Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Strain stages a long-awaited showdown between Setrakian and Eichorst

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

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 must have cost a pretty penny to use “Paint It Black” at the top of this episode. It’s worth it though, as the propulsive song perfectly captures the mood of Quinlan, Fet, and Roman getting to Long Island in their hopes of bringing a nuke to The Master’s front door. Plus, Quinlan gets an early episode line delivery that’s dripping with charisma. As he looks into the eyes of a strigoi and The Master takes in the approach of his enemies, he says, “Yes, we’re here. And now we’re coming for you.”
  • Early on, “Ouroboros” sets the stage for a final showdown between Eichorst and Setrakian. It’s clear that Setrakian is on his last legs, and Eichorst himself is on thin ice with The Master, failing to stifle any of the threats against total strigoi takeover.
  • You have to think this season would come together more coherently, and more impactfully, if there was a little more world building. I know we can’t have everything and there’s only so much time to tell these stories, but a better sense of just how punishing this new world order is would be extremely helpful.
  • After Setrakian tears up the Lumen in an attempt to see everything as one single piece and find what he’s missing, The Strain finally begins to pull all of its pieces together. Excluding Fet and Quinlan for now, the whole gang is back together. Dutch and Eph have a joyful if somewhat tense reunion, as do Gus with Setrakian, with the latter chastising the former for taking off and siding with the criminals. When Gus tries to defend himself, Setrakian delivers a scathing indictment: “People try to get by. First with silence, then with comfort, then with collaboration.”
  • The reunion isn’t a joy for everyone though. In fact, Creem sees this as a betrayal of his arrangement with Gus, as Eph and Dutch are allowed to take any supplies they need from their newly-acquired police headquarters. That doesn’t sit well with Creem, so he follows them back to their hideout and then seeks out The Master to get paid for that information.
  • Creem’s asking price? Control of the black market and all of Roosevelt Island to himself. It turns out that such a price is way too steep when The Master can just sting you and get the information that way, which is exactly what he does. So long Creem, the first of a few major deaths in this episode.
  • It’s not always at the forefront, but there’s an intriguing underlying theme running through this season, and it’s that the strigoi takeover is the inevitable outcome of human cruelty. Setrakian points out that The Master’s plan is a carbon copy of what the Nazis did during WWII, showing that while the strigoi may be monstrous, there’s a fair amount of that within the human race too.
  • So, the plan for Quinlan, Fet, and Roman was to drive the nuclear warhead across the Brooklyn Bridge and into the heart of The Master’s Manhattan hideout. Desai and The Master anticipate this plan though, and blow up every single bridge and tunnel access, cutting off the freedom fighters and their warhead.
  • Okay, before we get to the big confrontation that’s been building since the first season of this show, I need to get something off my chest: how is The Strain going to build up Alex as an important, integral character, and then just have her neck snapped near the end of the episode? A few episodes ago I mentioned that Alex was similar to Nora, and that I hoped she wouldn’t meet a similar end. Sure enough, just like Nora, she’s unceremoniously killed off.
  • That brings us to Eichorst and Setrakian. They’ve been fighting a battle for a long time, and it finally comes to an end here when Setrakian figures out that the only way to truly take out Eichorst is to sacrifice himself. He pumps himself full of blood thinners and then confronts the vampire Nazi, letting himself get stung and therefore poisoning Eichorst. It’s a fitting, emotional end to one of the show’s integral feuds, which also leaves plenty of time for Eph and the team to regroup and go after The Master before the end of the season.