Eddie Lane has been anointed the Guardian of the Light, but the burden sits uneasily on his shoulders. Cal Roberts remains in charge of the Meyerist movement, but his emotional instability ensures that his grasp on power is a shaky one. Sarah Lane’s feelings toward both men exist are a paralyzing maelstrom of love, loyalty, and loathing. Her family, themselves members of the Meyerist inner circle, send her conflicting messages about where their own loyalties lie. The other major players in the movement have been momentarily marginalized, yet still seem capable of shifting their support from one leadership candidate to another should circumstances warrant. Eddie and Sarah’s children Hawk and Summer, the former in particular, are caught in the emotional and ideological crossfire. FBI Agent Abe Gaines is a man without a country as his undercover investigation into the movement causes him to question his personal and professional priorities. And the fate of a small town called Clarksville, its water supply poisoned by a corporate polluter, hangs in the balance as the Meyerists hash out their legal, political, and financial future. Yes, the Season Two premiere of The Path has — I’m sorry, I’m <puts finger on earpiece> I’m now being told that this was the Season Two finale of The Path? Did I get my notes mixed up or something?
Upon further review, the answer, unfortunately, is no. “Mercy,” the final episode of The Path’s maddeningly meandering second season, returns us pretty much exactly to where it started. Sure, the show may have added a dozen or so Deniers, now that Eddie has kinda-sorta accepted his role as a potential leader for a Meyerist reform movement, and subtracted one Richard, who lit himself on fire in what turned out to be an entirely unsuccessful attempt to shake the corrupted faith to its foundations. Other than that, though? It’s like the intervening twelve episodes never happened. All those changes of heart and reversals, all that business about blackmail and Clarksville, the very existence of Kodiak and Chloe (remember them?), the constant stream of Seinfeld pop-ins (for god’s sake, Abe pops in on Eddie and Sarah while they’re fugitives from the law in Canada in this episode) — none of it wound up mattering at all. Cal is twitchy, Sarah is torn, Eddie is facing the world with a grimace, and for all its up-with-people rhetoric Meyerism is a psychological disaster area. Situation normal, all fucked up.