Last time; Vera, Mary and Cal were onscreen together for 30 seconds and made us all wish we could sign up to their self help programme, and also their Amazing Dresses programme. Sarah picked an astonishingly inappropriate time to demand (literally demand) that Cal admit to the abuse he endured, mostly to relieve some of Sarah’s own guilt and tension over what she has learned (because this show wants me to hate Sarah even while she’s going through some stuff). Eddie is vanishing into the dense black hole of his own ego, aand oh! In slightly lighter news, Hawk appears to have found something really special with Caleb, but creepy, sketchy old guy Arnie is going to ruin everything. I can just tell.
Eddie and the gang are back in the US and Eddie is addressing the Lane/Armstrong/Roberts clans, amongst some other higher ranking Meyerists. He’s asking them all to dig deep and give up something ‘before the light’ — something that ‘should not be’. He wants them to lead by example and promises it will make the light shine so bright, and it seems to me his message was all for the conspicuously absent Sarah.
Outside, Cal talks positively to Eddie, says it was a good chat, good advice but golly gee, where was Sarah, though? Because, it’s not a day that ends in Y if Cal isn’t being a bitch. Sarah is off on some journey of self-discovery with no real information to track her down, just the name of some sketchy motel, Eddie admits. Cal seems genuinely sympathetic, and Eddie seems even more genuine when he asks Cal and the family over to Haus Lane for a nice family dinner.
Are … are they sincerely getting along? Whaaaaaaaaaaat? Eddie seems to think so.
Eddie stops by to see Vera, who is packing up her office. He heaps compliments on her about how great she is; she’s still definitely fired. He blames her ‘secular’ approach as not being a good fit because Eddie is not a man, and can’t admit that he fought with his ex and took it out on Vera. Besides, all his compliments and kind words seem hollow when two giant security guards are still on hand to walk Vera out of the building.
Over at their apartment, Mary gushes with excitement over a thank you email and some kind of incoming ‘gift’ from JP. Cal mentions Eddie’s trust and the invite to dinner, which sets Mary thinking he might offer one or both of them Sarah or Vera’s now empty roles. But, that’s not Cal’s thought process. He knows where Sarah is, and the glee he and Mary share over being able to screw with Eddie is palpable.
Speaking of Sarah, she’s with sexy professor Jackson on a road trip to find Kodiak. She talks some waffle about how the name Kodiak ‘resonated’ with her, hence her need to find him, rather than saying ‘A guy named Kodiak helped Steve found the movement, I’ve personally known him my whole entire life and the name Kodjak appears in the notes and he’s a weird guy who would probably call himself Kodiak so, you know, it’s not a great leap of logic’ … which would make sense. But, no, instead ‘resonates’. I point this out because it’s sort of a problem for Jackson, see.
Later, she finds Kodiak at a hospital where he’s leading a group in a sort of Tai Chi like exercise. Kodiak remains, as ever, hilariously weird and abstract, though he’s actually found peace working at a hospital for wounded vets. When Sarah asks about Lilith, Kodiak admits he wasted his life following Steve and close to panic, asks Sarah not to make him revisit his time with Meyerism. She mentions Hank’s death and Hank is sincere, performs a Meyer prayer over her, and makes damned sure he sends his regards to Gabbie. Sarah lets him know she’ll be around a while but leaves disappointed. Sarah really has a particular skill for asking people questions at all the wrong times, and then being mad when they say ‘Now is not the time to dredge up this huge emotional baggage’.
Elsewhere, Vera waits in some incredibly beautiful gym (like, as beautiful as JP’s castle) for her ex-husband, Rami to get out of his yoga class. He graciously lets her buy him a smoothie so she can tell him what she’s learned about the horrible abuse she endured as a child. Vera, bb, you married this dink? Girl. He knows she’s probably only a few days removed from talking to her mother, admits he isn’t emotionally capable of getting involved with her and Lilith,. Then, because it’s poor Vera, he drops that he’s finally seeing someone after a long period of getting over Vera. Vera manages to smile and be sweet about how great it is to find a connection. While he’s sort of a jackass, it’s clear they could have been a great couple, once. Poor, poor Vera.
At the Lane house, the family now prays before and after their meals, which even Summer finds weird. Hawk is going back to the centre to help others figure out what do give up for ‘Refinement’, their new Lent like thing. Eddie tries to act like it doesn’t bother him but Joy pipes up to help Hawk get out of the house because hopefully Joy is still the cool cousin I hope she is. Russell, in their absence, has some feelings about Eddie’s new proclamations, Sarah’s absence and the rumours she’s not on board with Eddie’s new way of things. He does this, again, in front of just all the children, and I know the Meyerists are all about their honesty, but GUYS. COME ON.
