Warning: Spoilers for The Strain are in play. If you haven't watched "Tainted Love," come back after you're current.
For a television show delivering its sixth episode in a ten-episode run, it's probably not the most ideal time for a flashback, and it's an even less likely time if it's the show's final season. Lo, that's exactly the scenario that FX's The Strain is currently playing out, yet we got not only a genuinely strong flashback-filled episode, but also some serious narrative traction for two of the other important storylines in need of closing by the final curtain. The thread that wove those stories together is, to quote The Princess Bride, "Twue Wuv."
That big flashback sequence again came courtesy of Mr. Quinlan's Victorian adventures, with his romance came coming to a tragic end in his anti-Master quest. It was all the more sad to see him heartbroken, because we've seen him take a more human appearance over the course of the last two weeks, showing the striking Rupert Penry-Jones in his natural form. But since his beloved Louisa and her daughter were released by Quinlan's own hand, he no longer felt the need to wear the metaphorical mask that he donned in the name of love.
It's an experience that has stuck with him to the present day, as he continued to assist Fet and his team in transporting the nuclear warhead that could end The Strain's entire vampire problem. Of course, what would this quest be without some interference, and who knows how to ruin a good day more than Herr Eichorst himself? Making his way into the heartland of America, the Nazi vampire gave it his all to try and stop our saviors from taking off from that private airfield.
However, Fet's beloved Charlotte turned this potentially threatening situation into the action movie remake of Casablanca. While she stayed behind, since joining a suicide mission wasn't in her best interests, she made sure to kick some ass in order to allow her man to escape unscathed. Here's lookin' at you, kid; and here's hoping we see you in the series finale.
Meanwhile, in the first and final destination of The Strain's lore, teenybopper Zach is turning to some darker tendencies after his own serious heartbreak. While it looked like he and Abby might be getting closer to each other in these Strigoi-controlled times, the twist here was that she already has a boyfriend. (Gasp!) So all of this meet-cutery was for nothing, and when the time came, Zach let his personal Feeler bodyguard turn Abby into his own vampire girlfriend. (Another gasp!) His conversion into a full-blown baddie seems to be progressing rather well, and knowing the public's not so loving perception of the character, it's honestly a wise move to lean into that evil curve, rather than try to resist it.
The brilliance of "Tainted Love" is the fact that it plays on a theme that The Strain has spoken to since day one: the enrichment, as well as the perversion, of people through love's hold on them. Every move, from the initial wave of infection to taking back of New York City to the eventual plunging of the world into a nuclear pall, has been motivated by people's feelings towards each other. We're now left with only four more episodes of The Strain, and the show is still running that thread, which means the finale is looking to be a strong and equally moving conclusion to this dark epic.
The Strain's story's still progressing in the present, of course, but just as the show has always been able to do, it turns digressions into its backstory into a true strength. Knowing that there are limited hours left in the show's existence, it'd be nice to see the full fandom checklist achieved, with maybe a bottle episode and some extended action sequences to close out The Strain's long and eventful journey.
That's all for this week, but come back after The Strain revisits us all on FX -- next Sunday at 10:00 p.m. ET -- to see where the story has taken us then. In the meantime, if you're planning to plot out your replacement once The Strain has reached totality, you should check out our fall premiere schedule. Oh, and this shouldn't come as a surprise to any of you Strain fans, but we urge you to be careful during tomorrow's eclipse. The last thing you'd want is to become a Strigoi; or possibly worse, a blind Strigoi.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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