That’s it, my fellow guardians of the light. We’ve reached the final rung of this ladder that we call “season 1.” And maybe I’ve drunk one too many “medicinal” green-juice cocktails, but the closer I get to the end, the more paranoid I get about what’s really going on. Why does every plotline on this show suddenly feel like a widespread conspiracy?
Conspiracy theory #1: Alison isn’t really returning to Meyerism
Remember that, not long before Alison had a near-suicidal breakdown and rejoined the Meyerists, she was literally risking her life to publicly condemn the movement online. That’s a pretty abrupt change of heart. Alison tells Richard that she’s back because she’s despondent over Jason’s death. She insists that Jason was suffering from madness, seeing things that weren’t there. He wrote in his journal that he was determined to climb the ladder, but every time he tried, he burned his hands. And yet, his account of what happened matches what Abe learned from the coroner’s report: Jason was found with burns on his hands after falling off a mountain. Is it possible that the ladder is a real thing, not just a symbol of enlightenment?
Even if that is true, Alison’s story still sounds suspicious. So, her husband wrote in his journal that he wanted to climb again, “even if it kills me”? Doesn’t that sound like something a murderer might write in somebody else’s journal, right before pushing him off a cliff?
Also, why is Cal suddenly preaching forgiveness for Alison, right after meeting with her in private? This is a guy who gored a man to death with a broken idol for lesser crimes. Now he’s rewriting the most fundamental tenants of the movement, urging his followers to step up and give their most vocal opponent a hug? All if this makes me wonder if Alison knows that Cal played some kind of role in Jason’s death, and she’s blackmailing him into welcoming her back to the faith. Once she’s accepted back into the movement, she can avenge Jason’s death by destroying Meyerism from the inside.
Conspiracy theory #2: Someone has been spiking Eddie’s green juice
Just like Jason, Eddie suffers from hallucinations. It has always been interesting that the only Meyerist who’s not a true believer — Eddie — is the one who’s been receiving the holiest visions. Now, it appears that this is something he might’ve had in common with Jason. After all, Alison once claimed that Jason doubted the faith before he died, and now she says he was “seeing things,” too.
Eddie finally takes steps to leave the faith and his home, but the more time he spends at the Travel Inn, the more his visions increase. There’s a dead falcon on the floor of a local market. There’s a giant, scary snake slithering around his bed. Worried that he’s going crazy, Eddie tells Richard that he’s seen the retreat center in Peru, and the door where he saw Dr. Stephen Meyer dying. (Oops! Did he accidentally mention that Dr. Stephen Meyer was dying? Never mind!) It’s “like I am on the medicine, but I am stone cold sober,” he reveals.
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Well, it’s possible that Eddie’s not as sober as he thinks. The effects of “the medicine” look a lot like the effects of a drug like ayahuasca, which is known for causing flashbacks during regular consciousness. It’s possible that Eddie’s simply feeling the repercussions of decades of green smoothie consumption.
Then again, it’s also possible that someone is actively doping his drink, just to make him a true believer again.
NEXT: Is that Dr. Meyer at the door?
Conspiracy theory #3: Sarah isn’t leading the movement with Cal for the holiest reasons
Poor Sarah. She’s in a tough position. Her kids are being raised without a father. She’s separated from the love of her life. And now she’s discovered that her spiritual partner is a murderer. Sigh!
It’s a little strange that Sarah puts all of this together so easily. Sure, Silas never returns her calls — but hey, it’s hard to get reception from a secret compound in Peru! Yes, Felicia says Silas thought they’d lost sight of the movement, and the next thing you know, Silas’ pachamama showed up on Sarah’s desk. But mystical things happen in this movement all the time! Granted, Cal was absent the night when the Meyerists voted about the Hondurans. But he says he was drinking, and Isaiah backs up his story that he never left his cabin that night. Why should Sarah have any reason to be suspicious?
Here’s where I started to actively roll my eyes at The Path’s writing: Mary’s dad just happens to mention that the last time he was at the compound, it was a full moon? And Sarah just happens to remember that there was a full moon the night of the vote? And she just happens to trust Mary’s father — who has every reason to lie about Cal if it helps him get his daughter back — more than she trusts Cal himself? And Cal’s computer password just happens to be Sarah’s name? I mean, the guy just covered up a murder. He wasn’t even crafty enough to try “Sarah1234”?
Now, Sarah knows that it was Cal, not Dr. Meyer, who drafted the last rungs of Meyerism. And she strongly suspects that he killed Silas, too. The fact that she promises not to tell anyone either of these things gives me pause. Is her own faith in Meyerism more complicated than we think? No doubt she understands that if she tells her fellow Meyerists what Cal has done, it will significantly weaken the movement. But I wonder if she also has personal reasons to lead. Early in the episode, she tries to pull rank on Richard to prevent Eddie from signing an official “denier” form that would stop him from seeing his kids. Is it possible that Sarah wants to be a co-guardian of the light with Cal because she wants to change the rules? Is she getting closer to Cal so that Eddie won’t get completely banished? Or does she simply want the same thing that Cal wants: to climb to the top of the ladder, metaphorically, or maybe even literally. Don’t forget the flame-retardant gloves!
Conspiracy theory #4: Abe — ahem, Sam! — will team up with Alison next season
Abe/Sam’s baby heals miraculously, preventing the need for open-heart surgery, after Eddie gives her a Meyerist blessing, just in case. This gives Abe/Sam a good excuse to return to the movement even though the FBI doesn’t want him to. This way, he can claim it has nothing to do with the investigation: It’s a personal choice. Will he and Alison team up next season to drag the movement down together, from within? (See also: conspiracy theory #1.) Or will he end up with Stockholm syndrome, standing with the Meyerists when his buddies in law enforcement finally storm the compound?
Conspiracy theory #5: Dr. Stephen Meyer has special plans for Eddie
We all know that Eddie’s been having visions of the doctor — or do we? At the end of the episode, in what may or may not be a dream sequence, Eddie goes back to Peru and sees the old man standing before him. Is it possible that the doctor is actually alive? And if so, what does he want from Eddie? Maybe Dr. Meyer knows that Cal is leading the movement astray. Remember that Silas said that Cal was not the leader Dr. Meyer envisioned for generations to come. Maybe that leader was Eddie? If so, it could make for great tension next season, as Eddie, Cal, and Sarah all fight for control of the movement. We’ll have a new season of The Path before we know it. Until then, I’ll be sitting here in my tinfoil hat, waiting for the light to return.
- People really travel back and forth from Peru quickly in this world! Next time I need an Alpaca sweater rush-delivered, I’ll know who to ask.
- How ironic that Hawk decided to stick with Meyerism so that he wouldn’t lose his family, but his initiation happens right at the moment that Eddie gets kicked out.
- Yes, I know I haven’t talked about Mary yet. She’s always the weakest character for me, a one-dimensional “damaged woman” figure who’s basically here to keep swinging back and forth between the darkness and the light. To recap: She and Sean are getting married. Sean’s mom gives Mary a wedding veil that Sean’s late sister once wore. There’s a lot of hand-wringing on Mary’s part, but not enough to prevent her from sleeping with Cal. “Maybe we are broken people,” she says. “Maybe we need good people around us.” Sigh. Or maybe you just need a better story line, lady.
- So, a snow owl appears whenever someone’s thinking about Silas, and a snake appears whenever someone’s thinking about Dr. Steve? I wonder what Cal’s spirit animal is. A lemur?
- “Come home daddy,” Summer writes in invisible ink. Heartbreaking! Also: this could be an excellent tool for Meyerists to transmit information to the outside world next season. Think of it as Chekov’s pen.