Sorry for the delay in posting, folks! I was moving, myself, a boyfriend and three kittycats to a whole new city. It was … you know, things got a little crazy for a second there, especially when our actual moving date got bumped up, our truck wasn’t booked, and our expected moving helpers couldn’t make it.
But, we made it! We have an awesome new place and the cats haven’t murdered us in our sleep for making them endure a 3-hour drive! Unfortunately, we lost the internet for a few days there because even my powerful reliance on (addiction to) the internets can’t convince Service Providers to work any faster.
In Meyerville, things have only been slightly less stressful than my long weekend. Sarah has taken her newly discovered notebooks to Professor Jackson, who quickly gleans they are the original, handwritten drafts of the Rungs. Sarah’s elation lasts exactly 0.6 of a second before Jackson reports that there are two authors — Steve, and someone who sees the Light not as a source of healing, but as a cleansing fire. Sarah, realising it’s the still mysterious Lillith, naturally wigs out. The story doesn’t work with two people. She is realising piece by piece that her whole life is a lie and wonders what there is without the light. Jackson reassures her there is sushi, and college, and just the whole world. She understands his interest in Meyerism has been much more than academic, that in fact, he’s been trying to help her. I fully expected her to go Sarah and close off, get defensive, as is her pattern. But, she doesn’t. Instead, she kisses him.
Mary, still worrying about the missing diaper bag full of cash, is having her first day as a counsellor for new recruits, probably thanks to Cal’s string-pulling. Her first appointment is Harold, the mentally unstable football player from Florida. He claims he wants help for his drug problem, which is born of his horrible, football career-inflicted chronic pain. He mentions only having his game rings to show for all he’s suffered, and Mary says that they’re missing before Harold does. He looks pretty pleased that she fell that quickly for his trap. Oh, Shit.
She takes him to Cal, who is with Forrest and (and has his shirt open, helLO Dancy tummy), and naturally panics at the sight of the clearly unstable Harold. Mary comes clean and in Cal’s frustration with her, he lets Harold scoop up Forrest and declare they’re going on a treasure hunt. Ooooh, dang. If there was ever something that might lead Cal to his second murder, it’s that bug-eyed mook going near his kid.
Eddie is on the ranch and spots Hank, back from overseas, building a treehouse for Summer. Eddie and Hank are on great terms and Hank is delighted to learn Meyerism is opening a centre in France, and things are going amazingly.
Eddie asks if Hank and Gab would want to come with him to the consecration, help out setting it up, then in a reversal of their father/son (in-law) dynamic, sweetly leaves Hank with some advice on hammering. But, as he walks away, the old man keels over. Eddie races back, and I suspect it’s too late. Oh, no. Oh, nooo!
We cut to Sarah, happily post-coital with Jackson, and missing calls and texts from her mother and Eddie. Oh, noooooooo.
On the ranch, Vera and Eddie have a quick confab to establish his future appointments are cancelled in the wake of … yeah, Hank’s death. Aah, shit. Hank was cool. Eddie is just devastated, and the show did a great job over the years of establishing how close they were, how Hank was very much a surrogate father to our Eddie, as much as the brilliant father he was to his own kids and grandkids. Vera wants Eddie to make sure he takes time to grieve for himself.
In the barn, the family pray over Hank just as Sarah arrives. This is going to hurt. Devastated, in shock, she wanders towards them, just clearly entirely outside of herself. Eddie asks her to lead the blessing and the newly doubtful Sarah has to pray about believing in the Light and the Garden. As Eddie takes over the prayers and the family calls back the responses, a beautiful light shines through the window, moving them all to tears. All except Sarah, who is staring at her family like they’re strangers.
Michelle effing Monaghan, ladies and gents. Outstanding.
Cal and Harold return to the shady loft and the mysteriously rich Russian fence who bought Harold’s rings. The dude is playing Cocaine Chicken with a friend — snorting as much as they can until someone flakes out (or … dies?), so Cal offers to play in exchange for the rings.. Unfortunately, the kid has already sold them. This causes a stir and guns are drawn; our boys are grabbed up and held hostage, and the offered deal is Harold has to win to get the address for the rings.
