We open on Sarah walking that beautiful beach the Meyers are so fond of. Lilith, with a prosthetic eye, prays to her minimalist version of the Meyer Eye, begging for the light to return to her. Eddie prays too, for hope and guidance. A defeated, drawn looking Cal writes letters to Mary and Forrest and please, don’t let him kill somebody.
Later, at Lilith’s house, her acolytes are horrified when Vera reveals that Eddie is no longer going to Bali, and their Future/Apocalypse is off the calender. Vera coldly leaves her mother alone to answer the many many questions the Cultists have, and dynamic public speaker that she is, Lilith promises them the world. Or, you know, the end of it.
In the city, Mary drops off Forrest with Cal so she can go to work with Bucky. She’s apologetic about leaving, but makes her (valid) case that she can’t keep waiting and reliving the same loop over and over. Cal asks her to ride a nearby carousel with him and despite her doubts she eventually agrees, because Cal is a convincing guy, even when you’re mad at him. It helps that he looks like Hugh Dancy. He slips his letters into Mary’s bag so she won’t find them until later, and then we watch her watch him on the carousel. It seems, from her face, that her decision is made, that this for her, is one of the last happy moments she’ll share with Cal. Please show, don’t let it be.
At the Lane house, Felicia has been flown in from France, and she and Gabbie are reeling at the revelations about the origins of Meyerism, and about Steve’s evil proclivities and what he did to Cal. Eddie is asking for their help at a meeting of Meyerists later that day, wants Felicia to speak honestly about what happened the night of Steve’s so called ‘ascension’ — to specifically admit she burned her hands on a bonfire, as opposed to a ladder made of fire. Gabbie can’t believe the facts about what happened to Cal, and Sarah argues back that what she learned is why she left Meyerism entirely; Felicia and Gabbie think it’s a conspiracy to serve Eddie. They leave on Felicia’s furious warning that they will lose everyone.
Over at the Centre, Hawk is fielding questions from acolytes about Revelation, the meeting at the compound taking place later in the evening. They’re afraid it’s about the article and the book, and many don’t want to attend, so Hawk puts his foot down; if you don’t come to the meeting, don’t come back at all.
I’m curious, does anyone other than Cal and Vera know there is proof? The photo Cal showed Vera, remember? I have to wonder if that will ever come back into play.
Upstairs, Eddie meets with Vera to ask if she killed the Bali thing. She admits she did, and that’s it’s because she’s afraid Eddie might actually die — I mean, logically, one of Lilith’s followers might have intended to make damned sure her visions come true, so Vera has reason to be wary, even if you don’t buy the mystic aspect.
Weirdly, Eddie — a man who has visions — is still dismissive of Lilith’s. Vera is cold and withdrawn, and while she admits she’s grateful Eddie and Meyerism gave her the chance to escape the cult of her mother, it’s clear she’s not ready to accept or take part in any of what comes next. Eddie promises to come clean about Steve, his abuse of Cal, his theft of Lilith’s idea, and explains he plans to start over. Vera offers her ‘last piece of professional advice; Don’t do it’. Eddie argues that Steve chose Eddie to erase Steve from the Movement (again, solid logic based on the information he has), and asks Vera to help. We don’t see her answer.
At Lilith’s bunker, her doctor friend comes to her to offer his services. As I discussed above, specifically he volunteers his services in killing Eddie and making her vision come true, one way or another. Lilith isn’t sure, since she’s never known one of her visions to be altered before, so Murder Doc suggests that she only got the location wrong; Eddie can still die, by the doctors hand, just …here. Cults, Man. Lilith hands him a gun, and seems to decide he is the one who to do it. Murder Doc tells her she still has cancer; it’s in her liver and lungs now. It can be fought, but their movement needs her.
Over at Bucky’s offices, Mary is distracted and quiet and Bucky isn’t happy, but when Mary tunes in she still has some pretty good ideas. Bucky softens slightly and in lieu of opening their windows, brings her up to the roof to take in a beautiful view. He admits he goes up there to day drink, and Mary admits she’s left Cal. Bucky moves to offer a supportive hug, and they have a sort of funny moment where she verbally gives consent to get a hug and it could be cute and funny, but this is Bucky. He seems genuinely concerned. Then, Mary reaches into her bag to have her first cigarette in two years, and finds Cal’s letter instead. Whatever it says, she bolts to get back to the Compound, and Bucky offers without hesitation to help.
