The Path Review: “Restitution”

We open in Sarah’s dream as she goes for breakfast at the hotel, though the only clue it’s not real is that Marshall, the poisoned farmer turns up and gets her to eat some equally poisoned bacon. In fact, throughout the episode, Sarah’s scenes retain the super bright colours and a feeling this could all be a dream. She’s not dreaming, but I think we’re meant to read it that she’s sort of drifting through life as if she is in a dream. Everything is hyper bright and lovely on the surface, but when you look closer, something is wrong.  And Sarah is only slightly in control of where she drifts, because she’s spending so much time trying to make sense of everything.

Sarah apologises to Marshall for not doing anything even remotely useful to help him, but it’s okay because she’ll pray for him at Restitution. Her happy little smile shows how strongly she believes that means a damned thing.

She chokes on the poisoned bacon and wakes in reality, in bed beside a sleeping Cal. Her expression doesn’t appear to bode well for any repeat performances.

Abe is telling his boss about the blackmail, and just like that they have a case again. His only regret is that they’ll have to cut immunity deals for the people being extorted, some of whom are actual very real garbage, with terrible sins to account for. His boss continues to be just great (Do you know how happy it makes me when the ‘cop out on a limb’ character gets a supportive boss? So happy.), and says he can’t imagine how hard it must be, being undercover the way Abe is. Abe wants to be fighting the good fight, and the boss man says putting Sarah and her ilk behind bars is a good fight.

The sad thing is, of course, Sarah did a shitty and very illegal thing, but she’s not the one they should be going after. At least, not the only one. Cal has killed a man. And Steve abused a kid, while others knew. Others had to know. Will they get to walk away too?

Hawk and Ashley have either talked all night, or met back up in the morning. She’s heading to college at NYU, which Hawk is delighted about. He plays down his relationship to Noa, and learns Eddie told Ashley how to find him.  Hawk says he hasn’t got a lot of time to spend with her, so they head off for breakfast before he has to go.

Tessa visits Eddie and learns Hank thinks he’s the damn messiah now. She’s studied up on psychosomatic stigmata, and he reassures her (and to some degree, us) that he’s not claiming his scar bleeding is divine. He has no idea what happened.

Tessa wants to make a go of seeing the family again, but she’s all fired up and angry about it. Eddie’s tapped into those things she’s been repressing all this time. He’s confident Sarah will be on his side, after all, she let him see the kids. He mentions her new status in the Movement and Tessa is absolutely stunned, and it’s so curious but don’t worry, we’ll find out why later.

Angry that Eddie wants to move slowly, she storms out.

This poor, poor woman. She’s all over the place emotionally, and I can’t imagine how hard it must be for her.

Cal wakes while Sarah’s in the shower. He talks through the door about how well they did at the conference, and how great Meyerism will be if they leave some of the religious stuff behind and focus on individual growth instead.

She emerges from the bathroom, and it’s spectacularly awkward as she slips by him to go and find her clothes. He says he feels good about ‘this … us’ and she’s like ‘LETS LEAVE AT ONCE’ with the brittle, glass breaking smile of hers.

At the compound, everyone is painting these tiny wooden coffins which will receive their ‘transgressions’ in a special ritual later. This is Restitution, the most important day on the Meyer calendar. They decorate the coffins, meditate and fast over their sins of the past year, and then they send the sins off into the sea before gathering them all up to burn them.

The coffins are decorated like Easter eggs, colourful and pretty. I won’t lie, I want one. I want the one Summer makes for her mom; it has a cat and a crescent moon. Joy is home for the occasion and Nicole has glued herself to her first born, and it’s very sweet and loving.

Sarah and Cal return to warm greetings. Richard stops by to pay compliments for their performance at the seminar, and takes note of the coffin Summer has painted for her mom.

Sean is with his mother and Wendy, the counsellor. He’s trying to explain he can talk to anyone he wants, and leave Meyerism whenever he wants, but as he says this, he’s standing at the window and peering outside, edgy and nervous. He’s worried about Mary and his mother reminds him she wants to save Mary, too. But, Wendy smartly focusses on Sean. Sean can’t make Mary leave, any more than Meyers can make him stay. But if he’d prefer, they’ll talk to Mary today … except he can’t. They have to be back on the compound by sundown. Wendy asks what will happen otherwise, and her tone of voice is more like, ‘THIS IS MY ENTIRE POINT, SEAN’.

