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TV Series Review

In the great walk-in closet of world religions, the Meyerist movement is a bit of dryer lint. The sect has a few compounds scattered around the country that at first blush seem like quirky, well-meaning clubs. Maybe even neo-hippie communes. Sure, its members may seem a little, well, odd at times. They don't fight or eat meat. They're truthful to a fault, and they talk about "unburdening" themselves while scaling a metaphorical ladder to enlightenment. But they also seem so generous and peaceful and ever so nice. In a hurting world searching for answers, the Meyerists look like they actually have some.

Eddie Lane knows better.

Eddie was once a big believer in Meyerism. His family's still enmeshed in its folds. His wife, Sarah, was born into the Meyerist way and is now one of its leaders. Their teen son, Hawk, loves the movement. When everyone you love and care for is so intrinsically tied to something like this, it makes it really difficult to leave.

But leave Eddie did. Now he's on the outside looking in, considered a heathen by the rest of the movement and officially shunned. But Sarah can't cut ties entirely—not from the man she loves, the father of her children. Going against Meyerist law, she secretly allows the kids to visit Dad once a week. It's like a "drug deal," she says.

But Sarah won't leave and Eddie won't come back.

Except …

Eddie keeps having visions, or recollections, or something. Steve Meyer, the cult's founder who recently (according to believers) "went into the light," told Eddie that he, not Steve's son Cal, should be leading the movement. He should be the movement's new light.

But even if Eddie wanted to come back—and he doesn't—it's difficult to lead a cult when the cultists won't let you in the door.

A One-Way Trip

As is the case with any cult worth its organic herbal salt substitute, the Meyerist leaders control pretty much every aspect of their members' lives. Marriage difficulties? Meyerism says it has the answers (and you won't really mind a voluntary prison stay, will you?). Trouble with your "outside" family? Oh, it can help with that, too (as long as you sever all ties).

Whatever the shortfalls of the Meyerist path might be, new leader Cal's giving the cult a whole new set of problems. He's spending the movement into crippling debt. He's violating its own principles and lying to its followers. He's not even above killing to preserve his power.

But as Meyerism begins to crumble from the inside, another threat lurks: A new cult member is actually an undercover police officer, determined to bring Cal down and to solve an old murder he believes was committed there.

Yes, the light in The Path gets very dark indeed.

Road Closed

The Path offers us a strange, off-kilter belief system, one that obviously shares a lot of DNA with Scientology, specifically, as well as other modern spiritual movements. And in some ways, the show actually treats adherents' faith with a measure of respect. We see their real spiritual hunger. We watch as the Meyerists, for all their cult's faults, try to help the communities they're a part of. And sometimes the show even hints that there are, perhaps, realities beyond the empirical—what we can see or hear or touch.

But The Path is also an intense and unrelentingly problematic show. While the Meyerists pride themselves on their self-control, this Hulu series itself exercises very little.

The Path's inherent spirituality is the first hurdle we run into, a murky stew of mysticism, machines and psychobabble. Obviously, Hulu isn't out to convert anyone to a made-up cult; still, its depictions of Meyerist convictions might be confusing to those who are seeking their own path.

Meyerism also provides cover for a litany of dark, disturbing elements—from predatory sexual behavior by its leader to violent put-downs of dissent (one of the darker nods, it would seem, to Scientology). The Path is filled with other serious barriers as well. The sexual content is extreme, flaunting nudity and explicitly rendered couplings. Foul language is replete with uncensored f- and s-words. And the already troublesome violence will almost certainly ramp up as the series progresses.

"Ponder the path of your feet," we read in Proverbs 4. "Then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil." Hulu's Path, in contrast, swerves quite a bit.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

The Path: Jan. 25, 2017 "Liminal Twilight/Dead Moon"
The Path: Mar. 30, 2016 "The Era of the Ladder"

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Genre

Drama

Author

Cast

Aaron Paul as Eddie Lane; Michelle Monaghan as Sarah Lane; Emma Greenwell as Mary Cox; Rockmond Dunbar as Det. Abe Gaines; Kyle Allen as Hawk Lane; Amy Forsyth as Ashley Fields; Sarah Jones as Alison; Hugh Dancy as Cal Roberts

Director

Distributor

Network

Hulu

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Released

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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