This was a very curious episode, fast paced and broken into lots of short, busy scenes. Perhaps because it had to fit quite a bit into the hour, or to reflect the increasingly fractured nature of our characters lives?
Little from column A, little from column B …
We pick up where we left off, with Sarah and the man she’s blackmailing over his Unburdening tapes. She doesn’t quite say the words ‘give us money or we’ll post them online’, just firmly reminds him all the great things Meyerism has done for them. I say them, because she’s seeing a lot of different people with their tapes, all of them horrified.
Almost at once, she’s talked them out of a combined $240,000 dollars which she immediately deposits and just like that … the back taxes are paid, and the IRS are off their back. At least for now.
Sarah leaves the bank and looks like she’ll pass out from the tension. Right there with you, girl. Damn.
Later, she talks she talks her way into speaking at a religious conference in Boston, hoping to raise their profile and encourage donations and support. She is on a mission.
Abe gets chewed out about Sarah saving Meyerism, as it takes away their only leverage against the group. Abe checks the list of ‘donators’ and figures they’re all low level 3R, like weekend Meyerists who don’t live it every da,y but who went through the first through rungs. And unburdenings.
Eddie sits in an old Catholic church, and a priest sits down beside him to ask if he’s okay. It’s Eddie’s childhood church, and they reminisce about the old priest who was there before. Eddie asks how or when the priest knew this was his calling? He admits he’s ‘hearing’ a call of sorts himself, but he’s not sure if listening is the right decision. The priest says he didn’t have a moment, and every day his conviction this is his life’s work is challenged. But if it was a mistake, it’s one he’d make again.
Eddie likes this, and they shake and take their leave.
What a nice ,tight little scene.
Eddie heads over to Richard’s apartment and finds Felicia is there. Felicia, who has burn scars on her hands which she believes came from a burning ladder made of light, is reluctant to accept the idea Eddie is the Chosen One, and thinks his lightning bolt scar could be … just a scar.
Though Eddie is still trying to wrap his head around it all, he seems pretty ready to at least have a go and see if he is ‘the guy’. Felicia says the only way to be sure is if he climbs the ladder, goes to 8R. He agrees.
Sean’s mother and the shrink are throwing a ‘baby shower’ for Mary. They give her a copy of The Wizard of Oz books, and non too subtly explain how the people of Oz live in a controlled reality, and their godlike leader is just an ordinary man.
Mary can barely pretend not to see right through it and just asks to go home.
An anxious Cal is back at the compound looking just like a man who has not so much lost his faith; rather, maybe realised he never had any. He meets with Sarah and in a very mature way, is ready to recuse himself of any leadership roles, as he’s been such a failure. Sarah stop shim. She’s fixed it, it’s all fine.
His reaction is so curious. He’s quiet, anxiously rubbing his legs. He’s not … happy. You know, if it had collapsed he could probably walk away from it more easily. But, she’s fixed it. She tells him about the conference, about sourcing new means of income. She is easily, readily taking every bit of pressure of him that she can.
…. the question is going to be, what else would she be ready to forgive him for, now she knows what she knows?
At the city centre the floors are being installed, and Hawk rushes over to Noa to apologise for being a dick to her. She forgives him, they flirt and he invites her to his house for dinner. They make out a little before she agrees and after she leaves, he teenager-skips away like a total teenaged goof and guys, Kyle Allen is wonderful. Just wonderful.
Abe visits the man Sarah spoke to under the guise of thanking him for his loyalty to the movement. His obvious discomfort gives Abe an in to ask if he was blackmailed too. The guy is half relieved, half terrified to learn he’s not the only one. Oooh Abe, you sly devil!
Noa comes to Hawk’s house, and the family is super nice and welcoming. Later, they all help Sarah practice for the conference. Hawk isn’t comfortable with them reaching out for money like this, but Hank makes a point to congratulate Sarah for saving them all. Nicole is actually pretty right in saying it’s technically the ‘kind donors’ who saved them and even Sarah agrees with her. Russell though? Ooooh Russell. He literally waves a hand in the face of his wife to quiet her, doesn’t even look at her. NICOLE. SNAP THAT HAND OFF AND SHOVE IT UP HIS ASS.
She unloads a little how he overly criticises her of late, and how she gave up her whole family for this, then catches herself before it can get too nasty. She apologises to Noa, though Noa is very cool with a family who actually talks about shit, rather than silently hating each other over dinner. The whole scene has become too much for Sarah, who races off to the bathroom to puke.
While Sean sleeps, Mary reads her Oz books until she’s called outside. Cal is waiting in a car, and the little changes in his demeanour say so much about Hugh Dancy’s ability just … gah, I am left dumbstruck. He talks about his mother’s death, hints at his issues with it, and Mary talks about the Oz books as a lesson — sometimes mothers are just fucked up people.
She asks why he’s there, and he lays his head in her lap. He talks about being a husk and wanting to be vapour. He ask her to go with him.
Um … did he just ask her to commit joint suicide??
Mary looks terrified, then the baby starts kicking and she holds Cal’s head close to feel it. His ‘Oh shit, it is!’ is so markedly different from anything he’s ever said before, that I think Cal may have undergone a huge change of some kind. Interesting. He eagerly asks if the baby kicks a lot, but Mary is done and leaves quickly.
Felicia, Eddie and Richard are working on Eddie’s rungs. He lays down, talked and maybe drugged into something of a trance, clutching a Meyer coin like a talisman. He finds himself on some late night, New York city road, sitting at a bus stop.
An old man asks if a bus has arrived, and Eddie says he’s just sitting there, not waiting for anything. The man says he can’t decide if that’s wonderful or hollow, and Eddie turns to see the bus arrive. The old man is suddenly gone, but Eddie is more disturbed by the passengers and the driver on the bus; none of them have faces.