Speaking of sundown, Hawk and Ashley’s breakfast has apparently turned into a day long date, as they walk the waterfront together and discuss their breakup. She lies and claims she dumped him because things were just so hard, and she does not tell him about that Cal bribed her with a house for her incredibly homeless family to live in.

Hawk notices the sun setting and realises that as he always does with Ashley, he’s lost track of time. He has to race home before dark, but there’s no way he’ll make it. He talks about Sarah and Cal at the conference, their focus not on the Movement, but self love. So, he rushes over and kisses her.

YAY!

Now, Hawk, be a man and at once break it off with Noa. She is wonderful and you two would be lovely together, but if your heart is with Ashley, do the right thing and end it with Noa, now. Don’t be a dog.

It’s worth noting, that it’s Eddie, Sarah and Cal and now Hawk who all believe Meyerism needs to move forward and modernise, leaving the religious part behind and focus on the empowerment.

It’s just that all of those people fucking hate each other on about nineteen different complicated ass levels, and they’ll never have that conversation where they all figure each other out.

Sarah and Cal lead the opening ritual of Restitution at the compound. Felicia talks Eddie through it at his apartment. Everyone sits lotus and meditates on their transgressions and sins. They’re meant to let the pain and anguish of their sins leave them. It’s intense and emotional and people weep silently, while others look pained or otherwise distressed.

Sarah drives over to Marshall’s farm and again, it’s so dreamlike and hyper bright. The soundtrack is a twangy rendition of House of the Rising Sun, though the lyrics have been replaced with Amazing Grace.

It’s an incredible piece of music that adds more to that strange dreamlike perspective of Sarah’s, as she learns from Marshall the farmer’s wife …. Marshall died. He was sick a long time, but when death came, it was fast. Sarah finally notices that as beautiful and summer kissed as the farm is, the children are angry and grieving.

At a funeral home, Cal collects his mother’s cremated ashes. The funeral director is kind and gentle about the awkward formalities of signing over the plain, white box that contains Cal’s mother. Cal just goes through the motions as quickly and calmly as he can.

Hank, of all people, is dropping off Summer to visit with Eddie at their park. That’s nice. Eddie hugs his daughter, and says sorry for being away and missing so much. She asks when he’ll be home, and he honestly says he doesn’t know.

Hawk and Ashley are in her bed in her apartment. She learns he’s doing 2R with Cal but because they end up talking about Cal and Sarah, it gets awkward, so they head back out. Hawk texts Sarah the lie that he’s laid up with a stomach bug.

At the Lane house, they lament this will be the first Restitution dinner without Hawk, Steve … or Eddie, Summer adds. Sarah tries to comfort the girl ,but Summer is having none of it. Interesting. She’s too little yet to backchat, so just asks to be excused from the meal.

We learn she and Hank are lying to the family about having seen Eddie that day. Even to Sarah. Even more interesting.

Cal arrives and Hank and Lily both sense something between Cal and their daughter. After the meal (I … think) someone knocks at the door, and who walks in, but a fired up Tessa.

The effect is incredible as the family literally, physically closes ranks on one side of the house. Nicole smartly rushes the kids out of the room. Tessa has been gone 20 years, so they’re all so young they’ve never met her. The whole family wants her gone, even as she rushes to try to see her mother. She calls Hank the worst one — and she has a point; he’s the most hypocritical.

Lily literally closes her eyes and rolls her head away so she doesn’t have to look at Tessa, as Sarah tries to get between them. So Tessa drops the bombshell I honestly never saw coming; the day Tessa left, Sarah was going to go, too. She had her bags packed.

Sarah goes to defensive in 0.004 of a second, barking ‘I was just a kid, I was just a kid!’ to every adult in the room, clearly expecting sympathy. Compare that to her reaction when Hawk had his doubts last year. Tessa waited for Sarah for three hours, then had to go alone into the world, and try to survive. She made it, and she asserts again and again ‘I have a great life!’

She drops Eddie’s name as her reason for coming, Eddie’s belief Sarah would back them. She realises he was wrong, and rushes back out, leaving the family shellshocked.

Later, they try to regroup. Russel entirely ignores Nicole wondering what her own family would do if she just went home to speak to his family.

