The Path, ‘The Strongest Souls’: Secrets and Lies

Loves, can you believe we’re this close to the end of Season 3? Moving house has really thrown my sense of time, but here we are. Eddie embraces an anxious seeming Sarah, and walks out to greet cheering crowds in somewhere in southeast Asia. As Eddie smiles beatifically at the audience, we see the barrel of a sniper rifle and faster than we can yell ‘EDDIE DUCK!’ he’s shot in the heart, a fatal injury. Then Lilith wakes in a hospital bed with a patch over her bad eye, gasping about the nightmarish vision we just shared with her. She tells her doctor friend that the vision was It’s … how The World Ends.

Just in case we weren’t sure it was a vision we cut over to Eddie, alive and well, and a little pissed at the NDA style document the Meyer lawyer has drawn up in the wake of the lawsuit, and Eddie’s decision to … I mean, basically crack down on dissenters. For all that Eddie originated the idea, he’s in a tizzy about how complete the document is, and the lawyer doesn’t exactly win him over by pointing out how Scientology or Catholicism avoid legal troubles through the same ruthless Lawyering, so Eddie needs to trust them to take care of him. Damn, lady!

Over on the compound, Vera finishes a meditation session and Cal appears to be … all sorts of awkward, but mostly to take her to the picturesque clearing from their shared memory. Cal retells her story almost verbatim, as Vera slowly starts to realise exactly where she is, and who Cal is — the sandy haired boy from her memory. Cal knows Steve was her father, though he mostly just wants to know who she is, and why she is there. Vera is afraid Cal will tell Eddie but, haltingly, stuttering, he admits again that he doesn’t want want Eddie to end the Movement because of what Steve did. This may just be me, but I also get the impression Cal, understandably, just doesn’t want to confront it. He’s lived without these memories so long, then recovered them. I don’t think he’s capable of actually working through them like he’d have to if this all came to light. Poor, poor Cal. As Vera hurries away, in her own world of turmoil and confusion, Cal asks who her mother was, if she’s here at all. Vera lies that her mother is dead.

And she was right, sort of. Last time Vera saw Lilith, her mother was basically risking dying from cancer. Whether it’s because Sarah has reignited Lilith’s need to be recognised, or the woman is just that obsessed with being around Vera, she has finally treated her cancer. Sarah visits the poorly Lilith, who hasn’t outed Vera as her daughter but does admit to having an estranged daughter, one she was lazy in raising. Sarah is trying to bond over their mutual motherhood, and mostly just wants to know if her vision of black rain and scattered bodies is what Lilith meant by The Future. Lilith wants to show her more, so they head over to the building project Lilith and Vera visited so many weeks ago, and oh, shit.

Yeah. That’s a big, old Apocalypse Bunker, right down to the huge gigantic stash of guns and bullets. Oh shit. Sarah is taken aback and confused that bunkers clearly have limited space, but in her fragile emotional state she fully understands Lilith’s ‘explanation’ that part of surviving the Apocalypse is deciding to let others die in it.

At the centre in the city, some novices are anxiously discussing the NDA which is twenty five pages long, and makes anything written inside the building, property of the building. Duuuuuude. Speaking of Captain Paranoid, Eddie is outside meeting with Sarah, who wants him to meet Lilith. Eddie invites her over, but Lilith won’t come to any Meyer centres because in the past, Steve had threatened her. Eddie’s response is incredibly troubling; he adamantly denies Steve would ever have threatened anyone. Dude. Eddie. Eddie. I speculated about this last week, but I think we may be here. Eddie may be too far gone to believe anything bad about Steve. Damn, damn, double damn!

At a Christian, inclusive church mass with a wonderful LGBT congregation, Hawk genuinely enjoys the mass. He’s approached after by the pastor and sheepishly admits he’s afraid for a friend and wanted to know if there’s a space in Christianity for gay Christians. The pastor is wonderful and says beautiful things about God loving everyone, which is what drove her to create a church that reflected that. Also, after mass, they have donuts. I mean, I’m sold. Hawk seems to be as well and guys, is Hawk out researching safe, gay, religious spaces for Caleb, so that Caleb doesn’t have to give up his faith to live his best life? Oh, my heart.

