The Strain Season 1 Episode 13 Review: The Master

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Well, ladies and germs, The Strain Season 1 came and went faster than the Master swooshing past his victims.

The Strain Season 1 Episode 13 was a strong season ender, though I'll admit I was hoping to see Sardu's backstory. The episode was titled "The Master" after all. Hey there's always Season 2. Patience is a virtue.

Palmer was denied immortality, Eph and Dutch's pirate broadcast made waves and Gus was tasked with massacring the unclean by the Ancients. Sure the Master got away, but all our heroes lived to fight another day.

The finale opens with Palmer and Fitzwilliam walking through Setrakian's pawn shop. The old man tells Fitzwilliam to box everything up to take back to his office. I wonder if retrieving something (perhaps the vamp-heart) plays a part next season? This scene was clearly setup for next year.

Cruel of Palmer to say "that can stay" referring to Nora's mother. The guy is rotten to the core, which is probably why the Master held back the worm. What do you think?

When Palmer picks up a silver blade and touches it we instantly realize he's still human. Eichhorst soon confirms he wasn't turned. "The Master gave you the white yes, but not the worm" the German says. Health but not immortality. Yep Palmer's not at all pleased. Eichhorst assured him he'd serve at the Master's side "eventually" but I'm not buying it. It's possible he wanted his own human soldier. Someone that can move about during the day.

Zack's dream threw me for a minute. I wasn't expecting to see Kelly as a human again. It was a cool call back to Zack's iPhone scene in the closing moments of The Strain Season 1 Episode 10.

The boy heads downstairs where Setrakian, Eph and Fet are hovering over a map of Manhattan. The Master's got to be somewhere dark and protected. Fet gets another great line "you two are falling in love. It's a beautiful thing." Kevin Durand is my absolute favorite! I spoke to him last week, check out that interview here.

Fet thinks the best option is to do some reconnaissance during the day to learn where the creature's nesting. Sounds like a plan, so the dynamic duo head out to Tribeca in Lower Manhattan.

Elsewhere, Gus comes face to face with Quinlan. We can  now stop calling him the "hooded strigoi."

Gus: What the hell are you? If you're planning on eating Mexican tonight you're gonna choke I promise you that shit.
Quinlan: I did not bring you all the way down here to drink you.
Gus: Down here where huh?
Quinlan: Deep underground, somewhere safe.

Back at Stoneheart, Palmer is adding the vampire heart to his collection of failed organs. What a creeper right? The old billionaire is aware of Eph's broadcast and the Secretary of Health and Human Services plans to quarantine Manhattan.

I loved it when Palmer orders Fitzwilliam to get the car, his manservant finally put his foot down and walks out the door. Shame he didn't have the balls to kill the old bastard. Does Fitzwilliam really think the old man won't come after him?

In Lower Manhattan Eph quickly realizes Bolivar or "that Goth douchebag" as he called him bought Vestry Hall. They figure it's likely The Master's holed up inside the theater.

Wasn't Fet's little history lesson about the theater fantastic. The guy really does know his city. So much so in fact, he's aware the bar across the street connects to the theater via a secret tunnel. Great bit of useful trivia there Fet. They locate the passageway and yep, vampcity! Coffin's there as well, The Master's must be in there somewhere.

On the way back to the apartment, Fet leaves a manhole open allowing sunlight to flood into the tunnel blocking access to the theater. Is this the most clever frakkin' exterminator on the planet or what?

Loved that we got a chance to hear Mia Maestro sing, beautiful right? So Eph tells Nora The Master is at Bolivar's theater, but he can't leave Zack alone again. Kelly will inevitably come for him. Nora tells him to bring his son, "keep him by your side always if you want to protect him" she says. I finally like Nora.

I think the biggest shocker of the episode was the scene with the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Since Palmer can't have her quarantine the city, he pays her a visit. I had a feeling things would go badly for her the minute Eichhorst stepped in the room. Palmer's line about how his health improved was fun, "Wonderful new medicine, soon to be all the rage."

Did you ever imagine Palmer would toss the poor woman off the balcony? I thought Barnes was vamp-chow for sure, but he plays it cool. "I think we'll keep him" Palmer tells Eichhorst.

Eph and Setrakian hand Zack a silver sword. It's about time Eph got with the damn program right?

Setrakian: Since the beginning of creation boys have hunted beside their fathers. This is no different.
Eph: This is very different. We're fighting to protect each other. We're going to get through this and we're gonna win.

Our heroes make their way back to Tribeca and take that tunnel into Bolivar's theater. It was great to see Fet's little trick worked. The strigoi were trapped on the other side of the sunlight coming from the manhole.

Fet always gets the best one-liners, but "munchers are going boom boom" has got to be one of his best. Vasiliy Fet is without a doubt our Season 1 MVP!