In the city, Hawk and Joy are at a drag show that looks like the best thing to ever happen in all of history, and Joy is in fact the cool cousin I hope she is, as she adorably teases Hawk and Caleb about how clumsily they each had to lie to escape their parents. Then, smooth like ice, she rushes off to the bathroom so they can be alone together. She gets noticed by the Queen on stage and absolutely glows at the attention, and I love her.
Everyone’s good time is ruined as the Queen on stage does some more audience interaction with … ugh, Arnie. Creepy, old man Arnie gets up to leave, spots the boys, and is a creepy creep. Arnie suggests he and Caleb can pray for ‘them’, the gathered gays enjoying the club, and Hawk nails him to the wall about his hypocrisy. Though his words say ‘Don’t pray for me, we all know why we’re here, all of us’, his eyes say ‘FUCK OFF, ARNIE’. Caleb is suitably impressed by the chivalry, and I’m just saying that if Cal, Mary and Vera break away to just have fun and dance all over, can they take these kids? … And the Queen on stage, too, because we all need her in our lives.
Mary and Cal walk home, talking about moody Russell, and Cal is pretty forgiving of Russell’s position as the passed-over son to Eddie’s ‘chosen one’. (Who is this new Cal? I like him so much!) As they get home, Cal is asked to sign for something and right as I panic he’s being served, we hear JP’s name mentioned. They’re signing for his ‘token of thanks’ and IS THAT A FUCKING PORCSHE?
The next morning, driving around in their sexy, sexy car, they discuss how Eddie will feel about/shit all over their happiness, especially now he’s got people giving things up so they can set a good example. Mary reasons they damned well earned it and in so many words, suggests Eddie can go screw. She decides to check if Sarah even really is on some journey of self-discovery like Eddie is claiming, or more likely, off with some guy (it’s both, but okay), and calls the number for the motel she’s meant to be staying at. Mary is a masterful liar and claims to be a sister who wants to send Sarah and her ‘new fiance’ a gift, and the poor receptionist confirms Sarah and a guy did in fact check in. Mary hangs up, cackles with glee and Cal puts his foot down.
I … LOVE these two. I love what they have become for each other. Sure, they’re scheming and plotting and sure, the way their relationship started was … awful and terrible for both of them, especially Mary. But … look at them!
Sarah is in the room with Jackson, calmly waiting for Kodiak. Well she’s calm, Jackson is climbing the walls with boredom, but Sarah is doing her Earth Mother ‘He Will Come … Give Him Time’ BS. Again, she could just say ‘I don’t think he expected to see me or anyone, let alone be asked about the past; he might need a day or two to process this, so lets be patient — surely you, a professor of Cults, should know that it’s important to give people time and space in these matters?’
But, she doesn’t. Jackson calls her blind faith terminal and decides he’s going home, having realised she’s never going to leave Meyerism and her journey is not out of Meyerism, but deeper into it. He’s tragically correct, and it’s a little heartbreaking. I had hoped Sarah might find her away out.
Over at the ranch, Eddie is visited by Caleb’s father, Pastor Billy, who is here to be 100% an asshole about the boys’ relationship — he even presumes Eddie will be upset Hawk might be gay and wants them, together, to stop the relationship. Eddie isn’t on board with this assholery in any way, and Pastor Billy leaves on the ‘suggestion’ that Eddie get his house in order.
Lilith is at home with her doctor, who is also a member of their breakaway cult. She asks him to break to news to Vera that she is, I assume, terminal, and they go to meet the … even more culty cult kids. Lilith, adept and skillful liar, liar, pants on fire, makes excuses for Vera, and announces Felicia’s appointment in France. Acolytes gush that this is just as Lilith predicted, and the nerdy guy from Vera’s office a few episodes back asks/wonders if the End is finally Nigh. Not too Nigh for you to replace those 80’s dad glasses, bro. You can face the apocalypse in cooler eyewear, is all I’m saying.
At his … just … insane apartment, Vera has managed to go home with Rami and his rock hard body (Get. It. Girl), but things end awkwardly when she won’t hug or kiss him while she cooks breakfast, and then gets calls from her mother. Rami clearly had a good time, but he’s ready for her to go. Vera doesn’t care, though. As she answers the phone, it’s her mother’s doctor and the news is not good.
On the Ranch, Eddie incredibly awkwardly tries to speak to Hawk about Passhole Billy and his Passholing ways. Eddie is supportive, of course, but his requests that Hawk just talk to him fall flat when Hawk asks for the same level of honesty about Sarah’s absence. He resolutely refuses to talk about his relationship to Eddie, and that sounds like as far as he’ll go.
So, since he couldn’t make Hawk’s business about himself, Eddie runs off to do some ritualised self-abuse. Totally normal. He stands in a steam room, holding buckets of water in outstretched arms while Cal (in a wet, see through white t-shirt because The Light is good) adds more water to the buckets and encourages Eddie to admit to his real fears and concerns — he can make thousands of people believe in the Light … but not Sarah! Dramatic! Music!