Later on the ranch, Eddie and Vera host Cal and Mary for dinner, and the subject of Sarah’s visit comes up. Eddie talks about Lilith, oblivious to the fact he’s holding her daughter’s hand all lovey dovey. He explains what Sarah believes, and even Cal can’t remember the woman. Jesus, what did Steve do to these kids? Vera casually suggests just shutting down such silliness, then she and Cal clear the plates and head back inside, together. Alone inside, Cal wants to talk and nervously, gently asks if Steve hurt Vera too, but she’s certain it didn’t happen. Cal points out his own repressed memories, and I may have almost forgiven him for murdering Silas at this point. He’s so broken. He is trying not to just beg her to answer the questions he still has, fill in the gaps he can’t, but Vera doesn’t want to revisit any of those memories. He mentions what we know to be the cave that is somewhere on the same property, the one Sarah has visited and my heart breaks at the idea that if he just spoke to Sarah; if all these people just got on the same page, they could all start to heal. Damn it!!

Back outside, Eddie has been talking up Sarah’s ideas and Mary is saying how much it changes things if Lilith was the real origin of the visions, and encourages Eddie to meet with Lilith. Yes, Mary! Cal, though, clearly worrying what else will come out, waves it all off. He puffs up Eddie’s ego and says the past doesn’t matter, and that it’s Eddie’s movement now. Eddie beams while Mary quietly seethes.

The next morning, Mary asks Cal outright why he was so far up Eddie’s ass the night before . Cal claims he was just trying to get them off the subject of Lilith for fear what it might bring up, which isn’t a lie, but I don’t think it’s the answer Mary was asking for. Mary asks what notes he’s writing, and Cal talks about trying to recover more of his forgotten memories. Mary suggests letting the memories stay buried and perhaps, getting real, actual therapy. Cal points out they don’t believe in that and Mary huffs off, wondering aloud if they’re real Meyerists or not. Good question, girl. Good question.

Hawk goes over to Caleb’s house, and calls the kid outside from his going-away party. Pastor Billy comes outs and defensively gets between them, and Hawk is incandescent at the mere presence of him. Billy makes Caleb speak, and he sheepishly admits he ‘chose’ to go to the ‘therapy’. When pushed, he screams about how he won’t just lose his church if he doesn’t go, he loses his family, everything. Hawk can’t accept it, and to be fair, I wouldn’t entirely be able to, but Caleb flees back indoors while Hawk screams at Billy about how he’ll never see his son’s true soul. Poor Caleb.

On the ranch, the Armstrongs and Lanes have an emotional moment, as they plant a tree for Hank. Russell and Eddie can’t help but bicker, even now, though Gabbie steps forward and takes over, quickly easing the tension. They each have their own moment saying goodbye to Hank but it’s Sarah, when left alone, who prays a different prayer and then cuts her palm and bleeds into the earth. Eddie rushes over, as Sarah explains it’s from Lilith, and encourages Eddie to consider leaving the movement like she did. In a moment I found hilarious and yet, telling, she assures him not to be afraid to leave.  I know she’s sort of a crazy lady now, but she can’t actually have forgotten the way Eddie fully left for six months.

Vera finally goes to her mother’s house, and learns Lilith had the bad eye entirely removed, and may now be cancer free. Vera is really just there to ask about Sarah, and whether Lilith has told Sarah that her visions are about Eddie’s death. Vera admits she’s become a Meyerist. Lilith knows it’s about the burn, and we learn that Lilith, (like Cal’s mother) left Vera alone at the compound for a period. Vera warns LIlith away from Eddie, and her mother intuits they’re together. Vera doesn’t want to hear any more, particularly not when Lilith reminds her that she’s been lying to Eddie about who she is. Lilith warns that Eddie will come to see her, and when he finds out who Steve was, Vera’s identity will be the least of her worries.