Sarah arrives at Gabbie’s house to find Felicia has gone into catatonic shock, and isn’t speaking or responding. Sarah intuits what’s going on, and asks Felicia to just be honest. As Felicia speaks we see her flashback, and okay, guys, I’m already nearly crying with anger, so be prepared. Unfortunately, we were right about a few things.
She was doing 7R with Steve, specifically reciting the sequence of numbers we saw Eddie struggle with back in season one. Steve broke down sobbing and admitted his paedophilic urges. He didn’t mention Cal specifically — at this, Gabbie collapses into a chair, weeping. Felicia says Silas came, and they decided the Light was testing them, their faith. So they worked, chanting and praying with Steve, vowing not to give up until he was cured. Sarah exercises astonishing restraint in her delivery of ‘You didn’t cure him’. Oh, my god, this scene. These women … Felicia sobs that they didn’t know what we do now about paedophilia, claims they really thought they could cure him. They thought they had cured him, and Felicia says she never thought he had acted on it. Sarah is distracted by a dozen frantic texts from Mary, and calls her back. Mary is hysterical, as the note says Cal will kill himself somewhere he won’t be found, so it’s like he just disappeared. Sarah sprints off to help.
At the compound, under a moon tinted the same deep red as the Revelation flyers, Meyerists gather, way more of them than I think Hawk expected, even some of the doubters from his earlier session. Hawk takes a big, happy, deep breath, clearly looking forward to what he thinks will be some powerful, positive moment for all of them. At his cabin, Eddie is quiet and anxious, and Vera arrives to remind him that in another world, he might have been about to die in Bali. He accurately suggests he may still be about to die. Vera reminds him her mother was fuelled by revenge, but Eddie is hope, and what the world needs. Above them, the blood moon glows.
In the woods, Cal is walking deeper and deeper into the trees, but Sarah is somewhere nearby, searching. THE. TENSION.
Night has fallen beneath the full blood moon, and Eddie takes to the stage. It’s not exactly the same as the one from Lilith’s vision, but it’s close enough. Guys, my heart might catch fire. Eddie starts to speak as we see Gabbie arrive in the crowd. Aaw, Gabbie. Eddie speaks of truth, and cleansing the wrongs of the past.
In the woods, Sarah finds Cal who stands near the caves, exactly where she thought he would be.
Eddie is speaking pretty skilfully, broaching the idea that Steve has failed the movement, but that Eddie will continue to be there for them, even as they rid themselves of demons.
Sarah explains to Cal how she found him, by knowing right where he’d go. Cal is suicidal, seems confident that his death will make Mary’s life better. Sarah wont budge (and is a goddess in this moment) as she assures him he matters, that Mary needs him, that he’s a wonderful father, even as he shrieks at her to leave.. She says she understands, and he screams she can’t, so she reminds him they’ve known each other since they were children. She admits she loved him and won’t let him take the blame for anything that happened, or any of the ways she changed because of him. She tells him he saved her when she was in so much pain. She admits she can’t understand what was taken from him, though she knows the ugliness he feels inside is not Cal, not who it is. It’s his mother, his father, Steve — what they did to him. Cal weeps ‘It’s me’, but Sarah is close enough to hug him and he sobs and sobs, ‘I just need to be over it’.
Oh my god, that hurt so much.
On stage, Eddie is discussing that Steve didn’t write the Rungs, to the muttered concern of the crowd. Vera spots Lilith in the crowd and starts to follow her. Eddie names Lilith as the true writer and Lilith briefly glows, grins as someone asks if she’s the true Prophet. Eddie says firmly that he is the Prophet, so Lilith pulls her gun and fires … into Vera’s heart, because her daughter had finally caught up with her. Mary arrives to see the crowd running in terror, and screams for Cal. Eddie runs to Vera and holds her in his arms as she fades.
The next day, everyone lays flowers for Vera, even Sarah. Summer is there and asks why Lilith killed Vera. Sarah gently says Lilith was damaged, but didn’t mean to hurt Vera. They admit she did intend to hurt Eddie, so Summer decides Vera saved Eddie’s life. She innocently asks if more people will shoot at them, and Eddie promises to do everything he can to make sure that never happens again.
We’re barely two thirds done, so holy shit, where else can this go?!
