We open in France with the Meyer gang attending the opening of the new Meyer centre – the new heart of European Meyerism, where the dreadfully handsome Jean-Paul is there to greet them. Eddie, I think, is starting to disappear into his own ego, and it’s unfortunate how much Vera’s doe eyed adoration of him feeds into that.
In better scenes, Mary and Cal are so adorably gleefully delighted it’s amazing. The centre is in an old palace and the grounds are so gorgeous, and Mary is beside herself with joy. Cal explains, again, that as a thank you for saving Eddie’s life, Cal and Mary will get to live here with Forrest, as the Centre Guardians. Mary gushes over how Forrest will be bilingual and live in a ‘castle’ and honestly, it’s so cute and if Eddie ruins their joy, I will fight him. They look upon their Versailles-esque gardens and hold each other, and my cynical ass is just waiting for it to go wrong.
Eddie stops by Sarah’s room where she’s worrying over Lilith, her role in the Rungs and her erasure from Meyer mythology. Eddie of course takes umbrage, but Sarah just floats the idea Steve wasn’t like, the best guy. She does not point out how Eddie lost his faith specifically because Steve lied about being immortal, so does have a track record of deceit, Edward. Eddie invokes her father’s name, which is … in my mind, a crappy way to be right this second. Hank loved France, see, believed that it’s what The Garden looks like. Eddie is certain that being here, where her father was, means Sarah will be okay. He heads out to confab with Vera in the amazing gardens and after some chatter, he asks if Vera will help Sarah track down Lilith.
Aaaaaaaaaawkward. Vera plays dumb, even as Eddie calls her mother crazy, thanks to her ‘obsession’ with punishment. He admits Lilith has unsettled Sarah’s faith, and poor Vera has to pretend she’ll see what she can find. Oooh, dear.
Stateside, Caleb is singing live at a Christian faith rock festival, and he is amazing, the crowd adores him and Hawk is in the audience, the giddily proud boyfriend — or nearly, as we’ll see. Some … adult intercepts Hawk to ask who he is, and isn’t super pumped that Hawk works at the Meyer centre. Hawk cares not, as his eyes are all for Caleb. Hawk finally catches up with the man himself, and not so casually mentions his parents are out of town. The adult, Arnie, watches, glowering. Oh fuck off, Arnie.
In France, Sarah, Cal and Eddie lead different groups in meditation, or groups in sharing their pain. Through a translator, Cal helps a depressed woman to find some inner peace. Mary watches, loving seeing her man in action, and assures Jean-Paul that Meyerism can help and works.
Elsewhere, Vera has to take a call from Lilith, who wants to know who the Guardian in France will be — presumably Cal. The person is important because of their upcoming apocalypse, and Vera tells her about Sarah’s search for her. Lilith is moved to tears at the idea she might be recognised at long last, and encourages Vera to find out what she can from Sarah, who she calls the ‘crown princess’ of the Movement. She wants to know how Steve actually received her visions. Vera leaves her with a question, of what exactly Felicia did to Lilith? Her mom reminds Vera she knows what Felicia … what they all did. Okay, but can you tell us?
Later, at a dinner in the courtyard of the beautiful grounds, Eddie heaps praise on Sarah, but she wants to talk with Cal. Specifically, she wants Cal to admit what Steve was to Eddie and without saying the words, Sarah makes clear that she knows what Cal endured. He almost completely melts down and forbids her from talking to Eddie about it, managing to contain himself enough to state ‘That is mine and I have to ask you to respect that’. Sarah clearly won’t. Hugh Dancy has never slacked off, but his reaction in that moment, the range of emotions he ran through in a matter of seconds was breathtaking. As the dinner starts, Eddie reads from the Rungs, thanks Jean-Paul for donating what turns out to be his family estate for the movement. Oh, Jean-Paul. Oh, no. Eddie broaches the subject of the France Guardian, and while Cal and Mary try not to grin their own heads off …. Eddie announces Felicia as the Guardian. Oooh, you DICK. Everyone is stunned, even Felicia, but she accepts, because he’s trapped her in public and is the fucking leader, and what a shitty, shitty move. Eddie, damn it. Mary, grinning sweetly, whispers to Cal ‘You should have left him in the ground’. Cal tries not to swallow his own tongue while I scream, ‘TELL ME ABOUT IT, MARY’.
The next morning, Sarah takes a walk in the misty gardens and meets a man whose name I couldn’t catch after five attempts. He’s a grateful Meyerist, though he senses Sarah is suffering. She mentions her father, and the man approaches to do a sort of prayer over her, to try to relieve her suffering. He’s a hypnotist, and offers to help her to integrate her grief. She demurs and he leaves, and the whole thing feels so eerie and dreamlike.
