The Path: ‘De Rerum Natura’ — On the Nature of Things

First of all, my apologies and my bad! Thank you to those who pointed out in the comments last week that there are in fact ten more episodes. Which in turn makes me feel better about how things will play out of the season!

I would review last week … but it’s three hours worth of TV so, let me be very brief; Eddie is leader now, but so far, he’s only okay at it. Sarah is talking to more people outside the cult (yay!), though she’s also getting darker and more intense in her readings of cult texts and behaviour towards Cal (boo!). Hawk is turning out to be a pretty great young adult in general, and he probably gets to make out with the adorable Caleb soon. Vera has gone and fallen for Eddie a little bit, but her Crazier-Than-Even-Sarah mother wants Eddie dead. Cal, meanwhile, has been dealing with all his repressed memories of his abuse by Steve, suddenly becoming unrepressed. The man is struggling. Who can blame him?

Anything else? Oh, to my immense surprise, Joy has grown up into a sassy badass who calls Hawk out on white privilege, and picks fights with Nazis at the drop of a hat. Good times.

Sarah is at Professor Jackson’s office with the old reel to reel film she found last week because he has an old projector that can play it. They flirt, he literally says he wants to romance her and guys, I ship these two so hard.  Sarah stumbles over lying about why she wants to watch the film here, claiming it’s her mother’s private things  — we know it’s because of what else it may show.

The film is … really beautiful and sweet. We see the baby Meyerists, Young Gabbie, Hank, Bill and Felicia, what might be a baby Russell with a ukulele. and of course, Steve. We see them as they were when it started; beautiful wonderful shining kids who wanted to save the whole world through peace and love. Except you, Steve.

Then the old Meyer tape cuts to something else. It’s that damned cave we’ve seen in Cal’s flashbacks. Steve is on camera, tied up in the binding ropes, telling ‘Lil’ (almost certainly Lilith, Vera’s mother) that he’s uncomfortable. Sarah doesn’t recognise the cave, or her voice, and records the playback on her phone. It’s clear Lilith is running the show, whatever it is.

Then Sarah gets a text from Eddie; bomb threat on the compound. Oh, shit!

Cut to the New York centre where the compound residents are being brought in to safely spend the night. They’re pissed, what with Logan, The Baby Maybe Nazi from last week and now this. Inside Eddie is learning it’s a hoax and wants to call a meeting reminding people that in general, hate crimes are on the rise. Vera is like ‘…………………………… dude’ but also talks him down from saying sorry or admitting he made a mistake, because that’ll just make people angrier and more scared. She power speeches him about being a leader, that he’s doing what the Light guides, and if they don’t like it, well they are now welcome to leave!

The next day he addresses the people and … immediately apologises like Vera told him not to. The room is cold as he speaks and Sarah looks almost pleased that he’s not making a splash.

Unsatisfied, people jump up with questions and Cal slips into the back of the room to find out just how badly Eddie is doing. He looks less satisfied than Sarah. He actually looks sort of hollow.

Until … somebody loudly asks Cal for his opinion and the second he has their attention he is glorious, easily charming and funny and doing everything Eddie is failing to, and smoothly, powerfully endorsing Eddie. But even as he does, he’s at the front of the room, visibly feeding on their attention and love. It’s beautiful, because Hugh Dancy is so good. Cal pretends he left because of his own flaws, not because he was mad Eddie brought the banished Meyerists back; calls Eddie brave for opening the doors, but it’s Cal, so he’s gotta be the victim. He calls himself a wayward sheep, claims he returned because they heard the call of Eddie and asks, ‘meekly’, if he can stay. I don’t say enough, but the sheer amount that goes into Cal, both from Dancy and the writers is just astonishing.

Eddie, sucking lemons smeared in shit, smiles and nods ‘of course’.

Later in their motel room, Eddie turns up to openly call Cal out on the amazing pile of bullshit Cal just spewed, and Cal tries to act like it’s legit. Eddie won’t hear it, and because he’s still not really getting … just any of this, he dismissively tells Cal that they will just be like Novices, and will live in a dorm, and won’t be on the council anymore. Cal … Cal is back to giving those eerily blank, robotic looks, as if he’s trying to figure out how many bin bags Eddie’s body parts would fill. Mary calls Eddie out, while Eddie rationalises Cal was, you know, sort of an asshole to the power of N.

Then Eddie loses me, because he goes after their kid, declaring Forrest will be ‘Embraced’, like Cal was, and Sarah and Russel, some kind of Meyer baptism that sounds all weird and wrong. Hawk and Summer were not embraced.

