Hulu recently debuted a trailer for the second season of The Path, a drama about the inner workings on a Scientology-esque religious group that walks the fine line between drug-fueled hippie commune and full-on cult. However, the next season has a pretty huge question to answer, based on the events of the first one: Is The Path science fiction?
For most of the season, the answer would be “Hell no.” It’s simply a modern-day drama about Eddie, played by Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, struggling with his faith as a key member of Meyerism, a new-age spiritual movement that bears a striking similarity to Scientology. The idea the show postulates (at first) is that the Wizard of Oz has always been a man behind a certain—in this case, a slowly dying leader called Stephen Meyer—and that belief invents divinity.
However, the final episode of the first season threw all that out the window, in a way that challenges the way we perceive their world in the coming months. Be prepared to drink the Kool-Aid, folks.
In season 1's last episode, “Miracle,” Eddie, nearing his wits end, heads to the Meyerist compound in Peru to confirm, once and for all, that Stephen Meyer had died. After all, there was absolutely nothing that could cure him of his disease. But then, Eddie sees Stephen standing by a window, looking fit, healthy, and very much alive. This isn’t the only “miracle” that happens in this episode. A detective’s baby is completely healed after Meyerist leader Cal prays over the child, ensuring she wouldn’t need to have open-heart surgery.
Miracles might not seem like science fiction, more something you’d find in Chicken Soup for the Cat Angel’s Soul, but religious themes are a huge part of sci-fi. A lot of times, it involves alien races honoring faiths that complement or contradict our own, but other times it’s a little closer to planet Earth. For example, NBC’s superhero show Heroes had that Usutu guy who sent our favorite New York cop on a totally-not-stupid vision quest.