The Path Review: “Defiance”

We start on Hawk in ‘in house’, his days of solitary confinement and ‘medicine’ that will serve as a cleanse for missing their ceremonies last week.

…. isn’t he like 17 years old? Isn’t this abuse?!

He’s meant to be calm and meditative but he’s not, and wants to see his father.


Sarah is dropping Cal at the city building while he prattles on about how positive the response from the conference was. She’s talking about her just general confusion and stress about everything. She thinks Hawk is ‘struggling’ again like; girl, it was two days after months of die hard dedication. Calm yourself.

Cal assures her very supportively that he’s ‘all in’ for the complex family stuff and she actually seems touched by that.

He practically skips indoors, high on himself and Sarah and life, and it’s a refreshing change for everyone. When he smiles, it actually reaches his eyes! Magic!

But of course, Eddie, Captain fucking Bringdown, is literally lurking in the shadows to spoil it. He’s in Cal’s office, fuming over Cal and Sarah’s night together. Cal threatens to call for the dozens of loyal, Eddie hating Meyerists outside and Eddie backs up. Cal overplays his hand at once by calling he and Sarah ‘we’, so Eddie launches into the most savage takedown of Cal since Sarah learned he wrote the Rungs.

Eddie says Sarah settled for Cal, like Steve, and breaks out the pendant to show off. Cal looks gut-punched as Eddie talks about being there with Steve when he died, Steve calling Cal a disappointment and choosing Eddie.

Cal looks about ten years old, utterly crushed, as Eddie closes in. Nearly forehead to forehead with Cal, Eddie threatens that it’s on his word the acolytes will rush in, and it’s Cal who can’t touch Eddie. He calls himself the Chosen Son, and storms out. Cal is left in a state of shock as the young Meyers catch the end of the confrontation, staring between Eddie’s retreating form and the violently trembling Cal.

Later, Eddie asks Richard to pass a message to Hawk.

Mary and Sean meet with his mum to discuss Operation GTFO. Sean’s mum talks up how much they want for the kids, the baby, promising to buy them a house and help them in every way.

Mary notices the talk and asks if they’ve considered what she wants?

Ooh Mary. She’s not going to leave. She was never going to leave.

Abe is at his desk telling his fed friends that four of Sarah’s blackmail victims have agreed to take immunity and talk. A Grand Jury indictment is basically assured. It’s pretty validating for Abe, but the lab tech from weeks ago turns up to speak with him.

Alone, she reveals she actually tested the water, against orders to from on high to shut it down. Her mother was from the same town and died young of cancer, so she had always wondered. Now she knows. Alongside her (possibly conflict of interest creating) personal stake, she thought the way the tests were cancelled was all kinds of shady.

The water, by the way, is pure poison.

Sarah is in the compound, speaking to Cal on the phone. She’s going to see Hawk in isolation so is missing Cal’s urgent security meeting about Eddie, who also knows they slept together. Sarah reels from this news, as Cal tries to dismiss a lot of Eddie’s claims about Steve as delusions. Until Sarah reveals Eddie was, at the minimum, in Peru when Steve died, though she doesn’t know if they spoke.

Cal takes this new blow about as well you’d expect, but Sarah is oblivious, busy having a mini-breakdown over Eddie knowing.

They end their calls, and she leaves Eddie a voicemail.

Cal goes to his meeting and throws a fit, taking pieces out of some kid called Carlos who was meant to be on watch when Eddie got into the building. Cal raves about how dangerous Eddie is, and how they can’t let policies change. Hank, Richard and Lily, who are all firmly Team Eddie/Policy Change, do admirable jobs of looking utterly benign.

But, the younger Meyerists are hanging on his every word. Especially, unfortunately, and for very specific reasons, Mary.

Sarah goes to see Hawk in his definitely abusive imprisonment and forced drug-taking session.

She has no problem seeing him in this situation, and talks up how good it will be for him. Fucking Hell, Sarah. Fucking …speechless. I am speechless.

Hawk worries it won’t work for him as it didn’t for Eddie, and she assures him he’s not Eddie, and the light Radiates him. Then she leaves him to continue being drugged, in solitary confinement, while 16 years old, because he missed a bonfire.

This is literally abuse, Sarah.

Abe, I love you, but you picked the worst time to catch feelings for these people.

When Hawk is finally released, Richard passes on Eddie’s message to him, that Eddie wants to meet.

Felicia is talking Eddie through a new 8R ceremony. He has to thread a needle blindfolded while she talks about mending, and sincerely apologising, and forgiving.