They dive into it and Harold, naturally, goes full Tony Montana on the line, just inhaling all the cocaine in the world without blinking. While the fence screams at what I assume is the sensation of his own nose dissolving, Harold primal screams his way to his feet. Oh …. this should be interesting.
At Haus Lane, Russell sings a cheesy folk song and gets a pass on it, because this is sad as hell. The family sings along, about how Hank is now safely in the garden where he belongs. Sarah is meant to speak next, but she can’t or won’t, so Tessa steps in with a wonderfully sweet story about her first meeting with her father after she left Meyerism. It really is cute, though Russell, deep in his feelings, shuts her down. Sarah, even deeper in her even more complex feelings, shuts him down, but it quickly becomes an ugly spat, and Hawk walks out. Nicole decides that what the family needs right now is her opinion on Sarah’s absence during Hank’s death ( … Nicole, I will come through this computer and kick your fictional ass, woman). Sarah does not kick Nicole, just, directly in the face, rather, makes it clear that silly songs about Lights and Gardens are not going to make her feel better after their father’s incredibly sudden death. Gabbie turns on both her daughters and reminds them their father was a Meyerist, and the songs are their sacred rites and traditions (how sacred and traditional can these rites be when you, Gabbie, are older than them?). She rightly points out that to shit on Meyerism now is to crap all over Hank’s memory, and the sisters back down.
Now, I’m hoping Hank’s death means something and didn’t just happen because the show needed a conflict. Perhaps he found something out, or knew the Cal news was coming and the stress killed him? I don’t know.
Outside, Hawk is sobbing when who walks up but Caleb, wearing the living hell out of a dark suit and declaring that Joy texted him about Hank. She … did? Oh, Joy. Hawk agrees with me it’s pretty … just, Joy, no. Caleb, though, is sweet and mature and wonderful, and Hawk has to awkwardly explain that Meyerists don’t wear dark colours, while also acknowledging that Caleb looks … I mean daaaaaaaaaaamn. Hawk weeps about how his family bickering is the opposite of what Hank would have wanted, and Caleb grabs his hand to take him away to do literally, anything else. Joy, watching this, is openly jealous and girl, READ THE CLUES.
At Lilith’s house, Vera breaks the news about Hank’s death, and has to admit her deeper than appropriate feelings for Eddie, which isn’t landing for me right now, at all. I know they’ve had all this time together we haven’t seen — between her being hired and then the jump forwards to the opening of the centre — but it just doesn’t work. If she loves Eddie as we’ve seen him the last few months, she loves a weakass failure of a leader. Lilith disapproves, and Vera is able to argue that Lilith was in love with fricken Steve. Lilith admits it was a mistake, but led to her greatest joy — Vera — so it worked out, and Vera points out how, you know, maybe she also deserves some joy, especially if say, for example, you know … the prophecy never came true, and Eddie didn’t die. Lilith’s metered glower takes us back to the Lane’s.
Eddie approaches Sarah to try and apologise for the disastrous evening, and she emotionally admits what she has been doing with Jackson– her doubts and her uncertainty, all now in overdrive as she wonders where her father’s spirit has actually gone. Eddie is, in this moment, the leader we all wish he could be, reminding her that Hank, of all people, was the embodiment of love and acceptance — he’s the one who never gave up on Eddie, after all! This helps Sarah somewhat, but to me it seems she’s in her last days as a full blown, Meyer true believer, which is not something I ever, ever thought would happen.
Back with Cal and Harold, Harold survived Cocaine Chicken, and the dynamic duo arrive at the home of the stranger who bought Harold’s rings; it becomes clear he’s made something of a career of stealing these kinds of items. The utter douche! Harold finds his rings, noisily, which alerts the home owner to their presence, but quick-thinking Cal promises Harold will take the guy to a football game in exchange for the rings. The man demands dinner too, and I nearly turned inside out laughing at how offended Cal got at the cheek of the man, but Harold is fine with it. The dude agrees, then as they turn to leave, he can’t resist taking a jab at Harold’s career choices — and wouldn’t you know, the end result is Harold breaks the guy’s nose and most of his teeth. That could have gone better. But also, you know — Worse.
