The penultimate installment of the season, The Strain Season 1 Episode 12 helped tie up several loose ends.
We learned the backstory of Setrakian's heart in a jar, Dutch helped Eph broadcast details of the plague, the Master saved Palmer and Nora's mother lost her head for good.
Plus, something we've all been waiting for... the return of the hooded strigoi! What's he want with Gus though?
"Last Rites" opened with Palmer on his deathbed and Eichhorst hovering over him teasing that perhaps the Master's changed his mind. Say what?!? Why would the Master not keep his end of the deal? Palmer is correct to be pissed off, he's done absolutely everything that was asked of him. Including turning his back on the human race. Was the Master simply trying to prove who's boss?
The team returns to Setrakian's pawnshop after coming across thousands of strigoi in the tunnels. How exactly will they manage to destroy that nest? I have no clue to be honest, but I guess we'll find out in the finale. I thought it was a nice touch that Zach and Mariela kept their adventure between them. There was a quick moment of understanding between the characters.
It wasn't long before our first flashback, Albania 1967. I was thrilled to finally get a chance to meet Setrakian's wife and learn the story of the heart in the jar.
Let me start by saying that Jim Watson has been a revelation as young Setrakian on this show. Seeing him in full Setrakian garb, goatee, hat, cane and all was kick ass. You just believe he's that same old man from the present. I'm telling you, keep an eye out for this talented young actor. He's got a bright future ahead of him. That concludes my shout out for the week.
So young Abe has been hunting the Master now for over 20 years. He buys a horse from a frightened villager and plans to visit a run down castle he's heard stories about. It was wonderful to finally meet his wife, Miriam. I loved hearing that they were partners in the fight against the Master. Even at the expense of starting a family.
He tells her this castle is a half day's ride away and she warns him against going alone. The old man was ballsy even back then apparently. Still, when I heard a half day away I knew he'd never make it back in time to save Miriam. Watching the events unfold was heartbreaking.
Abraham and his trusty new steed locate the abandoned castle. He spots a well, so naturally heads down into it. That's the quickest way below ground to where the strigoi are.
Did you notice Setrakian already has Sardu's sword at this point? Next week's finale is titled "The Master," so I imagine we'll find out how he acquired it.
As he's crawling through the tunnels, we see the sun is setting outside. Not a good sign that's for sure. Again these tunnel sequences set off my claustrophobia. Though I know he survives, I feel on edge the whole time. How creepy was that female strigoi the Master speaks through?
"Professore. The sun is setting... and you're so far from home." Setrakian understands right away what's being implied... Miriam is all alone at home. Run!
When he tries to climb back up the well, Eichhorst is there to greet him. The whole thing was nothing but a set up. As if reliving this wasn't enough, in the present Nora walks in and gives him shit about the heart in the jar. It was great to hear him shout at her.
Eph questioning Setrakian's sanity made sense. He's got to be a little nuts thinking the four of them could take on thousands of strigoi. Still the way Eph voiced his opinion was really crappy. I've mentioned in the comments section of my reviews how much I dislike this version of Eph. Now that's not a diss toward Corey Stoll, who I think is fantastic in the role. Ephraim Goodweather has just been written as such an a-hole. Disagree with me? Let me have it in the comments below.
Soon Dutch returns to the pawn shop and Fet admits he's happy to see her. So am I, I dig the hacker chick.
Dutch: I brought you a plan.
Eph: We don't need any more plans. What we need is a win.
Dutch: Okay then, I brought you a win.
I've read many complaints about Dutch being an unwelcome addition to the series. Why, because she wasn't in the books? I totally disagree and feel the Dutch character has served an important purpose. She's the face of all the internet/communications disruption. I loved that we learned some of her story this week.
Anyway, her plan is to hack the Emergency Alert System that allows the President to address the public during a war or crisis. In this case, there is a war going on and the vampire apocalypse qualifies as a crises no? She's basically fooling the system into thinking her broadcast is the "this is only a test" test. Sweet!
