The name “Donald Trump” was never uttered, but his presence lingered over a Saturday morning discussion with the stars and producer of Hulu’s “The Path.”
The series cast, including Aaron Paul, Michelle Monaghan, and Hugh Dancy, along with creator Jessica Goldberg, sounded starkly aware that 2017 will be a far different year than many expected, and their show might be seen differently as a result — likely for the better.
“I’m so excited this show is coming out in this new American time,” Goldberg told reporters during Hulu’s panel discussion at the Television Critics Association press tour. “I think it will be really interesting how we look to faith during this change in American life.”
Appropriately, the Meyerist movement (the religion — “not a f*cking cult!” — at the center of “The Path”) is expanding in Season 2. Cal (Dancy) is pushing for a new “center” in New York City, in order to spread the word and gather more climbers of the mythical “ladder.” His co-leader, Sarah (Monaghan), is intent on sticking to the inclusive principles on which the movement was founded.
“We are trying to make it ‘The Movement 2.0,'” Monaghan said. “[We want to] make it bigger and broader, and in doing so, open it up to a larger aspect of community.”
Season 2 was written and shot prior to 2016, meaning the content and story were completely set before the election.
“Looking at what people do when they don’t feel included in their country, I think our show does that,” Goldberg said. “I think we’re also living in a country in which faith is more important than we might think.”
“I’ve always been fascinated with just religion in general,” Paul said. “It creates answers to heavy questions [in order to] provide hope and guidance, which a lot of people need.”
Each character is entering the new season at a time of great change. [Editor’s Note: Spoilers ahead for “The Path” Season 1.] Paul’s character, Eddie, has left the movement, which forced Sarah to choose her faith over her husband and push him out of their home.
“He’s getting used to living on the outside, but he’s still very much haunted by these people, this movement, that are trying to bring him back in,” Paul said about Eddie.
Sarah, meanwhile, also caught Cal lying to his fellow Meyerists at the end of Season 1; specifically about where their leader was and what he had been saying. Nevertheless, the two have accepted a joint leadership position in the movement, thrust upon them by Cal and circumstance.
“She’s come to understand there are sacrifices to be made,” Monaghan said. “She’s less naive and less of a zealot, but it’s certainly more complicated for her. She’s really struggling with the fact that [Eddie] is a denier and he is the father of her children.”
“We think,” Dancy quipped, leading to a few chuckles from the cast. But things are far more serious for Cal to kick off Season 2, as he’s been abandoned by Sarah (who he’s always loved and relied upon) and still lives wracked with guilt over killing a spiritual leader of the movement.
“He’s very, very slowly inching closer to questioning his faith, which he disavowed himself of before,” Dancy said.
Find out how far he goes when “The Path” returns on January 25, on Hulu.