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The Strain’s final season premiere brings a new world order, and plenty of blood

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Corey Stoll (Photo: Shane Mahood/FX)
Corey Stoll (Photo: Shane Mahood/FX)
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The Strain

"The Worm Turns"

Season 4 , Episode 1

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Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • With his son all but wiping out human civilization as we know it, Eph has taken shelter in Philly, presumably so he can be far away from said atrocious son. This is a very different world now, and I think that’s a good thing for The Strain’s final season. With nuclear winter in full effect, the strigoi and humans are living together...kind of.
  • I say “kind of” because there’s something called “The Partnership” essentially controlling the city. They have shelters and community centers, and are handing out rations to everyone in exchange for blood donations. It all sounds well and good, but then you see they have one of those creepy commercials where a bunch of white folks are smiling while they do totally menial tasks. That’s never a good sign.
  • There’s more signs that things aren’t so good right now. While on his way to barter for some more propane to heat his hideout, Eph stumbles upon a back alley where a tanker truck is pumping blood into the pipes of a huge apartment building. We learn later that the residence is the primary home of the strigoi in the city, meaning that something weird is going on. Is The Partnership collecting blood for the strigoi? Hard to say at this point, but with Palmer and his cronies running the show, all sorts of corruption is possible.
  • Just when you thought Zack couldn’t get any worse, what with the whole nuclear launch thing, he’s now an emo-esque brat with too many toys. I get that he’s basically under the control of Master Palmer at this point, but still, I have no sympathy. That kid was always destined for self-indulgent misanthropy.
  • What’s intriguing about the start of this season is that the characters are scattered, each in different places physically and emotionally. We don’t hear anything about Dutch, and Setrakian only appears in a dream, but we do catch up with Fet. He’s canvassing North Dakota with a badass woman named Charlotte (Strike Back’s Rhona Mitra), looking for the missile silo Setrakian told him about. Along the way he’s hooked up with some other fighters, all of them raiding different camps and taking supplies for their own survival.
  • That’s all well and good until him and Charlotte get jumped in a cornfield. They’re taken to an old farm where Fet is held hostage and a group of women try to sway Charlotte to their cause.
  • This is where the episode’s worst contrivance comes in. Shackled up in a barn, Fet discovers he has a roommate, another man who the women use as labor. It just so happens that this man is in the military and worked inside the missile silo that Fet is looking for. To quote M. Night Shyamalan in Robot Chicken: “What a twist!” At least Quinlan, who shows up to save the day, releasing Fet, Charlotte, and their newfound friend Roman, pokes fun at the convenience of this discovery, saying that once again Fet has stumbled into a revelation despite putting himself in a difficult spot.
  • Checking back in with Eph, he and his warehouse buddies are picked up by a group of strigoi, presumably to take them to some sort of detention center, when a bomb suddenly goes off and tips the bus over. Eph is the only one who makes it out alive, and he stumbles upon an injured man nearby. After helping the man with his injuries, and talking down his gun-wielding sister, Eph discovers that they’re freedom fighters, revolutionaries looking to rise up and fight against the strigoi takeover. Eph says that he’s in no way interested in their plans, but something tells me that won’t be the case for long.
  • Something’s not right about those Freedom Bars, right?
  • So, where do we stand as the final season premiere wraps up? Well, Eph is shacking up with some revolutionaries, Fet, Charlotte, Quinlan, and Roman are on their way to a missile silo in Nebraska, and Zack is being groomed to be the next host for The Master, all while ogling a young maid that comes to clean his room for him. It’s good to know that while The Strain has certainly changed, Zack never, ever will.