In Which Aaron Paul Has Broken Every Heart So Completely

Mary Cox Came and I Don’t Care


The Path
creator Jessica Goldberg

In 2014, national legislation was introduced to Congress to ensure that Aaron Paul would never be able to play any other character except Jesse Pinkman. Obstructionists in both parties torpedoed this remarkable motion, and I sob every day that I have to watch the utter shit Vince Gilligan named Better Call Saul. I don’t care about what a bunch of gross lawyers do in Albuquerque. I only care about what Jesse Pinkman did after he drove off that day, and he was happy. Where did he go, what did he do, and who did he do?

Apparently he married Michelle Monaghan. He is not really all that happy with her on Hulu’s original series The Path, although they have two children together. After his return from a mission in Peru, Jesse (I will not call him by another name) starts acting kinda secretive and weird. Instead of assuming what is most likely — that Jesse is cooking meth again — Michelle thinks that he is cheating on her with a younger version of herself. She tracks Jesse Pinkman to a motel and watches him enter a second-floor room.

Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy) is the ostensible leader of the Meyerist cult, which houses both Michelle and Jesse Pinkman. Dancy looks like he has lost a lot of weight since Hannibal and his marriage to Claire Danes. On The Path, he has a thing for Michelle Monaghan, even though a woman named Mary Cox (Cocks? not sure) is throwing herself at him in almost every single scene ever since a tornado destroyed her New Hampshire trailer park.

The cult is pretty boring. They sometimes take drugs to enable hallucinations, and they light these weird little fires around their experiences. They are very big on getting over pain, and they are all excellent woodcarvers. The missionary side of the movement involves outreach in disaster relief and drug rehabilitation. The clothing that the members of the cult wear is soft and maybe handmade. It is often see-through, which accentuates the generous improvements to the physique of one Jesse Pinkman.

I am a little tired of every single male character on television being a great father but a terrible husband. This is a cliche that has gone way too far. Jesse becomes suspicious of the cult that his wife was born into, so he drives to the library where he drops the loaded phrase “Is Meyerism real?” into Google. The soundtrack of The Path really kicks in during these decisive moments. It turns out that Jesse is not actually cheating on his wife, just her set of beliefs.

As bad as The Path is, it has a decent cast and high production values. If you kinda squint and pretend this is actually Jesse Pinkman and not some worthless facsimile of a great character, The Path is substantially better than the show that replaced the greatest show ever on television, Better Call Saul.

The emotional center of Better Call Saul has been the relationship between the titular lawyer and his blonde love interest. I cannot fully explain how little I care about any of the people on the show; how they make the individuals involved in the propagation and sale of illegal drugs look like saints in comparison. Everyone is a villain in Better Call Saul, just as everyone on The Path is radical cultist with a heart of gold and a deep dark secret.

One night Mary Cox approaches Hugh Dancy and asks him to cheat on Claire Danes. She drops her soft slip to the ground and offers herself to the man’s intense charisma. He refuses her offer of a blowjob and she explains that her father had been selling her to men since she was a child. Dancy is the best part of The Path, since he is great at projecting a menace that switches back and forth between threatening and reassuring. He goes and smashes her father’s face into a microwave, and then gives a speech where he compares modern existence to Plato’s allegory of the cave.

As the doubter of the cult, Jesse is a regular family man without much in the way of hobbies or distractions. He explains to his followers that when he was a young his brother took care of him. They lived in apartment and he thought they were happy, but his brother ended up hanging from an extension cord and Jesse was left on his own. The fact that Jesse Pinkman came from a fine background and ended up in shit, while this character came from nothing and has a loving family in glorious upstate New York does not make sense to me on any level.

I think we can all agree that Breaking Bad never should have ended when it did. The world that Jesse and Walter White created for themselves in Albuquerque had to blow up — the entire run built to that moment when he was caught. But Walter White could have gone through the legal process. I would have loved to have seen how he handled it, and jail. And then you could have broken him out of jail — Jesse could have done it, and they could live together in South America as lovers. That’s all I ever wanted.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

“Marble Arch” – Trembling Bells (mp3)

“Show Me A Hole (And I’ll Crawl In It)” – Trembling Bells (mp3)

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