Guys, I don’t think Hawk is getting into The Garden.
But it’s okay. I’m not sure Sarah will either.
The sixth offering of our Culty fun times opens on Cal’s brutally battered face being tended to in the Meyer medical bay but luckily for poor Cal, Sarah Lane has arrived to blame herself and gently touch his bruised skin with her lovely soft hands. It is a moment on which they both immediately fixate and in the opinion of this writer is the start of a countdown to some Cal/Sarah bow chicka wah wah and the end of the Lane marriage. For all Sarah’s anger at Eddie’s (still totally fictional) affair Sarah clearly is not as high, mighty and pure as she would like to tell herself she is.
But for all Cal spent the last few minutes of last week getting his head turned to vegan burger meat, a…day? A few days? later, he’s recovered enough to take Eddie on a fun little road trip to go and deal with a doubter.
…..Soo…the timeline on this show is getting weirder.
Case in point; Hawk and Ashley are hot and heavying at her house but he’s reluctant to go further than kissing for fear he may be giving up what his whole life has been about for something that may not be real (Joy the buzzkill really got to him, didn’t she?) Just as Ashley is responding, the bank and cops turn up to finally evict the family from their home.
Now, we saw Ashley getting the final notice eviction letters way back in the second or third episode but the events of the show imply much more than the 72 hours Ashley’s mother is told she was given have passed. Based on Abe’s daughter’s illness, doctor visit, diagnosis and his comments he wouldn’t spend a weekend Googling symptoms, and of course Cal’s incredible healing powers, and the fact we’re told this episode happens over a Friday and a Saturday, we can infer that since at least last week, seven more days have passed. Since we saw Ashley learn she had like, a day to move out, we’ve also seen the Ridge kid be dragged to the Meyer compound, detox entirely, leave and relapse before being spirited off to Peru.
It’s weird is what I’m saying. It’s getting to be like Justified. Next thing they’ll shoe-horn awkward current movie references into dialogue to clue the audience in to roughly what year it is for these people.
But seriously, one day I’m going to have make a visual timeline because it’s the one relatively minor, but increasingly hard to ignore flaw this show has. It’s especially frustrating in this scene because Ashley’s mother seems utterly unprepared for the arrival of the banks and the cops( and not just because Ashley was keeping vital mail a secret) and sadly has no place to go with her kids, but again, the show has made it seem like she’s had a long time to find somewhere to stay, so the emotion of this scene, for me, rings hollow.
Regardless, Ashley is (finally) homeless and Hawk, being a genuinely nice person with a good heart, is conflicted. The solution is obvious to all of us and Hawk too.
Which of course, happens –though reluctant about it — Sarah lets Ashley and her family stay at the home, despite Hawk’s outright requests that they just…not, the family go full Meyer at the dinner table, caring, listening, talking up The Ladder and the benefits of recreational marijuana.
Despite Hawk and Eddie’s attempts to curb it, Mrs. Ashley’s mother looks like she might sign up by literally the end of the following day. The unrelenting kindness and lack of judgement helps, but the Meyerists finding this homeless, penniless woman an actual job is probably the icing on the cake. It’s so insidious, but then again, is it? She’ll have a job and means, and her kids will have a home.
Inside of a cult.
But it all works out in the end, because Ashley and Hawk fuck in the back of an SUV while the rest of the Meyerists are at Gathering.
Guess Hawk got into one kind of Garden! Heyoooooo!
Once again Hawk’s parents who manage to be so crazy intrusive some of the time are absolutely oblivious to his shenanigans every other second of the day because they’re off having their own.
Eddie’s trip out with Cal turns sinister in about .04 of a second when he turns up at Alison’s motel room and tears it apart while he reveals that Alison stole $40,000 from the Meyerist San Diego campus before she dipped out everybody. She’s also hiding, utterly petrified, in the motel room while Cal flips her mattress and tears into her belongings, which she has more of than someone who is claiming to have basically the clothes on her back. Good Guy Eddie doesn’t turn her in, though he’s troubled by Cal’s behaviour and the overtly intimidating actions Cal is taking.
He’s troubled enough to confide in Sarah, who is still in a tangle over Hawk, and Eddie confronts her with the question of what would Cal have done if he had found someone in the room? Threatened them? Hurt them?
Sarah is adamant that they don’t hurt people, adamant, but Eddie remains uncertain and pops over to a bar with Alison to discuss so many things. In a scene brilliantly undercut by Blue Velvet crooning in the background, Eddie brings up the money, which she admits she stole because it was in the account she and Jason shared when Jason died. She took it and ran, figured she was damn well entitled to it when someone (**big deep breath** CAL. FUCKING. ROBERTS) almost certainly tossed her husband off a fucking mountain. She reveals a little more about Jason’s “missions”, which revolved around the Meyerists depositing large sums of cash in his bank account to facilitate…something.
Alison was never privy to what he did, but she’s adamant he helped people and this tidbit is a salve for Eddie, who has chosen to live on in the cult but needs to know it really truly helps people.
Eddie wants to go back to not knowing what he knows, but Alison reminds him you can’t quite un-ring the bell of doubt-nor deny the truth. Once you see a crack, you see them all. And worse yet, you can’t fake Faith.
Eddie makes himself feel better by informing Cal that Eddie will no longer do thug shit like turn over a room and presumably intimidate the widowed wives of (maybe) suicide victims. Cal accepts this. What else can he do?
