In what is arguably the strongest episode since the pilot, The Path finds its footing in Episode 6, “Breaking and Entering.”
This week, Cals (Hugh Dancy) recovering from his run-in with Ridge’s (Michael Countryman) hired muscle and struggling with what it means to be in charge of the movement. He finds himself going to far, acting rashly with designs on revenge, and contending with his feelings for Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) and Mary (Emma Greenwell) in different ways.
Hawk’s (Kyle Allen) life gets more complicated when Ashley’s (Amy Forsyth) family is forced to leave their house when it’s repossessed by the bank and Hawk offers them a place to stay with his family at the Meyerist Compound. As one might expect, this is profoundly uncomfortable for all involved.
Sarah’s worries about Hawk’s relationship with Ashley intensify as her family refuses to shut up about Tessa — her sister, who left the Meyerist Movement years ago and now lives in a very nice house with her husband, children and what looks like a lot of very expensive lotion.
Most importantly, this episode’s ushers in the return of Eddie’s conscience. In the episodes between the pilot and “Breaking and Entering,” Eddie was quietly conflicted, clearly uneasy with the world of Meyerism that he saw around him. But in this episode, Eddie’s doubt takes center stage. He accompanies Cal to a motel, where they all but break and enter (there it is) a motel room. When he finds her hiding on the patio (and subsequently covers for her, helping her stay hidden), Eddie discovers it’s Alison’s (Sarah Jones) room.
He meets up with her later in the episode and we finally get to the bottom of what Eddie is thinking. He seeing the cracks in Meyerism, but as he tells Alison, “I don’t want to see the cracks. I don’t have that luxury.”
“Breaking and Entering” makes great use of contrast. We see the outside world and the world of Meyerism colliding in new ways, exposing not only the cracks in the organization, but in the people themselves. These collisions expose new doubts, new insecurities and new flaws in the characters that bring a new dimension to the show.
Though some of the previous episodes have struggled with a pace that bogged down the plot, there was some payoff with this episode. We’ve spent so much time watching these characters do seemingly inconsequential things that now when they behave in a way that’s uncharacteristic, it stands out not as an inconsistency, but as a shift in development that feels well set up.
This episode finally feels like it’s seeing The Path become the show that it promised it would be in the pilot. Things are picking up, the action feels essential and compelling, and characters are moving into new and uncomfortable spaces with a frequency that’s propelling the plot forward with more urgency. The pace is much improved and the moments where the plot feels like it’s dragging have all but been eliminated in this episode.
Despite something of a slow start, if the rest of the season keeps up in this fashion, we’ll see The Path become the dark, riveting drama we’ve been looking forward to since the show’s premiere.