Cal is back in Meyerism, and Meyerism is on the move! We open over a montage of Cal prattling off the same ‘Eddie So Great’ speech at various Meyer events in his new role as crowd warmer. Meyerism is touring the US in a coach, with Eddie, Vera, Cal and Mary, and baby Forrest along for the ride with a dozen or more acolytes in tow.
In a flashback to Vera’s office Cal is as uncomfortable as Sarah with the juice cleanses, and they exchange a few terse words about the most devout Meyerists having the most damage — no prizes for getting the double meaning there. Cal is also eyeing up Vera’s lovely legs beneath her deadly, sexy pencil skirt. It’s a miserable, exhausting road trip for everyone, with Cal clearly not quite scoring the victory he had hoped from Eddie, but making the most while he can. Meanwhile back home, Sarah is distracted by her research into Steve, and Gabbie is overseeing the littlest Meyer Kids, with Summer starring as Steve, in a play about the Meyerist journey, including Steve’s passing of the torch to Eddie.
Sarah arrives to see her little girl emulating Steve, a man she now knows to be a paedophile, and pulls her away and out of the play entirely. Gab … clueless or still pretending to be, is baffled.
In Memphis, a crowd of God Botherers campaigns outside a Meyer meeting. Indoors, Cal is briefly distracted by their audible chanting, and breaks script to lead the crowd in their own chants and cheers. In the midst, Mary is disturbed by the sight of an older man who … might vaguely resemble her father. Whoever he is, he creeps her out enough to go and find Cal as soon as he’s offstage. While up on stage, Eddie is easing more into his leader role — getting him out and talking like this makes more sense than letting him keep making terrible decisions as a leader. The crowd loves him as Cal looks on sullenly.
At home, Gab confronts Sarah over pulling Summer out of the play. Sarah has to make weakass excuses about why, claiming the play is too changed from how it used to be, and Summer doesn’t understand the material. We learn performing the play is a pre-requisite to taking those Vows Hawk was so wound up about back in Season 1, but Sarah still won’t bend. Summer storms off in a tantrum and under Hawk and Gab’s intense questioning, Sarah finally snaps that she doesn’t want Summer to idolise Steve. She leaves her mother and son baffled as she runs off herself.
Out on the road, the Meyer gang roll up on a motel, and Eddie gently chides Cal for his off script contribution to the day’s speech giving. Cal swallows this with a big fake smile, but Mary is less enthused by the dressing down and thinks Eddie owes Cal thanks. She’s not … all wrong, to be fair. Mary huffs off for a walk, and Cal spends a second looking like the sitcom dad caught between bickering kids. Eddie catches up with Vera, who has been pointedly ignoring all contact with her mother. He thanks her for her ongoing support in a way that looks like just friendliness, but could easily be mistaken for more pronounced flirting, and then leaves her to ignore another call from her mother.
Speaking of the deadly, terrifying Lilith, she’s mad that Vera is out of touch, but dealing with her own issues too, specifically to face she has advanced cancer in her eye and is refusing any treatment at all.
Back at the motel in Memphis, a creepy, old guy who is a different creepy, old guy than Mary’s dad turns up as Eddie is struggling with a vending machine. He thanks Eddie for speaking and claims he was moved by the words, then talks about his daughter who he is struggling to reach out to. Eddie begs off and an acolyte pops up to offer to talk, but the man, Daniel doesn’t want to be around them. Cal pops up to get between Daniel and the young woman, and the man angrily jumps in his truck and peels out.
Eddie, meanwhile has taken a call from an angry Hawk, and Hawk gives the phone to Sarah. Eddie and Sarah parent fight about Summer and the play. In an amazing reversal of positions from Season 1, she calls what they’re doing a farce, much to Eddie’s chagrin. Eddie tries to put his Dad foot down about Summer being back in the play, but Sarah won’t bend.
In a nearby Everything Store, Mary is buying a cute hat and accessories for Forrest when yep, up rolls the man from the Meyer meeting — her dad. Oh, shit. RUN, GIRL!