Over at her cute, little motel, Sarah is literally about to give up on Kodiak and go home when he suddenly appears. They walk and talk, and he speaks of Lilith. He gushes with praise for her intelligence and the ideas she brought to the movement, in spite of her terrible trauma, and, yes … she was not mentally well. Sarah …still flicking between knowing Steve was a monster and hoping he’ll be something else, asks if Steve was simply unable to heal Lilith’s damage, but Kodiak says ‘No’. Steve fed on her sickness, stole all her ideas and contributions, while using her trauma against her. Then he just sent her away, and erased her. Sarah realises they all knew; her parents, Kodiak, Felicia and Bill.
ASK ABOUT THE OTHER THING, SARAH, WHICH THEY MIGHT ALL KNOW. SARAAAAAAAAAAAH.
Kodiak makes no excuses, and when Sarah asks for Lilith’s location he tells her, but warns her Lilith will tell her things that will keep her from ever going back to Meyerism. Because Kodiak is … pretty decent, he says this knowing it might be hard for her because of how, you know, it’s her whole entire life and stuff. I hope that’s not the last we get of him this season.
Over at some wholesale supermarket, Nicole and Russell are just the worst about his big pathetic inadequacy complex — maybe try being anything other than a slovenly goofball and his bitchy, gossipy wife, guys? Nicole is distracted by Mary cruising by in the Porsche. To account for the amazing coincidence, I just assume the whole group has memberships to this place, and all go there to shop regularly.
Damn it, FOILED AGAIN, MARY AND CAL! They can’t have anything nice, not one thing. At the meeting on the compound, about what everyone is giving up, Eddie talks about his own flaws as a leader and Cal shows up in the car, hopping out and smashing it with a bat as a big distraction. Nicole wins back a lot of points by her immediate comforting of not only her own kids, but Forrest, too, taking him from Mary so she can go and wreck the car a little bit as well. Then, Hawk lines up to take a swing, then Gabbie, then everyone. Cal admits to Eddie he thought about keeping it, and Eddie is appropriately moved by the act. We all know they were keeping it until Nicole saw it, right? Yeah? Good.
Vera finally goes home, where her mother calls the splitting from Eddie ‘for the best’, which is the same thing she said about Vera’s husband. It becomes (even more) obvious that Lilith has been killing Vera’s relationships forever, especially those that might actually take Vera away from her. In a hard moment, which speaks volumes, poor Vera has to ask if her mother is even actually sick? Lilith calls lying ‘softening the truth’ (… dude) and claims it was to protect Vera. Vera asks what that means for the scar on her back and Lilith, perhaps not wrongly, blames her illness, but then, perhaps wrongly, blames her illness on the Meyerists. Look, those people are garbage, but by all accounts, Lilith was sick long before Steve got his hands on her. They embrace, and Lilith’s smile is absolutely eerie. Vera leaves quickly and with finality, and the face this draws out of her mother is a little terrifying.
Sarah arrives home to Eddie, waiting to spew his ego all over her because, yeah. He has clearly come to believe that absolutely everything is about Eddie, all the time, so tells Sarah that her personal private ass business is distracting him so … she needs to leave. Oh, Eddie. You shit. He tells her that he can’t ‘refine’ himself while she’s doing her half in/half out thing. Now, he won’t keep her from her kids (which is the old way), but she has to be officially out — ofthe group she was born into — forever. Because his ass, which like a year ago said it was all fairy stories, said so?
Eddie, I mean this; eat a bag of shit. Vera takes her beautiful flowing hair and cheekbones back to Eddie to ask to ‘become’ a Meyerist and of course, Eddie (‘s ego) lets her in right away. Meanwhile, Sarah has gone to see Lilith, who was expecting her. Ooooooh, this gon’ be goooooooooooooood!
Okay, for all I don’t love all of Lilith’s storyline, I am actually frigging loving most of her storyline. I am in love with Vera, and now I am starting to understand what she has been through, how she has been raised, the sheer impact of Lilith on her daughter’s entire psyche, I am much more forgiving of her blindness to Eddie’s many, many flaws. As put together, cool and laid back as she seems, she’s one of the most broken children in a whole school full of them, and it makes perfect sense she, Mary and Cal have a certain kindred-spirits feel to them. Her abuse may not have been the same, but their abusers, powerful, dynamic, intense people with profound control over their lives, are cut from the same monstrous cloth. Whatever happens, I want so badly for Vera to be okay.
That said, I’ll be pulling my hair out waiting for next week, to see what Lilith has to say to Sarah.
Eddie … I almost don’t want to talk about him, I’m so mad. Defending his son against Passhole Billy was top notch (oh, and fuck YOU Arnie), but it’s safe to say Eddie is a lost cause. He has, to be a tad bit wildly inappropriate for a second, started drinking his own Kool-Aid and maybe not this season, but next year he’s going to start sharing it around. Be prepared.