Tue 28 Nov 2017, 11:00
When family man and cult member Eddie Lane starts questioning his faith, he could lose everything. But can he force himself to live a lie?
Last week, Charles Manson, probably the most notorious cult leader ever, died at the age of 83. A group of his followers, mostly young women from middle-class homes, known as the Manson Family, committed a series of brutal killings on his command in 1969. One of the victims was actress Sharon Tate, wife of Roman Polanski. She was eight-and-a-half months pregnant.
While there’s very little that TV writers could conjure up that could match this real-life horror, the most interesting thing about the series The Path, now on Showmax, is that we see inside a cult (though the members prefer “movement”) from the perspective of one of the followers, who starts doubting his faith.
Aaron Paul stars as Eddie Lane, a convert to Meyerism. His wife Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) was born into it, and is a high-ranking member. The group’s leader, Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy), is veering towards power-hungry autocracy, but we can see that he really believes in the spirit of the movement - which is, basically, to make the world a better place.
It’s hard to keep a safe distance from The Path as a viewer, because Meyerism really seems to help people. It’s not based on the leader’s insane paranoia, like so many real-life cults turn out to be, and followers appear to benefit from clarity and the belief that they can tap into the “light” in the world. But then Eddie has a vision while on a retreat in Peru, which he’s attending to reach a higher position in the movement, and what he sees irrevocably shakes his faith.
But if he admits to his doubts, he risks losing everything - his family, his status, his home and the principles that ground him.
Aaron Paul grew up in a very religious family, and got his big break in TV on the HBO show Big Love (also on Showmax), about a businessman and aspiring politician who happens to be a Mormon with three wives and nine children. So it’s hardly surprising that Paul’s able to deliver Eddie’s moral and emotional dilemma so grippingly in The Path.
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