Zach is back! Words about as welcome has your lover informing you of their raging syphilis infection or the fervent knocking of a Mormon/Jehova’s Witness interfaith troop at your front door at 8:30am on a Sunday morning.
Thankfully while Ephraim loves his son and wants to believe this is totally ok, even he isn’t that stupid. He’s torn though. No-one else is, but are polite enough not to say “you’re spawn needs to either be drown in the sink or thrown from a high window” and instead be nicely vague about it
Except Quinlan. Quinlan is very clear that he doesn’t want to see Ephraim screw everything up because his son’s polluting up the place. Ephraim asks if Quinlan really thinks he’s going to be that stupid because of his son. Quinlan is more than happy to beat you across the head with your own record.
Meanwhile Vasily and Dutch are questioning Desai who is convinced he is a hero for the people:
Dutch & Vasiliy: You had a factory where thousands of people were impaled on hooks
Desai: I am saving people
Dutch & Vasiliy: People. On. Hooks.
Desai: The world is a better place now!
Dutch & Vasiliy: PEOPLE ON HOOKS!
Desai: You kill people too!
Dutch & Vasiliy: NEW BORN BABIES IMPALED ON FUCKING HOOKS
Desai: Well, babies aren’t that useful…
To which Dutch beats him repeatedly because he is The worst
Vasiliy points out, very reasonably, that Desai NEEDS to believe this. He has to see himself as a hero because he is, basically a borderline awful person but he’s not an Eichorst or even a Palmer. He’s not an outright murder loving nazi. He’s a terrible person in way over his head and he needs to believe his own narrative otherwise he has to confront what he actually is
And for all the very very clumsy attempts to address collaborators throughout this season, this is perhaps the most powerful and telling. People who aren’t necessarily soul-deep evil will collaborate with truly horrendous evil.
Quinlan has no time for this nonsense and has kidnapped Desai’s wife, Selah and threatens to eat her if he doesn’t spill all about the Master (Quinlan doesn’t consider her innocent - she profited and lives well off the suffering of each others. Harsh but very true). He does because, as he declares to Selah, everything he does is for her.
She calls bullshit on this because he’s totally sleeping with his assistants.
People. On. Hooks. Selah. Priorities please.
Between the two they have a pretty good map of the Master’s Empire State Building and the guys can plan their nuking- though the whole thing screams trap
By the way - Augustine and random minion have joined Roman in guarding and preparing that nuke (and Gus has hoarded some silver because if this gets renewed again he knows he’s going to need plan b). They talk and bond and reveal some backstory which is nice - almost nice enough to make us all forget they’ve been relegated to the kids’ table while the grown ups talk.
While continuing to try and earn the trust of his obviously evil son, Ephraim ignores his terrible acting but notices Zach “accidentally” cut himself on a soda can. Ephraim rightly points out that this takes a pretty epic level of clumsiness and cutting yourself high up outside is pretty much a beacon flare for the Master. Ephraim almost kills his son but, alas, it doesn’t happen. Instead he locks Zach up and the rest of them run
When the Master arrives he finds only the captives. He’s not amused, his trap has failed. Desai quickly throws his wife under the bus because he’s a terrible person - and the Master kills her quickly then him gruesomely to prove her very not amused he is. And also to give a lesson - and threat - to Zach. Alas, he does not kill Zach.
Dutch throws some moral doubt about killing people because the show was trying really hard to give us some moral conflict.
But they have a….
I’m not even going to call it a plan. I mean basically it involves Quinlan walking into the very obvious trap at the Empire State Building, yelling “RAWR” and hoping the Master shows up in person so everyone else can roll up the bomb and Quinlan can heroicly sacrifice himself like the big damn martyr he is so desperate to be. Everyone gathers around to say how very tough and scary he is.
I don’t bother because the Master acts like a man with an ounce of sense. He decides this one to one duel shit in the shadow of a nuke is a damn fool thing for a man with an army to do. So he sends in an army. Possessed Abbey and Quinlan exchange some taunts before more strigoi gather for a big dramatic this-won’t-kill-Ephraim cliffhanger.