Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Strain, Season 2, Episode 13: Night Train

Eichorst is overseeing some ominous construction – one that looks like a giant slaughterhouse with added incinerators. It’s for processing “sheep” honest. Ooooh catch that wit.

Vasiliy has his own construction project – making his truck ultra-secure while everyone prepares to say goodbye to Zach (I care even less than Abraham). Anyway Ephraim and Nora plan to try and make their disease bomb while they’re travelling as well.

They’re on the last train out of New York – while huge desperate crowds gather at the station. As they prepare to leave (in a very nicely set scene) Ephraim and Nora have a couple moment (oh yeah. Because this is needed). And Kelley is lurking around (in case Ephraim actually manages to move the plot forward)

They finally get on the train and to the huge relief of everyone the train drives off. Yay freedom

Well until the Master stops the train by simply putting 8 gazillion vampires on the tracks. 7 gazillion get squished then the train derails. Nora and Zach flee one way (they were separated from Ephraim) who tries to follow them. Kelley and the spider vamps are on the train. While Ephraim fights Nora and Zach run down the tunnel – and into Kelley.

Time for a Nora vs Kelley duel over Zach (oooh look symbolism – and further making Nora be epitomised as Kelley’s replacement) and Zach begging for mercy for Kelley distracts Nora – and she gets bitten

That leaves Zach and Kelley – and he hugs her. Kiiiiilll him! Doooooo it! Dooooo it!

Instead she takes Zach away. Presumably to the Master.

Ephraim comes and finds Nora on the floor – and there are worms crawling under her skin. She pushes her sword against the third rail of the train track, electrocuting herself while Ephraim is all sad.

Eldritch is still evil while Coco is playing the crafty sexy advisor/manipulator pushing Eldritch to assert himself more to Eichorst and the Mastery

Gus introduces his little army to Quinlan who introduces himself by killing someone and thoroughly terrifying the others (he also has a verbose speech trying to encourage everyone to embrace their inner knight) in a huge human vs vampire fight. They find it inspiring because the script says it’s so. Personally I think a whole lot of released prisoners listening to a posh monster calling on the unity of mankind would laugh uproariously.

Back to Vasiliy and Abraham who go to get The Fecking Book or die trying (Abraham is all for dying trying. Vasiliy not so much). They go to Cream to start the bidding war, as does Eichorst bidding on behalf of Palmer. Abraham gets in his taunts about the Master choosing Bolivar rarher than him while Eichorst taunts back that the Master intends to turn Abraham. Vasiliy has much better threats.

The bidding begins going straight to super ridiculous silly sums of money to Cream’s shock. Instead he decides to check the limits of each account – and Eichorst has a little more. He wins the bid. (Did the Ancients not put in all their resources or is Palmer just that rich?) until Eichorst loses access to his account. Looks like Eldritch is taking Coco’s advice.

Eichorst is not a happy vampire but doesn’t want to fight the small army of guards. Abraham and Eichorst exchange taunts. Abraham finally has The Fecking Book. And on the journey back he tells Vasiliy he isn’t going to give the book to the Ancients. Vasiliy is not 1000% a fan of ripping off the ancients and not being told about it when the predictable attack happens.

They put up a good defence with Vasiliy’s nifty van but Eichorst has overwhelming numbers. At least until Quinlan, Gus and his forces show up. Eichorst runs in terror from Quinland (while the Master takes a moment to say how he’s totally not afraid honest).

Abraham and Vasiliy escape through the sewers – leaving a bomb in the truck. A bomb which seems to catch Gus.

Eichorst goes stomping off to see Eldritch and Palmer who are duly contemptuous of his tantrums and make an epic demand to be treated as equal partners. The Master decides to join the deliberation. Alas, while Eichorst and Coco put on a good show, the Master’s not having it and he kills Coco presumably to turn her into a vampire

Vasiliy and Abraham leave the sewers – followed by Gus who pulls a gun and demands Abraham give up the book. Then Quinlan arrives to further insist on its delivery to the Ancients – but he’s tempted by Abraham’s offer: the book is perfect bait for the Master. And more than anything else, Quinlen hates the Master.

They all set off on a boat trop together while Abraham gives us an ominous voice over.

And so ends the last episode of the season and it has been a very long, very very painfully slow journey

We end the season pretty much where we started. The vampires are taking over the city but haven’t appreciably made many more inroads than they had previously. The good guys are opposing the vampires, but haven’t really done anything significant on the way to doing so. Nothing meaningful has changed. Abraham has The Fecking Book but despite the enormous effort and painful amount of time spent on this, there’s no real indication how this will change things

Coco was revealed, had a moment of being pretty awesome (and I actually like that she didn’t do a whole “Oh Eldritch how can you be so evil!” I think it was completely unexpected and a nice twist) then died and returned Eldritch to where he was in the beginning. Nora and Dutch began the series as small side characters and now one is dead and the other has vanished. Justine remains the one awesome female character who desperately needs more time on screen

Gus started the season killing vampires with a small gang of fighters and, after spending an inordinate amount of time at the Guptas, ended the season killing vampires with a small gang of fighters.

Nothing has changed. Nothing has moved. Nothing has developed. Any attempt to do any kind of storyline last 2-3 episodes then fizzled (except the hunt for that Fecking Book). The viral bomb never really got tested and developed then got forgotten. Vasiliy bombing tunnels? Dropped. Justine leading her army? Becomes political drama about taxation and… again… not developed. Killing Palmer? One attempt then collapses. Every storyline starts and then just fizzles out.

We spend a whole lot of time on Ephraim and Zach and there aren’t enough words in the English language to express how very much I don’t care about these two. I would rather listen to story ideas in the Falling Skies writers’ room than follow one second more of this plot.

And the treatment of marginalised people is not good. Coco is killed off without being properly developed. Kelley is not even a character by any real stretch of the word. And Nora? I am enraged about Nora – killing her off? Why is she dead? She wasn’t in the books! And reducing this woman, this scientist, this character with actual chance to be a force in this book to a glorified babysitter was beyond appalling

The mayor was a caricature of ridiculousness. Not even classy enough to be evil – he was a weak, pathetic lump of a man who only found his spine at the most ridiculous moment. Cream is straight from central casting for a Black gangster. The one decent POC depiction was Augustin – yes he’s a very stereotyped gang banger (yes there were the Guptas – but were any of them really characters? Or just precious objects for Gus to save) but he was also shown himself to be more than just a gang member.

And Dutch – I thought for a long time that she would end up with Vasiliy and Nikki would be cast aside – but I was wrong. But Dutch and Nikki happened in the worst possible way and ended with her leaving the series; if she comes back I will lay odds to it being her leaving Nikki and coming back to Vasiliy. And absolutely no-one would blame her for that choice – because almost from the beginning it has been the obvious choice. She never refers to her relationship with Nikki as anything but utterly destructive, unhealthy and broken – contrasting obviously with Vasiliy who fights beside her, who saves her and is generally obviously and blatantly much better than Nikki. We see Dutch choose Nikki while being equally clear that she is MAKING THE WRONG CHOICE.