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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Get creepy, get cultish with Hulu’s best original series “The Path”

    Hulu via YouTube
    Still from the release trailer for “The Path” season one, now available on Hulu. The series centers around the creepy comings and goings of The Meyerist Movement.

    At some point in your life, you’ve probably wondered what life would be like if you joined a cult. Society views cults as nefarious and paints their members as outsiders to the rest of the world, but we—as people—remain fascinated by them. The complex psychological phenomenon that allows people to band together and form a cult remains puzzling yet fascinating. Hulu just released a new original series called “The Path” for those not fascinated enough to join an actual cult.

    The series stars Aaron Paul, Michelle Monaghan and Hugh Dancy as members of the Meyerist Movement cult. Paul, an actor best known for his role as Jesse Pinkman in the acclaimed AMC drama “Breaking Bad,” stars in this new series as Eddie Lane, a devoted father, loving husband and brainwashed cult member. Monaghan plays Eddie’s wife Sarah, and Dancy plays Cal Roberts, one of the leaders within the group.

    The series opens with the devastating aftermath of a vicious tornado, a landscape ravaged by families screaming for their children and individuals fighting for a drink of water. Members of the Meyerist Movement arrive on the scene to whisk many of the survivors to their camp to heal them and start them on the path to joining their movement. Oddly enough, they arrive on scene before anyone else, law enforcement included.

    Of course, the community welcomes them with open arms, and works to foster a comfortable place of healing for the tornado survivors—or so it seems.

    One of the best aspects of this show, as well as what makes it so appropriately creepy at times, is just how normal and relatable many of these characters are. When films and television shows depict cults, they often come across as groups full of complete lunatics who can’t think for themselves at all and an insane charismatic cult leader devoted to making everyone see the world as he does.

    “The Path” may do this to an extent, but for the most part these characters feel real. This makes the more horrific moments of the show particularly appalling and the series compelling.

    The top-notch acting sets the show apart. 

    Dancy plays his role particularly well as the complex and inwardly tormented Roberts, who has kept a colossal secret from the rest of the group about their original leader Dr. Steven Meyer. Paul also does a great job, despite fans of “Breaking Bad” expecting him to yell out “Bitch!” every few seconds. A character as memorable as Jesse Pinkman makes it hard to take Paul seriously in any other role, and he will likely remain Pinkman for life.

    Paul’s character has a supernatural vision of his dead brother while on a Meyerist retreat in Peru that ultimately causes him to question the Meyerist Movement and its teachings and methods. This leads to the conflict that fuels the rest of the season.

    Despite a variety of positive aspects, the series moves fairly slowly. Many plot elements are left unexplained to the point that the story becomes difficult to follow at times. The slight supernatural angle goes unexplained in the first few episodes, making the overall aim of the show more difficult to discern.

    In short, the show isn’t perfect, but the good definitely outweighs the bad here and makes “The Path” a worthwhile experience. The deeply philosophical series showcases excellent cinematography, with several shots that create breathtaking imagery. The show represents another attempt from Hulu to create high-quality original programming, and the streaming site has succeeded here as “The Path” is its best original program yet.

    “The Path” airs Wednesday nights on Hulu.

    Follow Alec Kuehnle on Twitter

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