In the Centre Eddie’s learning from their Hollywood lawyer that they are being sued by parents of novices, a couple of active Meyerists. Eddie demands that the lawyer revisit the Religious Exemption idea and the lawyer correctly suggests he take some time to grieve and think for a hot second — particularly since Jackson’s book is still to come. Eddie turns cold and hard, and orders her to take on the IRS, or be replaced by someone who will … and as for the book; kill it.
Hawk is with his group of novices. It appears that for some of them, the murder has driven them closer to the Meyerism; they see it as an attack on them. Others are shaken, afraid that they could be victims too. Some of their parents are ready to sue. Hawk argues back that Lilith was so threatened by the Movement that she tried to kill Eddie, and since Hawk is Eddie’s son, it’s hard for him to hear them casually discuss leaving and suing and such. They chasten them, and Hawk discusses how much he’s lost this year, and how this loss makes him want to fight back. He intuits Eddie’s meaning at Revelation; to think critically, not to take their fathers stories as they are, but to look for the real truth.
A voice calls that they knew someone who couldn’t do that. Hawk turns and it’s Caleb, and I gasped. Caleb says it can be terrifying to examine your father’s stories, but his ‘friend’ is glad he did, because if he didn’t, it would have killed him. Hawk’s face is a picture of restraint as he invites the acolytes to go if they want; they might find it’s not the home they left. But, in the Movement, they know what there is. He turns to Caleb who is smiling, and I am crying, so hard.
In their apartment, Cal is quiet and anxious as Mary comes over. She’s angry at him, for scaring her, for making her believe he had died when Vera was shot, for having to see Vera (who we know she’d become pretty close to) dead. Cal sincerely, deeply apologises but Mary can’t take his word with any value and fears he’ll try it again. Cal accepts this and promises he will do the work, and come to terms with the fact he was sexually abused for a decade. He will be staying with Meyerism, but Mary sits down to let him explain. He says he physically can’t walk away, and she corrects that he means “mentally”. He accepts that too, and goes on to explain that when he pictures himself, he’s a hollow shell. And that while Meyerism ruined him, it also saved him. He loves it. He loves being able to help people, and loves the idea and message of The Light. So, he can’t walk away yet. Mary thinks he may never be able to, and he admits that. Says he can at least bet the man she loves, and be worthy of her. He wants to be, and the unspoken question is, will she let him?
We once again cut before we get an answer.
Sarah meets Eddie on the beach, and he’s destroyed with the guilt that he let Lilith out of the mental institution, insisted Vera be at Revelation. Sarah tries to talk him out of his guilt, and he asks her insistently if she feels anything, the Light, like Eddie promised she would, back in France. He thinks saving Cal should have made her feel something, but she isn’t sure yet. Sarah admits her own guilt at nearly getting Eddie killed, and how much she fears losing him. Eddie begs her to be with him because he knows what he becomes without her.
In the Meyer meeting room, under the beautiful Meyer Eye window, Vera’s sheet-covered body is laid out for her funeral. Cal tells them of remembering the summer Vera stayed on the compound. He haltingly explains that with Vera present, it was too complicated for Steve to ‘make time’ for Cal. Instead, he was just like a real, fun father to Cal. Cal wanted Vera to know. And the unspoken is that, she gave him one of the only happy times of his entire life. There’s something in my eyes. Oh, it’s just all these tears. Eddie uncovers Vera’s face for one last look, notices a lock of her hair has been cut away. Cal, Eddie and Sarah pray the Meyer death prayer over her, Cal giving a wry laugh at lines in the prayer that credit Steve. After a pause, Eddie continues, replacing all of the Steve’s with ‘to me’. Sarah looks terrified, as Cal and Steve pray on.
