Review! The Strain, Ep. 1.12: ‘Last Rites’ [Spoilers]

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We open at the Stoneheart group with Eichorst visits a dying Eldritch Palmer who’s demanding the Master change him into a leader level vamp.  “He’s the Master. He does or he does not

The Crew (Setrakian, Eph, Nora and Fet) return the pawn shop after unsuccessfully attacking the Master.   Setrakian regroups next to his vampiric heart-in-a-glass and we flash back to Young Abraham buying a horse in Albania, 1967.   He returns home to his wife Miriam excited that he’s found the Master.  He rides his new horse to the ruined castle where he believes the Master resides. Lowering himself down a well, he finds a vampiric hidey hole similar to the one he’ll find 37 years later in the NYC subway. Exploring, Setrakian finds a vampire nest! The Master speaks through a vampire telling Setrakian that the sun is setting and he is far from home. Setrakian bolts and finds Eichorst has taken the rope he’d used to lower himself into the well.  Setrakian climbing out of the well only to find his horse disemboweled.  He runs home and arrives to find it empty.  Later, in the darkness, his vampiric wife and kids return and Setrakian is forced to kill them. He “keeps her alive” by taking her bloodworm infected heart with him.  That’s disgusting.  Dutch returns to the pawn shop, surprisingly un-vamped, and she’s brought “a win” with her.  She can hijack the Emergency Alert System to put Eph on every TV and radio station for 30-40 seconds.

Meanwhile, Gus abducts Creem at gunpoint looking for guns and ammo.  They retrieve Creem’s weapons cache from his dockside office where Gus finds out about an interesting “special container” of Creem’s.  Surprise! It houses a bunch of vamps!   Gus gives Creem a gun and though they’re under attack, Creem immediately fires at Gus!   They fight each other and the vamps simultaneously until Gus gets the drop on Creem and knocks him out.  They’re saved from the attack by the Vampire Assassination Squad who kill the attackers, kidnap Gus and leave Creem alone with a vampiric bad-guy pile.

1.12A

“What the hell just happened?”

Fet and Dutch resume their flirtmance as she sets up the broadcast equipment on the roof where we learn that Dutch’s father got her into hacking. Also, she specializes in passionate, destructive relationships.  Fet thinks these are the best kind.  Is there any way this ends well?  Any way at all?

Eph nervously begins his speech.  He’s from the CDC and he warns of the plague, “this Strain” while he shows Redfern’s autopsy pictures, warns that infected loved ones return to hunt their families and advises that sunlight kills them before being cut off.

1.12B

The More You Know, starring Dr. Ephraim Goodweather.

As the broadcast finishes, vampires attack the pawn shop!  Rushing into the apartment, the crew finds Gabriel Bolivar stinging MarielaI knew he’d be back!  Fet and Eph attack Bolivar, trapping him as vamps led by Eichorst break through the windows and doors!  The crew retreats to the basement with Fet carrying Mariela!  They gather their guns, knives, swords as the vamps break into the secret lair.  Nora cries over her mother but somehow summons the strength to kill her before she turns. This is incredible! Setrakian leaves his wife’s infected heart behind as they flee.

At Stoneheart, the Master finally visits Palmer and rewards the old man by turning him.  The episode ends with Palmer dancing in the rain….

CONCLUSION
That was an amazing episode.  They nailed Dutch/Fet’s flirting, Eph’s nervous, over-wordy speech and Setrakian’s loss and resulting passion.  However, the star of the episode was the complexity of Mariela.  The unspoken parallel between last week’s memory disease being treatable and the Strain virus demanding death was simply outstanding and difficult to watch.

What does this week’s parallel between Setrakian’s flashback killing of his wife and Nora’s killing of her mother mean for Eph and Kelly?

BACKLOG PRIORITY
This episode:  10/10 – It’s so rare that TV writers get things right.  This episode got EVERYTHING right.  Brilliant.
The Strain:  10/10 – If you’ve missed it up until now binge watch it before next week’s season finale.

Vrin

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