While she talks and Eddie works, we see Hank and Lily arrive at a park to meet Tessa. Her daughter runs to her and they hug so fiercely and so powerfully. Both women just sob and sob, holding each other.

We see Abe using a library computer. It turns out his super supportive boss is super good friends with Libby DeKaan, that evil witch poisoning the water.

Abe’s case has not been what he thought it was.

Felicia talks about how threading the needle helps guide them.

Finally, we see Cal with old letters and photos from his childhood with Steve. He’s having one of those quiet nervous breakdowns he’s so good at.

Eddie threads the needle and Felicia doesn’t look like she knows how to feel about it.

Sarah and Mary have one of their counseling sessions, and Mary is worried about Eddie’s having come to the centre. She thinks leaving makes you go crazy, and admits she and Sean have been discussing leaving. Sarah asks what Mary wants and then gives some pretty wonderful advice about how Mary has blossomed and inspires so many people. She may not see it, but Sarah says she’s radiant. The ‘IS’ world still has all the things Mary ran from, but at the end of the day … it’s Mary’s decision. Not Sarah’s, Sean’s, or his parents.

She’s a bit hard on the ‘stay’ angle but otherwise, damn Sarah, good advice girl.

Sarah uses the moment to ask if the decision is because of the uncertainty over the father of Mary’s baby, but Mary just says Sean needs to get away from the man. Sarah tells her to be honest; Mary fires back that everyone here preaches that, but none of them practice it. On that, she leaves.

Hawk, visibly conflicted, is back at the city centre and Noa greets him. He sincerely apologises about Ashley, though she’s seen Eddie, so understands why he’s troubled. He didn’t know Eddie was there, and he’s shocked and talks about how Eddie wants to see him, and he’s more confused than before. Aaaw, Hawk.

Cal and Sarah are meeting and she’s worried about Eddie; he reminds her to forget Eddie, and focus on ‘them’. She brings up Mary and Sean and does that thing of hers, when she makes a dead-on psychological assessment while rejecting psychology as a concept; she suspects Mary is running from an abuser, the other possible father. Women like Mary, vulnerable as they are, can ‘attract’ predatory men. It’s not as victim blaming as it sounds, don’t worry. She says these men are often former victims who have become — but just before she says ‘powerful’, she pauses because she just realised she’s describing Cal.

Cal was only half listening, so Sarah tries to redirect that they have a responsibility to root out Mary’s abuser, and wants to send Mary and Sean to retreat. Um … in her condition?

Cal asks the same thing, and Sarah claims it’ll give Mary the chance to name her abuser without fear.

All the while, she’s still realising she means Cal. And, that she came to the conclusion the situation was abusive before that realisation, so just … yeah, that’s a lot of information to deal with and while she quietly shuts down, Cal takes a call.

It’s Noa, worried about Hawk and Eddie so Cal doesn’t tell Hawk’s mother, and leaves to deal with it.

He deals with it by somehow getting Hawk’s phone, texting Eddie to a meeting and then sending three enforcers to beat Eddie into a mushy pile of pain.

While Eddie presumably lays on the ground counting his broken ribs, Cal pops over to terrify the shit out of Sean and Mary in the dead of the night.

Sean arms himself with a knife when Mary admits she told Sarah about leaving, but Cal is not there to harass them. He admits it’s painful that they want to leave, as they are loved and adored by him and the others in the movement. He tells them about Sarah’s plan to send them away, and how he wants to give them the choice to say no, and help them go smoothly if they want to leave.

He leaves them shocked but relieved. Sean says he was looking for a new life and he found one; with Mary. She repeats it back but when Sean can’t see her face, Mary has that Cal-caused look of conflict and uncertainty that has become so familiar. She’s never leaving.

Abe meets his friend and explains what he’s learned and his realisation that the attorney general picked up his case for DeKaan. DeKaan donates hugely to his election fund, his brother is on her board. It’s just so gross and twisted and disappointing. Abe is crushed. He’d just about made peace with the fact the scumbags Sarah blackmailed would walk away, but DeKaan kills towns for a buck.

His buddy is not at all supportive at all, and is just pissed he got dragged into the woods for nothing. He’ll be back when they raid the compound.

Well, shit dude.

Hank meets a bruised-up Eddie, and is shaken enough by his condition to want to back out. Eddie knows Cal was behind his assault but actually thinks Hawk was involved too, and Hank is like, ‘You have clearly gone crazy’.