Sarah goes to visit Vera, who is in some sort of psychiatric prison, and tells her it’s Vera’s funeral. She gives Lilith the hair, and leaves without another word and for the first time in a while, Sarah smiles that terrifying, old Sarah smile. In her room, Lilith sobs but, turns out … she’s hallucinating Steve telling her that Vera had to die to bring about the end. Steve is telling her he’s sorry for stealing her vision, and assures her that he wants her reality to come true. Lilith listens, agrees, cradling her daughters hair against her cheek.At the compound, the Lanes and Armstrongs and Cal carry Vera’s body to the same hill where Hank lays. Eddie nearly collapses, and Hawk catches him. In an interesting change, the Meyers, who don’t wear dark colours, are all dressed in blacks and greys. Eddie makes another Leader Speech — rather than say, just talk about Vera. He speaks of removing rot, and we see that he and Cal went to Felicia to cut her out of the group. Cal’s cold ‘Thank you, Felicia’ speaks volumes. Cal speaks to Eddie about The Embrace Eddie did with Forrest, that he wants it undone, and for the act to go away entirely. We see Meyerists rounding up Lilith’s doctor. Eddie speaks to the crowd of moving forwards, fresh. We see new copies of The Ladder being placed on shelves, and the new high levels of security at the centre and the compound. Nearby is a beautiful portrait of Vera, and an also new version of The Eye is painted on the wall. Outside, those old E -Meter gadget things we haven’t seen in a while are thrown in the garbage. Eddie promises to secure and protect the rights of Meyerists. We see Mary applauding as Bucky makes similar promises to steel workers. Caleb’s father vows to protect his children from the forces that would steal their children. One of Lilith’s followers vows to continue the fight.
In the woods … oh, holy shit, Silas body was just dug up by people laying cables in the ground OH, HOLY SHIT.
Eddie finishes on a question, to Sarah, to help him. Sarah rises and stands beside him as the group raises their hands in prayer.
Where do I begin? That was genuinely moving, and I lost count of how often I cried. I screamed when Felicia told her story, and I am still furious about it. I’m so, so angry with her, and with any of them who knew. Is it okay to say I’m relieved Gabbie didn’t appear to know? And, I have to assume that by proxy, it means Hank didn’t either. I have to believe that. I won’t be able to handle it if it turns out the good, wonderful, kind, old Hank knew anything.
I did not expect Vera to get killed, at all. I really didn’t and I am shaking. Frieda Pinto did exemplary work with the conflicted, troubled Vera and she grew to be arguably, the show’s most sympathetic character. I am genuinely sad to see her go. It is a fitting end and it fits the story beautifully, but I would have loved to have gotten more time with her, or seen how her friendships with Mary and Cal might have developed.
It will be curious to see how the loss changes Eddie going forwards. He’s already become colder, harder, more certain of his position than ever. It’s clear that many of his … missteps during his first year of leadership have been driven by that strange mix of self doubt and ego we all tackle sometimes, but the loss of Vera has erased any conflict. The self doubt is gone. He was more confident and sure of himself in the final fifteen minutes of this season finale than we’ve ever seen. I’m honestly not so sure that’s a good thing. Eddie was already flirting with megalomania and honestly, Vera was about the only thing keeping him grounded.
I think, in a certain kind of way, Lilith’s vision did come true — a version of Eddie has died. I just hope we survive what comes next.
Caleb’s return was another sob-inducing moment. I wish we’d gotten to see some of his reunion with Hawk, but I am so glad Caleb is okay and for now, relatively safe.
I am also relieved Cal is okay and once again, I am reeling at the fact Hugh Dancy’s astounding work on this show isn’t being given every award we have to give, but are you kidding me with the Silas thing? I always wondered if the death would ever come back on Cal, and I guess it will, and just right as he was about to be okay. The man can’t catch a break, though of course, he definitely did murder Silas, so this has been a long time coming. At this rate it might be season five before we find out where the hell Alison is? (You thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you? You thought!)
I’m curious, though. Was the decision to reveal Silas knew about Steve an attempt to redeem Cal, somewhat? To try and give his action some context, and give the audience and other characters the option to partially forgive him? Or was it more narratively driven, an attempt to set up a legal defence for Cal if/when he’s eventually arrested? Even if Cal’s memories were repressed, if he had some subconscious inkling that Silas had been complicit through inaction it might explain why he overreacted so badly to Silas’ verbal attack on him. This season has been all about how Steve was a ‘father’ to Cal, and Silas last words before he took a shard of vase to the jugular? ‘You’re just like your father’.
Dear Readers, it has been a hell of a season. It definitely wasn’t perfect and we hit a few slower patches, but that was an emotive and powerful season finale. I am excited but anxious about what comes next for our favourite Cultists. Thank you all for joining me for this ride. I can’t wait to see your thoughts in the comments section.
If you’re celebrating, have a wonderful Easter and keep an eye on Oohlo for more of The Path and upcoming recaps of all the best television.
The Path returns … next year.