The Path Season Finale: “Mercy”

Going into this, I had somehow missed it was the season finale. But oooh, what a finisher it was.

Three weeks after the explosion and Sarah, Summer and Eddie are in hiding in Canada, trying to escape the warrants out for Sarah’s arrest for blackmailing. Summer is being called Lizzie, and they’re renting a house from a nice family. Sarah has a waitressing job, Eddie takes care of Summer, and it would all be very idyllic …

… if not for the fact they’re paranoid every day, and Eddie won’t let Sarah touch him.

Their paranoia is not without merit, though.

On a day out in their sweet little coastal town, Eddie runs face first into Abe. Abe is pissed Eddie has taken Sarah and run off –-  which Eddie denies while Sarah is out of sight -– but that’s not why Abe is there.

Eddie’s deniers are gathering and they need their leader.

While Summer and Sarah hide out, Abe drives Eddie back to New York to meet his flock. They include the deniers he’s spoken to, plus more recent Meyer leavers; a girl with dreads we’ve seen a few times, and the woman from season 1, who Mary slept with to get drugs. They’re delighted Eddie is there to lead them, shouting down his doubts about himself.

Outside, a secretly hiding Russell listens in on everything.

Later Abe is back at his FBI office and tells a story about a woman parents both died, after which she wound up in New York City. She got into prostitution and drugs until she was saved by Meyerism. He brings up her picture, and it’s the lovely sweet doctor who was thrown out a few months back. The one, I’m pretty sure, Abe set up for the fall.

Oh, Abe. No wonder his moral compass is spinning like a pinwheel.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch;

Meyers are preparing for Ascension, the anniversary of Steve ‘Climbing The Ladder’ (or as we now know, getting super high and letting Felicia grab hot rocks from a bonfire –- although as likely as that story sounds, Eddie is having visions, so maybe Felicia is legit. Cal leads a service for Richard and he’s rolled out Felicia and Bill to back him up. He notices someone leaving the compound. Everyone is tense and worried, and Hawk is concerned about his mother. Felicia and Bill are now pushing the pro-Cal line.

That evening, we see that Cal has basically (secretly) moved in to the apartment with Mary, though they’ve yet to name the baby or tell anyone it’s his.

The next day Sarah has sent Hawk the water results, so he shows Cal. He and Noa are excited they can do something against DeKaan the poisoner, and Cal wonders if she ran Sarah off the road. Hawk points out Cal said Eddie did it, and while he’s trying to walk back his claim, Hawk states that Cal clearly insinuated … when they’re interrupted by Cal’s spy, Russell. Cal leaves on a warning to Hawk that Cal has seen the pain Eddie caused Sarah, even if he didn’t, you know, actively try to kill her with a car. God, Hawk! Arguing semantics!

Russell spills the beans  to Cal about Eddie, and that ‘Sam’ is helping him. Back in the office, Noa, who has her own valid insights about family in general (but who has no idea about the Lanes and no place to talk this way), is telling Hawk that she too — like Cal — thinks Eddie is bad for Sarah.

Cal arrives back at the apartment, and Mary warns him more people are talking about Eddie Lane.

All her hippy clothes are gone,  the colours and the flower child style. She’s in Sarah-esque business casual and seems very sure of herself. Calmly, knowingly, she warns Cal that he has to do something about Eddie Lane.

Lady Mary Macbeth is back.

Cal follows on her word and turns up at Eddie’s house. Outside they argue, and Cal tries to say Eddie doesn’t have the strength to lead thousands of people, take on their hopes, dreams, their agony.

He calls running a religion a business, and Eddie says it’s not one, but Cal’s says it is … and it’s so curious the different perspectives they have. We see more of that later.

Eddie says nothing Cal can do will make Eddie back down, so Cal asks, what if he could save Sarah?

Ooh.

Sarah, meanwhile, has been invited to dinner by their friendly neighbours. They’ve made a roast, and she has to explain she and Summer will just have the veggies if that’s okay, but she does like wine so it’s not a total wash.

