“We’re NOT a cult! Were a Movement!”
With subscription based video streaming services quickly becoming a viable alternative to cable altogether, services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have all begun providing their own flavors of unique programming to set themselves apart from one another. When Netflix boasts amazing shows like, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Bloodline, it is clear and evident that Hulu and Amazon Prime need quality original programming that customers can only get from them, if they want to compete in a market, which as whole is competing with big cable and satellite television providers.
The Path, is probably the most talked about Hulu original thus far, because it’s Aaron Paul’s first, live action appearance in a series since AMC’s hit drama, Breaking Bad. In, The Path, Paul plays Eddie Lane; a husband and father of two with a troubled past, who has turned to, what seems to be, a Cult, to make a pretty decent life for his family. In contrast to his role as the drug abusing delinquent Jesse, in Breaking Bad, Eddie is portrayed as a responsible and intelligent father, and leader in “The Meyerist Movement.” His performance, although different from what fans are used to from him, is a solid and convincing one, and keeps viewers in tune with his increasingly unnerving emotions.
While the plot is thick, and the dialogue and character development alike are rich and entertaining in their own right, I personally feel it is the setting that shines in this series. Jessica Goldberg has created an incredibly interesting fictional cult, known as the Meyerist Movement, that operates based on the teachings of a man named Steve Meyer. From the iconic settlement that they live on to the ever present “Eye of Light,” that decorates it, the viewer quickly understands how these “followers,” live and go about their day to day lives. Jessica does well at showing the viewer the inner workings of a modern day cult that exists in plain sight, and even acknowledges and interacts with the outside community. Characters shamelessly compare it to scientology early in the show, which is smart in my opinion, because the viewer will more than likely do the same anyway.
The Path wastes no time in getting straight to the point in the very first episode. Steve Meyer, the founder and uppermost leader of “The Movement,” is not present, and in his absence Cal has taken temporary leadership of the community. Hugh Dancy, portrays Cal as an intelligent, albeit suspicious character, who is wholeheartedly committed to the movement. It is shown early on that the movement focuses primarily on helping victims of natural disaster, drug addicts, and generally just people in need. It is also made clear that this is where they get their core following recruitment, and Paul’s Eddie is a shining example of this concept. Although Eddie has raised his family in the movement and his wife and children are completely engrossed in its ideology and lifestyle, the plot revolves around Eddie’s feelings of doubt, and his interactions with a curious female character from outside the movement.
Plot develops quickly and every episode leaves the viewer in a position where not just binge watching the next episode is very difficult. Now that the entire show is released, the viewer has this option, but when the series began, Hulu chose to release each episode on a weekly basis, much like it has done with it’s other core original series. While this is a bit of a turn-off for many “cord cutters,” now that we live in the age of Netflix and binge watching, I can honestly say that this show kept me interested and I came back every week until the first season was complete. I can also honestly say that although the show suffered from a few hiccups in realistic character behavior in the latter half, I was genuinely pleased with the moment to moment drama character development, right on through to the finale. The show is fantastic, and I hope the second season can top it. Jessica Goldberg left plenty of room for more, and after the finale, I don’t see how anyone could walk away without a thirst for more.