Inside the theater the strigoi are already waiting for them, heads flicking and eyes glowing. Wasn't the red glowing eyes a cool touch? That effect made the vamps even creepier I thought. Shout out to creature effects supervisor Steve Newburn.

The Master calls out "woodcarver," the battle begins and heads start to roll. I thought Dutch was a goner when she hesitated to kill that female strigoi she recognized. Glad she snapped out of it. Come on Dutch you're smarter than that.

Eph and Setrakian head upstairs in search of the Master as Eichhorst arrives with his minions. By the way, great to see Eichhorst join the fun. I was glad he didn't miss the finale battle.

Nora slices Bolivar's stinger off, will that grow back? I assume so, the strigoi heal after all.

Upstairs Setrakian hears Miriam's voice as the Master's familiar swoosh swoosh zooms past. When the creature comes out of the shadows, Eph swings a lamp at the glass panels above. Light begins to pour in. I honestly thought they were going to kill the Master for a second there. Eph dives at him and the big guy crashes through a window ending up outside in the sun. What?!? Is he done for?

How cool was the strigoi rewind effect? That ranks up there as one of my favorite moments of the entire season. The Master manages to crawl down the side of the building (in the sun mind you) and scurries away. Noooo!

Nora: Where is he?
Eph: He ran down the building and disappeared.
Fet: In direct sunlight?
Eph: In direct sunlight
Fet: I thought that couldn't happen because the sunlight would kill him.
Setrakian: What he did I did not know he was capable of doing.
Dutch: But you injured him right? I mean that's why the others ran off?
Setrakian: I was wrong.
Eph: Well if sunlight doesn't kill him what does?
Setrakian: We're lost.

When next we see Gus, the Latin gangbanger foolishly attempts to get away from Quinlan. I wondered why Gus was chosen and thrown in the car last week. Well we learn Quinlan knows that Gus worked for Eichhorst and that he transported the coffin across the river. He also wants revenge for his mother, brother and best friend, Felix.

Gus makes a run for it and wanders into a creepy ass dark room with blood on the floor. When the lights come on we see three very old strigoi that appear to be dreaming. This was a moment book readers were probably dying to see. It was clearly included to open up the mythology of The Strain for Season 2.

You are standing before beings of great honor, dignity, power. The Ancients.


Basically the Master has broken an ancient truce, which is considered an act of war. Quinlan and the Ancients need a human soldier who can move freely in the daylight. Those of you that thought the strigoi soldiers were daywalkers or ninjas... ah not so much guys. They're definitely strigoi, but did you notice Quinlan has a nose? What makes these guys different? Guess we'll have to wait until next summer to find out.

Looks like Gus will be working with Quinlan massacring the unclean. Will he ever meet up with Setrakian, Eph and the gang?

Our closing sequence involves Zack faking an asthma attack and forcing the team to return to the Goodweather home for an inhaler. Yeah the kid just wanted the family photo album. Seriously Zack? I bet Eph wanted to feed him to Kelly himself.

Speaking of which, we all expected Kelly to reappear and this was the perfect opportunity. How does she call out to Zack like the Master? Is she a chosen one? Did the Master give her the worm in the tunnel that night? I just read that back and it sounded way less nasty in my head Ha!

So Eph takes a shot, but I think he missed on purpose. He wasn't ready to take out Zack's mom in front of him. Either way, Zack now knows his mother's fate. How will he cope in Season 2? Probably better than Eph, who finally gives in and takes a drink.

"Is the war already lost? Are we destined to be cattle for monsters? Or now that the enemy has finally shown his face, do we have a fighting chance?" Setrakian asks via voiceover.

In a way, our heroes are back to square one. The Master's out there somewhere, he's got thousands of strigoi waiting in the subway tunnels. He has his own "daywalker" in Palmer, a truly evil human being that does his bidding. Seems to me the baddies have the advantage heading into the second season. Will Quinlan and his soldiers be enough to tip the scales in the good guys favor?

What did you think of the finale? Did it live up to your expectations? Were you glad to see all our heroes survive? Your turn my fellow STRAINiacs, hit the comments below and let me know what you thought of the final installment.

I'd like to thank everyone that took the time to comment here at TV Fanatic, that means a lot to those of us that review your favorite shows. This might be the last review of the season, but hey we've got a second season to look forward to. I will be following the cast via Twitter and sharing their tweets from the set as production kicks off next month. Hope to see you guys over there.

Have a wonderful holiday season and remember you can watch The Strain online right here at TV Fanatic!


The Master Review

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The Strain Season 1 Episode 13 Quotes

Gus: What the hell are you? If you're planning on eating Mexican tonight you're gonna choke I promise you that shit.
Quinlan: I did not bring you all the way down here to drink you.
Gus: Down here where huh?
Quinlan: Deep underground, somewhere safe.

Setrakian: Since the beginning of creation boys have hunted beside their fathers. This is no different.
Eph: This is very different. We're fighting to protect each other. We're going to get through this and we're gonna win.