The Strain starts to lay down the ground work for season 2, but how does it wrap up its first season? Answers below.
The Strain: Season 1: Episode 13: The Master: GRADE: B
I knew deep down that the season finale of The Strain might feel more like set up for the upcoming second season than coming to a satisfying conclusion of the first season. Like no way The Master would be defeated in the finale since I can’t think of a bigger threat in season two beyond The Master so we need to keep him around. That said, that did still affect the overall quality of the finale itself just a little bit.
That has has to do in part with the advertising of the finale as leading to a “final” battle. We do get our battle with Eph and Setrakian vs. The Master which I thought was a mixed bag between being nicely set up, but felt telegraphed for the characters to fail with its setting of trying just pure sunlight to kill The Master, but its does show The Master’s true power when he’s pushed out into sunlight and that he’s able to just run off and not being a bbq’d vampire. That part was nicely done and came as a sort of shock to me since I thought we couldn’t exactly destroy him now given time in the episode and how much we still needed to do in the episode. Though that does help in part to set up which is very good and has me curious as to our season two story. Especially more of the vampire army commandos which is something too awesome not to follow up on.
As for story, well the fact The Master didn’t give Palmer immortality, but simply just healed him of plot line disease that kicked off the series story as very good and leads to events of season two as well. The way that Jonathan Hyde played that disappointment was nicely done in that, oh hey you got what you wanted, just not yet. We actually get to see something more out of him now that he’s up and kicking again. The Master also apparently gave Palmer super strength as he was abel to just lift up the Secretary of Health over the balcony to her death easily. That moment came so out of nowhere it was kinda awesome in a campy way. Of course now in charge of that position is Eph’s former boss the CDC who dare not defy the dad from Jumanji. That all worked well for me, even the brief scene of Fitzwilliams growing a spine. All nicely done to help set things up.
Speaking of set up we need go to back to vampire army commandos. Seriously how fucking awesome does vampire army commandos sound? Well there a bit of the problem here cause they are sadly side-saddled with Gus who apparently is to be there chosen day warrior. Why Gus? What the fuck has he done at all this season to prove worthy of this position? Maybe Gus proved his worth with words. Oh right he made comments about him being caught cause he’s Mexican, furthered stereotypes, and only takes on the job for the money, well I can’t hate that too much since so many interesting characters have that motivation, also I can relate man. Gotta get that cash!
Vampire army commandos needs to be a bigger thing in season two, which appear they will and should be because once again, vampire army commandos.
Back to The Master, the showdown underground among the hoard from the group is good but there’s nothing too memorable about it to make it stand out, except the fight with The Master itself which was very good. It leads Eph to feel broken and defeated, well more so inside as he can’t bring himself to admit to Zack his mom has gone to the vampire side, but hey he doesn’t have to when she shows up at the house after their manipulated there by Zack to get a photo album. If the point wasn’t made already, he falls off the wagon.
That’s a nice character moment as well as the planning scene in the beginning, Nora singing to herseld, and Eph and Vasiliy doing the recon that really work.
Again so much of this season is fully set up for a continuation in season two that I can’t fully look at. I feel like its a bit difficult to talk about this finale because of that and that’s why I think this is a bit a lesser review than some the rest the episodes of the season. I mean we got a final showdown as promised, but yet not as promised.
2014 has already had amazing debuts on TV that have helped show its the golden age of TV and while there is all this great TV out there, The Strain fought to find its voice and its way into being noticed which it did better as it went along. I feel The Strain made its place in the TV mainstay of 2014. Its not truly or deeply impactful but it some real good horror fun that feels slightly incomplete right now because the story needs to continue after a year off, but I look forward to season 2.
SEASON 1: B+