What does it mean to believe–really believe–in oneself? When does healthy self-esteem become self-idolatry? These are the questions posed by Hugh Dancy’s brilliant turn on The Path, a new drama that premieres March 30 on Hulu. The British actor, last seen on NBC’s Hannibal, plays Cal, a born leader in a fictional leaderless religious movement, Meyerism, operating out of a compound in rural New York. Cal smiles a little too easily, stands a little too close. He wants to save you, and knows he can.
The Meyerists are notionally egalitarian, but Cal’s inspired lectures and seemingly selfless dictates about charity come to govern his fellow believers’ lives. This presents a problem for Eddie (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul), an increasingly disillusioned member of the group. Eddie starts snooping into how Meyerism keeps its less compliant members in line, careful not to tip off his wife, the faithful Sarah (a wonderful Michelle Monaghan), or attract attention from Cal. His discoveries lead to a reckoning between the men.
Meyerists believe in “the ladder,” a route one follows through life in order to reach one’s potential. As The Path reveals details of the faith’s underpinnings–its punishments and fundraising methods, and the past its leader is running from–it becomes more rewarding. (Happily it’s not bingeable, at least not yet: a weekly schedule aids the show’s methodical magic.) The Meyerists inhabit a strange world, but the way we learn its rules over the course of a 10-episode season could convert any viewer into a true believer in The Path.
The Path appears on Wednesdays on Hulu
This appears in the April 04, 2016 issue of TIME.
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