Tagged The Ladder

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

The Path – Season 1, Episode 2: “The Era of the Ladder”

Hulu’s The Path
Season 1, Episode 2: “The Era of the Ladder”
Directed by Mike Cahill
Written by Jessica Goldberg

* For a review of the previous episode, “What The Fire Throws” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “A Homecoming” – click here
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After the first episode, Hulu’s The Path continues on its ominous journey.
We open on Eddie and Sarah Lane (Aaron Paul/Michelle Monaghan) going through some type of couples therapy. They go, together, back in time to a different place in their lives. Turns out Eddie’s taking the rap for infidelity, instead of admitting the truth – he is doubting, his faith is crumbling, and he was in that motel meeting a woman named Alison (Sarah Jones). Although, he only goes so far. He adamantly refuses the “14 days“, which seems to be some type of reflective punishment.
Meanwhile, Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy) is off meeting with a possible wealthy donor to the cause. The family has an addict son who requires a last ditch effort to be turned around. Speaking of young people, Hawk Lane (Kyle Allen) is coming up against the religion of his family. He’s not supposed to spend time with young women outside of school, alone, things like that. Eddie sort of bands with Hawk against the rest of the family, which is obvious. He’s trying to slip out of the whole debacle as it is.


In the aftermath of the tornado also lies the aftermath of Cal supposedly protecting Mary Cox (Emma Greenwell). So then there’s Cal, pushing forward into his own agenda. He talks with Sarah, wondering how the couple therapy – branded with yet another Scientology-like name, IRP (Infidelity Rehab Program) – is actually going. Also, Cal continually presses into the life of Mary, as now they’ve got a bond over what happened in the previous episode. And she definitely, clearly, has a lust for Cal.
We’re finally introduced to Detective Abe Gaines (Rockmond Dunbar). He’s discovered the reach of the Meyerist cult, how they swooped in on the latest disaster area. This will provide an excellent, fun thriller element to the series.
Outside the community, in the real world, Cal and his minions help spread their word. Subtly, sly, they infiltrate the minds of others and casually rope them in.


Deeper down the rabbit hole goes Eddie. He and Alison have another meeting. “Maybe it doesnt matter if its real or not,” says Eddie. Now he’s doubting his doubt. “Because it fucking matters,” Alison replies. She reveals her husband was killed after they tried to leave the cult, and though Eddie doesn’t believe it, there is an obvious fear in him. The elderly people she was going to meet were her grandparents. She’s on the run, “like a fugitive“, and all because of the madness within the cult of Meyerism. For now Eddie decides to halt on going any further with their clandestine activities.
Hawk’s trying hard to fit in with the little family of his maybe-girlfriend, Ashley (Amy Forsyth). He even eats meat. The whole situation is sort of odd, especially in modern times. He asks personal questions of the girl, the mother, he doesn’t like to have the door closed in the room alone with the girl. Such a noble, honourable kind of belief system, though, under it all there lurks darkness.
That darkness is defined in Cal. He appears so candy coated on the outside. But inside, there is chaos. He has huge ideas, wants to help humanity. Yet is he any kind of leader? He manages to keep the anger inside him at bay, at least when required. Then it rips out of him at times. A very Hubbard-esque characterization in contemporary times. One little thread slips out – Cal’s mother. He avoids talk of her completely when asked point blank if they see one another. Mommy issues, Cal?


Eddie and Sarah still struggle. There are tons of underlying bits and pieces to their relationship. He was a sort of outsider, one who found his way into the inner circle with the likes of Sarah and Cal, those who’ve spent their life in the cult. So there’s an aspect to Eddie that’s on the fringes to begin with, and now this bit of doubt pulsing in him only serves to put him further on the edge. But he and Sarah can’t talk too long before they tear one another’s clothes off for a steamy romp. Hawk comes home in the midst of their lovemaking and has a bit of an existential mini-crisis, throwing up the meat he’d ingested earlier.
One way or the other, the Cleary family tries to keep on keepin’ on.
The media are being courted as a new possible avenue for the cult. Cal claims Doc told him the message is ready to spread. It’s obvious there are chains, a hierarchy, one that’s as rung-like as The Ladder they tout – whomever is higher has more authority, more knowledge, supposedly. And Cal exploits that to a certain degree in order to further his personal agenda, where he wants things to head. I love that they’ve used Scientology as a basis for the cult, but steer clear from copying everything too readily.


At school, Hawk gets called “Jim Jones” and warned of bringing the “Kool Aid” too close to Ashley, by her boyfriend. I knew repercussions for this were coming. A fight ensues, no doubt bringing more drama to the Lane clan. Needed at the school, Eddie’s drawn away from investigation the claims of Alison, re: her husband Jason. Mostly here we get an examination of how these cults, these communities affect families, the children in them, their social relationships, and much more.
Closer and closer, Cal and Mary come together. And no longer can he control his urges. Well, sort of, sort of not.
After everything, Eddie wants to go through with the rest of therapy. He wants to normalize their relationship, to “get back” to the old way. It’s the whole fourteen days thing. And into the room he goes, a veritable jail cell, self-imposed. A place of introspection, of clarity. Two weeks in there? Very similar to a practice in Scientology, though, again – not lifted entirely.


The media’s eye is now finally coming down on the cult of Meyerism. On a set, Cal is interviewed by a reporter. He tries to delineate their cult from the very world itself. The power of persuasion is on Cal’s side, as he is charismatic, charming, intriguing. His skills of oration are impeccable, he can almost melt people into the palm of his hand.
With Detective Gaines watching on, Eddie straddling the fence and Alison on the outside fighting, when will the cult find themselves at direct odds with the outside world? Soon enough. I’d bet on it.
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The finale of this episode sees Cal moving on helping the would-be-donors with their junkie son. Not just that, he’s making sure the donor professes his love and admiration for their religion. He wants true, faithful followers, and is doing whatever necessary to ensure that. “Cause I dont give a shit about your million dollars, Mr. Ridge,” says Cal: “I want your faith.”
At the same time, Eddie goes through the beginning of his fourteen days. It is a head trip. A one way ticket to absolute insanity. All billed as therapy, somehow. This whole sequence is almost terrifying, watching Eddie pace around the room, answering questions, painting, throwing paint, all kinds of things. Then, we get another glimpse at his revelation from Peru, behind the door, as Stephen Meyer (Keir Dullea) lays in a hospital bed, draped with a large snake. Back in the stark white room, Eddie loses his mind. Apparently he admits to an affair with Miranda Frank (Minka Kelly), and everything is fine afterwards. A few men go to pick her up in a cult van. What will be her fate?
Cal relays the new happenings to Doc in his bed, pronouncing their new era, “The era of the Ladder“, and now we know for sure what Eddie knew to be true really is true after all.


Where does The Path head from here? Let’s stay tuned together and find out.