Sarah’s all about ultimatums too, this week. She gives Cal one over his behaviour in the motel room, tells him to leave what she thinks is simply a grieving woman alone and forget about money. And after a little adventure of her own, she’s giving them about Hawk, too.
See, as well as being unsettled by how into stroking Cal’s face she got (and she flashes back to it like, four times) Sarah is actually rattled by Eddie’s questions and by Hawk’s friends staying with them for the near future. She’s unsettled enough that she decides to check in with…absent sister Tessa. And by check in with I mean, stalk and then break into the empty house of.
Tessa lives in what looks like a Hasidic neighbourhood in New York City and she has two adorable kids and on the surface, her life is similar to Sarah’s; she has kids, who have hobbies and after school activities. They take vacations and they read books and they collect tchotchkes, one of which Sarah pinches. In a scene that is wonderfully real, Sarah is an actual human person, she’s a sister and she digs through her sibling’s things, tries on her pretty lipstick to see if it looks as good on Sarah, sneaks a peak at her private belongings and secret places.
She, briefly, seems quite happy to see her sister is okay, surviving, content.
But then she finds the medications in the bathroom. A dozen of them, all for depression, panic disorders, anxiety, stress. Just like Sarah’s, Tessa’s life is not as happy as it seems and Sarah decides, and tells Eddie the same, Hawk does not get to make his own decisions regarding a) Ashley or b)any facet of his entire life, ever.
A+ Parenting Sarah, just award winning.
Abe Gaines does a far better job of being a parent. In amongst a few scenes of wonderful domestic bliss with poorly little Lucy getting her first dose of meds and his two other adorable moppets brushing their teeth for bed time, the agent is still sniffing around the (totally not a) cult.
He investigates Jason, learns the MD had broken years of silence to contact his parents in the months before he died, asking after the number of another doctor and family friend. Doctor Rothstein turns out to be a specialist in pancreatic cancers, and is quite happy to tell Abe that Jason was trying to buy an experimental but highly effective treatment for pancreatic cancers. Jason, or whomever was funding his ventures, had to have been very well off as the shit isn’t cheap. You have to love how Abe dismissed Alison to her face and made her cry but nonetheless believes her and is checking on what she said. Dude, let her know? Maybe think about talking to her again since now Cal is onto her? Abe? Throw her a rope is all, come on.
Abe also gets another inkling sense of Eddie’s doubts this week in a conversation that Eddie can just barely manage to give a shit about. He’s openly sarcastic about Meyer’s time away and about an act of charity on Cal’s behalf while he glowers at Cal handsoming all over Sarah and other new recruits to the rapidly growing Movement and Abe notices. Now all I need is for Abe and Eddie to share notes, damn it. Things are moving forwards. For all our focus on Eddie, Jason is the key here, what he knew.
But as always, and is becoming tradition, it’s Cal who doubles down on…everything. This week it’s loneliness.
We see no less than four separate attempts by Cal to share someone’s, anyone’s company, just for a while, just for a single cup of tea. Sarah’s brother declines, Sarah declines, Eddie declines and when Cal takes his frustrations to Mary’s room he’s more than a little taken aback to find her hanging out with Sean.
The thing is, Mary is so breathlessly happy to see him and would likely have let him peel her skin off like a banana if he’d asked, but Cal is low-key pissed Sean is there and without hesitation declares he’s there to tell Sean he’s being transferred to fucking Delaware! But hey, it’s a promotion!
It’s not and it’s so fucking sad and Mary is so very confused, but not Sean. He knows the score-Cal’s visit was more than a little late at night- and gets Mary to admit to as much that Cal directed her to be with him. But her confession she might actually have genuinely fallen for him isn’t enough. He leaves and who knows if he’ll come back.
But Cal, still lonely… he rallies. Callies?
Earlier in the episode a radio show had mentioned needy immigrant families with no place to stay since the Catholic organisation housing them was no longer able to and since Cal can’t convince his actual friends fashion he goes out and finds some. In an act that appears kind on the surface and certainly helps the Meyer public image, he offers sanctuary to the young families and while the true believers praise his goodwill, everyone else-Hawk, Ashley, Eddie, Abe and maybe to some degree the newly uncertain Mary, watches on, disturbed and creeped out by all of it.
The pace slowed down this week, but it was a good thing as it gave us a chance to hang out with our characters a little more; We see more of Sarah that helps make her die hard belief in the cult easier to stomach. In her world, her sister is both dead, and not. She’s alive and thriving, but Sarah can’t even speak with her. Monaghan is adorable in the scenes at Tessa’s house, the moment when she tries on some bright red lipstick and actually marvels at how sexy it makes her look, her small smiles when she smells her sisters cooking or gets to see photos of the nieces and nephews she’s never met, who may not even know she exists.
And we see Alison, softening up to speak with Eddie, who in turn is a lot less aggressive than their last encounter (the one where he threatened to actually kill her). They share a beautiful moment of concern for each other in their scene in the bar.
But it’s Cal who really lets his humanity shine this time around. After a few weeks of being a terrifying robot, Cal is deeply humanised by his post-beating vulnerability and desperate need for companionship. In earlier episodes where we meet his mother, learn he was all but abducted and brainwashed at the age of five and has himself struggled with alcoholism…they faded a little from memory in the face of his utterly cold affect and single minded drive. But this week they reminded us; this is a person. Once he might have been a good guy. Maybe one day he can be again.
Except for that part when he went to Mary’s room for some more deeply disturbing sex abuse and instead, ended up banishing the lover he told her to take, and doing so out of nothing more than spite.
Baby steps, guys. Baby steps.