At the centre, Gabbie storms into Eddie’s office to take him to ask over the contract — which we learn includes clauses controlling speech and thought, and giving the cult power to just … take people’s shit. Eddie can’t make a single argument in the face of her outrage, as she realises she should have been listening to Sarah all along. Every bit the mother/grandma, she leaves Eddie to think on how disappointed Hank would be. Oooof!

Cal has gone to a therapist, a real one, and immediately starts talking about how psychology is all a sham and he knows it doesn’t work, and he’s not at therapy to be ‘shrunk’. She smiles wonderfully and asks why he’s there, and he admits needing help with his blocked memories, and is hoping a few brief sessions with her will just teach him the right tools. He’s so nervous that he just talks and rambles, and the amazing doctor interjects with little questions every now and then, to keep him rolling. Cal rambles on about his memories, how Mary (who he admits genuinely loving, and it might be the first time we’ve heard him express that) is mad at him, because he’s backing off their idea of branching out to start their own ‘personal motivation’ business, particularly now he’s starting to remember or discover things from his past — such as his ‘sister’, Vera. Cal, basically terrified, asks if she can help him, and she’s frank about the work it will take, and thinks she can help him with his memories. She dives right in, and suggests discussing what made him forget in the first place. We fade out before Hugh Dancy can break our hearts too permanently.

At the Lane home, Sarah finds Hawk on the porch steps, frustrated and angry with himself for losing it with Billy. She asks if he really wants to talk to ‘the pariah’ about this, and he sweetly tells her she’s the only one he wants to talk to, and d’aaw. Inside, Hawk talks about his mission to find a church for Caleb and again, my heart. He asks if Sarah is still a Meyerist, and she vaguely answers she is, but also never really was. She has an amazing moment of growth when she remembers how what Caleb is going through is what Sarah did once to Hawk. They hold hands, and Hawk gushes over Caleb and Unity Church, his fears Caleb won’t show up. Sarah is calm and sweet, and hopes Caleb will turn up too and dear show,  that was a lovely scene. Well done.

Vera visits Eddie’s cabin, which I don’t mention enough, but sort of love. It appears fairly simple and rustic, fitting for a man of his position.With the surrounding views, the oh-so-stylish interior, plus the fact it was likely handmade, you realise in spite of its simplicity, it’s probably worth more than the Lane House. Eddie is reading Lilith’s diaries, and piecing together the fact Lilith left and took a child with her. Vera just admits the truth about Lilith, then about Steve being her father, but like Cal, she has very fractured memories of her childhood. Eddie makes her come clean about her true ‘mission’, which was to help Meyerism grow as big as possible, so it would fall as far and hard as it can. Eddie is reeling, and Vera argues that she was told her whole life Steve was evil, but that her mother is crazy. Eddie realises she’s telling him to get ahead of him learning from Lilith, and Vera sobs, begs him not to see Lilith. Eddie is moved by the outpouring and embraces her, and it’s hard to know his exact thinking. Ooof, that was a scene. Frieda Pinto better be back next year!

A storm brews, thunder rumbling, lighting crashing. This show super loves dramatically timed storms, particularly when it mentions the cave — there was thunder rumbling when Sarah found it a few weeks ago.. At their apartment, Mary comes home to find Cal furiously drawing. He tells her that ‘all the memories’ are in the cave with the painted flowers from his flashbacks. Thunder crashes as he admits he needs to find it.

Over at Unity, the choir sounds amazing, and Hawk is sitting in the pew, alone, heartbroken. The pastor spots him, and he shrugs and forces a smile that I can’t explain but can relate to so much, as if to indicate his absent friend. She gives him a reassuring smile that is lost on me, as I cry and cry. Oh, Caleb.  Elsewhere Eddie has gone to Lilith’s office, but she’s not there. Sarah happens to be there and expresses real concern for Lilith, who she can’t get hold of. Eddie can barely tolerate the sight of her and as he leaves, spits that he’ll come to find Lilith when he’s ready, not the other way around.

