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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Heard

Every Atheist Needs: The Path

I was a huge fan of Breaking Bad. It’s among my all-time favourite television shows, and while Bryan Cranston was beyond spectacular, my favourite actor on the cast for Breaking Bad was always Aaron Paul. I think that’s because he surprised me. When they first introduced us to Jesse Pinkman, I assumed he was going to be just another average male actor. He just looked like an arrogant Hollywood type with no talent, you know? It took no time before I swallowed my pride and admitted I was wrong. Aaron Paul is awesome, and I was sold within just a few of his lines alongside Cranston.

The Path

With Breaking Bad over, I actually went through withdrawals. No, not from blue meth, but from the amazing acting of Breaking Bad, as well as the phenomenal suspense building that the show was capable of. I would mumble, “I am the one who knocks” to myself and warn Godless Dad, “I am the danger”. I missed the show and was so excited to hear that Aaron Paul was to star in another.

The Path, a Hulu original series, began on March 30th of this year and we’re only three episodes in. It only took a half of the first episode before I stopped saying “bitch” after everything Aaron Paul’s character, Eddie said. Eventually, I just forgot – yes, I forgot – that I was watching Jesse Pinkman, and started to see him as Eddie Lane. A testament to the acting skills of Mr. Paul.

I had no idea what The Path was about when I started watching it, except that Aaron Paul was in it. I was pretty surprised to find out that the subject matter was closely aligned with what I do here on The show is centred around one man and his family who happen to be members of a spiritual cult. The man, who is played by our favourite ex-methhead, goes on some sort of spiritual retreat to a compound in Peru that belongs to his cult, Meyerism. There, he sees something (we’re unsure what) that plants the seed of doubt. We see him begin to struggle with cognitive dissonance and we also begin to see that the cult he belongs to, may not be as benevolent as it would appear to outsiders.

The fictitious cult that Eddie and his family belong to appears to be closely modelled after the Church of Scientology. In a couple of episodes, members can be seen using some sort of biofeedback contraption that helps them cope with life’s many ups and downs. It feels pretty similar to the E-meter the Church of Scientology uses. Further, doubt is treated as the worst possible offence, and non-Meyerists are called ignorants like non-Scientologists are referred to as suppressives.

Meyerists follow what is called, “The Ladder,” gradually ascending it’s rungs to the “light”. Recruiters clearly prey on the desperate: drug addicts, criminals, those who have been through a severe trauma like a natural disaster or a loss. One such recruit, Mary, is played by Emma Greenwell, who I thought was fantastic in Shameless.

Three episodes in and I know we’re going to be dealing with a dark story, with lots of suspense that revolves around the loss of faith. I can’t really tell if this shit just finds me or maybe I am subconsciously drawn to stories about skepticism, doubt, religion and faith. Either way, I don’t care. I’m just looking forward to the rest of this first season of The Path.

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