The Path's oft-repeated soundbite is that it's about a cult, but for Goldberg, it's always been a story about the people who follow this movement. Turns out, they're not that different from any of us: They're flawed, they're human, and they're struggling to be better. "She didn’t come at it from the perspective of 'I’m writing about a cult,'" Katims told Refinery29. "She approached it as writing a story about a family at a crossroads, about a husband with a crisis of faith, and a wife whose belief system doesn’t allow for her husband’s doubts. So the characters hook you emotionally. You care about them. All of them."
While writing The Path, Goldberg says she was thinking about shows, like The Sopranos or Transparent, that are about families in more extreme circumstances. That eccentric framework helps add something new to the typical family drama. These characters feel like people you know, which isn't surprising, since Goldberg was thinking of herself as she wrote them.
"I went in feeling like Eddie and Sara were two parts of me," she says, explaining that Sarah was the part of herself that wanted to cling to something, while Eddie was the part that was filled with existential doubt. "You know, as a mother, as a daughter, as a sister, I’m such a Sarah," she says. "The writer in me is an Eddie."
Eddie is on a journey to find answers that will likely change his life forever, and could possibly end his marriage. "I do think with any marriage the metaphor is, if you look in the cracks you’ll see the dirt," Goldberg says, calling his journey "heartbreaking," but one he has to take. It doesn't sound too unlike Goldberg's own journey. "If I hadn’t had gotten divorced and felt, not only that I had to get out of the house, but that I needed to make my own money, I don't think I would have taken a TV job," she says. "I don't think I would have written this. It was for myself."
After dealing with so much tragedy, Goldberg was able to bounce back. But instead of just going back to normal, she found something better: herself.
"At the risk of being totally corny and spiritual, there’s something miraculous about getting here, and I'm still sort of surprised by it," Goldberg says. "So just every time I get a cut, it’s shocking. Being on set with these actors saying these things you wrote, and then getting the episode, is shocking. Just to be doing what you love to do is shocking in life, isn't it?"
Especially when you didn't even know you loved doing it in the first place.