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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Strain reveals more of the monstrous intentions of The Partnership

Illustration for article titled The Strain reveals more of the monstrous intentions of The Partnership

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.

  • It turns out that when you work for The Partnership, you get to eat fancy dinners at a restaurant monitored by armed guards. It really did not take long for the upper class to re-establish itself in the nuclear winter.
  • During Desai’s dinner with his wife, Eichorst shows up unannounced, angry that the man isn’t working while The Partnership prepares to deliver its first baby. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen this version of Eichorst, all menacing and intimidating. It’s a nice reminder of who the character is and what he’s capable of.
  • So after Dutch previously turned down Desai’s offer to act as a go-between for him and the pregnant women, here she agrees to comfort Sophie, who’s about to give birth, after Desai threatens to send her somewhere that’d be rough for “a girl like you.” Why does The Strain always use rape as a threat with Dutch? It’s a goddamn pattern at this point.
  • Speaking of Dutch—and I’ve mentioned this previously—but it is beyond disappointing to be watching this version of her character. I understand that the show might be using her helplessness as a way to set up a triumph down the road, but it’s frustrating to watch a once-active, dynamic character be reduced to someone who has to sidestep rape threats while playing the role of Partnership matriarch. Furthermore, The Strain can’t seem to think of any better storyline to give it’s women than the usual catty nonsense. It’s like a bad after school special in that birthing center, as one woman accuses Dutch of sleeping with Desai to get ahead.
  • “New Horizon” says goodbye to Alex’s brother Jason, as he’s stung during a strigoi raid on their hideout in the high school. Eph is the one to pull the trigger and stop Jason from turning, and therefore allowing The Master access to all of his thoughts, and that leads to some of the episode’s best material.
  • By that I mean that having Alex and Eph start to bond over their struggles, namely that every time they take a step forward against the strigoi, the Master and his army knock them three steps back, is a welcome development. Eph has been hogging the spotlight so far this season, basically telling Alex what to do at every turn, so it’s nice to see a little emotional complexity come into the mix. Hopefully The Strain can capitalize on that going forward.
  • “What was the point of it all?” That’s what Eph says to show he knows exactly what Alex is feeling, and considering he spent so long fighting the strigoi only to watch his son kick off the nuclear winter, I’d say he’s telling the truth.
  • I could not care less about Gus and Creem’s storyline. I’m not sure what it’s even supposed to achieve. Is it meant to give us insight into the criminal underground during the nuclear winter? Is it meant to be a morality tale, with Gus dragging his cousin into violent business he isn’t ready for? None of it seems to matter, as so far the entirety of the storyline boils down to “Gus and Creem steal a lot of stuff.”
  • Well, it looks like we have a slightly better understanding of The Partnership, as Dutch briefly escapes Desai and stumbles upon a factory line of blood farming, but it’s still lacking a bit of clarity. The Strain seems to be playing coy with the full intentions of The Partnership, and it’s frustrating. This isn’t a case where the mystery is satisfying. Instead, the show should be leaning on the monstrousness of The Partnership’s actions, showing us exactly why Dutch, Eph, and everyone else should be working so hard to take down The Master and his army of strigoi. By doing that, you could inject some real stakes into the season. Instead, it feels like we’re all blindly searching for something to latch on to when it comes to meaningful storylines this season, and consistently coming up empty.