Things get amazingly strange and curious this week as for perhaps the very first time we actually lean pretty hard into the idea there might be something sort of mystic happening with the Meyerists. Between prophetic dreams, spontaneous and non drug induced visions of long dead relatives and a miraculous revivals, stuff gets a little spooky.
And once again the vagueness over time confuses just everything because who even knows how many days do and don’t pass and I give up trying to keep track. The show clearly isn’t. (I say I give up, but I wont. I can’t. It consumes me.)
Mary and Abe reverse fortunes in the eight instalment of The Path, with Abe-so pumped and proud last week when his work was finally taken seriously- falling from a great height when he learns his case against the Meyerists is being handed off to Homeland Security and likely from there, to the IRS. His boss make a grand show of asking Abe to have dinner at ‘the club’ to break the news and his approach is enough to convince Abe and his fellow agents that he’s getting a raise.
But he’s not. The boss man doesn’t even really explain what Abe will get now his case has been taken away from him. It’s an entirely political move directed by some Senator thinking of PR and political game playing and ignoring Abe’s evidence that the Meyerists might have killed at least one man. Abe is not a happy man and despite the equally political choice of location for the meet, Abe flips the hell out all over his boss.
I spent a good fifteen minutes, truly, trying to work out if this scene was some sort of ruse by Abe and his boss. The song and dance of asking him to dinner, Abe’s highly public outburst and just the fact his case has been taken away from him mere days after it got a much needed shot in the arm all looks strange when you step back. I’m still convinced it will turn out someone else from The Club, or who will hear bout the incident, is a Meyerist and this whole outburst was staged so that Abe could convincingly get deeper within the cult. They don’t ‘know’ he’s a Fed, of course, but these people are sinister as hell so… Maybe Mr Ridge is there, that rich dude whose wife and son rushed off to Peru to get them good psychotropics, whose HenchGoon nearly beat Cal into a stain on the drive way . Remember those people? The show may not.
But, time will tell on my theory. Which is one of just…so many.
Meanwhile, Mary has a tiny glimmer of light in all the darkness. She’s still getting outstandingly high and in her stupor, her loneliness or just because Betsy is fine as hell, she and Betsy get busy at long last.
But Sean is back! Cal picked him up in Delaware and brought him home(I’ll explain later) and Mary just glows over it. They reconcile and Mary even comes clean about her confusing feelings for Cal. She doesn’t open up about the exact nature of their ‘relationship’ and who could blame her? But she opens up enough to satisfy Sean. For about a half a second she might even throw away her stolen drugs, but she’s not quite there yet. She doses up before they make love, keeps the rest for later and looks wretched about every single second of it. Poor, poor Mary.
But at least she’s indoors, with food being brought to her, unlike Eddie and Hawk who are on ‘The Walk’.
We learn a metric ton about Meyer and his back story in a short scene outside his former military base where, we’re told, he used to work in something that sounds eerily similar to MK Ultra. He was the psych-ops guy until he got sick of the inhumanity of it all and walked out. Doesn’t that mean he went AWOL?
Eddie is either playing good Meyer dad or honestly never makes the connection between Meyers history and the current practices of the Movement, but I did, Steve. I did.
They carry bags of marked rocks and are meant to drop them at various sacred sites along the walk, sites Steve made important all those years before. It’s a pilgrimage at its most basic.
So Eddie and Hawk walk and they think and they eat and sleep in homeless shelters. In one telling and quietly beautiful scene Eddie automatically joins the morning prayer at a homeless shelter, recalling the words from memory and bowing his head in actual reverence. Hawk is literally open mouthed in shock but the issue is never raised between them. He just sees a part of his father he hasn’t before, which is the intent.
All of Aaron Paul and Kyle Allen’s scenes in this episode are just a joy. One moment that stayed with me is a shot of the boys walking side by side and despite Kyle Allen being twenty one and not fifteen this kid has nailed that gangling, loose limbed teenaged walk alongside Eddie’s more confident, adult stride. It’s just one moment that speaks to the talent at work here. I die.
The Lane men end up catching a ride back to Coney Island thank to the Christian kindness of a random old couple. Despite the fact it’s not on The Walk, Hawk calls the offer to be driven to Brighton Beach a sign and off they go.
They wind up in Eddie’s old stomping ground and spending the day just hanging out while Eddie reminisces. Hawk is just rapt and loves hearing his dads old stories, especially because they all feature Eddie’s brother, Johnny, teaching Eddie how to cheat the old fairground games. For a brief second, literally five or ten, a different Eddie emerges, the younger man he was once who probably ran riot in this place. Hawk talks Eddie into leaving one rock, despite their being off route. After all, the place is sacred to Eddie. Eddie remembers a lot of things and he weeps and Hawk panics but Eddie is okay in the end. This is good for him.
