Last week on The Strain, we began to ramp up to the grand finale, which is scheduled for next weekend. While it was a slower-paced episode that seemed a little lackluster compared to weeks past, it also posed itself as a first-act set-up for the overall finale. Which leaves tonight's episode as a really good second act, as it not only tells us more about where we're going, but also fills us in on what's already passed.

”I brought you a win.”

The wheels are in motion for the first battle for the fate of mankind, but this is old hat for Abraham Setrakian. In fact, we got to see his continuing origins as a badass vampire hunter, as well as some of the home life he lived before his wife's death. While Setrakian went off the rails last week when he lost his chance at killing The Master, we saw exactly why that death is one he's so eager to enact. Redemption, as well as vindication, are what's on the menu for Abraham, and it's good to see not only his past but also a glimpse into his future. His apology/acceptance of last week's events put him square with the house.

Also aboard the house-squaring bandwagon is Dutch, as she comes back to hack the Emergency Broadcast System for Eph to send a message across the city. Of course, this also means that Fet gets to turn on the charm yet again, which only further highlights how an ensemble character who took more of a backseat in the book has been turned into an equal. Dutch's plan works, and Eph does his best “doctor during a crisis under lockdown” spiel before the signal gets shut down. Whether it'll be enough to prolong the darkness has yet to be seen, but odds are we'll be seeing that play out in season 2.

”I knew you would not be able to resist such an inviting trap. ”

It was also about damned time that the Vampire SWAT team showed up again, and this week was as good a time as any. With Gus taking one of his stolen motor buyers hostage in exchange for guns and ammo, he was soon rescued and abducted by said SWAT team. But not before a shootout that had Gus taking aim against his captive, as well as a cargo container full of suckheads. Maybe those moves are what got him abducted in the first place. Or maybe someone's going to teach him a lesson about hunting Strigoi.

Tonight was capped off by some major losses for our heroes. On the human front, Nora lost her mother to, out of all people, Gabriel Bolivar. This loss leads to the second, as Eichorst turns out to be the leader of the raid against Knickerbocker Loan And Curios, thus robbing our heroes of a safe hiding place/armory. While Setrakian and company give up the ship, as well as the heart of Setrakian's beloved wife, Eichorst notes that this is not going to be enough. The scales turn towards the side of evil, as Eldritch Palmer is finally granted an audience with The Master, and is rejuvenated by his blood.

Something about the old German's words ring true at the end of “Last Rites”, as this week seemed to be an even exchange between the forces of dark and light. Next week, it's time for a good old fashioned showdown as everything goes to hell, and the gang takes another bite at the apple that is slaying The Master! The Strain's puts season 1 in the ground next Sunday with episode 13, “The Master”! You've stuck with us this long, so we'll see you here next week to finish the job! If you're still interested in some vampire facts, this week's Nitpicks, Notes, and Nods is only a click away!

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