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The Path - Season 3 - Advance Preview

As a fan of The Path’s first two seasons, I was a little bit concerned about the show going into its third year. I have always found it to be a good show with terrific performances and a lot on its mind, but it, in my opinion, could never quite find the balance between big ideas and engaging drama. As much as I enjoyed the second season – which was far more than most – by the end I was worried that the show was growing a bit repetitive, and that it would soon wear out its great premise.

I have now seen two episodes of the new season (which premieres tomorrow on Hulu), and I’m happy to say that I enjoyed them far more than I expected to, which came as a huge relief. These two episodes start the season on a high, unexpected note (at least to me, as someone who hasn’t seen any trailers for it), and they made me far more excited to see what the show does next than I have been since it premiered back in 2016.

Creator Jessica Goldberg and her writers clearly also felt a sense of repetition creeping into the show, and the opening ten minutes of the season felt like a strong statement from them that this season would be different from the two that came before. Blunt and to the point, those opening minutes pay off much of the slow groundwork the series had been laying, and push the show – and Meyerism – in new, exciting directions.

I noted a couple of times in my reviews of the show last year how the Meyerist movement often seemed to act as a mirror to the show itself, and that has never felt more true than in this season. With Eddie (Aaron Paul) now in a prominent position within the movement and continuing his push to modernise it, Meyerism is only growing more and more mainstream within the show’s world. This has given the movement a fresher look and feel, and you can also say that about the show itself. Whereas prior seasons had a rural and often claustrophobic aesthetic, that has now partly been replaced with an emptier, more wide open and modern feel. Both the movement and the show are pushing in exciting directions, and both look and feel quite different.

Whereas Eddie is part of the movement’s march forward into mainstream acceptance, Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) , feeling immense guilt over her actions last season, no longer gets what she once did out of her faith, and longs for the way things once were. Meanwhile, Cal (Hugh Dancy) no longer feels at home in the movement that was once his, the movement that he thought was promised to him by the man who abused him as a child. Now, Eddie is seen as a Messiah figure by most Meyerists, and the movement has left Cal behind.

The performances (especially from the three leads) are still remarkable, and the show remains as thought-provoking as it ever was. This year, however, it seems more consistent in its ability to mine good drama from this, and much of this is down to its willingness to push forward, and leaving what didn’t work behind. The Path’s third season is not a completely different show, it’s simply a new and improved version of the same show.

Grade: A-

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