The Path: The Future – It’s Not a F**king Cult (Review)

Hugh Dancy as Cal Roberts in The Path

Eddie may have a crisis of faith in “The Path” but in “The Future” it is Cal  who seems close to cracking.  Sure Lane shouts at the hospital staff in frustration about Miranda after the nurse calls the movement a cult:

“It’s not a F**king cult!”

But it is Cal who has a hidden agenda combined with some pretty screwed up sexual predilections. This is a man with ambition and secrets.

Despite Eddie’s disturbing vision in Peru, which his deceased brother facilitated, he has been busier placating Sarah than following up on the lack of light. Turning his back on the woman whose husband was killed when he wanted to leave the movement has allowed him to focus on his family, but doubts clearly remain.

Cal (Hugh Dancy) is dangerous and full  more interested in taking charge. He is also connected to Alison Kemp, the woman that Eddie (Aaron Paul) was seeing after his faith was shaken by his vision. Cal practicing his “delivery” has made the interim leader into a charismatic, when he needs to be, evangelic speaker for Meyerist movement. This does not  make Eddie trust Cal however.

There is also something odd going on between Cal and Mary, and while there is an attraction on his part, and hers, he almost compulsively rejects physical contact. After a tense moment he stops by her room and masturbates as she tells of Sean’s kissing her…all over.

Cal uses his practiced delivery on Miranda and convinces her that Eddie’s lie is the truth. Even if she only thought of transgressing with Lane it is real. When pressed Miranda also reveals the bad vision that Eddie had in Peru. After learning of this, Cal pushes for Lane to move up the next rung of the ladder to 7R.

The movement feeds on the confused and weak, using drugs to manipulate the followers and these “medicines” are dangerous.  The millionaire’s son, that Cal promises to cure from his substance abuse  takes the drugs and the boy’s  father is furious. He takes the teenager out of the program and the boy slips back,  just as Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) predicted. 

“The Path” shows the worst of of organized “alternative” religions.  The facade of caring and sharing aided by “medicine” and pot.   When Miranda disappears from the hospital after Cal’s visit, Eddie and the “elders” of the movement, Bill and Felicia,  are concerned. Eddie wants to know why she supported his lie, obviously, and the two elders mention Cal and Kemp, saying that Miranda is going to be the same thing.

The movement use a variation of  ayahuasca (DMT) in their rituals and this is what prompted the vision that Eddie had at the religious retreat. It is also the same thing that the addicts use in their treatment.

Eddie asks Cal about Miranda and he evades the question.  Lane wants to apologize to the woman and Cal discourages it, while indirectly asking about the vision, that Miranda mentioned.  Eddie refuses to discuss the retreat and it is clear he does not trust Cal.  The leader then pushes for Eddie to move up to 7R with Roberts as his mentor.

Cal also makes his move to take over the movement. He plans to write the last three rungs to the garden and both Bill and Felicia react negatively to the idea.  Roberts asks Mary Cox (Emma Greenwell) to speak at the ascension party and she tells of her father’s selling her to his friends for sex.

Abe Gaines (Rockmond Dunbar) hears the story, he is there to get Mary back to her father, and he is moved. 

Eddie and Sarah have moved  to a resolution to his “transgression” and he decides to go to the next level as Cal suggests. Their son Hawk (Kyle Allen) is being seduced by  Ashley Fields (Amy Forsyth) and he sneaks away to a party to be with her.  The two kiss.

The elders, who have a deep belief in the movement do not trust Cal and think that he has overstepped the mark.  Cal explains the realities of the movement pointing out that it pays for their house and lifestyle. Roberts makes it clear that his participation is more about the lifestyle, the power and the money.

It appears that the movement, with its dying leader, is all about a scary future that can only be faced on their ladder. Cal is someone who wants to spread the word for his own reasons.  The senior members  of the movement do feel like carbon copies of the hippie communes of the 60s and 70s.

However Cal feels more like a subversive influence and he is frightening  in his focus on becoming the new leader.  This is a fascinating look at how religions can be misused despite the pure motives of the founders.

“The Path” airs Wednesdays on Hulu.  This is a splendidly crafted story that begs to be watched to the finish. Monaghan, Dancy and Paul are brilliant as are the rest of the cast. Tune in, this is drama that is well worth the visit.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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