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The Path - Why We Source - Review

Much of The Path is concerned with the inherent conflict present in all faiths, that being the conflict between the needs of the individual/the needs of the family and the needs of the whole. This conflict was brought center-stage in today's episode, as Hawk's sudden arrest and imprisonment brought Eddie and Sarah together to fight for their son, in direct conflict with the best interests of the movement and the people of Clarksville.

Much of this burden is carried by Sarah, as Eddie is no longer a part of the movement. Sarah has always been incredibly devout, and has always played strictly by the rules. But since ascending to her new co-leadership position, her adherence to the rules has begun to waver, due to both having to cover up Silas' murder and her continuing contact with Eddie. While The Ladder may emphasize the importance of family to the movement, it also forbids members from seeing relations and loved ones who have renounced their faith. This episode sees Sarah consciously choose to prioritize her family over the movement, which is a big step for her as a character.

The Path has been dancing around the theme of family since it started, and this episode finds the show exploring it in greater detail. The last episode saw Sean waver in his faith in the Light, but upon Eddie's advice he realized that what was really important was his family. And so this episode saw both him and Mary set out to blackmail Cal, putting their own interests over that of the movement, as Sean didn't properly complete his "sourcing".

Much of this episode is taken up by the "sourcing" sessions, and these scenes highlight this episode's theme of self-preservation. Sean uses his session to blackmail Cal. Cal himself only partly opens up to Richard, telling of his and Sarah's knowledge of an FBI informant, but revealing nothing else. Even the reasons behind the sourcing sessions themselves are subversive. A part of Cal's plan to find the mole, neither he nor Sarah tell anyone their true purpose until Cal is confronted by Richard.

Abe is yet another character acting purely out of self-interest in this episode, though given that he's undercover, he has always been looking out for himself. While Abe has shown that he has learned some things from his time in the movement, he has always remained at a remove from its belief system, Rockmond Dunbar's performance walking a fine line between earnestness and false enthusiasm. Put in charge of the search for the informant, he plants a burner phone in the office of the compound's doctor.

But while Sarah sacrifices the movement and the the people of Clarksville to save her son (having sex with Eddie in the process), it's Hawk who's the only person in the episode who puts the needs of others over the needs of himself. Hawk not only listens in to a fellow inmate as he preaches about social injustice and inequality in the U.S, but he was willing to stay in juvenile detention if it meant the Clarksville water would be tested.

At the end of the episode Sarah visits the farmer who has acted as the face of the people of Clarksville in the show. One of his favourite cows is dying, and to prove a point to Sarah he stabs the cow, spraying blood of a very peculiar colour all over Sarah. "That's not blood", he says. "That's poison." With this final image the show is returning to last week's notion that perhaps there is something wrong within the movement; a poison. Is that Cal and his leadership practices? Is it the ever widening trend of putting the needs of the individual over the needs of the movement? Or is it the movement itself that is the poison?

Grade: B+

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