Distressingly, we leap to the next morning; NO! WHAT HAPPENED?! Eddie is hiding on the coach, and Vera turns up to plan their next stops. She notices Eddie’s distress and Vera offers him an out … Eddie could go home to work things out with his family, and Cal takes over the tour. Oh, Vera, girl. No. Nooo.
I mean, from Eddie’s perspective, anyway. Hilariously (to me), Eddie is more worried that if he makes an excuse this time, he’ll always have an excuse. He is not, as he should be, afraid of the power this gives Cal. Speaking of, he’s with Mary, upset she didn’t mention her (scumbag, sex abuser) father turning up. She wants her father to see her sober and functional, in the hopes he’ll back off and leave her alone. Cal doesn’t want her to, so Mary does her Lady Mary Macbeth bit about how she believes in Cal … while lacing her words with jabs at his new ‘fluffer’ status for Eddie. She heads out to meet her father. Oh, Mary. Nooooooo.
Sarah meets with Tessa who, of course, is completely fine with her pulling Summer out of the play and has been where Sarah is with her doubts. Tessa is also very wise. She knows she’ll never have a normal relationship with her mother, her kids won’t know their grandmother. She’s not shutting Sarah down, just warning her … going this road isn’t to be rushed into, or taken lightly.
At the motel, Cal dishes out some accurate and powerful advice for a few struggling acolytes. Eddie gets an eyeful of it and seethes, and at once picks a fight with Cal about … well, that and his stepping in with Daniel. Cal points out ‘respectfully’ he is technically 10R … but Eddie won’t hear it. He finds Vera, commits to staying on for a few more shows, but Cal is off the programme. As he walks to the bus, Daniel rolls up in his truck and Eddie, being ‘the leader’ he thinks he is, offers to help and jumps in the truck.
I’ve confused Daniel with Mary’s dad no less than three times so far.
Back at the ranch, Sarah arrives with Summer to see Gab leading the kids in rehearsals. Sarah apologises for pulling Summer out of the play, and tells Summer she’s glad Summer stood up to her about what she believes. Summer, mature, precious, wonderful Summer, explains to her mother that she knows it didn’t happen ‘exactly’ like Grandma is teaching them. What’s important is what’s true. She is too good for these people. Summer runs off to happily join her friends, to Gab’s visible delight and joy. Sarah sits in her car and shrieks her rage.
Back in Memphis, Eddie and Daniel roll up at his house, where Daniel’s daughter is supposedly due any minute. It’s weird and awkward and Eddie blithely accepts a drink from the guy. Daniel seems genuine, though, in his fears. They talk about being dads and their kids going through the sullen phase, and Daniel stares intensely at Eddie for a long time. Eddie asks to use the bathroom and on the way he sees the daughter’s bedroom. It is squarely fixed, frozen, in the early 00s, with Evanescence posters on the wall, and her Motorola Razor flip phone on her bedside.
Daniel appears and admits his kid is gone, lost to some other cult twelve years ago. Eddie starts to collapse, realising he’s been drugged. He tries to make himself sick but Daniel, who is a huge dude, easily overpowers him and forces more juice into his mouth, screaming about cyanide. Holy SHIT.
Mary meets with her father and coldly brags about how well Forrest is doing, and how good things are for her now. Her father asks about Cal, pointing out the man once threatened to kill him, and figuring out Mary and Cal are not formally married. He admits he’s spent some time in jail since they last saw each other, and now he’s found god and he’s a better man. He is selling his line as well as Cal would, as he claims to pray for Mary and Cal every day. Mary recoils for a second before turning hard and calling him every bad thing he is. He calls her ‘baby’ (FUCK YOU, DUDE), but she’s done. She promises to forget him, and knows he won’t forget her.
She leaves with Forrest, but oh no. She’s forgotten her bag.
Cal is out looking for Eddie. DRIVE. FASTER. CAL.
At the motel, Vera tells the gang they’re staying another night (in Eddie and Cal’s absence), and finally calls her mother to ask if ‘It’ has happened, the end of the world and all that, what with both Cal and Eddie missing. Lilith reassures her it’s not yet, but of course that just means Eddie and Cal are missing, and poor Vera has no idea what to do. Vera spots Mary who hasn’t seen Eddie or Cal, and worries whether they should call the cops. Vera doesn’t want to, but is close to total panic, which doubles when Mary rushes off to get the bag back from her dad. Just a guess; her Super Bowl ring money is probably in the bags.
