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!
Nitpicks* You know, for being The Master's “favorite son,” Bolivar sure has been absent from the proceedings.
*Again with the worms, guys?! Do we not remember the scene in the book where a worm slithers across the floorboards, up a woman's leg, and forcibly enters through a lower orifice? UV Lamps. Slice 'em, and fry 'em guys.
Notes*The recurring theme of Love vs. Survival showed itself multiple times this week. Dutch's story about her family problems, Setrakian's flashback about his wife, and Nora's vanquishing of her mother all put this thread to the test. In each case, what had to be done was, in fact, done.
*Holy shit! Stephen “Nite Owl” McHattie is Quinlan? You really can't tell with the makeup and voice modulation.
*I kind of like consolidating the Setrakian flashbacks/Nora's mom subplots into The Strain, as the first book kind of just zooms towards the finale after a certain point. This helps even the story out, while ensuring that the next couple of seasons can streamline and focus on the Occido Lumen plot /Quinlan's origin story.
*Please let the writers include more Eichorst next season, as he's actually in The Fall and engages in a bidding war with Setrakian for the Occido Lumen – a book that sheds some interesting light on the whole subject of vampirism.
Nods*A lot of material from The Fall has been shifted into this episode. Primarily, the Young Setrakian Chronicles, featuring his wife, were taken from interludes in the second book. Strangely enough, they leave out the fact that Setrakian met her while he was a professor, and was eventually disgraced by his relationship with her, his student.
*Palmer doesn't really figure into the rest of the second book as much as he does in The Strain on TV.
*Nora's mother also dies in The Fall, which is where she was introduced in the first place.
*Gus eventually becomes part of The Clan, as he's employed by its leader, Mr. Quinlan – one of oldest vampires in existence.