I think that right there will be a huge moment.

Russel is angry with his dad, but not for seeing Tessa, just for lying about it. He gathers up Nicole and the kids, and sweeps out.  Everyone else isolates themselves, but Summer comes to cuddle her grandfather and tell him she loves him. Aaw, you guys, I’m so worried for her. She’s too good for this world.

Outside, Sarah is explaining herself to Cal and it’s curious; yes she wanted to get out and be free. But, she could never bring herself to leave and knows it was the right choice.

So, she knew then it was something you could be ‘free’ from. Hm.

Cal invents a wild theory that Eddie planned this to try to tempt Hawk to leave, as Tessa was the same age when she did. Sarah buys all the way into this, and says she deserved what happened. She tells him about Marshall, and how nothing she can do will change it.

Cal once again says it’s Eddie’s fault she feels all messed up like, dude, be less transparent, dude. But, Sarah is into it, so it’s working. He suggests Eddie is holding her back from … well, ‘them’, and Sarah uses this as an excuse to leave. He starts to realise there may not be a ‘them’ and asks that he not be her sin.

If he had any idea how messed up it is that she might have slept with him out of some warped sense of guilt and pity …

Abe is meeting the blackmailed man and still pretending he was blackmailed, too. The man is afraid of losing everything, but Abe is working an angle. He discusses involving the feds, and how they can get protection from their own crimes if they’re turning in blackmailers.

The man still isn’t sure, so Abe goes hard about how he wont be controlled and he’s going to the feds, so …

Sean and Mary paint their crib, and he comes clean about Wendy. Mary is unhappy that he lied to her about who Wendy was, before sending Mary to meet her. Sean wants her to speak with Wendy. He’s seriously thinking of leaving, and wants her to go with him.

She hits him with the question of whether he’d leave without her. He hits her with the reply that the only thing keeping her inside Meyerism … is herself.

Ooh Sean, you beautiful man.

Hawk and Ashley are chilling out in the city, and she slowly comes clean about dumping Hawk because Cal asked her to, in exchange for a house.

She tries to talk about how afraid she was to tell Hawk, and says Hawk doesn’t know Cal the way he thinks he does. She says Eddie would never have done such a thing. Hawk is furious at … ooh, everything? And he storms off, leaving her alone and weeping.

Sarah goes to Eddie’s and takes him to task over Tessa. She doesn’t care if Eddie told Tessa to go or not; it was, in her eyes, an attack on her and her family. She begs him to let her go and to his claims he can’t, she storms out.

He goes over to Richard’s house, and doesn’t want to be a leader if he screwed up so badly already. Richard appears totally on board with letting the denier policy go, wisely says it’ll take time and will work better once Eddie’s established as the new Guardian. Felicia is still missing Richard and Eddie’s entire point, and wittering about not making changes. Eddie rushes out, and Richard bellows at Felicia that they can’t lose Eddie!

She says it’s not up to them. She could say ‘It’s up to Eddie!’ and be right, and accurate. But naw, she says it’s up to the Light, because Felicia is a true believer and the weirdest choice of ally in all of this.

I’ve been thinking it for a while. She’s openly resistant to change, while actively mentoring change-driven Eddie for leadership. What is her agenda? She and all the other anti-Cal types are always so openly hostile, but it’s never been clarified why they distrust him. With the Steve revelation, there are endless questions about who knew what. But, I think we also need to consider perception, too. They may have known what was happening. But, did they see it as abuse?

When you see a man as a god, you don’t see his sins as sins. Or, often, his victims as victims. Could some of them blame Cal for what happened? Kodiak’s words suggest he leaned that way.

I made myself sad and angry right then.

At the final ceremony for Restitution, the Meyerists are at a beach, and write down the sins they want to relinquish and place them all in their little coffins. Nicole relinquishes Sam/Abe. Hank relinquishes denier policy. We don’t see what everyone writes, though it’s clear they’re having powerful moments of self reflection.

Everyone has locked their sins in their coffins, except Cal whose paper is empty.

Can I suggest Silas? The … murder victim of yours, Cal? Cal? No?

