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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Strain goes for the gut in a surprisingly moving episode about loss

Photo: Russ Martin/FX
Photo: Russ Martin/FX
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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.

  • “Look for the head.” Those are words that I would love to hear at the top of every single episode of TV.
  • Considering how Alex was killed unceremoniously last week, written off the show with barely a nod to her impact on the narrative, it’s encouraging to see Abraham Setrakian get the proper send-off this week. Cramming his death into last week’s episode would have been too much. Here, it’s given room to breathe. Setrakian is only moments away from succumbing to the infection and turning, but he gets just enough time to reunite with Fet and lay out his new plan for killing The Master. Having his work live on through Fet feels appropriate, as they always shared a special bond.
  • Remember when Quinlan debuted on The Strain and he was basically a brooding assassin who never really did anything? I’m so happy that those days are long gone, and that he’s now a brooding assassin who consistently filets the hell out of strigoi. This week he not only gets the team into the Federal Reserve Bank to stash the nuke—the one Setrakian says they don’t even need anymore, so that was a fun detour for the season—he also makes sure the strigoi don’t spread during the episode’s climactic scene. He’s on fire this week, with vampire heads rolling everywhere.
  • Setrakian’s plan to kill The Master, which involves removing his “limbs,” aka. the collaborators that work with him, also calls for what he describes as a “self sacrifice.” So, where would you put your money? Eph and Zack seem like the safe bets, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.
  • “The real impact of a life depends on will, on the determination to keep fighting no matter the cost.” Nicely said, Quinlan, though considering you’ve been fighting a single battle for thousands of years, this is kind of like blowing smoke up your own ass.
  • I’ll be curious to see how the final two episodes of the series deal with The Master’s collaborators. This season’s boasted a recurring critique of complacency and ignorance in the face of extreme, oppressive, fascistic violence, but it’s never really fleshed it out in a meaningful way. It’s a theme humming in the background, and I wonder if that will change.
  • The team seems to have everything they need to get to The Master, and by that I mean they have Desai and are pretty convinced that he’s going to talk. He’s a whiny scumbag with no real spine, so something tells me they’re not wrong in their assumption.
  • Then again, The Master also has everything he needs to fight against Eph: he has Zack, who’s reuinted with Eph at the end of the episode. There’s no way that he’s here to play a game of catch with his Dad like a post-apocalyptic version of Field Of Dreams. The Master has something planned.
  • “Wow, you’re so hot. I meant, like, your body.” You didn’t think I was going to end this post without pointing out something creepy and gross Zack said, did you?

Kyle Fowle is a freelance writer based out of Canada. He writes about TV and wrestling for The A.V. Club, Real Sport, EW, and Paste Magazine.

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