Cal has found Daniel’s house, though as we see, it might be too late; Daniel has buried Eddie underground in a coffin. Oh SHIIIT! Cal takes his DAMNED SWEET TIME walking around the house, but eventually spots Daniel digging the big, human shaped hole in his backyard. Cal quickly figures out what’s up and beats Daniel the fuck unconscious with the shovel, like, DAMN SON. But then, with the threat gone, he stands for a moment. Considers his options.
Trapped inside the box, Eddie has no signal and is screaming in absolute terror. Cal hears this and for whatever reason, it’s enough to stir him into action. He keeps digging, levers open the makeshift coffin and drags Eddie into the fresh air. Eddie snatches up the shovel, fully ready to murder Daniel, but in the most amazing moment of Cal’s progression so far, he dives between them and stops Eddie ruining, just, everything he’s worked for.
Exhausted, they regard each other. That was amazing. And the sound was semi-mute the entire time. Just brilliant.
The next morning, Cal and Mary are in bed. She’s awake and worrying about the diaper bag, though Cal doesn’t think she needs to. She asks why he saved Eddie and Cal … heeee! shrugs easily — ‘I didn’t do it for him. He owes me now’. CAL!
At their next session, Vera introduces Cal — in a nice touch, Cal’s words about ‘Who we follow is Eddie Lane!’ has become their motto. Cal takes the stage, and we see how amazingly he leads a crowd.
We cut to Summer in the play, as Steve, giving out the Meyer rungs to the baby followers. They break out into an adorably goofy folk song that the whole crowd knows. Eddie turns up in time for the finale. We pan across the smiling, singing children, the light on them just the right kind of creepy in all the context we have, now. Sarah is struck by some of the words, about serving Steve in some important way, and rushes off to check something. At the same time, Lilith leads her prayer circle.
While the children act out The Future, their end of the world, Sarah walks into the deep woods around the ranch. She sees a large owl, the same one she and Cal have both seen before at important moments.
The children act out just … horror, really, all of them twisting and dying in some sort of fiery apocalypse. They all fall to the ground at the finale. Sarah has found her way to a cave in the woods. We know from the entrance what it is. Steve’s cave. Inside, she uses her phone as a light to find colourful chalk drawings still on the wall. She finds even older boxes of records and notes, and clutches them to her.
Back at the play, Summer’s friend sings a wonderful solo. The parents in the crowd all raise animal masks to cover their faces while the children sing together about being open hearted. We finish on their innocent words.
So, thus far, Eddie really is not … great. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh on him but between his poor choices in direct leadership, and then this weeks rather dim decision to run off with the visibly unstable Daniel, I’m worried he’s not going to last very much longer. I know he’s blind to valid security concerns all of the time, but considering he just had his big guilt trip about the compound security, you’d think he’d be a little more cautious. That said … that’s the Cal effect. I can forgive Eddie this time because Cal … he does that to people.
Speaking of my the resident murderchild, I really did laugh when he took a damn minute to consider saving Eddie, then later admitted to only doing it for the possible leverage he gains in the act. It’s so, so very Cal. Do I believe it? I can’t decide. It could be the absolute truth, Cal is callous and cold all the time. But, Cal is on a journey of his own, though I’m not sure he recognises that he is. He’s acting like the old Cal, the Salesman, the one with schemes and ways to gain and ways to hurt people, and he’s been open with Mary (and us) about his intentions in returning to Meyerism. There is more going on. He hasn’t begun to deal with his trauma yet, he acts like he has, and his ‘dealing’ was to use it to blackmail Vera, but I don’t think he’s close to done and I think when it all really blows, it will be a thing to behold.
And like it or no, I think Sarah will end up being why it does eventually break. Everything she’s uncovering, we know, is all about Cal as much as Steve. About what was done. And as I’ve mentioned before, about exactly who knew, and what they knew.
We’re getting closer to that every week. I don’t think I can take the tension.
The Path returns next week on Hulu, and on Oohlo soon after.