Later on he talks with Felicia and Richard about what he thinks it means; they have to end the denier policy. We learn Richard’s old partner, Jeremiah, was outcast for losing his faith, like Eddie. They try to argue the policy isn’t policy, it was a decision some of them made to cut out toxic people that sort of became the norm. Eddie calls it all bullshit as Felicia talks up how the ego and individuality hinder the movement. Eddie looks like he’s questioning what he’s signed up for. Again. Some more.
Abe is in a Meyer storeroom, making a mess because he’s frustrated. Nicole arrives and they share their mutual disenchantment with just … everything. She actually mentions post-partum as a possible cause for her mood which is … interesting, for the Meyers who don’t believe psychology is valid. Huh.
She reveals she left her parents church for Meyerism, and they disowned her for that. Now she feels like everything is about Russell and his family, and her life is not her own, not one she chose.
Their building sexual tension finally ignites and the sexy times commence. They pause long enough to agree they won’t Unburden any of this, and Abe makes a point to say that ‘Whatever happens’, for him, in this room, this is real.
Translation; When I come back here and raid this place as a Fed and you learn I’m undercover….sorry.
Eddie visits with Sarah’s outcast sister and they go for coffee together, while he fails very badly at trying to sell the idea of reuniting Meyer families. He fails so hard she’s offended and storms out, and he’s left behind to learn the waitress at his table is none other than Hawk’s season 1 girlfriend, Ashley.
Oh my days. The girl he nearly gave it all up for. Aaaand Eddie tells her where Hawk is living. Nice.
Cal and Sarah are at the conference, but he’s mentally checked out and avoiding her. When she finds him, he admits what has been clear all episode … he doesn’t think he has ‘any conviction left’. Sarah reels, as he points out he’s aware of the pickle this puts them in, here, at a religious conference, scheduled to go onstage any minute.
She fesses up about all that blackmail she just did, so he has to do this for her, now.
Also … because he killed a man, Sarah? No? Hmmkay. She passionately tells him he has to make people, make her, believe. He takes a moment and says he can do it only if he’s clear in her eye. It’s Meyer-speak, and they put their hands one each other’s foreheads and hearts, and repeat a prayer that’s about seeing the other person anew. She’s clearly, lovingly struck by the moment as Cal steels himself to work.
Lilly has gone to see Kodiak, who may have had his own awakening moment. They meet in that wigwam tent on the compound, which may or may not be the one Cal’s mother talked about. Ew.
Kodiak is telling Lily ‘It’s over’ and she thinks he means them and asserts ‘We never were’, which, heee!
He calls ‘it’ all smoke and mirrors, says Steve was only God because Kodiak needed him to be, and Kodiak was only a mad victim because Steve needed someone to save … he wants her to escape with him before it all goes bad. She stares in confusion.
Whaaat? Was Kodiak just that moved by Eddie’s statement, Steve really was just a man?
It would be really interesting to see where Kodiak might end up if things fall to hell.
Back at the conference, Cal and Sarah get up and they just crush it. They talk about the brevity of our time on this planet, and finding ways to do much more with that time. Cal talks about never hearing his mother say she loved him, but learning to accept that was on her, not him, and surrounding himself with those who do love him. They’re an incredible double act, selling Meyerism about as well as you could.
Riding up in the elevator, Sarah tells him that his mother said things before she died, things that were hard to hear. Cal … either ignores what that could mean, or just assumes it’s his mothers typical ire and spite, and apologises Sarah had to endure it. She gets off on her floor and he follows her to her room, admitting he couldn’t let her walk away, that everything he said on stage was about her. She smiles and heads into the room and it looks like she’s closed the door. But she hasn’t, and Cal enters. She’s waiting for him and they fall passionately into bed together.
Well. It’s finally happened. And … has it happened because of what Sarah knows? Because … that is not okay.
Hawk and Noa were at the religious conference; they arrive home at the city centre. Ashley is there waiting for Hawk. Noa senses something is up, and politely leaves them to talk as Hawk stares at the girl he nearly gave it all up for.
Abe breaks into the records room and retrieves a tape for a ‘Don Hendrew’. Rich guy Sarah blackmailed?
Hank goes to Eddie’s place and asks why he was seeing Tessa, admitting without hesitation that obviously yes he sees her. She’s his daughter, duh.
Eddie admits nearly everything; that they think Steve has chosen him as the successor, that Felicia and Richard are helping him climb the rungs … and that he plans to retake Meyerism from Cal.
Oooh this shit just got Game of Thrones as hell! He tells Hank he wants the families to all be back together, and they hug like the once loving father and son-in-law they were.
Hank withdraws with blood on his hands. Eddie is bleeding from the scars on his back.
While nothing is yet set in stone, we’re getting early indicators of what sides the pieces may well fall if the collapse comes.
Richard is a firm believer in Eddie, and Felicia is at least willing to let him try to be their new messiah. Even Hank seemed confused but not upset about the idea of Eddie returning to take over — especially not when Hank, himself breaks the same rule Eddie wants to get rid of, and perhaps when we learn what Eddie wants to do more of. I think, like Hawk, he’d want to focus on their outreach — in season 1, the good they did in the community was a key part of Eddie’s hesitation to leave. Between he and his golden-hearted son, they could turn Meyerism in an amazing direction.
But Sarah? Sarah believes in herself and Cal. She is on the verge of accepting, or convincing herself, they are the right and proper Guardians of The Light. Even if Cal wasn’t challenged by Eddie’s return … it’s possible Sarah might be.