On the ranch, Caleb and Hawk lie on a blanket toking the reefer, and staring at the stars. Hawk talks about Hank, who used to bring Hawk out camping to name the stars. One night Hank cried, and when Hawk asked why, Hank was moved by the thought that The Garden was even more beautiful than ‘this’. Aaaaw, Hank. I hope you don’t turn out to have known about Steve and Cal. And on that, Hawk kisses Caleb and it’s a a credit to Kyle Allen that Hawk looks exactly like he’s trying to work out what he actually feels about it all.
Over at Professor Jackson’s, Eddie turns up mostly just to be an asshole, claiming Jackson destroyed Sarah and threatening him to stay away from Sarah entirely. Ugh, Eddie. Jackson, though, literally goes over the next day with flowers, because ain’t nobody tells him what to do! Inside, Jackson sweetly comforts her about how, if the Garden isn’t real, Hank still lives on in her, his grandchildren, their memories and actions. This isn’t quite what she wants to hear and she’s even less enthused when he tells her about Eddie and actually warns her to be careful around him. On this horrible, sour note, he leaves.
Damn it. Sarah isn’t a perfect person, but she deserves someone like Professor Jackson! Damn it!
At the centre, Cal — and the amazing shirt he has been wearing for two days now — turn up in Vera’s office, demanding her help in ‘fixing’ what Harold did. The memorabilia thief will (probably) live, but will also probably name Cal and Harold, and Cal is worried how that looks for Meyerism. Vera reminds him he’s been accusing Steve of molesting him, and is worried how Meyerism looks? He doesn’t argue back that he, in fact, offered to keep the abuse a secret specifically out of consideration for the damage it would do to Meyerism, and instead just meekly bleats ‘It’s my home’. Vera is busy with the burial, though and of course, Cal has to ask … what burial? Hugh Dancy casually reminds us all how talented he is in the split-second response of total heartbreak, and sincerely apologises for bothering her with his problems. He runs to leave, but Vera softens and promises to fix things for him if he just hands over all his proof on Steve. Cal, desperate to leave and grieve agrees, and Vera is deeply apologetic for what Steve did to Cal. She wonders why some people get fathers like Hank, and others get monsters like Steve, and Cal entirely misses her slip, explaining that he didn’t even know Steve was a monster for most of his life.Shaking, looking sick as he finally leaves, he tells Vera ‘He told me I was his greatest joy’.
I hope Steve is rotting in whatever hell Meyerists believe in.
In …. Sketchy Town, USA, some random old tunnel or warehouse, Mary is dressed down — not in her well-fitted designer dresses; she’s in her trailer park shorts and a hoody, and even her hair is in a ratty bun. She finds her dad, higher than the moon, having spent most of her money on heroin. He asks how she knew what he did with the money, and she tells a horrific story of a night when he sold his little daughter for sex, and she earned him two hundred dollars. He gave her twenty, gambled with the rest. While she talks, she picks up his kit and despite his state and the fact he clearly just shot up, she sets him up again. She finishes the story on how he came home having lost all his money, and took back the twenty he’d given her, to go and get his fix. She endures him touching her face just long enough to inject him again. As she walks away, his rattling breath fades.
On the one hand, I want Mary to be okay and not have to do these things. On the other hand, fuck that guy.
In a hospital, the ring thief wakes to a smiling Vera watching him, joking about how she got in claiming to be the guy’s sister, because the nurses can’t tell the difference between Indians and Pakistanis. I really do love Frieda Pinto, guys. The dude is ready to call the cops, but Vera promises she’ll just get the Russian fence arrested and then blame it on the ring thief, and let chaos reign — mostly on the dude’s face and fragile bones. All he has to do is say nothing, and he still gets to go to his game with Harold! Ring Thief calls her garbage, but Vera is sashaying out of the room, looking like she’s deciding on what to have for lunch.
Back at their apartment, Mary is anxiously packing when Cal arrives home. She explains she just assumed he’d want her gone, what with all the trouble she’s caused. He realises she stole them because she was afraid Cal would be ‘done’ with her eventually, and just get rid of her. Cal tells her she’s not a commodity, that he wants, needs, her. She moves in for their normal slightly weird sexy times, and Cal pauses long enough to ask her clearly how she would like to be touched, and what she wants, sexually. The pair gently, carefully embrace and the difference from their weird, borderline abusive thing is incredible. This pair.
