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The Strain Season 4 Episode 6 Review: Tainted Love

Love is in the air but so are gallons of blood and death as The Strain continues to bring a mega-ton warhead of intensity.

This The Strain review contains spoilers.

The Strain Season 4 Episode 6

Three love stories highlight this week’s episode of The Strain as Zach, Fet, and Quinlan all experience loves won and loves lost in a week of betrayal, blood, and heartbreak. Look, in the world of The Strain, this new dystopian world where the strigoi rule humans like cattle, love is a complex thing. How can one truly love another when one’s lover could be dragged off and made into a veal chop by the strigoi overlords at any moment? But that doesn’t stop a few of our cast from trying. And the results are brutal to say the least.

Let’s begin with Vasiliy Fet and his lady love, the sharp shooting Charlotte. The Strain has pulled off some impressive story gymnastics with Charlotte this season. After all, the Mid-Western badass crackshot kind of came out of nowhere. It was like, the season opened, and there Charlotte was. Fans discovered her backstory on the run, and somehow, despite her shoehorned inclusion, Charlotte has become a vital part of the team that dreams of taking down the strigoi. For a few seasons, the show’s central romance was between Dutch and Fet (and then Dutch and Eph), but Charlotte just stepped in, and she has been so effective and compelling, that it seems like the Dutch/ Fet romance never really happened.

I’m sure it helps that Dutch is locked in a major life and death struggle in New York, but really, the loving focus has been on the warriors Fet and Charlotte, and it has worked. Sadly, Quinlan knows that love cannot survive in the face of the Master (we’ll get to Quinlan’s romance in a bit), and encourages Fet to let Charlotte go. This week. Fet, Charlotte, Quinlan, and their plot convenient pal, the expert on all things nuclear, Roman, are able to secure a plane and take their nuclear payload to New York. Hot on their trail is the recently arrived Eichhorst who chases his pray with the diligence and hunger only a former Nazi can muster (again, let’s review now, kids- Nazis are bad). Before Fet and company take off, Charlotte proclaims that she’s leaving because she doesn’t want to take part in the NYC suicide mission. Fet must let go of his lady love, and Quinlan approves because the immortal knows that love has no chance of surviving in the face of the strigoi.

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As Eichhorst is about to bring down the plane, Charlotte snipes the Nazi (which is a good things my fellow Americans, because, lest we forget, Nazis are always bad) which allows Fet and company to escape with their nuclear payload. So let’s unpack that. Fet and Charlotte let their romance go, they bid each other farewell, and they have somewhat of a happy ending. Yes, they are no longer together, hunting, staking, kissing, and killing, but Charlotte’s actions allowed her beloved to escape and complete his mission.

Little Zach Goodweather’s romance does not have a happy twist. In fact, his love for Abby ends so brutally that it leaves the character of Zach completely irredeemable. I know what you’re thinking, how can Zach ever be redeemed? The little shit blew up New York? But the series often reminds the viewer that Zach did not press the nuclear trigger that gave the strigoi their victory out of evil or ambition; he did it in a rash state of fury over seeing his mother killed by his father. Okay, I can buy that a little. No kid will be able to watch daddy kill mommy without some huge psychological damage, and in this case, that psych damage manifested in a nuclear explosion. But this week, when Zach discovers that his crush Abby has a boyfriend, he responds by first confronting her and then by feeding her to his little skittering bodyguard.

Yeah, Zach feeds the innocent young girl to his personal strigoi pet, much to the delight of the Master. So Zach willingly murders a vital young girl, feeds a young woman to his pet knowing that Abby was charitable and kind. Instead of dealing with rejection and moving on (after all, Zach is the most pampered human on the planet), he feeds Abby to his monstrous babysitter. Now, Abby is a strigoi in service to Zach. There is no coming back from this. Zach is now as big a monster as Eichhorst and the Master. That’s some deft horror and family drama right there.

