Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Strain, Season 1, Episode 12: Last Rites

Evil Eldritch Plamer is still dying and still not a vampire

The goodguys return to the pawn shop to mope, especially Abraham who mopes his way into a flashback to the 60s when a younger Abraham hunted the Master in Albania, taking his wife Miriam with him (who believed  but still worried about Abraham’s obsession). This is to show, in case you didn’t guess, how utterly obsessed Abraham has been with the Master and for how long.

I’m sure we needed a flashback to tell us that.

Ephraim is still the worst person in the world ever and tries to get everyone to agree how terrible it was that Abraham tried to go after the whole nest – frankly this comes off less as concern and more as Ephraim desperately trying to secure leadership again. And Dutch returns to the shop, having recovered from her hurt fee-fees to flirt with Vasiliy some more.

She has a plan (Ephraim is an arsehole) – she can hack into the emergency broadcast system to contact the whole country through the internet blackout. They can get out a warning. As they set up the system we get some more overt confirmation of Dutch’s bisexuality and more flirting between her and Vasiliy.

After a long, dramatic apology from Abraham for losing control, Ephraim gets to make his speech about the vampires and showing photographs of the bodies he’s autopsied.

As they finish the broadcast the porn shop is attacked – Bolivar (remember him?) manages to get inside and infect Nora’s mother, Mariela. He’s just one of a wave of vampires led by Eichorst

The gang barricades themselves in the basement and Abraham reveals he has a secret way out. Nora has a tearful goodbye to her mother before insisting on being the one to behead her. Abraham says goodbye to Miriam’s heart before he leaves as well.

Eichorst arrives to gloat.

Back at team evil, the Master visits Palmer and gives him his blood. Fitzwilliam finds the then bedridden Palmer active and mobile, apparently in great health.

Augustin, meanwhile, is acquiring weapons by holding a guy, Alonso, at gunpoint and stealing his stash of weaponry. He also finds out that Alsonso is being paid huge amounts to ship containers out of the city. When he inspects them, he finds they’re full of vampires (unknown to Alonso). He and Alonso fight the vampires and each other – until the Vampire Hit Squad (remember them?) arrives. They kill the other vampires, kidnap Augustin and drive off.

Oh and the rest of Abraham’s flashback – he went out hunting the Master in the 60s – and he didn’t kill him (shocking). He also, foolishly, spent so long hunting him he didn’t get home to Miriam before dark - giving Eichorst chance to turn her. Abraham then killed her and cut out her heart as a reminder/keepsake/angst trigger. Absolutely all of this was known or easily inferred before this flashback and I have no idea why it’s here. It added nothing to Abraham’s story, we already knew the heart was a) from a vampire and b) from someone he loved and we already knew he’d been pursuing the Master since the second world war (or could easily infer it). This whole, extremely long, flashback served only as more filler

Aaaargh, develop Augustin’s storyline! Fight some more vampires! Do something about the vampires. Show us the dystopia the city is falling into – Do SOMETHING other than flashback, mope and Ephraim arseholery

There's a reason why my The Strain recaps are so short!

Nora did have a big tragic scene for her mother – but I’m not impressed or moved. Nora has been completely undeveloped except for as one of the Ephraim’s love interests (along with the equally undeveloped Kelly) who occasionally dropped anecdotes about Argentina.  And her mother wasn’t even developed that much – it could be interesting to have an elderly, disabled woman as a character, but she wasn’t a character. She was a burden. She was there to cause angst and grief and worry for Nora and give her more of a stake (same as Zack does for Ephraim) and now she’s dead she ratchets up the grief without her getting in the way. She’s a narrative tool, not a person.

And this show does not need any more filler. This show is crawling along and this is another Manatee-in-Molasses episode. It’s not like there wasn’t action, but for every moment of action there were 3 moments of flashback, moping or Ephraim being an arsehole.