of his with a Nazi symbol carved into his chest. Still, Kai beats him.
Meanwhile, Hood is with Sheriff Brock (Matt Servitto) and they’re trying to figure out the best way to go forward. Nothing connects properly to Bode, unfortunately. Over at the bar with Sugar (Frankie Faison) and Job (Hoon Lee), Hood needs a cellphone dumped to find out some numbers. Job works his magic then sends Hood along with an address.
Now we come to Ms. Dawson, tied up in the dark. Only she manages to slip her hands loose, then her legs. Right before Bode comes back. God dammit.


Waiting for the Aryan Brotherhood, Clay says he’s looking for Calvin Bunker (Chris Coy). I love how none of them know how tough Burton is as one man alone.
And then the glasses come off. This sequence is great because the camera rotates as the blood splats, the screams fly, then we spin around to Clay, blood everywhere, and nobody left standing. He decimated a whole clubhouse full of Nazi skinheads.
But back to Veronica, really in Bode’s grip now. They have a little chat about life, serial killer stuff, y’know, all that kind of thing. It’s a chilling conversation where Declan lays out a bit of his philosophy on existence. She makes clear he’s a mental case.
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Declan: “I like you Veronica
Veronica: “But youre still gonna cut my heart out
Declan: “Yes I am
Veronica: “See what I mean? Fucking insane
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While his wife Maggie (Casey LaBow) is off being protected by his brother Kurt (Tom Pelphrey), Calvin Bunker finally snaps. He tears his shirt off revealing the hateful tattoos before kicking the living shit out of his boss. Brutal, nasty. A wild war is brewing on so many fronts, and Calvin’s mindset is certainly not doing that any favours.
Kai is trying to iron out his “personal issues“, as he calls them. So what’s the next step for him? Certainly most of the skinhead idiots are taken out, Calvin can’t have much immediate juice left without calling somebody in. I’m curious as to where this will be heading.
Over at Bode’s place, Veronica is going along to get along, knowing her fate. Meanwhile, Hood and Lotus are out searching for the connection to Declan. Very close now. But will they be too late? As the time draws closer Veronica gets more worried, though more witty: “Nothing more annoying than a psychopath who engages in Socratic debate.” Then there’s the equally sick Lilith (Jennifer Landon), a.k.a Kim Newton. She believes Declan made her into a woman, so she’s been brainwashed a long, long time.
This entire sequence of scenes is excellent from the way it’s written and filmed to how it’s edited, too. Tense, suspenseful. Keeps you offbeat. Really gets the adrenaline flowing here wondering if they’ll find her, at times believing they’re just around the literal corner.
And then Brock gets knocked out, right under Hood’s nose. Afterwards, he gets knocked out, as well. Uh oh.


Carrie goes so far as to threaten the D.A. Not too unlike what Proctor did to get him in his pocket. But she’s doing it for a good cause. In the name of Gordon, and justice overall. Is her final showdown with Kai? Is that how their respective stories will end here in the final season? I expect a blaze of glory scorching the entire show in many ways.
Waking up, Hood and Lotus are tied. They’re in a basement next to each other. Brock tells Hood about Bode coming to see him recently. Here, we see more of that old criminal in Hood come out. He doesn’t like being tied down, locked in, his freedom taken. “I never got to be the Sheriff I wanted to be,” Lotus tells Hood. They get honest, so close to possible death. He asks Hood who he is, he wants honesty. Finally – FINALLY! HOOD REVEALS WHAT HE DID. He tells Brock exactly about how he’s a “lie” and a “fake“, all about his life as an “infiltration specialist” back in the day. The whole thing nearly caves Brock’s head in. What a god damn revelation. So emotional, too. Hood talks about Carrie, a.k.a Anna, and the whole story. Still there’s a certain aspect of betrayal for a man of the law like Lotus.
Before Hood can reveal his actual name, in walks Bode. The creepy killer has got big plans for their night together, all of them under one big, happy roof.
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Hood: “The lie took over. I believed it.”


