Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Strain, Season 3, Episode 10: The Fall

It is the grand finale, we can tell this because Abraham has a totally dramatic voice over to prepare this big finale.

Eldritch meets Abraham to announce he’s stolen the Master’s nuclear bomb and totally filled Eichorst full of silver and isn’t this awesome. The plan is now to have Palmer return home and wait for the Master to come get him so he can get his bomb back – because his go-to-man Eichorst is out of the picture. When he does, Vasiliy, Abraham, Ephraim, Dutch and Quinlan will all pile on him and drop him in his silver box then drop said silver box in the ocean (where silver, being a relatively soft metal and trapping a very strong master, will eventually be worn away and the Master will be freed but that’s future generations’ problem).

It’s not a bad plan. Unfortunately we also have to deal with Vasiliy whining at Ephraim and slut shaming Dutch

Unfortunately the Master has a backup plan. Firstly, no villain is dead until you see the body. This is a rule. Eichorst is healed but doesn’t really join in the fight he goes off to play happy families with Kelly and Zack. Yes, alas, Zack is still around, playing with his creepy vampire bodyguard (as you do). Zack seems to be redefining Stockholm syndrome, is happy for his little vampire pet to kill people and in complete denial about Kelly. Alas, nothing killed him

So the Master pre-empts Eldritch’s party by arriving early (rude!) and when Palmer, back against the wall, points out only he knows the code to the safe where the nuke is kept, the Master is officially done with his nonsense and does a body swap: he takes over Palmer, has a whole new body and can easily claim the Nuke and hand it to Eichorst to play with with Kelly and Zach

This is not going to plan.

Thankfully he’s still evil so rather than just ignoring the gang or just filling Palmer’s tower with 8 gajillion vampires, he decides to take them all on on his own. And not even ambush them because he decides to taunt Abraham and Ephraim first so they know they face the Master

Ok, he’s the Master and pretty powerful, even managing to negotiate the fact that he’s planning his ambush in a tall office with big windows during the day. Or the fact that, because he’s in a brand new host, he’s not actually at 100%. Actually, this is the most awful ambush ever devised. Never has he been weaker.

He can still kick Abe, Ephraim and Vasiliy around… but then Dutch turns on her shiny Master stunning device which weakens him and then Quinlan arrives. Quinlan doesn’t play, Quinlan is awesome. This entire season would be eight times as awesome if we had a lot more fight scenes from Quinlan. Many many more.

The Master goes in the box. Everyone heads to the harbour to get this box in the water, except Ephraim who is hurt and needs to stitch himself up. Which means he is there alone when Kelley and Zach arrive to see why the Master has gone silent.

Family reunion time! Kelley attacks and Ephraim stabs her. Kelly is dead. Zach is very upset that his dad just killed his human-eating vampire mother. He responds by nuking the Statue of Liberty

No, really. They left the trigger in Zach’s hand and he decides to push the button.

See what I mean about how much better this would have been if Zach had been eaten? And why did the Master and Kelley even keep him alive anyway? There was no point to this – there’s no way the Master’s plan involved “at some point I will need a child to use a nuclear bomb on New York City”. No, no way he planned that. So WHYYYYYY? Why is this character here?!

In the explosion, the Master escapes. Of course he does.

It was a dramatic ending to the season which… while it has had it’s moments, has not been an amazing season. I think my main issue is that it was scattered. Everyone was doing their own thing. Vasiliy was with Feraldo and the police fighting for New York. Abraham was… reading? Yeah he was pretty much reading most of the season. Quinlan just kind of breezed in and out. Ephraim got drunk. Dutch wandered around a bit before joining Ephraim in getting drunk. Gus and Angel were both so far removed from the story that they felt almost not part of it at all

I think having them be more connected, having them work together or at least liaise and show different sides of this fight would have worked a lot to make this story more coherent. I would have said Angel and Gus were completely removed from the show – except they actually ended up with the main storyline

I feel a storyline focusing on Angel & Gus on one side and Vasiliy and Ferraldo on the other as different sides of the struggle was by far and away the most compelling plot there. I think, if anything, they needed to be more, to make the Battle for New York more compelling and powerful, to get a true sense of what was at stake and not have so many weird and unnecessary elements – like Quinlan and Ephraim stealing the Lumen, or any storyline with Kelly and Zach. The focus is off for me to be as much as a fan as I could be

I’m glad Gus and Angel were the most compelling storyline – because they’re two excellent POC, with real histories and characterisations I really appreciated – and they’re not DEAD, unlike every other POC on this show (oh, except Desai, trapped in a car during a nuclear bomb after playing chauffeur to an actual Nazi).

The same applies to Ferraldo, I liked her excellent storyline though I would have much rather have had her live and continue – because this show has killed a lot of women. Kelly dead, vampire slave, dead, Nora dead, Ferraldo dead – and most of the remaining cast are male. We have Dutch who does invent a nifty device – but also ends up as a love interest, thrown into a love triangle and with added “bonus” of that love interest-ness being a wretched depiction of the show’s only LGBT character

There’s a lot about Strain to like (Abraham. And Quinlan’s fight scenes) but the pacing, the focus and the diversity are all deeply flawed.