In her apartment, Lilith sits in the dark and watches the storm with her remaining eye. We don’t learn what she sees in the lighting.

So, a little bit of the same problem as last week; we are awfully close to the end of the season, with what feels like a fair amount of story to get through. Despite my earlier doubts about Lilith and her apocalypse, the actual direction the story has taken has me enraptured. I would hate to see it rushed to a conclusion, or left on some cheesy cliffhanger — especially on a show with a habit of ditching storylines (YOU THOUGHT I FORGOT ALISON? DO YOU THINK THIS IS A GAME?). I want enough resolution to feel satisfied so that if Frieda Pinto unexpectedly learns she’s fired a week before s4 shooting begins, we won’t feel Vera’s absence too badly.

That said, I enjoyed this week. Hawk and Caleb’s story is truly touching and if there’s one thing I don’t do enough is thank the show for Hawk, a young kid who had an easy life, who is learning that his was not a universal experience, and who responds by trying to make it so. What is happening to Caleb is heartbreaking and the sight of Hawk, basically grieving the loss of someone he loved while the congregation around him was so lively, will stay with me for some time.

Sarah, at least right now, might finally be becoming her best self. Her reflective understanding of Hawk’s situation was astonishing, and there’s a general change to her demeanour that I hadn’t seen before now. Even though she seems to believe some of Lilith’s words, she seems more grounded than she ever has. I like this version of her.

Eddie, though … no. His attempted visit with Lilith didn’t exactly smack of the warm and fuzzies, and his orders to Sarah made it quite clear he’s not Team Lilith in any way. If he is to be won over, Lilith is going to need to pull something remarkable out of her hat. But, I don’t think she’ll win him over, I think she’s going to tap into his existing insecurities — whether she means to or not — and drive him over the edge.

Think about it … if she mentions, say, Cal, and the abuse, how is Eddie likely to react? I would like to believe Cal is right (and by the way, Cal’s earnest belief that Eddie would just automatically do the right thing speaks volumes of its own), and Eddie would shut everything down, not least of all because he and Cal have finally become so close of late. But at this stage, I fear he’s more likely to take it the wrong way. He’ll see it as a conspiracy, and he’ll think Sarah and Cal are in on it with Lilith.

We head into The Path‘s final three episodes next week, airing first on Hulu with recaps on Oohlo soon after. See you there, true believers.

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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  • Dome

    Thats a good point about Cal’s assumption that Eddie would A: Believe him B: Shut everything down. I think that , like us, Cal assumes Eddie is the protagonist of this story. Because he needs him to be. Maybe what will push Cal over the edge will be his leader betraying him again? Yeah… I’m stressed.

    Also what impact might the new contract have if Mary decides to leave? I suspect she will if she discovers Cal’s true feelings. Will she be allowed to take forest with her or is he Eddies legal property now? Essentially any money she’s saved will be his too.

    • Nadiney

      I’m starting to worry that Vera may be part of why Cal breaks, too. She has seen the proof of the abuse, and I recall her asking Cal for the proof when she fixed the Harold problem for him. Assuming he handed it over, it MIGHT mean he has no evidence of what happened and can’t even prove he ever spoke to her about it.

      I believe under his anxiety he is happy to have found her, but imagine if he finally finds the strength to speak up and she denies him? I don’t know if I’ll make it.

      I am hoping Mary sticks with Cal but I think there’s a chance she’ll run off if she thinks she has to. I’ve realised I don’t know how she feels about Cal. The origins of their relationship are so dark, and I know Mary has never forgotten that, may not have forgiven it, particularly as she grows in confidence and self understanding. She has always been ruthless and manipulative but we’ve finally seen how far she can go and it’s clear her sense of self preservation is powerful.

      The congressman calling her a ‘prop’ last week made me remember her fear from the Harold fiasco, that Cal only kept her around to service his own needs.

      Until a few weeks ago, Mary thought she was a prop and I have to wonder, if she thought that…how did she feel about it? How does she feel about Cal? Does she love him? Or does she love the stability and safety he can provide?