Later, the all release their boxes into the water. Sarah approaches Cal and says she’s leaving, to come back, as she wants more from the day. She says it with a telling stroke of his jaw that seems to suggest she’s okay with a ‘them’. This happens in front of Mary, who is wearing the most Rhoda Penmark sunglasses ever, and if that’s not on purpose I’ll eat my fucking shoes.

Prompted by the obvious affection between Sarah and Cal, Mary tells Sean … she’ll meet Wendy.

Exactly what I worried about last week; Mary’s weird shit with Cal is ever present. She’s prompted to leave because of something she just saw with Cal. She only stayed in season 1, because the alternative was going back to her father. All the wrong reasons, all the time, this poor girl.

Sarah sees a returning Hawk, who admits he missed everything on purpose. She walks away in silent anger.

Abe is approached by the blackmailed man. They release their coffins together, as the man agrees to go to the feds and destroy the movement.

Lily comes to Hank and tells him she wants to see Tessa. GUYS! Holy shit.

Cal has found something to relinquish. He wades into the water with the plain, white box and he tips his mothers remains into the water.

We transition from the cloudy water to Eddie, emerging from a pool of water. It feels like another dream.

Hawk is locked up in one of the Meyer sin cabins, like the one Eddie was locked in. He stares at the Meyer eye on the wall, ready for whatever is to come.

Richard is overseeing the collection and burning of the sin boxes and naturally, he finds Sarah’s uniquely decorated little coffin. He asks forgiveness, but later we see he’s showing it to Eddie. Sarah relinquished being with Cal, but wants to keep all her other sins this year.

Eddie rages and flips his table, because the wife he separated from had sex. Guess he …. forgot Chloe?

Eddie, I know it’s Cal … but don’t be that guy.

Nadine Morgan

Nadine Morgan

Nadine Morgan is really terrible at the ‘About You’ part of life. Nadine developed her reviewer skills writing epic facebook rants about the details script supervisors forget and trying to explain why Carol on The Walking Dead broke Lizzie by accident. Nadine loves TV, film and books but she wishes someone would pay her to be the continuity editor. She can be found on Facebook and in her forest garden and if she’s not yelling at her TV she’s trying to convince a cat to be an Instagram model and refusing to let 90's fashion die.

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  • babaloo maloo

    Yay! A new review! I know right? I mean. I would have assumed Sarah and Cal were at it from the moment I left? But maybe it was her mention of other, worse things that made him angry because he knows Cal’s corrupted her?

    Speaking of Cal. Is Sarah only sleeping with him to stop him going rouge? Keep him toeing the party line? Creepy thought. Because if he has a nervous breakdown and exposes Steve now… Its curtains for the movement. That’s what happened to the Children of God isn’t it? Mass exodus of members?

    Re Myerist perceptions of abuse. Cal told Miranda Frank back in Season 1 ” Steve once told me that thoughts can transcend thought.” Implying that her thoughts caused Eddie to stray from his marriage. This is in line with Scientologist dogma. That people ” draw” bad stuff onto themselves with their own thoughts and unspoken desires. Including sexual abuse… Poor , poor effed up Cal.

    Eddie in the pool at the end. Reminiscent of baptism. Also could be relinquishing his entire former self and embracing his neo self.

    All in all, I’m excited/ dreading each new episode… The last 3 episodes had better tie up some loose ends and address some issues. Seriously. This show man!

    • I was under the impression that “thoughts can transcend thought” is meant to reflect Christ’s “anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). It never occurred to me that it was meant as the Meyer version of the Law of Attraction.

      The Law of Attraction is not just Scientology. It goes back to the mid-Victorian Theosophists and is based on much older religious principles (“as above, so below”), but also everyday life, where we see it in things like duck calls and decoys. Planting a butterfly garden. In that sense it is a “natural law”.

      Then New Thought got ahold of it — the movement that became Christian Science and affected today’s New Age religions — and now supposedly we are all radiating brainwaves that “attract” what we are thinking. We can control and use them to get anything we want (paying $$$ to someone else to teach us how), and the wrong thoughts bring “negative” things. In other words, the same bilge promoted by every con artist from Rhonda Byrne to Ramtha (“What the Bleep Do We Know”) and Joel Osteen.

      I have seen the Law of Attraction misapplied to blame children, women, poor people, and anyone else you can think of for their own misfortunes. They just don’t love themselves enough! Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Bright Sided is all about this — how it is now so widespread it affects politics and the economy.