The husband in this family is openly suspicious, thinking that Summer’s homeschooling and their dietary needs are odd. Oh also, he can’t find whatever name Sarah is using in the Googles, which is weird, huh? His openly hostile suspicion is enough to drive Sarah to panic.

With no Eddie to back her up, Sarah hustles Summer into the bathroom and dips out of the window. At their house they have Go Bags already, having unpacked nearly no personal things. They’re halfway down the road escaping before the husband chases them outside, firing a shotgun into the air behind them.

What kind of Canadian is this asshole?! Rude!

At the city centre, Hawk hears Eddie is there and rushes up to see him. He sees Libby DeKaan leaving, looking like something between contrite and furious. Cal, for the first and only time ever, does the decent thing and suggests Hawk learn what’s going on from his father.

Cal heads off and runs into Mary, who Mary Macbethishly probes about Eddie. She knows it’s all just about Sarah, and suggests he give up trying to make Hawk his kid and embrace, you know, his own son? He gets nasty, calls her fucking presumptuous, and storms off.

So, Mary goes outside, acts innocent as all heck and asks Hawk the next time he sees his mother, tell her Cal is the father of Mary’s baby. Kay? Thaaaanks!

And off she goes. Oh, Mary!

Sarah and Summer anxiously approach the US border. Sarah is dead certain she’ll be arrested, and drills Summer on what to say if Sarah is taken away. She’s talking in absolutes, and Summer is scared. Sarah wants her daughter to see Sarah do the right thing and be proud of her mother.

They pass through without a problem, to their mutual shock.

Hawk visits Eddie and gets the news; Libby DeKaan will pay off the blackmail victims so they’ll drop their charges. In exchange, Sarah goes free, the water continues to be poisoned, only really Sarah wins.

Huh. Another conflict the show set up as hug aaaand then just  quickly fixed. Great!

Hawk is angry, because of course he is. He’s also disappointed Cal is turning out to be a schmuck, oh and his dad’s magic now?

Eddie’s tries to downplay the magic -– though earlier, he was talking quite happily about his ‘visions’ . Hawk, who believes in the magic; Eddie, who wants to believe in his father, is begging to.

Eddie says Cal convinced him he’s ‘not the guy’ and just … this much emotional flip-flopping isn’t good for you, Eddie. I’m glad things end like they do because guys, I have reached my limit of Eddie’s Doubt. Seriously. I know it’s kind of the point of the … show. But, it’s enough. I need the man to pick a conviction, just one, and have it and stick to it.

At the city centre, Cal rehearses for his Ascension day speech, talking about how to cope with loss,  while Eddie similarly councils his followers on mercy and compassion.

We see Sarah back at the compound, walking a contemplative maze made of stones, observing the nearby wildlife.

Eddie and Abe walks the city streets and find … the lovely doctor, already destitute and sick looking,

Cal visits the nursery where Mary is seeing to the baby. He names the child Forest, for where he was born, then says loudly, ‘Forest Roberts’, claiming the child at last.

Mary beams, crazy-eyed.

Sarah comes to Eddie’s house. Hawk has told her the news and she’s angry. She wanted punishment for her sins. Eddie tells her punishment will find her, she doesn’t need to prostrate herself for it.

I mean, Eddie, she did a pretty terrible thing, even if it was to terrible people, but no, sure, let’s keep making space for privileged criminals like she and Cal, and Libby for that matter, to just … carry on, consequence free. Hell, even Hawk. The boy did break a window.

Sarah, however, doesn’t want that. If she won’t be punished, she wants she, Eddie and Summer -– presumably Hawk too -– to just go, like they had. Go to Canada, and have a nice, simple life together.

And honestly, it’s a great idea. Their little vacation in Canada was idyllic as hell.

She’s worried that if Eddie does what he’s going to do he’ll lose every good thing about himself. But, Eddie’s decision is made.

I’ll sit over here trying not to shout ‘Finally!’.