      My fear is that if Cal speaks up, and Eddie throws him out, Mary coukd make a decision for Mary and Forrest that doesn’t include Cal at all.

      • Dome

        I think Mary might run off with the congressman. You think it might go there? He has money and power and she can manipulate him easily.

        Cal could end up surprising us I guess, I mean, he went to therapy. Despite his best efforts he may actually get something out of that. In real life when people recover memories that they’d disassociated from it usually has a very positive affect on their mental health afterward. But the show has always foreshadowed such darkness for him I suspect it will end in tragedy. Which doesn’t have to mean his death (although its possible) but his fall instead of redemption. We have seen glimpses of his best self throughout the series, he can be (and would have been) a phenomenal person if he hadn’t been ruined.

        I do feel like theyre missing the Sarah/Cal dynamic this season. I mean, she was a huge part of his childhood, he said they she saved him. Yet they’ve barely spoken since the strangle scene.

        Sarah’s brainwashing has far reaching effects. She’s just met an obviously insane, evil woman and instead of seeing her for what she is she drinks her cool aid! seems to me to be set up in a Cassandra type role. She’s seen the end and no ones going to balive her. But what is more, she’s seen Lillith’s insanity and her bunker and her plans and when she realises whats really going on ( And I think I have, have you cracked it yet?) She’s going to be a lone voice in the wilderness.

        Eddie’s motivation is a little murky to me at the moment. He’s not in it for Sarah anymore, Hawk seems to be drifting towards the Unitarians ( I still kind of hope he converts.) So its not just his family motivating him at this point. Is he really in it because he genuinely believed in The Light? He’s said repeatedly that The Light isn’t working for him, he has dark visions and his life is full of hassle. He wants to be a father to his people I guess? But he is arguably turning the movement into something worse than the one he left. Cal WARNED him about that in S2 ” The business of running a religion changes you, I’m doing you a favor right now because you don’t want what comes next.”

        • Nadiney

          Mary and congressman creeper makes a disturbing sense and it explains his late in the game additio to the show.

          In spite of myself I am rooting for Cal so hard. I want him to be okay. I mean, yes, he did murder Silas, but, without excusing the terribleness of that, now we have the extra context of what he was going through, it becomes easier to see what took him to that point. Not just that Silas was calling him a charlatan but that final jab. What were Silas’ words ‘You’re just a drunk salesman, like your father’

          Back then it seemed like the whole interaction with Silas built up to Cal snapping. Now I think it was just that single sentence, because for Cal, that is such a loaded connection of words. Maybe it was just because he hated his bio dad, or maybe to Cal, father always means Steve and even back then, without knowing why, Cal couldn’t bare being comapred to the man.

          I WHOLLY agree. I miss Sarah and Cal, Michelle and Hugh, on screen together. And I am crying out for them to finally speak about it all, to compare their notes and be there for each other during the fall out. They are the royal children of Meyerism, after all. Vera, too. I want the three of them to sit down and just talk, damn it!

  • Stevi Deter

    Another excellent recap/review!

    I’ve made peace with the fact they won’t feel compelled to wrap everything up at the end of the season.

    I fear we’ll see Cal neglect Forest in some way that makes Mary decide she cannot depend on him even as the faithful babysitter. We’ve consistently seen Cal as the doting father until this episode, when he’s so engrossed in his drawing therapy that he completely ignores Forest fussing. I’m envisioning him deciding to search for the cave and leaving Mary in the lurch with Forest and that will be the last straw.

    And she’ll be emboldened to go because he’s shown her she can strike out on her own. She’s a quick learner, we see that with her playing the sidekick in the Florida schtick, and then she does a pretty masterful job on her own with Congressman Buck.

    Interestingly, this is what Cal did with Sarah, as well – suggest to her that the only thing keeping her from being a leader was not demanding she be seen as one. He has an ability to empower people, or at least the women in his life.