Eddie. Don’t be that guy.

Later, Cal hurriedly dresses for a meeting with Vera, hoping to make Eddie back off. Mary worries, as much about Eddie’s threats as about Cal and Vera and then, of course, Cal and Sarah. Cal is tense, and not really in the mood for this right now, Mary — thanks — and he rushes out.

Sarah has taken her video to Gabs, who immediately recognises Lilith’s voice but claims she doesn’t recognise the cave. (Liar.) She was a former patient from Meyer’s psychiatric days and Gabs claims, was disturbed and obsessed with him. She says Lilith made ‘crazy claims’ about Steve, lying that she can’t recall what they were, just that they were ‘crazy’ and unintentionally giving something away by comparing it to Eddie being harassed by Monica’s family. Oh, Gabbie. What did you do?

Over at the centre, Nicole meets with Eddie to discuss ending her marriage to Russel. After admitting her affair, they tried to make it work, but she knows she can be a single mother now so she’s okay. Eddie isn’t okay discussing it without Russel there and he’s useless, again, some more, because she needs advice and guidance, and he just can’t give it. Eddie, you suck!

Downstairs, meanwhile, Caleb comes to offer some support for Hawk’s Logan bruises, but also because of the bomb threat. And then he moves in to kiss Hawk. Hawk freezes, and Caleb leaves a little awkwardly. But, that could have gone worse.

Cal is meeting Vera and telling a long-winded story about a time he and Steve helped a hitchhiker, only to be helped themselves when their own truck broke down. He’s talking over Vera’s suggestions, then eventually, please, that he finish already and get to the point. Cal is smiles and charms as he prattles through the story and the the inane details, and how funny the experience was, and then casually mentions the night he and Steve shared a sleeping bag. Vera’s face drops and she bluntly asks what he’s saying. Cal tears up, talking about how Steve was wise, but he also abused Cal until he was 16. His face actually breaks my heart. Vera, very nearly spilling the beans, hisses ‘You’re a liar’, until Cal produces a letter Steve gave him. And the photographs that were inside. We, mercifully, do not see … her … reaction. Steve’s her dad — calling it. Cal explains calmly how Eddie is SO GOOD that he wouldn’t bury this horrible fact, he would be open and honest and truthful about it, because he’s such a good guy. Which is why Cal didn’t go to Eddie.

Oh, Cal. What he wants, is just what he had. To be CEO while Eddie is Jesus. Vera asks why he’d want to be there if he was abused and Cal, breaking my heart even further, says the world is cold. The light is ‘toasty’, a Steve word.  That hurt.

And … oh no. Mary has gone to see Sarah, and ask if she saw Cal in Boston. Mary, of course, thinks Sarah doesn’t know about the abuse. Sarah states she doesn’t love Cal and he’s not there for her, or, to be honest, Mary. Cal acts for Cal.

Poor Mary knows she’s right, and leaves on it.

At the centre, Hawk is thinking about the kiss and learns from Joy that Caleb and the Christian Kids have packed up and left. She thinks it’s her fault, like … entirely, and Hawk just has no idea what to say.

Upstairs, Vera is trying to sway Eddie on Cal and even though it’s a bit of a scam, she is 100% accurate in her assertion about why Cal actually would be good for Eddie. (If everyone pretends to believe Cal is legit this time around).  Vera prattles on and on and on until Eddie drops that Cal and Sarah screwed. Vera … to her credit, promises that is enough to make her back off if he wants, but begs him to at least consider it. They leave it on a nice moment, Eddie reassuring Vera she is a good person and free to be her own person. That much, he claims, he’s sure about. Oh Eddie. You big, dumb idiot.

In some sketchy loft, Mary is flogging her stolen Harold’s rings, baby in arms from a super creepy Russian dude who hates babies. Bro, I don’t care if you hate babies, that child is adorable.

Elsewhere, Hawk is meant to be driving Cal bto a meeting with Eddie. Cal rather sweetly apologises for Hawk getting caught up in all the … unpleasantness. Then he manages to leave on a shady little note about how it’ll be cool to someday meet the actual Hawk, not just his father’s son. Cal! You bitch! Cal walks over to eat Eddie, who … I guess has reserved some practices as he makes them both drink a good dram of Meyer Party Juice. Uuuh … this … can’t go well.

Sarah has gone back to the campus to borrow Dr Jackson’s projector again, and while he’s a little put out — he’s trying damn it — but missing Sarah’s … like, radiating intensity. Oh, he figured it out and when he does he, bless his heart, at once offers any support she might need. He mutters ‘I’ve done what you’re doing now and it’s terrifying to go through alone’ and SHOW, PLEASE KEEP HIM, LET HIM BE GOOD AND SAFE.

