With new season two episodes arriving on Amazon Prime each week, I decided it was time I caught up with season one of American drama series, The Path.
I’ve been wanting to watch this TV series for a while, knowing that it boasts both Hugh Dancy (Hannibal), and Aaraon Paul (Breaking Bad) in leading roles, but knowing little of the plot. The series revolves around Eddie (Aaron Paul), who lives with his wife, Sarah (Michelle Monaghan), and their children, Hawk, and Summer, as part of a small Meyerist community in New York. Meyerism is a controversial movement created for the series, whose followers aspire to climb a spiritual “ladder” by practising self-awareness, and working to ease the suffering of others, in order to “repair their broken selves”.
The series follows Eddie, as he begins to have doubts in the movement, and works in secret to uncover the truth he suspects is being hidden from him. Meanwhile, a leader in the community, Cal (Hugh Dancy) is working to expand the movement, whilst battling demons of his own.
The most impressive thing about The Path is the characters. Eddie is a character who joined the movement after a troubled past, but now that he’s starting to doubt the movement he believes to have saved him, we see his anxieties revealed, along with his ability to deceive his family. His wife, Sarah, meanwhile, is a firm believer in the movement, eager to help those around her, and deeply commited to the Meyerist lifestyle. Feeling victimised and confused by Eddie’s strange behaviour, we see her calm and stable appearance unravel.
Cal is perhaps the most complex of the characters, at first a charismatic leader, it is revealed that he has vices of his own, which he struggles to control and conceal throughout the series. We see that he is willing to do almost anything to increase the movement’s reach. We also see the effects of the Meyerist lifestyle on Eddie and Sarah’s son, Hawk, who finds himself torn between his commitment to the movement and his desire to be a normal teenager, having been forbidden to interact with the non-believers (particularly girls) at his school.
The plot itself is interesting, and is completely character-driven. Without a true villain, the series is propelled by the mistakes made by characters like Eddie, Cal, and Hawk, and the impacts these choices have on those around them. At times, the plot can feel a little slow, and the first two episodes need to be watched back-to-back to really get into the swing of the series. The acting, particularly from Hugh Dancy, is superb, and carries the series through those slow moments. The pacing and excitement pick up towards the end of the series, as events come to a head, and we’re taken deeper insight the heads of the main characters.
Watching The Path is an interesting experience. At times, the movement seems good, and pure, before viewers are shown how the movement’s teachings are warped to match the interests of those in positions of power. There’s an addictive feel to the series, with characters like Cal, who you can’t help but love and hate at once, along with the kind of secrecy, scandals and illicit sex that make for great (or uncomfortable, depending on your perspective) TV.
Though it could be considered slow at times, the show is cleverly crafted to build suspense and intrigue, with it’s biggest appeal coming from some of the most interesting characters in television right now.
The Path seasons one is currently streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime, with new episodes from season two added each week.
Images: True Jack Productions, Refuge, Inc., Universal Television