Driven by his powerful loneliness and a just…a whole host of complex psychological issues that he masks as kindness and charity, Cal has rescued some Honduran refugees from a local Catholic organisation who can no longer protect them from a growing political outcry.
And people are a little mad.
In the grand tradition of racist assholes everywhere, local Trump supporter types have rolled up with badly spelled placards and half baked sentiments about how ‘Murica would be great if it wasn’t for all those damn immigrants who are actually refugees and eventually, by proxy, if it wasn’t for all those damn cults. And the attention has drawn the press and the Feds and everything, everything, guys is going to shit.
But that’s good news for us! And for Abe! And for Nicole, Sarah’s sister in law who is approximately 76 months pregnant.
See, Abe’s boss was somewhat underwhelmed by the Meyerists when Abe first noticed their hijinks but now that the cult is on everybody’s radar Abe is the lead Agent on the case of the year. Better yet, his bad vibe serves pretty well as PR for the Feds, right? Just as people start to notice them the FBI can say ‘hey, already on it, relax!’
Abe is deservedly pleased with himself. Finally his weeks (…..months?) of careful work are paying off!
To celebrate he takes his undercover mission to its inevitable next level and completely signs up, writes a cheque and gets to start going to sessions and seminars. The best part is he gets his first Meyerist t-shirt. To the delight of Nicole, me and any human being with eyes and a pulse, he tries the shirt on right there in Nicole’s office.
Pretty sure Nicole just saw The Light and it was Good.
But almost nobody else has a good time this week and Hawk feels the downturn pretty damn hard. In a brief but heavy plot thread, Ashley’s mother gets about as much Meyerism as she can handle and decides she’s done. It’s unclear what her breaking point is –the creepy Meyerist dentist Nicole got her a job with, her daughter casually hitching school rides with converts-but I’m going to take a stab and say; ‘their whole deal, pretty much.’
She packs up the kids and heads to a homeless shelter and Ashley, who has been a consistently decent kid this entire time, does the right thing by her family. She ends it with Hawk to support her mother and her brother. Great for Ashley.
Buuuut sort of terrible for Hawk who, again, has thrown everything he believes in aside for a girl. Just like Joy warned, it may all have been for nothing.
Learning a similarly brutal lesson is the sweet, terrifying Mary. Still reeling from Cal’s calculated decision to send Sean away Mary shows a side of herself I’ve suspected is there but had yet to see; See, Mary confides her woes in another Meyerist woman, Betsy, the same stunning redhead who way back in the pilot was the first one to offer Mary a welcoming hand to climb into the Meyer vans.
Betsy’s attraction to Mary is heartbreakingly obvious and but what shines much brighter is Mary’s ability and willingness to use that. It seems Mary has learned to be just as predatory as the men who have taken advantage of her and tricks the young Meyerist into letting her steal some powerful meds.
Mary, the recovering drug addict, relapses and it’s heartbreaking. The only time she’s not swaying on her feet is when she is righteously and gloriously taking Cal to task for his appalling behaviour. She demands answers from him and when he can’t offer her any she throws a vase at his head and decides to leave for good.
But amongst the baying crowds at the gate she spots her father waiting for her and in utter terror she races back inside the compound for safety. Her episode ends with her very much trapped, very much under siege.
Alison fairs a little better, though she’s responsible for one of two massive ‘Oh, SHIT’ moments in the seventh episode. Eddie has holed her up in one of Sarah’s dads cabins, an isolated place where he brings her groceries, including meat! And that’s not even a euphemism, he brought her actual animal carcass and she’s so grateful and curses bean curd and vegan food and it’s all so nice and a little domestic. For the first time we get to see a real chemistry between the two, a sort of domestic comfort that Eddie doesn’t always seem to have with Sarah. Everything between him and his wife is, and always has been fraught and laden with meaning but with Alison he gets to relax. It’s curious, in an episode that ties Sarah deeper to her role in the group, Eddie strikes such a sweet chord with his communicating with Alison. Remember not a few weeks back he was threatening to kill her.
But the first big gasp comes along eventually. Because Cal catches them. Of course he does. He’s fucking Cal.