      If this is one of Meyerism’s principles, such that they would think Cal’s thoughts “made” Steve molest him (like “she was wearing a short skirt”, or how molesters often say they “had to” do it or the kid “wanted it”), it changes our view of how the elders have been treating Cal. I thought they all just sensed he’s unfit by temperament.

      The only problem is that I’ve been watching this series very carefully from the beginning and I’ve seen no evidence that they believe in the Law of Attraction. In fact, it’s been the opposite. The cult aspects include Realignment, the denier policy, sourcing, and taping unburdening sessions. All must have started around the same time.

      Hawk said the speech Cal and Sarah gave was not Meyerist because it was “self-love”. He was right. Meyerism’s basic principle is compassion — to help others and relieve suffering. Literally the first thing we see a Meyerist do is offer water and reach out to a person in desperate need. That’s the Meyerism I (and I think Eddie and Hawk) would want to believe in and preserve. I have seen a lot of evidence that Meyerism believes in the ancient principle of “Know Thyself”, but not “love yourself”. I think the rungs of the ladder teach aspects of how to care for others, to know ourselves, and “create the garden” wherever we are, which would explain why Service is such a basic, beginners’ rung.

      These are also close to concepts popular in the 1970s. The establishment on Steve’s farm probably started as a good old back to the land, Mother Earth News type commune (like The Farm, Twin Oaks, or Wavy Gravy’s Hog Farm, all still exist today). Jessica Goldberg has shown a grasp of the realistic and idealistic philosophies behind these colonies. I’ll keep watching and trust she knows what she’s doing.

      • babaloo maloo

        Very interesting, thanks. My grandfather was an Anthroposophist, which is slightly influenced by Theosophy. But I’ve never really read up on it.

        I suppose Cal might have been lying ( again) to manipulate Miranda, its interesting that the version of Steve that we get on the show is mostly via Cals anecdotes, and we don’t know how true they are. Its going to be very interesting to see where they go with the Selfless love/Self Love theme.

        The one thing I’ve having a hard time reconciling is the fact that Steve seemed to have real insight into the human condition, and that his philosophy has real worth. But that ( apparently) he was also a child molester. I guess its a bit like being able to appreciate Roman Polanki’s genius and also having to accept his other qualities.

        I have the most interesting Comment discussions about this show!

        • These are great comment discussions! I learn a lot from what everyone is saying. Well, Anthroposophy makes a hell of a lot more sense. The Steiner/Waldorf Schools still exist and are thriving in over 60 countries and there are 42 of them in the U.S. I’d send my own kids there if I had any.

          I have no doubt that Cal was making that shit up as he went along. He had already decided he was going to forge the last three rungs in Steve’s name. Then Steve told Eddie that, while he was in a coma, he’d apparently experienced several insights (this is real, many people who wake from even “persistent vegetative states” report having some sense of what was going on and being able to think and reason while supposedly “out”) and was all fired up to get started on the last three rungs. We’ll never have them now, unless they come to Eddie and/or Hawk through their visionary experiences. Which I think we’re meant to take as reality. The insanity is all Sarah’s and Cal’s.

          • babaloo maloo

            I went to one actually. They don’t actually teach Anthroposophy as a philosophy at Steiner schools though. I never read much about it until recently. Quite interesting and less culty than Theosophy for sure.

            I’m not 100% sure of the reality of Eddies visions. I mean, I’m convinced that he’s convinced and I think he could take the movement in a more genuine direction. If he could infuse his conviction and compassion back into the movement he may even save Cal and Sarah from themselves. But I’m still open to the idea that he’s mentally ill. I mean, even his first vision could have been him wandering into Steve’s coma room while high or something. A friend of mine developed severe and permanent psychosis as a result of using Ayahuasca. It could have triggered it, since thats when his visions started.

            I kind of suspect there will be a schism in the movement. With some members going the materialistic pop psychology route with Cal, assuming he maintains his (relative degree of) sanity. And some following Eddie in a spiritual direction.

            I like that the show keeps it open. There are no easy answers here, or at least I hope there aren’t. We’ll have to see how the final 3 episodes pan out.

          • I suspect you’re right about the schism, although the only place Cal is going is jail, I hope. I would like to see Sarah redeemed and restored, but have no idea if that’s possible.
            Jay