This episode of The Path is all about parents. Every character in this show has unresolved issues with their parents, and a lot of them came bubbling up here.
The first scene, for instance, is Cal sitting by the bedside of his surrogate father, Dr. Stephen Meyer. Just as Eddie saw in his vision, the man behind Meyerism is indeed catatonic. Cal wants to figure out a plan for succession — he has a big vision for the movement and can’t afford to let it grind to a halt. Everyone there with him in Peru, though, just wants to keep praying.
Meanwhile, Eddie is finally out of lockdown, the 14-day Stalin-esque interrogation he went through because his wife Sarah thinks he had an affair. He gives a mini-sermon to fellow believers about the value of making mistakes, which seems to convince everyone he’s back on track.
Unfortunately, there are consequences of his interrogation. In order to get through it, Eddie confessed to a nonexistent affair with fellow Meyerist Miranda Frank. Now, Frank has been brought in to confess her crimes, which she quiet understandably refuses to do. The apparent protocol when someone who’s transgressed doesn’t “unburden” properly is to cast them out, but Cal orders Miranda brought in for further interrogation. He says this is a special case because it has to do with Sarah and her family. Just then, however, he’s interrupted by a phone call and rushes off. When Sarah asks about it, he says it’s church business “that doesn’t involve you.” Quite a turnaround, and no wonder: It’s not church business at all but an issue with Cal’s estranged mother, over whom he has significantly less power.
At high school, Hawk is now watching guard while Ashley Fields uses the school showers. She’s clearly embarrassed, but Hawk tells her it’s not her fault her mom didn’t pay the power bill. Soon, though, the bell rings, and it’s back to the status quo as Ashley rushes off.
Det. Abe Gaines previously voiced concerns about the Meyerists, and now he’s following through by infiltrating the compound. He even goes through a recorded entrance interview, and gets a tour of the compound from Eddie. Eddie tells him about all the great sustainable energy they’re working on and the new workforce they’re training in those techniques. Abe, however, is mostly concerned with the fact that they seem to be recruiting their workforce from the ranks of the storm victims and refugees they claim to help.
Eddie meets with Alison again, and tells her he’s committed to Meyerism. He tells her he found out her husband committed suicide and doesn’t question it. He says his vision of the catatonic Meyer was just a temptation by “the Dark.” Alison tells him that there’s no Dark, no Light, “just us.” She says she knows him now and he can’t hide the truth. It does sound like an affair.
Speaking of affairs, Sarah goes in to talk to Miranda Frank. She wanted Cal to accompany her, but he’s occupied at the moment. Sarah high-mindedly tells Miranda to tell the truth, while Miranda screams about how Sarah can do anything here – her family are like the Kennedys of Meyerism or something. It sounds like they’re having two totally different conversations, like two bureaucrats in a Kafka novel. Hopefully Sarah’s story line turns around soon because at this point, three episodes deep, she’s a profoundly unlikable character who continues to aggravate and punish people for something the audience knows is clearly a fabrication.
Anyway, it turns out Cal visited his mother for the first time in three years because she recently started a grease fire in her apartment, and he wants to move her into an assisted living facility for her own safety. She agrees, but only if Cal breaks one of his religious vows and gets drunk with her.
Hawk tries to explain his burgeoning struggle of faith to Ashley, but as one might expect from a teenage boy raised in an introverted community talking to a pretty girl for the first time, he’s very awkward. He even ends up insulting her by calling her ignorant, so she walks off. He asks her if she ever prays — she tells him to pray for her power to come back on.
Cal takes his mother for a tour of the nursing home, and it does not go well. She calls him a cult leader in front of the nurse and then goes further: She calls Meyer a quack, over and over again until ever-compressed Cal finally snaps, telling his mother he’ll let her die in the street “’cause that’s what you deserve.” That freaks her out.
NEXT: Another cliffhanger
Back at home, Sarah’s mom tells her that Hank cheating on her was the best thing that happened to their marriage. Outside at the grill, Hank tells Eddie something similar. Hank understands how easy it is to be tempted by “new flesh,” but also it’s his daughter who has been supposedly cheated on, so he’s not super compassionate. Hank talks about the lengths parents will go to protect their kids from pain.
Just as dinner’s about to start, both Sarah and Eddie get calls for help. Cal is drunk and frustrated that one day with his mother has made him break his various rules. Sarah tells him that this is just a moment and it will pass.
Alison drives by the house, which enrages Eddie. He tells her that if she ever shows up again he’ll kill her. “That’s not a threat. You don’t know where I come from.” Alison has a silent freakout in her car about losing her only ally.
This doesn’t help Eddie and Sarah’s marriage, which is still messed up. Maybe because one of them got forced into a two-week imprisonment and the other still refuses to talk to him! Eddie says he’s done everything he can and she has to meet him halfway. Sarah responds that she can’t stop thinking about him and Miranda Frank, especially now that she’s in the compound. She wasn’t supposed to tell Eddie that, and he’s clearly distressed. As if Alison’s anger didn’t make it clear, Eddie’s attempt to walk back his doubts is costing others dearly.
Sarah once again confronts Miranda herself. Miranda tells her, quite reasonably, that whatever’s going on in Sarah and Eddie’s marriage is not her fault. This makes Sarah snap, like Cal at the nursing home. She screams, calls Miranda a whore, and keeps her locked inside her cell.
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Meanwhile, Hawk finds a way to turn Ashley’s power back on. He tries to sneak away, but she sees him. When she asks him about it the next day at school, he says he didn’t want her to live without light. She kisses him.
Abe visits Mary Cox’s father Wesley in the hospital. Cal really did beat him viciously, and Wesley wants to know why they haven’t arrested Cal yet. Abe asks him whether he wants them to just grab Cal for an assault charge, or build a big enough case to send him away for 30 years. Wesley says, “That monster has my daughter.” Abe passionately responds that he has three daughters, and “you have my word I’ll bring your daughter back,” obviously unaware that Wesley held Mary in sexual slavery for years. A parent’s love can be a good thing, but when misapplied or misunderstood, the excuse of “protecting my family” can also be used to justify horrible actions. Didn’t we learn that from Aaron Paul’s last TV show?
Even after their blowup, Cal has set his mother up in the nursing home. She reminds him that he’s her son, not Meyer’s, and that “wanting to be someone else never works.” She closes the blinds he had opened, saying it’s too bright.
Cal talks to Sarah about Dr. Meyer. He says the founder told him he’s getting ready to die and it’s time for a new leader. Sarah is apparently totally on-board with Cal taking over, which is just great.
Afterward, Eddie goes to visit Miranda. It’s technically restricted, but he gets through by using Cal’s name, the way Cal does with Meyer. And once again, an episode of The Path ends on a horrifying cliffhanger: Miranda Frank’s apparent suicide.