Eddie sort of has a little, as he’s definitely sipping his own Kool-Aid and repeats, like he did with Cal, how he is ‘the one’, talking about his bleeding scar. He asks Hank to get him the copies of the denier files the Movement keeps, but Hank is not into it at all. Eddie demands he pick a side and Hank storms off, leaving Eddie shouting about how he’s the one.

Cal turns up at Sarah’s house for dinner, and it’s just the worst timing of all time, ever. Hank and Lily take him to task for picking on the kid, Carlos, earlier. Hawk is openly hostile to Cal and when Sarah tries to shut him down, reminds her that she can’t just treat him like an adult when it suits her. He storms out with Cal chasing. Poor little Summer sits there, clueless as to what the hell is going on.

Cal catches Hawk outside and talks pretty comfortably about how he and Sarah have grown close, and how Hawk has to ‘accept a new man in (his) life’. Um … has Sarah … has there been a conversation between them that entitles him to talk like this? I can’t decide if they do seem to be a budding item, or Cal is missing/ignoring signs.

Hawk confronts him about Ashley and the house, and Cal says Ashley picked a house over Hawk’s love. Which, for a homeless 16 year old girl and her homeless family, and under intense pressure from someone like Cal, was a completely mature and understandable decision.

But Hawk …. you know, is sixteen so this makes sense to him. On his drive back to the city he thinks on the rest of Cal’s words; an honest admission he loves Sarah and prays she loves him back.

He’s clearly still conflicted when he arrives home and Eddie surprises him. Eddie is surprised by the hair, the driving, but also asks if Hawk is why Eddie got beat up. Um … that’s why they think you’re crazy, Eddie.

Hawk tells Eddie he knows about Sarah and Cal, and is ready to accept it. He asks Eddie, like Sarah did, to let them go, not to send Ashley anymore. Interesting that his read on Ashley is ‘Eddie sent her’. He can’t convince himself she just came for him on her own. Huh. He maturely tells his father they have to accept things and heads inside, leaving Eddie speechless.

He arrives home and Sarah is waiting for him. Sarah, as she has since Cal told her that Eddie knew, literally only wants to know who told him. He calls her on that, and on the fact she lay in his bed after they made love, and swore she wouldn’t be with Cal. He’s yelling at her about taking responsibility but in doing so, quotes her confessional note back to her. Sarah makes the connection and slips out, not registering any of Eddie’s other entirely valid points.

In her absence, Eddie calls Richard to warn him that Sarah might come for him.

Mary and Sean pack his mom’s car to leave, and at the very last second, Mary backs out. She flees Sean, running into the woods and the darkness. He follows, but loses sight and at once realises what her decision means. Alone and devastated, he returns to the car and they drive off.

Ow. My heart.

Mary, alone in the woods and probably more than a little lost, stumbles deeper into the dark.

Sarah has gone right over to Richard’s and shamelessly tears through his things until she finds the hidden hotel room key he keeps in a drawer, still wrapped in the hotel envelope with the name on the front.

Eddie is finally in his home, but hears noises outside. He heads out with a bat and finds Abe, who he still believes is called Sam. Sam admits Eddie praying seemed to miraculously cure his daughter, and if not, it made him feel really great. He wants more of those good moments. He’s here to admit to Eddie, he’s a Fed and his name isn’t Sam. Oooh, DAMN!

While they talk out back, Hank comes to the front and slips the folder Eddie asked for under his door, before heading back to his car.

Sarah goes to the hotel and lets herself into the room, finding Felicia. They stare each other down.

Cal is walking in the woods and sees a light in cave. He approaches, and we realise he’s dreaming as he sees withered, cancer-wracked Steve inside the cave, painting flowers on the cave wall. He calls it Cal’s wall of doom. A shaking, terrified Cal asks about the necklace, and Steve says he gave it to ‘the worthy one’. Frantic, Cal attacks and chokes Steve, screaming that he, Cal, earned the necklace. Dream Steve can’t be hurt and just smiles. In horror, Cal scrambles away from him, and a demonic Steve follows, touching Cal’s forehead and singing that creepy ‘mockingbird’ lullaby. Cal is shaking, otherwise frozen by fear as the voice becomes a woman’s. Cal wakes from the nightmare.

You know what just occurred to me?

Sarah did her blackmailing after finding out there’s a Fed on the inside. Huh.