Our final tale of love in the time of the strigoi is the continuation of Quinlan’s flashback. Last week, we learned that Quinlan once fell in love with a woman named Luisa. Luisa helped Quinlan rediscover his humanity and using pancake make-up, a wig, and kindness, Luisa brings Quinlan back to the light. This week, the Master catches up to Quinlan and we must endure the moment where Quinlan discovers his twitching beloved and her daughter drained by the Master and almost transformed into strigoi. So when Quinlan slowly removes his make-up, – his mask of humanity- he is leaving his human side behind for the final time. Because without the love of Luisa there, is no hope for humanity.

Quinlan knows while the Master still exists, there is no chance for love to thrive, and he brings this realization from the past into the present and shares his heart aching insights with Fet. When Quinlan convinces Fet to let his love for Charlotte go, because love never can survive in the shadow of the strigoi, Quinlan sets the stage for Charlotte’s shooting of Eichhorst and Fet’s escape. Since Fet abandons love, hope in the form of a nuclear payload survives. Awesome.

So Fet lives to fight another day, Quinlan is by his side using his tragedy as a weapon, and Zach continues to be a Joffrey level of little prick. Through all that, a nuclear bomb is on its way to New York to deliver death to the Master so love can live again! Great stuff this week on The Strain as the final battle ramps up.

Love is in the air but so are gallons of blood and death as The Strain continues to bring a mega-ton warhead of intensity.

The Strain Season 4 Episode 7 Review: Ouroboros

Setrakian versus Eichhorst. Decades of hate and pain come to a head in an encounter that won’t be forgotten by The Strain fans.

This The Strain review contains spoilers.

The Strain Season 4 Episode 7

As there are only a few episodes of The Strain left, it is certain that fans are going to be forced to say goodbye to some beloved characters. Yes, when a series, particularly a series that is immersed in hardcore TV horror, comes to a close, death is inevitable. This week, the Grim Reaper visits The Strain in a big bad way and we are forced to say farewell to some Strain mainstays. The longtime Strain characters that meet their ends this week do so in an unforgettable fashion. Four seasons’ worth of storylines and character development crescendo to a climax that is as unforgettable as it is effective. Sadly, these long time coming characters deaths are mixed in with some quick character dispatches that reek of ineffective plot convenience.

Let’s get the scheisse out of the way first, shall we? On this, the final season of The Strain, we were introduced to some pretty cool new characters. There was Charlotte who got to exit like a boss last week by helping Fet and Quinlan escape with the nuclear device. And hey, Charlotte didn’t have to die! But this week, sadly, Eph’s new friend and could have been future romantic partner Alex meets an untimely end. We spent a great deal of time with Alex this season. We learned about the death of her loved ones, we saw her lead an insurgency against the strigoi, and we saw the heartbreak when her brother was bitten and killed. Alex was developing nicely and she certainly had a great deal of screen time in which to develop which makes it rather perplexing that she was unceremoniously killed by Eichhorst this week. I guess I should set the stage.

This week, Eph, Dutch, and Setrakian are reunited. Setrakian’s age is taking a devastating toll on him particularly after being the victim of a strigoi blood marrow experiment. Setrakian is clearly dying and needs blood thinners to survive. In order to get the pills Setrakian needs, Dutch and Eph pay a visit to Gus and his black market stash while Alex stays behind to care for Setrakian. Eph secures the blood thinner much to the chagrin of Alonso Creem and more on that in a sec.

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When Eph and Dutch leave a second time, Eichhorst busts onto the scene and Alex is quickly dispatched. So the question is, if Alex is just going to be shunted out of the story once our heroes reunite, why was she there in the first place? Why did we spend so much time with her backstory if none of it was going to make a damn bit of difference? The Strain moves at a breakneck pace, did we really need episode filler? It all makes one feel like every moment spent with Alex was a waste and it honestly left a bad taste in my mouth.