At the ranch, Felicia leads the memorial service — while blithely ignoring Bill’s entire presence. Russell warmly embraces Tessa (!!) and everyone, dressed in white, takes a seat around a newly dug grave. Joy thinks her grandfather’s funeral is the right time to challenge Hawk on his budding relationship with Caleb, and newly discovered sexuality. Huh … turns out Joy is the exact same pain in the ass, little brat she’s always been. Even today, on this the day of her grandfather’s funeral. Eddie leads the service, and I guess the Armstrongs just wanted close family present, but it feels too small a gathering for one of the cofounders of the damned faith. Eddie talks emotionally about Hank’s kindness, breaking down crying for a second, before reminding everyone he’s the leader and if you turn your back on him, you won’t join Hank in the Garden.
….…… Eddie, no. Not now. You absolute dick.
Bill sings, Gabbie goes to her husband’s body and weeps hopelessly. Joy sobs, and Hawk holds her. Sarah is crying. Eddie is crying. I’m crying. Sarah rushes to her mother to embrace her, and the crowd is moved by the singing. The outpouring of emotion is just … it’s a lot. Heartbreaking stuff. Excellent, but heartbreaking.
Later, Vera goes back to her mother’s and I guess she’s meant to feel bad about going to a funeral? I don’t know. Truthfully I don’t care at all about Lillith, other than what she can reveal about Steve’s many sins. Sarah goes to see Eddie with her notes and books, and asks Eddie to give her back her faith, needing to believe Hank is in the Garden. Eddie embraces her, and there we leave it.
Well, that just hurt. While I suspect Gabbie might have some inkling of Steve’s true nature, Hank has always come across like just a nice, old hippie who really loves being a grandpa. The loss is genuinely tragic. Alongside the tragedy, it leaves us in an interesting place. Now the only remaining Original Meyerists are Bill, Felicia and Gabbie — (technically Kodiak, wherever he’s gone). All of them have been the most openly hostile to Cal, and the most carefully protective of Steve and his memory. I’m not sure what it might mean for the future, but with no Hank Filter, and with Sarah digging into things like she is, I am desperate to see where this will go.
I am enjoying watching Hawk and Caleb’s relationship develop. It hasn’t happened too suddenly, and I actually enjoy Hawk’s uncertainy over it. Of course, he would be unsure about how own feelings, and of course, he’s still trying to understand how deep those feelings go. This stuff doesn’t happen overnight for anyone. TV would like us to think that a character’s first same sex kiss is The Moment, and everything becomes clearer from there, but that’s not true. It’s refreshing to see a show actually take time over this, let people know that it’s okay to be unsure, it’s okay if things take time to make sense. Well done, show.
Vera and Lillith … as I mentioned above, I don’t care about the Apocalypse Cult/Eddie has to die, thing. I don’t get it. It’s actually sort of dull, and isn’t being very well presented — all Lillith does is sit in dark rooms and be vaguely sinister. How does this apocalypse work? Are Lillith or Vera actual threats to Eddie, will they personally try to kill him? Or ,are they waiting on the next gas explosion, or another grief-stricken father with sedative laced Kool-Aid and a spacious backyard?
What I do care about is that Lillith, a WoC, cowrote The Rungs, and has been entirely written out of the history of the faith — remembered only as a crazy person who was obsessed with Steve. It smacks of how Cal, the child Steve abused while grooming for leadership, was treated with such hostility by Felicia, Gab and Bill back in season one. Though they dress it up very well, they have their way of closing ranks around Steve, or his legacy, especially against anyone who might have the ‘wrong’ kind of intimate insight into the man. I also care about Vera’s parentage, what Lillith might know about Steve, and the history of the group. But the rest of it, just get rid.
And, Cal and Mary? Wow. Their scenes, though brief, really stayed with me. Like Hawk and Sarah, Cal is of course, in the process of learning so much about himself and about others. He is recognising his best and worst behaviours, but more importantly, he’s recognising the impact he has on other people, the harm he does to other people. Cal asking Mary ‘What do you want? How would you like to be touched?’ made me teary-eyed.
Oh, and, I would pay good money for Cal and Vera to get more scenes. They play off each other amazingly.
The Path returns this week and will be on Oohlo soon after!