The creepy ritual begins. An “unexpected offering” is presented in the form of helpless Agent Dawson. Their cult gathers around, drinking weird substances and chanting: “Gloria Satanis.” In the other room, Hood and Brock try to fight their way out of a corner.
VICTORY! Hood and Lotus make it into the ceremonial chamber. They interrupt just before Veronica can be sacrificed, as they proceed to kick the shit out of everybody in sight. Fists of gury, Hood goes on beating Declan until Dawson actually has to stop him at gunpoint.
Because she wants the last shot. One. Right in the dome. A serial killer’s legacy undone.
Certainly all that’s on Hood’s mind is Rebecca (Lili Simmons). Kai shows up at the scene, too. He and Hood stare over the dead body of the sick bastard who took her from the Earth. Uncle Kai, Mayor Proctor, even thanks Hood for having gotten things done.
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Leo Fitzpatrick (Dennis Flanagan) receives a little visit from his old buddy Job. They’ve got catching up to do. And it isn’t only money Job wants. He can’t get his life back. That’s not possible. So how does one placate themselves? Not by murder, Job decides. He’s switched his identity over to Leo; every last crime tracks back to him from each angle. “I just made your punk ass famous,” says Job with his usual sass.
Poor Dawson is trying her best not to crack. Well, she’s smoking crack. Just trying not to completely break down. Trying.
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One last episode left, “Requiem”, and I’m not ready to say goodbye. This is a beautiful show that only grew and matured with each passing season. This hit its stride perfectly. Perhaps time to say goodbye now before it wears out its welcome. Still, can’t help but mourn. Stay with me, fellow friends and fans! Series finale is just one week away now.

The Path – Season 1, Episode 8: “The Shore”

Hulu’s The Path
Season 1, Episode 8: “The Shore”
Directed by Roxann Dawson
Written by Annie Weisman

* For a review of the previous episode, “Refugees” – click here
* For a review of the next episode “A Room With a View” – click here
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Last we left Eddie Lane (Aaron Paul) and his son Hawk (Kyle Allen), they were preparing for The Walk. And Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy), well… he’s got plenty of other things of his own happening.
Cal’s drunk and wondering what to do next with the dead body of Silas sitting in his house. This series was always poised for a dark turn, but does it ever get dark. Here’s Cal now left with disposing of a corpse. On the way out of the commune, Cal finds himself confronted by the father of Mary Cox (Emma Greenwell). This time Cal’s got nothing except threats for him: “Next time I see you, I finish the job.” Yikes. Believe THAT. Particularly from a man who’s on his way to bury a body. A man he killed that was a friend. Imagine what he’d do to somebody like Mr. Cox, a despicable predator.
Love some of the shots in this opening ten minutes. Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) has a dream of Hawk walking down the highway towards her, which then becomes something entirely different. Terrifying nightmare. You can almost tell it’s a dream sequence right off the bat and then it still throws you for a loop.
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No, Hawk and Eddie are off for The Walk. Supposedly Dr. Steve Meyers worked for the U.S. Army doing “psychological warfare” and all sorts of stuff. Actually sounds crazy coming from Eddie’s mouth. Totally brainwashed-type nonsense. Then there’s this really awkward encounter with some soldiers at the the military gate where the father-son duo starts their walk. Meanwhile, Cal is in the woods burying Silas. He sees an omen of sorts in a white owl perched nearby, as he sits covered in mud and leaves. More of that great cinematography captures the forest in such an incredible light, all the while such a dark story weaves itself through.
Over at the commune, Sarah’s getting all kinds of praise for representing the movement well. And her husband, her son walk continuously. I still just needwant Hawk to break away. Although there’s a bond of family, he needs to get past the cult. They’ll only bring him down. Guided by Cal everyone seems to think it’s fine. They don’t see the terrible, ugly side beneath that mask he wears up at the pulpit.
In fact, nobody is in good shape. Mary falls deeper into the high she gets off her stolen drugs. She and the pharmacist girl get much closer, despite her becoming a junkie once more. I can only wonder how her relationship with this girl will be put to the test, or in danger, by Cal. Because he’s got a vicious fascination/obsession with her.
Speaking of Cal, he’s drunk and off to Milton. To find Sean. And at the same time, Sarah talks with Felicia (Adriane Lenox). She’s given a figurine that looks exactly like the hallucination from her dream. Creepy as hell.


Detective Abe Gaines (Rockmund Dunbar) is still trying his hardest to track down the dirt on the Meyerist movement. He manages to stay outside their influence. For now.
Out on the road in a shelter, Eddie has to assert himself when a man steps up to Hawk. But worse, his son seems off. Regardless, you can see how much Eddie cares for his son. Through all the cult bullshit it is just his son that matters. When Hawk talks about Ashley (Amy Forsyth) and their family not wanting any part of the Meyerists, with Hawk, his family. Eddie sticks by his son no matter what, simply asking what’s next. The Walk is all that’s next.
An interesting moment happens when a priest walks in and leads a prayer. Eddie starts to pray, too. Hawk watches on. Then we drift back to the Lane house where Sarah and her daughter hang out by themselves. Until she sees Cal outside, drunk in the yard: “I need help,” he tells her.
Mary and Sean meet out by the lake. She’s obviously surprised. Apparently there’s some decency in Cal yet, as he brought Sean back to be with Mary. Is this a good thing? Hard to trust in a man that just murdered a person he’d known for years.