Back at the house, Eddie is looking for his estranged wife and Vera has to, in an actual professional way, remind him he can’t only focus on Sarah, especially not here, now. Vera also reminds him he has to meet Jean-Paul for a one to one, in part a way of thanking him for the amazing donation of his family estates and grounds. Terrible leader, Eddie won’t have it, because he’s a terrible leader, and storms off to leave Vera to fret. There’s just no way they are paying her enough for this job.
Indoors, JP has given Mary access to his mother’s old clothes, to take whatever she wants. She tries on stunning dresses while Cal sits and is, naturally, furious about what Eddie did. He wonders if he shouldn’t just spill his guts and implode the whole thing, and they’re interrupted by the furious JP, who wants to know why Eddie has left for the entire day. Mary and Cal are so visibly tired of having to deal with Eddie’s messes, but without hesitation they offer to give JP the private counselling he wants/needs.
Sarah has gone to a specific garden that Hank knew and adored, and walks amongst the unimaginable beauty. Eddie approaches, and she’s actually glad to see him for once, which is nice. She admits that even though she came here, to where her father walked, to try and feel something, she isn’t yet. She promises to keep trying. Eddie suggests she not try as hard, and then takes her somewhere. In the village nearby, Eddie and Sarah get lunch and then in a moment that is truly sweet, he pulls her up to dance to a pair of accordion players who walk the promenade. He wants it to be more romantic than it is, and states as much, and he wants her to find her faith and be all in for that to happen. Sarah looks sick. Because … Eddie is a jerk. Later, a tree from the New York centre is planted outside the Palace, mixing the Earth and consecrating the site for good.
At the palace, JP talks of his family history of owning slaves, how his father was a rapist and general scumbag. He would only show JP affection when JP played piano blindfolded for his party guests, and those moments were the only times JP felt like he existed. This led JP to abuse drugs and end up horribly miserable, in spite of being just ridiculously rich. (Hotel chains in Dubai, owns a palace, rich) Cal, relating just so hard, talks to him about giving himself to the work of recovery, but also decides to fuck with things by suggesting JP try to honour the ‘god0-like’ Eddie at the dinner later that day. Oh, Cal. You rascal.
In the US, Hawk prepares for his dinner date with Caleb, and is so nervous and I think I might faint at how cute he is. Cher Horowitz was not this nervous, y’all. Later they’re eating and trying to figure out how Hawk thinks of himself — gay, bi, or he just likes who he likes. Caleb is cool as a cucumber and admits that he’s gay, he’s not that experienced except for one disastrous fool around with another closeted guy from his church. Hawk intuits it was that creepy Arnie guy from the concert, and Caleb is a little mortified, claiming he would never have been with Arnie (to lose his virginity) if he had known he might get to meet Hawk. They start to make out and it’s all so sweet, but with Hawk’s track record, this will end badly. Please, let Hawk find love? Please?
Meanwhile, lets all go and glare at Arnie who is a clear 10-15 years older than Caleb. I repeat, fuck off, Arnie.
In France, Eddie approaches Cal and blames Vera for his decision, but claims he truly wants Cal around in the US. He actually seems sincere, though it’s hard to believe him when I saw the snide look Eddie threw at Cal during the announcement. Elsewhere, Felicia corals Vera to point out she’s got an entire family and life back in America, and can’t just up sticks to fucking France. Vera begs off that she can’t do anything, and does think to ask Felicia about Lilith, revealing she’s trying to find her. This prompts Felicia to finally admit that of course she knows Lilith, and Lilith was disturbed. Part of it was Lilith’s claim that she had the visions, she gave Steve the Light, but Felicia, of course, claims she was there when it happened, so knows it’s a lie. But, the real reason Lilith was banished was not that. It was because she burned her child, scarred the girl for life. Vera, the child in question, bristles, contains her emotions and asks how is it that they know Lilith committed the abuse? The scars were from an old practice, Felicia reveals, something Lilith still practised but the others had already considered too abusive to continue. Vera looks like she might faint, and flees in near terror while JP takes the microphone to reveal his surprise, secret, to everyone. Vera dashes inside to her room, roots through a bag.
Sarah, meanwhile, has reconnected with the friendly neighbourhood hypnotist from earlier, hoping he can help her find out more about Lilith. He talks her into a lucid dream state and in her memory/dream, we see a young Lilith, in her teens, entering a psychiatric hospital for an appointment with the then shrink, Dr. Meyer. Lilith’s therapy features her reading from her diary, of her vision, which sounds very much like Proto Meyerism. She talks of hurting her hands in a vision, then waking to find them bloody and burned. Little Lilith then raises her palms to show Stigmata like wounds. At the palace, JP literally sets a ladder on fire and leads the crowd encouraging Eddie to climb the damned thing. Cal plays innocent and clueless, but when Eddie isn’t looking at him, can barely stop himself from giggling. At least, in my mind. But, being Cal, he runs over to JP to make him shut down the whole thing, while Eddie stands nearby, glowering.
