While most television dramas feature the usual interactions between characters, Hulu's The Path does things a little differently, with each character trying to navigate their personal relationship with an overarching belief system: Meyerism.
The Path tells the story of Eddie Lane, a disenfranchised cult member who suddenly finds his long-held life philosophy thrown into a state of free fall. However, not everyone shares his newfound skepticism — most notably his wife Sarah, and this is the point at which The Path truly excels. It illustrates the hold certain belief systems can have over individuals, with some even going so far as to rip their own families asunder in order to preserve their place among the chosen few.
If you missed The Path Season 1 — and if you did, you should certainly go back and watch it — then this cheat-sheet of sorts will help you prepare for the imminent arrival of Season 2. Each of the main characters is outlined, along with details about their personal relationship to Meyerism as it stand going into the show's sophomore season.
Commitment to Meyerism: WAVERING/DAMAGED
A character with a wayward past, Eddie (Aaron Paul) found some solace by converting to Meyerism and marrying a dedicated member in Sarah — with whom he has two children, Summer and Hawk. However, The Path Season 1 sees Eddie undergoing a difficult transformation as fresh insights begin to challenge the very core of his beliefs and ultimately lead to his being forced out of the cult, torn from his family and labeled a denier, thanks in part to the machinations of the next guy.
Season 2 Outlook: Eddie moves out of the Meyerist compound and into a motel, before returning to his former retreat in Peru. As he desperately tries to uncover the truth, he starts suffering from visions: is he having a mental collapse or... is Meyerism real?
CALVIN 'CAL' ROBERTS
COMMITMENT TO MEYERISM: OBSESSIONAL/MANIPULATIVE
The charismatic lieutenant of Meyerism, Cal has risen in the ranks while the movement's original leader Dr. Steven Meyer is comatose in hospital. Cal immediately seizes the opportunity to further his position and becomes embroiled in several relationships within the movement, most notably coming between spouses Eddie and Sarah. Although an effective orator, Cal's reign isn't all smooth sailing, with the ambitious de facto leader having to deal with threats from both inside and outside of Meyerism.
Season 2 Outlook: as more people find out that Cal wrote the last three rungs of the Meyerist text 'The Ladder' himself, he realizes that his position as cult leader is increasingly unstable. He gives way to lust and personal gain: was Cal ever really after more spiritual ends? Keep an eye on Cal in The Path season 2...
COMMITMENT TO MEYERISM: DEVOTED
Born into a Meyerist family, Sarah is now one of the preeminent members of the movement, commanding respect and authority. However, her life is also turned upside down by her husband Eddie's revelations, placing great strain on their relationship.
With Eddie seemingly slipping away, Sarah remains resolute in her faith, drawing ever closer to Cal and the higher rungs of the movement.
Season 2 Outlook: Sarah is in a position of increasing power, but her new clearance level has exposed some unpleasant truths about the movement. She suspects that Cal killed missing member Silas, and although her faith in Meyerism seems strong, it's hard to tell what her motives for pursuing power may be: will she attempt to influence Cal's leadership to reintroduce Eddie, or will she try to change the fabric of the movement entirely?
DR. STEVEN MEYER
COMMITMENT TO MEYERISM:
HE INVENTED IT
The founder of Meyerism, Dr. Meyer is in a comatose state due to an inoperable brain tumor. Meyer claims that on October 28, 1974 he climbed a ladder of burning light in order to receive the universal truth. He now offers this truth to his followers, but only after they climb to the higher rungs of the movement, as is laid out in his book The Ladder.
He also prophesied an apocalypse in which his members would ascend to the Garden, while those who oppose them — labelled nonbelievers or Ignorant Systemites — would remain in a devastated world.
Season 2 Outlook: as the founder of the religion, Meyer has the greatest status within the cult. Yes, he appears to be dying, but people have been brought back through sheer determination of faith before. How far will Cal go to regain power if Meyer is restored to health and leadership?
COMMITMENT TO MEYERISM: DEVOTED
A drug addict and abuse victim, Mary is drawn into Meyerism when a tornado threatens her hometown, forcing much of the populace to seek shelter with the Meyerists. Considering her fragile state, Mary is immediately compelled into a belief system that promises some kind of salvation. Cal, ever the opportunist, uses this as an excuse for proselytization and finds an enthusiastic convert in Mary, who promptly becomes infatuated with the acting leader.
Cal dispatches her to form relationships with other members — most notably Sean.
Season 2 Outlook: things have been complicated for The Path's most damaged member. She is devoted to Cal, but will she forgive him for using her? He beat up her abusive father, but also forced her into a marriage with Sean, before sending Sean away in a fit of sexual jealousy when Mary actually fell for her husband. Cal and Mary give into their mutual attraction and end the first season making love, but it's certainly not going to be a smooth road for the pair in Season 2.
COMMITMENT TO MEYERISM: WAVERING
Initially a devoted member of Meyerism, Season 1 sees Hawk experiencing a crisis of faith, much like this father. However, the source of Hawk's wavering is different, with the teen beginning a romance with popular schoolmate and outsider Ashley.
This causes much consternation within the movement, not least with his mother, who starts meddling in her son's personal life.
Season 2 Outlook: before legions of fans screaming ''NO!'' at their screens, Hawk quit school to become a fully fledged member of The Path. Still, despite his outward commitment to Meyerism, the seeds of doubt are planted deep in Hawk's mind.
DETECTIVE ABE GAINES
COMMITMENT TO MEYERISM: NONE/SUSPICIOUS
An FBI investigator who takes a special interest in Meyerism, despite the apparent disinterest of his colleagues. Abe quickly starts to unravel the secrets of the sect, although personal troubles force him to reflect on his own interpretations of faith and religion.
Season 2 Outlook: Abe sees the coroner's report on Meyerist defector Jason, whose hands were badly burned when he fell from a mountain. Abe is now more determined than ever to expose what's happening in the cult.
COMMITMENT TO MEYERISM: STABLE
A novice member of Meyerism, Sean joins the movement after his sister is killed in a school shooting. Seeing an opportunity to gain new members, Cal asks Mary to form a relationship with Sean to encourage recruitment.
Sean had only a minor role in Season 1, although for Season 2 Paul James has been upgraded to a series regular, suggesting we may see much more of him in the season to come.
Season 2 Outlook: we didn't see much of Sean in the first season, and it's hard to know how much he realized that Cal was manipulating him. His marriage to Mary may strengthen their bond and rouse Cal's old jealousy...
COMMITMENT TO MEYERISM: RESOLUTE
Kodiak is a longtime devotee of the Meyerism Movement who is called back to the compound amid accusations of corruption and infighting. He is another new face to Season 2, played by familiar character actor James Remar.
The Path Season 2 is due to debut on January 25 on Hulu. If you missed the first season or simply want to remind yourselves of all the cultish goings-on, then make sure to check our episode-by-episode recap of Season 1.