The next day is Ascension, and everyone is present at the compound. Cal leads his speech. Felicia and Bill are there, of course. Felicia tries to lead with her story about the day she grabbed the ladder and burned her hands, but Cal just stops her with a literal ‘We’ve all heard the story; ANYWAY’. That will not win him too many favours with the old guard, it must be said.

He talks about their year of loss and how they should embrace their grief and then let it flow out of them. Sarah arrives to stare daggers at him. Russell and Bill start singing a delightfully cheesy folk song, but the ceremony is interrupted.

Eddie and his followers are at the gate, calmly asking to be let in. They wear their Meyer shirts and necklaces.

The Meyers gather, cautious … suspicious. Hank approaches the gate and lets the group in. Eddie warmly embraces him as Hank smiles and greets the others.

Eddie and Cal stare each other down; Cal is smart and quick, and declares out loud that on this particular special day they’ll welcome back the deniers. Sarah has run off in anger and Felicia chases her. Catching her up, Felicia declares neither Cal nor Eddie is fit to lead, Sarah is the only one who can!

… is she? I feel like this entire season has been nothing but a glaring neon sign she’s bloody terrible for the movement in the same way Cal is –- she’s a good person where it shows, but she maintains it in all the wrong ways.

Apparently, she’s the One, though.

Sarah heads back outside to glare at everyone some more. While Meyerists greet and embrace the deniers, we see Sam/Abe leave the compound. For the last time?

Mary approaches Cal to warn him that now he really has to do something about Eddie Lane. While Cal stares daggers at just Eddie, Eddie’s eyes are everywhere else … on the compound, on the people. Like their earlier talk, when Cal called religion a business and Eddie denied it was, their difference in perspective is everything.

We fade out for the year on the colourful compound, filled with people and pregnant with change.

Wow. Next season is already confirmed, and I cannot wait to see where it goes.

It feels like the possibility that Eddie is mentally ill is becoming less likely. The show is throwing its weight behind the idea he might be some real prophet, and he finally seems to be accepting this as well.

Hawk reaching out to his dad means so much, and could mean much more as the story goes on. Hawk knows now Cal is not who he claims, but Eddie still isn’t the figure Hawk needs.

It’s safe to say now that the lines have been drawn for what’s to come. Mary is with Cal, duh, but now he’s acknowledged her and the baby I can see my Manson family fears developing into something worse. Sarah … she’s not with Cal, and she doesn’t believe in Eddie either. If she pairs up with Eddie the whole Movement might have a chance. Sarah has the potential to be a leader. She’s compassionate and smart, and knows the Movement needs to change and adapt. But she has that inner cruelty that I think is fostered by the Movement, that defensive protectiveness that makes her act out the ways she does.

She needs Eddie to keep her on the right (ahem) path,  to help her make decisions for the Movement that help things and make them better … but don’t leave her facing federal prison.

As for the rest, we were left in a curious place with a few things still unresolved:  We finished the season with no show or mention of Alison. As I’ve said before, it’s not my job to go and learn the actress left the show. It’s the show’s job to tell me a key character has been written out. They didn’t and that’s … disappointing.

Keep in mind; Alison’s story ended with her learning that her husband may well have experienced something mystical, just like Eddie has. In fact, his experience mirrored exactly what happened with Eddie and Steve.  But that’s not been mentioned since we saw her re-commit to the movement.

I’m also curious as to Kodiak’s fate. He came and went so quickly that I’m not sure what to make of it. He was hand chosen by Sarah as someone she can trust. Then he never shared a scene or spoke a word to her; his actions happened without her knowledge aaaand then he just left. Was he just not a good fit? Was Remar only free for a few months?

Considering his links to Steve and what he appeared to know, he, like Alison, is sort of a huge, pivotal character. And yet, just … gone. For a show otherwise consistently excellent, it’s frustrating, these little things.

Looking forward to season three … it’s hard to say what may be coming. Silas’ true fate is yet to be revealed to the others, but they must be suspicious. The Ascension ritual puts us nearly exactly one year removed from the day he died and was buried in the woods but apart from Cal and Sarah, who are worrying about his location for very different reasons, no one else seems concerned. That said, it will come back, and Cal and Sarah will have to deal with the consequences.

