Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Strain, Season 3, Episode 9: Do or Die

Everything has gone from bad to worse - Ferraldo tries to rally her troops, but they have been decimated and, ultimately all of New York is lost. She tries her last plan – they all fall back to a secure area, but most of her forces abandon her. She’s left with 7 people willing to fight to defend the city

Looking at that even she realises it’s time to leave

Augustin and Angel have the same idea. New York is lost.

Vasiliy seems to be joining in the despair, trying to convince Abe and Dutch to leave the city with him (not Ephraim though). Ephraim is super happy Dutch decides to stay and fight because he decides it’s all about Dutch staying with him because she can’t possibly have any other motive. They’re more than a little nauseating together.

This attempted escape goes poorly when Feraldo’s escape vehicle ends up stuck in traffic. At night. Being stuck in cars at night in a vampire infested city isn’t good.

Feraldo’s group is attacked – seen by Angel who insists he and Gus go and help (much to Gus’s disgust and disagreement). There’s a battle as they all try to escape, people around Ferraldo are taken down one by one… and then her aid is killed who has been there from the first.

And Ferraldo is infected. Angel is bitten. In the end only Augustin escapes. Everyone else dies (epicly in Angel’s case with a shining silver cross harkening back to his wrestler days). While part of me will never be happy at the death of a strong female character and the awesome, disabled Latino Angel on a show that hasn’t been good to either POC or women, part of me also recognises the power and meaning of this. The importance of these characters is established because their deaths is supposed to be a shock and a symbol – their death is the death of New York. Their loss is the end of hope for New York. Their loss is symbolic of the end of the city and hope for victory

I’ll still miss them because they were important characters that matter in a show which, again, hasn’t been great with women and POC.

There are some silver linings though – Dutch and Ephraim’s new device that targets the Master’s communication works. It renders vampires completely helpless, making them just stand and be killed, perhaps even rendering the Master himself helpless enough to be put in the box Abe and Vasiliy has prepared. It’s their one plan given that everything else is falling apart, including the other Ancients. Of course it takes Quinlan Abe and Dutch all protesting to make Ephraim and Vasiliy work together. I really don’t need to see these stags lock antlers. And I know that this fight is over Ephraim’s arseholish stealing of the Lumen, but let’s be clear – we get this fistfight after Ephraim and Dutch have sex? No way is this fight going to focus on Ephraim’s theft

Meanwhile, between various montages of Palmer’s past (I’m not sure how much we needed these. I can get that they show how much Palmer wanted to prove himself and how much Palmer has always railed against his illhealth and disability… but didn’t we already know that? It emphasised it much more strongly, but we knew this origin story to a degree: a brilliant man who was always assumed to be frail and weak because he was ill and disabled, who was constantly mocked for it – and a man who discovered that all the wealth in the world still wouldn’t buy that health. It emphasises and underscores his motives, but we already knew the outline without this colouring in), he steps up to take the fight to the Master taking over his company. He wins back the loyalty of company bigwigs who assumed he was “indisposed”, punches his replacement Sanjay Desai (POC sidekick #3) to reassert his authority.

He has his small elite fighting force capture the box that was delivered from Egypt. The box doesn’t contain an Ancient – it contains 2 tactical nukes. Or did. One of which was used last episode to kill the Ancients… the second Palmer now has

And when Eichorst tries to take it back Palmer and his small force shoot him repeatedly, driving him out.

I actually think the whole storyline of Ephraim and the noise maker, Palmer et al could have waited. I would rather have had a more content light, action heavy episode focusing on Ferraldo and Angel, let the official fall of New York be more epic, be the main – the only – plot line of this episode. Everything else feels slightly irrelevant next to it.