Aaron Pauls The Path finally gets to the good stuff

It’s among the streaming era’s ancient blockbusters, from a bygone era called “2016. ” The Path, starring Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, appeared to have all the right ingredients to give Hulu a legitimate first calling card. It took three seasons, but the prestige drama about people and cult leaders has finally delivered on the promise of the assumption.

When we left the Meyerist Movement, followers of “the Light” and climbers of “the Ladder” were being divided down the middle. A power struggle between prodigal son Eddie Lane (Paul) and also heir apparent Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy) was brewing. Season 3 has been place this power struggle at the forefront, but not without taking some unexpected turns. The opening episode features two introductory scenes, each of which aim for shock, and yet, specifically, that’ s so seismic it probably should’ve already been been the ending to last season (which rather has been anticlimactic and stilted, save for its use of Radiohead’s always magnetic “Everything in its Right Place”).

Without spoiling anything that the show’s own promotional material already hasn’t, the key shift entering this season is Eddie’s ascension to mind and general face of the movement. Though he’s estranged from his wife, Sarah (Michelle Monaghan), and struggling to be a fantastic father to his son, Hawk (Kyle Allen), he has a larger family to look after in the cult that he once tried to abandon. Paul has sometimes felt wasted a relatable if not hero. He’s brilliant actor, but he doesn’t get to show the identical range here he did playing Jesse Pinkman. However, at least Eddie is again front and center as an active protagonist.

Dancy is electric because the David Miscavige-like cult leader, Cal. Season 3 finds him fallen away from grace, functioning as wellness coach and a self-help professional to a NBA star, and living in Florida. After the show asks us to think the Meyerists would toss him aside in favor of their more palatable Eddie, it’s not hard to go along with it. Eddie is likable and charismatic, where Cal is creepy and intense. Eddie is the mysticism-friendly response to Cal. However, if Cal is not a simple vessel for the viewer, he’s undeniably a character. There were moments in season 2 where it felt like Dancy could’t easily overtaken Paul because the lead of the show and his performance remains forceful and emotionally raw—particularly as we learn more about the misuse Cal suffered as a child.

Hawk remains an annoying, whiny teenager. I guess you have to cut the kid a while, growing up in a cult and all. At least this season Hawk, and also the writing surrounding his character, have grown a little bit.    

Monaghan’s character has been tasteful also, and for the first time in the show’s heritage, Sarah’s crisis of faith looks real. She begins to retreat into Meyerism & rsquo, as she drifts further away from the movement, closer to the outside world. An emphasis on pain and suffering she uncovers makes for a subplot that is disturbing but enthralling, and Monaghan performs with it with gusto.

A writing issue with each the ensemble has become the way characters shapeshift so as to fit the narrative’s demands. Only look at The Path’s sophomore slump: Why did Eddie decide to be a leader at the end of last season after fighting that calling the rest of it? Why did Sarah abandon Eddie for Cal, just to return to Eddie, just to leave him if he returned to Meyerism, like she wanted? The movement needs him , does Cal keep finding it again and conveniently losing his faith? Does Hawk do after being let down by each adult in his life again and again, anything anybody tells him? This is a frequent difficulty in dramatic television, but a glaring one nonetheless. Season 3 offers actions and more motives and corrects course.

Newcomers to the cast include Slumdog Millionaire’s Freida Pinto as a publicist Eddie brings in to help handle the movement’therefore expanding profile and Homeland’s Sarita Choudhury as a mysterious man with her very own vested interest in Meyerism. Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser also pops up later in the season. The addition to the next season though is a part of the uncanny. This was present in short glimpses of The Path’s time before it was replaced for dull meditations on the nature of activism in the second. The thing is at times supernatural, and that a show about cults should be disconcerting, and odd.


Escaping from a cult is 1 thing. Even a show as goofy as Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt did a fantastic job researching the levels of trauma related to that sort of horror. However, to communicate fervor and the madness one has to feel to be an active participant in a cult, is another task. One of the best depictions of this was the Guilty Remnant of The Leftovers. In that instance, the cult members in question had a worldwide tragedy to copy their passion. What does the Meyerist Movement have? Season 3 suggests they have reality. About exactly the fears of destruction and violence that plague us all , possible converts talk in a montage during the next installment. And what do these souls want? “Love, community, guidance, security, peace”—essentially the things we all want. The Path’s important revelation may be that the motives one person joins a cult are the very same reasons we all find coping mechanisms to get through daily.

I want the show managed to draw these decisions while also creating an atmosphere that matched the dread of its atmosphere. Director Mike Cahill set a different style in the pilot, filled with camera work and natural light . There’s craft here, but sometimes the design feels overly Friday Night Lights as it should be more Authentic Detective. More joyful moments, the realistic are the best aspect of this show. There are a few more of those this season.

In addition to its own apocalyptic premonitions, The Path also feels relevant in the parallels it creates to Scientology. Yes, the manufacturers have attempted to distance themselves in the contrast. However, between severe punishments including prolonged isolation, therapy sessions that are later used for blackmail, the evasive founder who hid the man he truly was from his followers, and much more, the influence is too much to dismiss.   Do enhancements, timeliness, and parallels to a certain other cult-like organization merit beginning The Path from the very start? No, you can jump ahead to season 3. The show would be more at home on a cable network such as USA or TNT than attempting to wedge its way into the crowded field of prestige streaming. And increasing the incident order from 10 in the first season to 13 doesn’t do it any favors. Yet those people who have kept on The Path are in for fun surprises and wild action.

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