Jesse’s back, evil pols and lost ‘Girls’

This week on TV.

The Path (photo credit: PR)
The Path
(photo credit: PR)
 Breaking Bad fans will remember Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, Walter White’s partner in crime, and now he is back starring in a new series, The Path, which runs on HOT VOD and HOT Plus on Tuesdays at 10 p.m.
The movie is set in a cult in upstate New York. Paul plays Eddie, a man who joined the cult decades ago after his brother committed suicide. Eddie is married to Sarah (Michelle Monaghan), the daughter of one of the cult’s founders. She chose him over her first boyfriend, Cal (Hugh Dancy), who now runs the cult. The cult seems to be a genial hippie-ish mishmash of New Age philosophy about ascending the ladder and letting in the light, but Eddie is beginning to have doubts about it. As he meets with a defector after an upsetting experience at the cult’s spiritual center in Peru, he begins to learn upsetting secrets about the group.
The dilemma of a person who loses faith and then has to risk the loss of everything – spouse, children, friends and livelihood – is very dramatic. Paul and Dancy are especially good, and the series was created by Jessica Goldberg and Jason Katims, who were behind Parenthood. The first two episodes made me want to see the rest of the series.
The Path joins a long list of series worth watching, one that may be getting too long for some.
“In this time of the ‘Too Much TV Debate,’ no doubt many television watchers, probably all television watchers, have realized they can’t keep up, even with stuff they enjoy,” wrote Richard Lawson recently on
Many of us can identify with this feeling, so let me give a few season’s end or midterm report cards to some of the shows that you may be debating whether or not to keep up with.
Season six of The Walking Dead just ended, with the muchheralded appearance of Neegan, the arch rival of the comic series, who is played with appropriate malevolence by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Some of you may recognize him as Jason, Alicia’s new lover from The Good Wife. But The Walking Dead has now devolved into a kind of torture porn, and even its most loyal fans have been giving up on it.
I wasn’t a huge admirer of the somber, ultra-cynical House of Cards, about the scheming politician Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his equally ambitious wife, Claire (Robin Wright), in the lead roles. However, as the US presidential race gets into high gear, I got hooked on the fourth season in a way that I haven’t in the past. It starts out with Claire turning against Frank, and she is not as easily manipulated as the creepy associates and not-too-swift adversaries against whom Frank has done battle in the past. As always, it doesn’t really make sense if you think about it too much, such as the plot turn where the First Lady seeks the vice presidential nomination or when Frank threatens to kill the secretary of state. As Brian Lowry wrote in Variety: “With its stellar cast and showy moments, House of Cards remains highly entertaining, especially if you’re willing to check your brain at the door.”
The best line of the season is when an associate says to Claire: “That’s the first time you’ve lied to me since you stopped lying to me.”
Girls is a show you either love or hate and I love it, although after the first season or two, there were too many scenes of the characters just bickering with each other. This season, which will be its second-tolast, it is back with a vengeance.
Two episodes were like stand-alone short films, one about Shoshana (Zosia Mamet, David Mamet’s daughter) and how she falls in love with Japan and, just as quickly, gets laid off from her corporate job there. The other one was about Marnie (Allison Williams, Brian Williams’ daughter). Marnie marries her weak-willed singing partner, and then, after one of her inevitable fights with him, runs into her old boyfriend, Charlie, who has gone from being a sought-after app designer to dealing drugs. It’s all gruesomely plausible and very well done.