    I’m wondering if Eddie doesn’t accidentally find those pictures Cal surrendered to Vera, and maybe that sets off his realization of who Steve really was. Or maybe Sarah or Lilith tell him what Steve was, and Vera reluctantly gives him the pictures to make him accept it’s real.

    I do wonder if then they’ll finally remember Eddie’s brother, and Eddie will try to save Cal because he couldn’t save Johnny.

    • Nadiney

      That’s a good theory with Cal/Forrest. I think what ever the nature of the strange relationship is, something like that could definitely break it. They both dote on that baby but Cal definitely seems like he could get that kind of caught up so as to forget him. Mary really has come into her own this year.

      I would really love for Eddie to want to save Cal but I’m so worried he’s just too far gone.

    • Almostreal

      They have been hinting at Suicide for Cal for quite some time haven’t they? If they go there I think they’ll have to explore that part of Eddies past ( and there is so much of his past left to explore.)

      I really appreciated Sarah’s conversation with Hawk this last episode. That apology was a long time coming. She seems to have more clarity on her past actions now than ever before. But less clarity in the present thank she should have. She’s walking into death and doesn’t see it.

      I think the way they handle the Cal/Steve thing will be a defining moment for the show. It will show what kind of story it want to be in the way it deals with that material. So far they’ve done a good job of not using it to shock ( like Outlander) or titillate (like GOT) or to use it as an ‘edgy’ plot point ( like True Detective.) . This is mainly because Dancy does such a great job of expressing Cal’s hidden agony. You can just see this never ending nightmare he’s living thanks to what was done to him all those years ago. That kind of abuse leaves a person at the starting line of the race with a backpack of rocks to carry. Every aspect of his life is more difficult than it should be because of it. And it makes him almost admirable in a weird way because of how hard he fights to function and how well he functions considering. This is probably the first time I’ve seen that particular truth on TV.

      Mary has been good for Cal since they started living together, that much is clear. But he’s not sexually jealous when it comes to her ( contrast Eddie and Sarah.) I could see her going off with someone else and him letting her. I think since Silas he actually doesn’t think he deserves love or happiness anyway.

      Vera is my favourite addition this season though. I think I’m in love. She get’s so much subtext into her performance. there really is an insane amount of talent on this show and it gets nowhere near enough recognition.

      • Stevi Deter

        I agree with all of this. They’ve handled the topic of Cal’s sexual abuse far better than I hoped. And I’m enjoying the development of Cal and Mary’s relationship more than I thought I ever possibly could.

        I do wonder if the show will address both Cal and Eddie taking on partners that are attracted to them, at least initially, because they are the powerful person who might offer protection. I’d love to see a good Vera/Mary heart to heart on the topic.

        And yes, Vera really has been a fantastic addition. I really hope we’ll get to see more Cal and Vera, when he said she was his sister…they both need family they can relate to. They’re really the only two people who can come to each other and be like “I’m NOT crazy, it’s our parents, right?”

  • Watertowerswatch

    I’ve been lurking on the relentlessly negative reddit page for the show. A lot of people seem to think Eddie’s characterisation is off this season. I disagree. Like all the characters he has a dark side. His lower impulses are jealous, violent and possessive. Have we forgotten that he nearly raped Sarah in an early episode and has repeatedly lost his shit and physically assaulted people out of jealousy?

    Now Cal is also all those things but his jealousy and possessiveness tend toward his own position and autonomy. Eddies tends more towards other people. Which actually makes him just as dangerous, if not more so, than Cal in a leadership position. I’ve always thought so.

    Cals paranioa in S2 revolved around physical protection ( protecting the community/ himself/ his position with armed guards etc.)

    Eddies is tending towards ownership of other people. He might be aware of how fucked up it is but he’s still doing it. He now legally owns the physical and intellectual property of anyone who signs that document, and can confiscate their life at a moments notice.

    So someone like Cal comes forward with an abuse allegation? That gives Eddie all the power over the outcome. Depending on his mental/ emplotional state. Way too much power.

  • Dome

    I can’t wait to see what you think of the next episode 🙂