Cal gets wind of ‘someone’ up at the cabin and though Eddie beats him there to warn Alison, his head start is so brief as to raise questions how the men didn’t basically crash into each other on the drive up. But no matter. The secret is out and any doubts Cal had about Eddie’s motives go out of the window when Eddie wrestles Cal to the ground to make sure Alison can make her escape.
Cal takes this…surprisingly well. He pushes for answers and Eddie spills everything about what he saw, or thinks he saw, about his ongoing doubts and feeling that their whole faith is all bullshit.
Cal takes this less well, but better than expected. For example, I expected him to eat Eddie’s eyes and throat. But he doesn’t! He pushes Eddie to do ‘the walk’ which we learn in bits and pieces is a 250 mile walk through wilderness that mimics some kind of similarly spiritually inspired journey Steve Meyer took as part of his Enlightening all those years ago. If at the end Eddie is still unsure, he can leave. For ever.
Eddie is very much concerned with it being fucking December, Cal but Cal just…oh man, he does not give a living shit, even at all. If Eddie refuses, Cal warns, Sarah learns everything. That there was no affair with Miranda, no stepping out, Miranda didn’t refuse to unburden out of spite, two weeks in house changed nothing; Eddie is a non-believer.
So…Eddie is doing the walk.
And because Aaron Paul is that good there’s a few flickering seconds when we see him figure out he’s actually might not come back.
In part, it’s because Sarah is in her ascendancy. See initially she’s against the Hondurans staying with them, enough so to outvote Cal at a UR’s meeting which saw Felicia and Bill fly back in from Peru to take control. When Cal calls her out on her lack of support she tries to argue back that Cal is being A Man about letting her have any say in what happens.
Cal throws this right back at her, reminding her there isn’t really any reason why she can’t have some say. She accuses him of keeping her in the shadows and he reminds her she’s staying there of her own volition. And he’s correct, so later after a change of heart and some soul searching she radiantly, wonderfully argues in favour of the refugees staying at the compound. She is, in that moment, a true leader, enough of one that even Eddie begins to chant and recite their prayers to remind everyone their mission is to help people.
Maybe, for her, Eddie will come back. Monaghan is like sunlight in this scene. Sarah’s been a brilliantly performed but slightly mad eyed traditionalist before now but in this moment, in her confidence and her warmth we see a whole person, a woman who may well have set aside her own ambitions for family now finally step out of the shadows.
But since this shows working title was probably ‘Cal Tried, we should check in with the handsome monk;
Silas (Steve Mones) arrives in secret, just after Mary makes her vase smashing exit and while Cal is surprised to see him, he’s more surprised when Silas delivers the slightly devastating news that he’s basically there to shut it all down. Cal’s…Cal-ness, it’s become a bit much for Silas and, apparently, Steven too and Silas calmly explains that The Movement is over. That Steven is a mortal man dying of cancer and it’s all for nothing. It would seem that at some point, Silas has calmly accepted the reality Eddie and Cal are so traumatised by and he’s at peace with it, ready to help others find their way to this truth, this new, real one. Cal whimpers that he’s the new leader and Silas clarifies that if there is a new leader, and we cut to shots of Sarah for a second, that leader is not Cal.
Cal is…perturbed. And then Silas calls him out as a false prophet and ‘an alcoholic salesman. Like your father’.
I learned something today; don’t give Cal a reason to stab you in the neck or he will stab you in the neck. Silas didn’t take that seminar.
The episode ends hours later, after night has fallen, with Hawk begging Eddie to take him along on The Walk, Sarah late night calling Cal to demand to know where he is, and the man himself cleaning himself up then collapsing to drink a secret stash of booze and stare at Silas cooling corpse. It’s a few weighty scenes, fraught with emotions and…
…tension, that nearly distract us from the slightly odd fact that hours pass, night falls and apparently not one person goes looking for Cal in his cabin on the compound, with it’s huge picture windows that make it clear his cabin is just filled with dead Silas and Silas entire blood supply.
Otherwise though, shit just got real and we’re racing towards something very scary. Summer opened the episode with the foreshadow laced question ‘Is the Future here?!’ Let’s check;