The Meyerists face fallout from their various Ascension Day decisions — and mostly double down
Credit: Greg Lewis/Hulu
S1 E5
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Last week’s Ascension Day festival set off a lot of fireworks, as holidays are wont to do. Hawk and Ashley hooked up, Eddie decided to try ascending the next rung of the ladder (7R) with Cal, and Sarah took charge of the Ridge situation. This week’s episode is a little quieter and concerns itself mostly with the fallout of those big twists.

While digging his hole, Eddie sees a vision of Cal and Sarah making out. Having already seen a vision of the catatonic Stephen Meyer, Eddie seems prone to visualizing his deep-down worst fears. The last one was true, though, so Eddie would be forgiven for freaking out about this one. He knows enough to not tell Cal what he saw at least.

Hawk and Ashley ended up passing out beside the campfire. No sex, despite their passionate kissing — just a lot of alcohol and adrenaline. Hawk wakes up and hurriedly rushes home, but it’s too late. Everyone else has already noticed his absence, and he finds them gathered in the living room. Joy rats him out, having previously spotted him and Ashley together. Eddie wants everyone to calm down, but Sarah’s freaking out — just as she does about everything, apparently.

Eddie’s got bigger things on his mind. He can’t get that vision of Cal and Sarah out of his head. He nonetheless tries to take a calm tone with Sarah when they’re alone, reminding her that Hawk’s just a teenager with hormones. Eddie says he’s grateful that his parents didn’t push back against his youthful rebellion. Sarah, naturally, goes way over the line by bringing up Eddie’s dead parents and suicidal brother. Before Eddie can get too mad, however, Cal shows up for his turn to yell at Sarah. He’s infuriated that Sarah sent Freddie Ridge and his mother to Peru for treatment against his explicit orders. John Ridge, whom Cal is counting on as a big potential donor, has already given him an earful. Eddie stops Cal and asks him to leave — the animosity has probably cooled his jealousy, and now he’s stepping in as Sarah’s husband and protector.

Cal leaves, but it doesn’t cool him down. He furiously calls Silas in Peru but only gets voicemail. He tries getting an immediate flight to Peru, but there aren’t any available. This, of all moments, is when Mary decides to waltz in and tell him she and Sean had sex. She couldn’t have picked a worse time, and Cal furiously tells her to leave. After she does, he ends up shaking with rage again. His delicate self-control seems to waver so easily — maybe he should have kept Mary around. She usually calms him.

Abe Gaines is a bit at a loss after learning about Wesley Cox’s evil. His daughter is still sick and not getting better. His investigation into the Meyerists seems to be faltering. He even meets with Alison in her motel room but matches her crying with mansplaining. He doesn’t seem convinced by her theory that Meyerists murdered her husband; if it’s true, after all, why is she staying so close to the Meyerist compound? Later, he has a colleague check out Alison and her husband’s bank records; the erratic movement of money over a short period indicates some kind of trafficking operation to these detectives. Gaines’ fellow agent can tell that he’s upset and offers to connect him with his priest. “He doesn’t care if you’re not Catholic,” Agent Fredericks says, somehow sounding like a vision of tolerance compared to Sarah and the buggy Meyerists. Gaines barely listens, but it does seem to motivate him to do something else.

Sarah wants Hawk to leave school, just as he was begging to do at the beginning of the series, but he refuses. He may have hated high school before, but now he’s met a pretty girl he likes. Very classic. Eddie’s dissatisfaction with Meyerism is starting to show in moments like these, where he seems chill with bending rules, but ultimately he just repeats religious dogma in response to Hawk’s questions. Mostly, he just wants to make sure it’s not his fault, that Hawk’s not acting out because of Eddie’s “affair.” Hawk assures Eddie that’s not the case, but seeing his father waver undoubtedly encouraged him to do the same.

NEXT: Double down on doubts

Cal finds Sarah and apologizes for his behavior. Apparently he’s the only person alive whom Sarah accepts apologies from; everyone else gets orders (Hawk), screaming (Miranda Frank), or bone-cutting insults (Eddie). He’s also the only one with whom Sarah feels comfortable sharing her deepest insecurities. She tells him the real reason she’s worried about Hawk: apparently a girl named Tessa did the same thing years earlier, fell in love and quit Meyerism before she turned 16. Cal prays with her, which Mary spies on and interprets as some kind of “cheating” on her affections. Her relationship with Cal remains twisted and poisonous.

Aside from digging holes in the forest, Eddie’s 7R training also involves memorizing a string of Lost-like numbers. Eventually he and Cal take a break for some bonding time. Cal shares that his deepest fear is leading an unimportant life; the ever-chill Eddie does not share that worry. He tells Cal he saw a predictive vision of Cal yelling at Sarah, just as it happened hours later. That’s not true but perhaps indicates Eddie’s belief that his visions are prophetic. He doesn’t know it, but the Meyer one was true; maybe the Cal-Sarah hook-up will be, too.

Mary now wants to leave Meyerism because of Cal. She only ever signed up because of him; if she’s lost faith in him, she might as well leave. Sean, however, provides a great defense of the movement. He retells the story of his twin sister dying in a school shooting but now adds that the attack was racially motivated (“’Aunt Jemima bitch’ was the last thing Sheila ever heard”). The outside world is monotonous when it’s not violent and ugly, but Sean believes in Meyerism because, different as they are, all the members are motivated by the quest for a better world. It’s a great defense, almost on the level of Cal’s top-notch sermons, and it works. Mary sticks around.

Gaines gets bad news about his daughter just as Wesley Cox of all people drops by for a checkup. Cox still thinks Gaines is on his side; he has no idea that the detective learned the truth of his abuse at Ascension Day. Meyerism helped Gaines see the truth of this sleazebag, and now he might try them for more help. He tells Eddie he wants to try the first rung. He’s either going deep cover or really wants it to help his daughter. Eddie, again showing his apostate potential here, tells Gaines (in disguise as “Sam”) that the ladder might help his mental state but won’t do anything to change his daughter’s health.

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Meanwhile, Hawk is going back and forth, like teenagers tend to do. Sarah tells him that she almost had a miscarriage but a trip to Peru saved him when he was still in her belly. So he goes and tells Ashley that they can’t hang out anymore, but she sees right through him and notes “a religion that tells you who you can and can’t like is stupid. And I know you like me, Hawk, I know you do.” It’s hard to argue against this logic — soon enough, Hawk is telling his mother he’s planting trees for repentance while secretly meeting up with his girlfriend.

Cal speaks with John Ridge again. When Ridge casts aspersions on Sarah for taking his wife and child to Peru, Cal bursts out with an impassioned defense of his friend, calling her an angel. Ridge responds by siccing an enforcer on Cal. The self-proclaimed leader of Meyerism gets his teeth kicked out in the Ridge driveway as, miles away, young Freddie Ridge gets a helpful dose of medicine from Silas. Freddie looks up at the ceiling and sees the universe; Cal must see something, too, because he smiles, even while beaten.

Also, Eddie and Sarah are having sex again, so at least they have that. Disastrous Cal-Sarah vision avoided…for now.

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