I can see the Cuzco compound coming back into play now the Movement has such a stark division. Cal will take his die-hard followers — Mary, the baby and others — to Peru. Eddie will stay in New York, and lead from there. Sarah? It’s hard to say.

We’ll see, next year. For now, may The Light Guide Us All.

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

    My theory is that Cal will take the City Centre and Eddie and Sarah the compound. They’ll gang up on Cal for sure. Seeing as Sarah has all the dirt on him.

  • I was expecting to see Alison at the end among the devotees who welcome the returning deniers! After all, the revision in the “final rungs” as Cal wrote them, allowing deniers to come back was (I think) created for her.
    I was never clear if Shelby was a doctor or a nurse practitioner (isn’t Sarah a doctor?) but her medical training came from Alison’s husband. I remember you, or someone, talking about how Abe might have picked her to frame because he thought she could get a job in her field somewhere else.
    I ended up identifying the most with Kodiak, and I hope he comes back too. You were right about Abe. Rockmond Dunbar was told (rather abruptly, I think) he would not be needed.
    Hawk reminds Cal that he’d implied Eddie ran Sarah off the road — and then Russell comes in. That was right out of Agatha Christie. My money’s always been on Russell but now I increase my bet to $5M.
    I’m a folklorist, and I’ve always assumed Eddie’s visions and insights were completely real. They’re similar to thinking of your uncle and then the phone rings and it’s him — or dreaming your sister visits you and then find out that was when she died. I’ve had things happen and I bet you have too. That’s what’s happening to Eddie. He needs to pay attention and take them seriously. Is it possible that Steve will try to communicate the real “last three rungs” to him?
    If Felicia sticks around the Silas thing may heat up fast. She has always suspected Cal was responsible for his vanishing.

    • babaloo maloo

      I was thinking that there have been a few subtle hints throughout that Eddies visions have nothing to do with Steve or Meyerism though. Either way I hope he finds out about Steve. He can’t keep accrediting himself with Steve’s name if he knows.

      • You’re right. After all, the Light is not Steve, and Steve is not the Light. He was supposed to be imbued with it, but clearly was not, that was just the mythology around him. This would have been true even if Steve were truly good and not a child molester; he’s still just a man.
        Steve may originally have had true visions and spiritual insight but not been worthy of them. Many “guardians of the light” down through history have been seriously flawed.
        When he told Eddie “you built the Garden, not I — I was too steeped in
        sin”, I believe that’s a setup for Eddie finding out about the abuse. Guaranteed.

  • As a matter of fact, Rockmond Dunbar was told he would not be returning *very* abruptly and moments after the announcement that Hulu was picking up the show for a third season. Bad management and bad politics on their part. He talks about it in the Hollywood Reporter for May 2 ’17.
    “I’m no longer on The Path, and they are the ones who waited until after pilot season,” he says. “To be honest, it’s one of those things where you’re talking to the creators, talking to the producers, and everyone is excited. I went to the premiere [for season two], and at that premiere, I knew something was weird, because I was walking over to take a picture with [creator Jessica Goldberg], Michelle Monaghan and Aaron Paul, and I was body-blocked by the Hulu publicists. And I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s kind of weird.’ They were like, ‘No, you can’t take a picture with them.’ So I knew something was up. This was back in January. To wait until after they announce that the show is picked up [for season three] and everything is fine, and I’m [on social media celebrating] that the show has been picked up … and 30 minutes later I get a call from my agent going, ‘Dude, this is so f–ed up. We don’t know what’s going on or what’s happening, but they just told us they’re not going to renew your contract.’ As an actor and as a human being, this isn’t the right way to do business. It’s not a healthy way to do business, especially as someone who goes to work, and I’m flying literally to New York for the last two years, sharing my lunch and being the best consummate actor I could possibly be. Now, I’m on my third kid, and I’m having another baby, and then you tell me I don’t have a job? Not cool!”