They spend the day there and talk about faith and belief and about love, sharing their fraught emotions about their own romantic relationships. Hawk sobs over Ashley so Eddie gives him their last few dollars to call her. Hawk hilariously gapes at a pay phone before actually using the thing to call her and it seems like the kid might come out of this okay.
Which is when things get strange. While Hawk talks to his girl, Eddie has visions of his dead brother…again, some more. And since the last time he did Eddie’s entire world was destroyed he’s naturally a tad bit anxious about the second visit.
But he doesn’t need to be. This time Johnny leads Eddie to the beach as the sun is beginning to set. Eddie drops sacred rocks with each step towards the sea and when he stops, the brothers share a long look of deep understanding. Maybe it’s a final goodbye. Or maybe Johnny is trying to tell Eddie to keep doubting, keep asking questions .That he’s not wrong. It’s a powerful moment either way.
But as always it’s Sarah and Cal who get all the fun stuff to do. Sarah starts her week having some really weird dreams about saving her kids from an advancing truck, only for her children to be replaced by this;
Pachamama, a representation of the Incan goddess known as the World Mother. Sarah is utterly freaked by the dream, unsure of what it means and she’s even more rattled later when she finds a gift Silas left for her before Cal gave him a neck full of broken vase.
It’s a hand carved Idol of Pachamama and she finds it right as Felicia is asking Sarah to consider taking on more leadership responsibilities away from Cal. Later, Sarah’s mother suggests Sarah see the dream and the idol for what they are, portents of good things, hints Sarah should take and not ignore, about her role as a leader, her place within The Movement.
This entire discussion semi-hilariously takes place while in the background Nicole is literally splashing around in her birthing pool while the other kids run riot all over the house.
She finally drags the women away from their daily Sarah Worship to, you know, help her deliver a baby and it’s a damn good thing. The delivery of the new baby gives Sarah yet another chance to shine because the baby is born motionless, the umbilical wrapped around her little neck.
There isn’t a single medical professional present, not even the Meyerist doctor we’ve seen in other episodes, so everyone but especially Nicole absolutely loses it. Sarah wavers between that intense swaying praying she’s so prone to and trying to breathe into the babies lungs and after enough time to permanently raise my blood pressure, the baby squeals and she breathes and full disclosure, I just about collapsed on first viewing. That was an astounding scene, truly. I could easily have seen them committing to this so it was a genuine twist for me when the baby survived. Well played, show. Well played.
The family, because; Meyerists, is swept up in the moment and her father especially gazes at Sarah as if she just prayed the baby back to life.
And then there’s Cal.
Cal bears witness to Sarah’s growing power but that’s all he does at the birth. He is as useless as a rock otherwise.
But he has had a few days, after all. See after he violently murdered Silas and then climbed all the way inside several bottles of Whisky, he went on a little ‘Walk’ of his own. First of all he sneaked the dead body out past all the press and the cops which…ballsy, Cal. Ballsy. Then he took said body to what I am pretty confident is Eddie’s 7R ditch (clever Cal) which I guess the boys just left in the woods for anybody to fall into and break a leg and then he takes a nice country drive while…still really quite drunk.
Finally, he turns up outside Sarah’s house because of course he does but Sarah is just that decent and rather than leave him out in the cold she brings him inside and tries to clean him up and get him dry once again.
Cal is a terrible houseguest who wears Eddie’s pilot episode red checked shirt, sleeps in Hawks bed and gets up in the night to be violently sick, waking up the whole household.
Summer, who is hilarious by the way, just calls him right the fuck out on being a noisy puking guest though the moppet has no idea why he’s such a god damned mess and despite Sarah’s attempted explanations Summer is throwing Cal the stinkiest stink eye of all time.
Summer, guys. Summer is my favourite.
In between all that chicanery, Cal visits Sean in Delaware and I was absolutely convinced he killed the poor kid right until Sean turned up and made Mary’s whole heart explode.
Cal caps his winning weekend of fuckery by trying to make out with Sarah after watching her miracle baby healing display, and for just a second she’s into it. Because this is Hugh Dancy and Sarah is only human after all.
But she’s also, I guess, super dedicated because despite Cal’s Hugh Dancyness, she stops it and tells him they can’t. Iron will, that woman, hot damn. I don’t even think Eddie would mind, is the thing. He has eyes, he gets it.
So because Cal can’t just have his way every single second of the day, he throws Eddie under the bus and tells Sarah ‘He’s lying to you’.
Sarah, still convinced of the affair that never was, still so rattled by this imagined Transgression, she searches Eddie’s office and his car and she finds his burner phone and all his very recent calls to Alison.
*But PS Did Eddie seriously leave that phone where it could be so easily found? Come on, man.