And the episode repeats the same sin moments later with Gus’s cousin Raul. We also spent a great deal of time getting to know Raul this season, and just like Alex, this week, Raul is killed with no drama. It’s like now that the old characters are all back, the writers just didn’t know what to do with the new additions. Which is really sad because the new players were all strong additions to the world of The Strain. Eichhorst kills Raul and Gus stands helpless while another member of his family is killed. It’s not like Raul’s death has any bearing on the outcome of the episode. It just felt like with Alex and Raul, there is some plot convenience housecleaning to be done this week, and quite frankly, The Strain is better than that.

There. I’ve vented. Now on to the good stuff. So I hear you asking, how did Eichhorst find Setrakian in order to kill both Alex and Raul? Well, Remember Creem, the street hustler who has grown more and more jealous of Gus? Yeah, Creem tries to cut a deal with the Master in exchange for the whereabouts of Setrakian and company. Of course, things don’t go too well for poor, arrogant Creem as the Master wants no part of any deal and stings Creem to make him a strigoi. Now that Creem is under the Master’s control, the Master and Eichhorst know all.

Eichhorst leads the charge against Setrakian and the showdown we have waited four years for is on! This episode powerfully establishes the idea that Setrakian has very little time left. After a lifetime of torment at the hands of Eichhorst and the strigoi, Setrakian’s body is failing. He has very little time left to take down Eichhorst and the Master. Thankfully, Eph gets Setrakian those blood thinners and even mixes him up a batch of that strigoi juice that has kept Setrakian alive for all those decades. Eph even informs Setrakian that the Warfarin blood thinner that is keeping Setrakian’s blood pumping is poison to strigoi. But even with a renewed drug gifted vigor, Setrakian is no match for Eichhorst.

Eichhorst, the most replant villain on TV, takes great joy in tormenting and beating the weakened Setrakian, calling the old man “Jew” and the number tattooed on Setrakian’s arm by the Nazis. Richard Sammel gets to chew scenery as the vile Eichhorst one last time, and it seems like the masterful screen villain and character actor is relishing every last second.

That’s right. I said the last time Sammel plays Eichhorst. Because this is the final battle between strigoi and vampire hunter, Nazi and devout Jew, Eichhorst and Setrakian. For four seasons, this has been the central conflict of The Strain, a conflict we have experienced through many powerful and unforgettable flashbacks. And now it’s over. Because Eichhorst stings Setrakian. It seems like Eichhorst has finally won; he has finally proven to the aged Setrakian that the Jewish God is false and only the Master holds true power. Until it is revealed that Setrakian has taken the entire bottle of Warfarin effectively fatally poisoning Eichhorst. Yes, Setrakian will now die from the sting. He will have to kill himself or become a strigoi himself. But Eichhorst, the Master’s greatest weapon has been destroyed by Setrakian’s cunning. And when Setrakian lops of Eichhorst’s head, the sense of justice is strong. The old dying Jew has finally dispatched his tormentor and shows the Master that no matter how old, how weak, how abused humanity becomes, faith and goodness will always win. Some truly awesome stuff that brought the series full circle.

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Some house cleaning. Fet and Quinlan are back in New York with the nuclear device but they will have a hard time bringing it into Manhattan because the Master has blown all the bridges. But that plotline will have to wait because this week is all about the final victory of Setrakian over Eichhorst. Yes, Setrakian will soon be gone, but he has robbed the Master of his most devout follower. So satisfying, and despite the poorly conceived deaths of Alex and Raul, the episode saves itself by delivering an intense denouncement to a conflict that has raged since the very first episode of The Strain.

And guess what, you guys? I’ve been taking Warfarin myself since I was a teenager! I have enough of the drug built up in my blood that I can totally toast a strigoi! Take that you Nazi leech bastards!

Setrakian versus Eichhorst. Decades of hate and pain come to a head in an encounter that won't be forgotten by The Strain fans. ]]>