Dutch tells Eph to figure out what to say in about 30 to 40 seconds. After that her feed will be cut off.
In Queens, Gus reconnects with Alonso Creem, the dude he and Felix tried to sell the stolen Mercedes to. Creem's got guns, ammo and plenty of cash. Gus is pretty clever for a gangbanger right?
They arrive at Creem's trailer/office and it's not long before a guy shows up with a bag full of cash. My question about those containers is who was shipping those strigoi and to where exactly? Did I miss something or is it basically to spread the virus outside the island of Manhattan?
Like many fans I've been eagerly awaiting the return of the hooded strigoi. Was he at those docks to destroy the containers? Or is he actually Creem's client shipping the strigoi off somewhere? How does he know about Gus anyway?
Regardless, it was a great scene with lots of strigoi and a big shootout... what more can you ask for? I'm satisfied!
Back at the pawn shop, Eph prepares for his closeup. "Put the good stuff at the top" Dutch tells him.
The good doctor introduces himself and explains he's an epidemiologist from the Centers for Disease Control. He talks a bit about the disease spreading through New York City and possibly beyond.
He goes on to show photographs of an autopsy he performed on one of the victims.
This Strain, this virus changes its host's body through a violent corruptive metamorphosis. You can see a bizarre growth emanating from the throat, forming a kind of stinger through which a worm parasite passes from the carrier to the victim.Eph
Before getting cut off, Eph has a chance to warn the public their infected loved ones will come after them. Yeah I'd be freaked if that announcement came through while I was watching The Walking Dead or something Ha!
Just then we hear glass shatter upstairs and Mariela scream. Bolivar we've missed you! Our patience was rewarded when he takes a bite out of Mrs. Martinez. I'll admit I wanted her gone, but I wasn't part of the kill Nora's mom movement. What a terrible way to go, decapitated by your own daughter. Ouch!
As Eichhorst and his minions attack, everyone rushes down to the basement. "Time is up 8230385" Eichhorst calls out with a wicked smile. I've mentioned this before but I love the vibrating mirror effect.
Luckily, Setrakian had prepared for an attack like this and installed a secret passage through the meat locker in his Batcave. Nice! They arm up and head out.
I thought it was incredibly brave of Nora to "release" her mother, which in turn gave us our final flashback of the hour. Back to Albania 1967.
Strigoi-Miriam returns home with two creepy vamp children. Young Abraham has no problem severing her head and taking her heart. We now understand he kept it all those years to remember her, as well as to make sure she and his friends didn't die in vain. Wormies everywhere FTW, Eeeek!
With Eichhorst having almost broken into the basement, Setrakian says his goodbyes to the heart. David Bradley absolutely killed his lines "Goodbye Miriam. Till we meet again." Yeah I think there was something in me eye.
A moment later Eichhorst spots the heart and understands the old man's abandoned everything he loves.
We opened at the Stoneheart Group building and it's quite fitting that this episode also ends there.
The Master took his time but at long last appears to Palmer. "Save me," the old man begs. The creature slices a finger open and pours a few drops of white blood into Palmer's mouth. No worm though, so what does this mean? You definitely see the old man healing and he's strong enough to be standing out in the rain. Why was this transformation different? Will he turn? Is it only temporary?
So many questions and only one episode left this season. How can our heroes possibly take out thousands of vamps? Is Gus safe with the hooded strigoi and his soldiers? Which major character will we lose in the finale? You're up my fellow STRAINiacs, hit the comments below and let me know what you thought of "Last Rites." Remember if you've read the books, please stick to episode 12 in order to avoid spoiling the show for others.
Only one episode left STRAINiacs! Make sure you're all caught up before the season finale next Sunday. You can watch The Strain online right here via TV Fanatic.
Did The Master actually turn Eldritch Palmer or simply heal him temporarily?