I can’t decide if Eddie has entirely embraced his messiah status yet, or if he’s conning people. It’s entirely possible that his speech to Cal was just to taunt the other man, fine. But, he tried to use his bleeding scar to sway Hank. Last week, he assured Tessa he didn’t think much of his scar bleeding.

Either Eddie has accepted the mystical side of his journey, and is lying to Tessa, or he’s rejected the mystical shit, and he’s lying to Hank. Either way, he’s lying to somebody and that … that doesn’t make for a great leader of a truth based spiritual community.

In the same way Cal’s position has been weakened by others’ knowledge he lied about the final rungs, Eddie can’t make his leadership grab based on mistruths, not if he wants universal support.

Speaking of the man, Cal might have had Eddie beaten up, but in Cal’s defence, he felt genuinely threatened. Plus, while Eddie knew his assertions about Steve would hurt Cal, of course he can’t possibly know how deeply they would cut. The nightmare Cal has is proof of how Eddie rattled him. Hell, last time someone got to Cal that badly, Cal murdered him. Eddie got off lightly.

And that nightmare? That lullaby, knowing what Steve did … so many different levels of haunting.

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

    Isn’t it in Cal’s best interests to have Mary leave? So why then the manipulation about ‘love’? Does he actually love her in some real way? Did he just learn to use love as a manipulation tactic from Steve? Why tell her that knowing she might stay and endanger his leadership? I actually fear for her life now. Because i think he’s on the verge of a major breakdown of some sort. and we don’t really know hat he’s capable of at this point.

    Eddie is struggling with jealousy and anger. He’s not the messiah yet. Sorry Felicia, forgiveness will have to wait.

    I think the idea of forgiveness is interesting in terms of this episode. All 3 leads could benefit personally from forgiveness but probably shouldnt from a moral standpoint. Sarah could forgive herself but won’t. Eddie isn’t about to forgive Cal for stealing his family. Cal REALLY shouldn’t forgive Steve. In fact the opposite would be healthier.

    So Felicia says

    ‘Resentment and vagueness are what darkness and disease feed and flourish on.’

    Isn’t that the entire show? We don’t actually knows whats real. Although we can glean some truth here and there.

    In Eddie we see a certain pettiness based on resentment. He takes a stupidly dangerous tactic with Cal. Confronting and attacking him when a side on approach would have served him better. But he’s being 100% honest and direct about it, even if his actual sanity is ambiguous. As is his knowledge. ( He still doesn’t know about Steve and almost certainly wouldn’t have taken this action if he had.)

    Sarah LIVES in Ambiguous shades of moral grey. She may be manipulating Cal with love/sex ( and how screwed up is that given what she knows about his history?) She may be aware of it. We don’t know which side she will fall on. Her faith is crumbling. Even her relationship with Hawk is riven with lies. She is a women adrift on a sea of vagueness.

    Cal, for all his abject hypocrisy at least has an honest subconscious. He buries things ( literally and figuratively) but truth seeps though the cracks “Silas, hidden, Steve, hidden, Mary’s baby, hidden, for now. Its all going to come to light. And, the thing is, it will destroy Eddie and Sarah too. Because Eddie won’t be able to be 100% sure of what reality is after the Steve revelation either. Sarah’s foundation is already cracking.

    And speaking of Steve, isn’t that the ultimate ambiguity? The cancer that infected the entire movement, maybe from the beginning, is the vagueness of love and abuse present in an incestuous relationship. And that terrible action by Steve is the one think we can be pretty sure actually happened.

    So which side are you on boys which side are you on? I cant wait to see what happens. I don’t have a good feeling about it.

  • Wow. Nice catch on the timing of Sarah’s blackmail. Of course she knew Shelby wasn’t the real FBI mole, Shelby was raised in the faith as she was and the two of them are just about the entire medical staff in the community (I wish they’d stop calling it a compound — that’s one of the stereotypes Goldberg initially said she wanted to stay away from, which is why I’m sorry they decided to make Steve a pedophile although I know it’s common in all religions – I just read a heartbreaking expose in the New Yorker about sexual abuse coverups in the Hasidic community).
    The moment that impressed me was when Mary said they all believed in transparency but didn’t really practice it, and then walked out the door into — brilliant light.
    Does anyone but me have the sense that the entire community is going to be burned to the ground before this is over? Given what Kodiak said to Gaby a few episodes ago, repeated references to “burning” and “flames” including in interviews and on Twitter, and the fact that a house on fire is one of the first things you see in the animated title sequence, I’m completely prepared for it.