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
The 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.
Eddie 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: “I‘m 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.