Dt. Gaines and his wife have dinner with his boss, congratulating him on all the hard work, so on. The Meyerist case is done apparently. Homeland Security’s now on the job. But Abe isn’t too pleased. The whole thing is about politics, not the case. Likely the whole thing ends up in the lap of the IRS. Gaines loses his shit in front of everybody, putting the cherry on top with “I fuckinhate pot pie” before storming out, his wife trailing not far behind.
On the road again, Hawk and Eddie are planning their next trail. From nowhere the son asks his father: “Did you stop loving mom?” So what we forget is how wide the lies spread out. Eddie didn’t even cheat on his wife, he had to make up a lie to cover up a bigger secret. Further than just all the regular cult madness, Eddie’s doing him a disservice by covering up his own crisis of faith in the Meyerist movement. They end up hitching a little ride down the road a ways, with which Eddie struggles some.
Not as much as Cal struggles back at the commune, sweating, shaking out the booze. Some good news from Sarah – big donations coming in, all because of Cal. She assures him everybody has a “rock that [we] carry” and almost excuses his alcoholism breaking out. She lavishes a ton of praise on him now, though unknowing of his deep transgression. And from the corner of the room beams that little figurine, staring at Cal and boring into his brain.


At Coney Island, the father-son stop. Eddie’s old life almost calls out to him from the attractions, the very stones on which he walks. There is an ever present sense Eddie needs to get away from the cult. Because it’s all about repression, that place. The memories of his brother linger and Eddie can feel them burning, lingering in his soul. Back down they go, and off on their walk once more. Still, they go past all the rides and the games, Eddie telling his son about their adventures. It’s all so foreign to Hawk. That is totally tragic and sad. Hawk will never experience all that, yet his father got to, and there’s an unfairness that is nearly smothering. When they come across the famous clam rolls Eddie ate as a kid, they opt to spend most of their remaining funds on reliving that childhood. There’s a bittersweetness to this whole scene. My absolute favourite of the series thus far.
Nicole (Ali Ahn) is trying to have a baby. All the while kids are running around, she’s sitting in a baby pool, Sarah reels off her creepy nightmare. Lots of fun. As Nicole rages, Sarah assures “anger can be a good engine” with more pseudomedical fuckery. And Cal draws a bit of weird energy off Nicole’s pregnant moans. This whole episode is entirely wild, each moment is more intriguing than the last.
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Eddie: “The greasy, crunchy bit. I meanits so terrible, but its perfect.”
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Hawk asks his father about when the moment came, where The Light washed over him. The elders, Joy, they all talk about a single moment where the pain washes away and there are “no more questions.” But Eddie says there was nothing like that for him. It was only when he met Sarah. Then Hawk breaks down talking about Ashley; the kid is truly in love. The divide between Meyerism and real life is preventing him from living like a normal teenager. Is this something that will eventually be able to push Eddie towards getting out? I hope. For the time being, he gets Hawk to a payphone to call Ashley: “You cant stay with your eyes closed,” he tells his son.
Then while Hawk makes his call, Eddie locks eyes with a young man across the way. Then he’s gone. A vision of his brother? This sends Eddie into a bit of an intense state.
Back at the birthing, Nicole’s baby comes out not breathing. Sarah saves the day, though. And the little baby lives! Even Cal steps in to touch the child, whimpering like one himself. Happy days.


Sarah: “Welcome, little one, to our world. You are whole and you are broken, just like the rest of us.”


After the birthing, Cal and Sarah find themselves kissing at the sink. She starts to protest, asking him to stop. Then it ends with him weeping against her. He then reveals Eddie’s been lying to her. Now things are about to get difficult.
They’re already difficult for Eddie. He follows the vision of his brother out on the beach. Along the way he drops their rocks, to mark sacred spots. Eddie stares out seeing his brother for a while and it nearly crushes him. Simultaneously, Sarah is at home searching through everything – the bedroom, the car – until she finds any evidence of Eddie’s lies. She finds a cellphone with the same number in it. Over and over. The various paths are coming together here now.
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Best episode yet. Amazingly emotional, layered, the writing was fantastic and both Hugh Dancy and Aaron Paul are on fire in their various scenes.
Next episode, “A Room With a View”, will definitely get intense. This one setup so much more suspense and tension that it’s unreal. Let’s stay tuned together, friends and fellow fans!