In the dream, the hypnotist encourages Sarah/Lilith to find what she is trying to find in the dream and the young girl in the shrink’s office roots though some files. She finds one with a familiar looking name, and Sarah wakes from her dream to search through the notes she’s kept with her. She finds the name mentioned again, and we see clearly who it is and oh shiiiiiiiiiiit. Guys …it’s Kodiak.
REMAR IS COMING BACK? YESSSSSS!
In the US, Gabbie and Summer stop by the house to grab something, and happen upon Caleb and Hawk sleeping together in bed. Gabbie’s response, ‘Oh … Oh! OH!’ and then knowing smile is … you guys, the best. Gabbie warmly introduces herself and Summer and being The Ultimate Grandma, offers to make pancakes. This whole exchange takes place with Caleb half hidden beneath the covers and Hawk hurriedly trying to dress, and it’s so cute and perfect. I needed that.
In France, Sarah is glad she came, but not the way Eddie wants her to be, and now she’s going home. She leaves him with the admonishment that whatever the Light is, it’s not the juices, branded products and theatrics. Vera arrives as she leaves, just in time for Eddie to take out his pissy mood on her, asking where she was when JP got a little too enthusiastic, and then repeat Sarah’s words about the bath and body crap. Eddie decides they don’t need any secular help, and fires her on the spot. Because, he’s the worst. Nearby, Mary watches. And schemes.
JP is up early to catch a jogging Cal, and rant about Cal making him humiliate himself. Cal is amazing and in ten seconds, has JP weeping in his arms. God, he’s good.
Some time later, Mary and Vera wear spectacular dresses, drink champagne and bond, commiserating over Vera’s getting fired and the general way in which parents can be completely shitty and though it’s unspoken, about how Eddie ruins lives. Cal arrives to pull Mary aside and spill his new plan; JP adores him, so will others — especially with Eddie turning out to be such a lame duck. So, rather than destroy the Movement, Cal will just recruit all the JPs, then take them with him when he leaves. Mary is thrilled and without telling Vera what’s up, the three all dance together. It’s actually … such a beautiful moment, even with all the stuff going on, just the three of them twirling and laughing, and I wish the three could just be great friends. But, they can’t, because as Vera turns her dress moves and reveals a horrific burn on her back. Cal, clearly recognising it, manages to keep his composure and rejoin the dance.
Wow, that was just … I loved all of that. It’s funny to watch Eddie move further and further away from being that humble, working class born dude, just trying to figure it all out and keep his family close. He’s beginning to believe his own hype way too much. You all know I figured Cal, or even Sarah, would be the one to go Jonestown on everybody someday but with a quickness, now it’s Eddie I’m worried about. He has entirely shifted places with Sarah from their Season 1 roles, but I’m fascinated by how different it feels with Eddie as the true believer. When Sarah learned Eddie had lost his faith, her reaction could be summed up as, essentially ‘How could you?!’
Eddie’s reactions to the same problem feel more like, ‘How dare you?’. It’s scares me. Especially because Eddie is in total control now. He could do anything, and he’s getting increasingly unpredictable. I’m curious to see where it will go, but it’s no place good.
Poor, poor Vera. I don’t say enough that Frieda Pinto is absolutely spectacular in the role and while I find the ‘Eddie Must Die’ thing a little tedious, as I discussed in the last recap, I find the characters and their links to the movement utterly fascinating. Steve stole the whole religion from the mental illness induced visions of young girl of colour who was his patient — a girl/woman he apparently later got pregnant. I say apparently, because the reintroduction of Kodiak has my mind racing. I was also blown away by the statement that Vera was like … around, as a child. I had assumed that Lilith left while carrying her, and gave birth after she was gone, which is why no one knew about her. Instead, we learn Vera was not just there, but was monitored enough by other adults for them to identify abuse taking place. They didn’t just erase Lilith, they erased her child, apparently so much so they don’t even remember her name (or it’s been changed) or even have photos with her. Or they don’t seem to, I think I’ll faint if Sarah finds a picture with little Vera in it.
This slow burn exploration of the origins of the Cult is my favourite part of the show so far.
And to end on a high note … Hawk and Caleb was just so well done. Hawk’s honest, frank discussion about not knowing if he’s gay, just liking who he likes, was so refreshing and well presented, and as I said last week, I love that it’s taking him time to figure himself out. It’s just so real. And while not every gay kid who gets caught by a parent gets the same reaction, I actually got a little teary eyed at Gabbie’s delightful response of total acceptance, especially as it happened in front of Summer.
I also enjoy the subtle reminder that, for all Meyerism is … problematic … it does create a safe, loving space for kids, something that most mainstream religions seem to find impossible.
That was a great episode. The Path returns next week on Hulu, and on Oohlo soon after.