Sarah pauses the video on a bound up Steve ,and explains Steve was trying to purge his ‘inappropriate urges’ from his consciousness. She wonders … realises, really …. this was all built on the cravings of a very sick man.

Hawk has gone to find Caleb at his fathers Church, and doesn’t immediately figure out why this isn’t the best place to have this discussion. Caleb is afraid, enough he won’t even go off to speak privately. Hawk appears to not only get it, but then leans in, and loudly enough for Caleb’s dad to hear, calls Caleb an asshole for ditching joy. He could just be clueless but I prefer to think Hawk was trying to help.

In their field, Eddie and Cal are tripping out of their minds on the Ayahuasca drink. Cal sees himself sobbing, then comes across (real) Eddie and begs him not to listen to Steve. Eddie realises Cal is in real trouble and tries to comfort him, but they’re both jumping in and out of different visions. Cal is praying furiously, Eddie walks across a field of dead Meyerists. Cal sees it too, curiously, and he and Eddie grab each other fraternally, and stagger through the corpses.

Eddie sees Sarah walking but she won’t answer to either of their calls.

The next day, Eddie finds Sarah on a beach nearby the compound. Cal has gotten his wishes, which doesn’t exactly delight Sarah but she’s more concerned by Eddie’s discussion of his vision, of Sarah on a different path. She’s spooked by his insight, and if she had intended to talk about Steve, she doesn’t anymore. She leaves him again, ignoring him like in the vision.

Back on the compound, Eddie leads Nicole into the White Rooms where she will be staying before Eddie will discuss her divorcing Russel.

Uh … what?

Vera is at her mothers for dinner and casually reveals that yes, she is Steve’s daughter, while asking if Lilith knew Steve abused boys? Lilith knew he had urges, but not the details, though she takes the news he did it without so much as blinking. Vera names Cal, but Lilith is cold. Vera lays out Cal’s plan, mostly to tell Lilith their evil scheme is still a go even with Cal back in the mix. Vera takes the moment to reject her mother’s views and express her desire to be Vera the Secular Liaison, to Eddie, a good man. Lilith smilingly agrees Eddie is good, which is why he has to die for them!

Back on the compound … Eddie is still making Cal do the Embracing. Which … involves Eddie holding the baby, bare chest to bare chest, while they are wrapped in a binding. All the while, Eddie promises he is Cal’s spiritual father, always and forever. Cal went through this.

With Steve.

So … this show seems determined to crush my spirit. Eddie … I really don’t get it at all, at the moment. I get him being a flawed leader and needing to learn. I get him being a dick to Cal, even if I hate watching him do it. I understand him asking Nicole to wait for Russel to come home before they discuss divorce. I have no issue with him banning things like Ayahuasca, but still doing it himself or making Cal. I’m … totally lost on deciding to throw Nicole in the White Room. It’s — I’m thinking about it — and I’m pretty sure it’s just a 100% asshole move, and a sign Eddie is not going to be any good at this.

Speaking of Cal, we know he wants to make a power grab again; the question now is in how he’ll go about it. He has … powerful leverage with Vera, who in GoT terms, has the ear of the king. But at the same time, he’s is buying leverage with his own horrible trauma. It is clearly affecting him and while Cal can rally with the best of them, this is the darkest, deepest trauma he could have. He claims it’s warmer in the Light, and of course he’s not … wrong. There’s comfort and safety in the familiar. But, he’s never had to live within Meyerism, with these memories. Anything he sees or does could trigger … anything. I’m worried for him. For what he’ll do to somebody, himself as much as anybody.

As for Sarah … Wow. I am still deeply troubled by what has occurred between she and Cal, but it seems clear now not only that she has a special kind of blindspot, but why she has this blindspot. Watching her work this out is honestly fascinating, and I am absolutely glued to it. Michelle Monaghan is shining.

The Path returns next week on Hulu, and Oohlo soon after!

Nadine Morgan

Nadine Morgan is really terrible at the ‘About You’ part of life. Nadine developed her reviewer skills writing epic facebook rants about the details script supervisors forget and trying to explain why Carol on The Walking Dead broke Lizzie by accident. Nadine loves TV, film and books but she wishes someone would pay her to be the continuity editor. She can be found on Facebook and in her forest garden and if she’s not yelling at her TV she’s trying to convince a cat to be an Instagram model and refusing to let 90's fashion die.

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