Warning: Spoilers for The Strain series finale are in play. If you haven't watched "The Last Stand," please bookmark this story and come back after you've caught up.
It's been a long road for humanity's potential redemption, as four seasons worth of The Strain have seen a ragtag group of well-intentioned humans trying to defeat the rising threat of The Master and his vampiric hordes. But tonight's series finale, "The Last Stand," ended the dark adventure with a pretty sharp exclamation point, playing out similarly to how we thought things would go. But even with the major variances that came into play, the endgame was the same: humanity has now been saved and given a second chance for renewed civilization, but it came at the cost of a father and a son.
Contrary to how things shook out in The Night Eternal, the final book in The Strain series (and basis for this fourth and final season), it was Zach Goodweather who set off the nuclear bomb that took out The Master. The biggest twist in this final hour of televised adaptation, though, was that Eph Goodweather was the final conduit for that ancient evil to inhabit. This personality shift came about after a battle between Quinlan and The Master left He Who Was Once Eldritch Palmer with a gigantic gaping throat wound, and Quinlan was then dispatched by his father's human form via several stomps to the head.
However, at some point between last week's massive betrayal and this week's ultimate showdown, young Zach somehow grew tired of being given the life of a posh vampire's pet, warming up to his father again after The Master turned him with his traditional (though not particularly appetizing) worm vomit ritual. His defeat of The Master was a very simple one, as he showed genuine love for his father in their final moments; and much like Eph did with Kelly, Zach released him by setting off the nuke, while holding onto him as the blast obliterated the tunnel where this final battle took place.
Just as Professor Abraham Setrakian had predicted, both in previous episodes of this current season, as well as in a new flashback scene set during season 1's time frame, the end came with a great personal sacrifice. Only, it was the younger Goodweather that actually pulled the trigger. Was it the best decision, as far as The Strain's story is concerned? Well, that's a discussion for another time. However, what this did accomplish was definitively ending The Master's reign of terror, quite possibly for the rest of time. Though, considering the fact that there's still some Strigoi being held in storage at one of the country's strongest disease labs, who knows if humanity will ever be totally safe. (Perhaps a limited season down the road would fix that, eh, FX?)
As for the rest of our band of heroes, some big payoffs came their way after five years of recovery and revamping, as it were. Gus split from the group to liberate the rest of humanity while also trying to find Aanya, his would-be love interest from Season 3. Dutch, on the other hand, actually stayed in New York to help undo all of the chaos she did to the Internet that helped lead to the rise of the vampires in the first place. She even looked like she'll land a steady boyfriend...and it's good old Fet, the Rat Catcher! The series ended with the two reuniting for a walk on the water on a beautiful day that saw the sun shining once again, with the main pests returning to New York being the garden variety kind.
So there you have it, Strain fans. The grand and epic tale that Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan, and Carlton Cuse have overseen for the past couple of years has concluded. The strain itself is now eradicated, and those who survived are working towards a brighter future than they ever saw during that initial outbreak, and all that followed. The Goodweather family, as well as Abraham Setrakian, may have paid the ultimate personal price, but the mission was completed, and even though humanity at large doesn't know it, the world owes its continued survival to them.
Thank you, FX, for sticking with the journey that The Strain had to offer, and thank you to you dear readers, for keeping up with the coverage we've had to offer. If we have any pieces of advice to leave you with, after all we've seen, it's this: save your silver, and watch the rats. As well, head to our fall premiere schedule to see everything coming to the small screen in the near future.