The Path is the examination of faith through the eyes of a cult.
By Mumbua Nzula Nzyoka.
It’s easy to ignore “The Path”, the name does not scream excitement and neither does the poster photo, but what it lacks in name and photography, it more than makes up for in plot. The biggest draw for the series is the casting of Michelle Monaghan (“True Detective”), Hugh Dancy (“Hannibal”) and Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”) who also happens to be the producer.
It is almost impossible to watch this show and not think about “The Church of Scientology.” No matter how much the show tries to disguise its muse, some of the well-known characteristics of the church (if you know anything about Scientology) become blatantly obvious. Like, for example, the process of “ascending rungs” is obviously pulled straight from Tom Cruise’s church. This obvious covering by the new Hulu series is understandable because “The Church of Scientology” has been known to sue, and let’s be honest Hulu is on the rise but they don’t have HBO money. They can’t afford to be sued. No matter, you can read all about the church, its ways and its head honcho, Tom Cruise, in Leah Remini’s Troublemaker.
Dismissing “The Path” would be a mistake because the premise of the show is pretty good. Even though the story revolves around Cal (Hugh Dancy), his thirst for power and Eddie’s (Aaron Paul) growing suspicion of the church, the show finds a way to make the stories of the supporting cast important. This creates a superb story about the human condition and why people join cults. It’s not just that Cal Roberts (Hugh) is preaching about a better life when you join meyerism, but he is offering this life to people who need it. The appeal of the cult is painted vividly through the story of Mary Cox (Emma Greenwell). She is happy to have escaped from a father who sold her to his buddies for sex every night since she was 11 years old. Ironically it is by rescuing her that we finally see a darker side to Cal.
While Cal concentrates on bringing in new followers, Eddie (Aaron) is trying to keep his faith intact after finding out that ‘Meyerism’ might be based on a lie. As he tries to investigate, his wife (Monaghan) becomes convinced that her husband is cheating. It is then that Eddie becomes truly stuck between a rock and a hard place. This hard place also allows the show to venture into the grimmer and cultish practices that do not appear in the brochure. Like taking a 14-day program that is sure to cure that itch to cheat. (Really?)
However, even with all these interesting characters and stories, the most intriguing person is Eddie’s son Hawk (Kyle Allen). This is a character who started out as a kid on the precipice of adulthood eager to join the movement. (Kids are allowed to join the movement as independent individuals once they turn 18.) Eager until he met a girl and suddenly the world he has been missing out on becomes more appealing with each episode. For Hawk, he is experiencing life for the first time. This kid hadn’t listened to any song produced after the 1970’s, I mean can you imagine discovering all that music now, in 2016? His storyline well thought out and delivered in a way that feels real.
VERDICT: “The Path” is a great show with a lot of talent, a great script and an incredibly interesting premise. It is worth the watch.