The Strain: The Last Stand
September 18, 2017 11:47 AM - Season 4, Episode 10 - Subscribe

The series finale. (For real this time.)

So, here we have the final episode of The Strain. A fair bit of stuff happened, but focusing on what I personally noticed:

* Their final gambit relies on the Master coming to where they probably have the nuke, when this was explicitly what the Master had been avoiding in all prior episodes.

Absolutely no reason is given for why Quinlan's gambit should work - they have no new bait, nothing new the Master needs to personally oversee, and definitely have the means to kill him... and yet the Master shows up anyway. Worse, the Master defeats Eph, (because of course he does), and then Eph-Master immediately welcomes Zack into his arms again after Zack refused to do his bidding and shot him. So he dies giving a hug to the boy who just failed him, when everyone else who ever failed him got their head caved in.

It was a big ball of stupid. The whole thing.

* Zack was redeemed.

To which I mostly have to say: fuck you, show.

* Quinlan comes across as a quixotic figure here.

The Master absolutely curbstomped him, which has been the typical outcome of their encounters. It really takes away from Quinlan's supposed badassery to be outmatched at every turn, and never really change his strategy. All he ever does it chase after the Master with man-portable weapons and fail, over and over again.

* We get the video-game style 'where are they now' bit at the end.

Which was... fine, I guess? I'm not sure why Roman was allowed to keep all that gold, but whatever.

A second post will follow for spoiler-friendly talk.

AV Club review is here. They were much more charitable than I was.
posted by mordax (10 comments total)
* Zack was redeemed.
To which I mostly have to say: fuck you, show.

posted by jojo and the benjamins at 6:46 PM on September 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

Absolutely no reason is given for why Quinlan's gambit should work - they have no new bait, nothing new the Master needs to personally oversee, and definitely have the means to kill him... and yet the Master shows up anyway.

The opening sells this a little bit: Quinlan taunts the Master as cowardly for always sending a proxy instead of facing him in person. I'm not sure its enough to justify the Master walking into an trap that he's previously carefully avoided; the show's tried to set up Quinlan vs. the Master as an eternal battle, but it's never been clear that the Master sees Quinlan as anything more than an annoyance.

Zack was redeemed.

FUCKING TWICE, right? He machine-guns the Master when he's ordered to kill Eph; which, okay, a little Return of the Jedi but whatever. But then he also gets to detonate the nuke which I think was totally unearned. I agree with the AV Club here: "convenient, sappy storytelling." It would have been much more effective and satisfying -- if bleaker -- for Zack to get red-wormed and for Eph to have to hit the button to kill them all.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:13 PM on September 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

Also, no payoff whatsoever to Gus collecting all that silver last episode. Like, never mentioned again no payoff. What.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:16 PM on September 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

Haleigh Fouch, Collider: ‘The Strain’ Died As It Lived; Paying Way Too Much Damn Attention to Zach:
I’m sorry, but what the shit? Look, I get it. I get the narrative symmetry. The boy who nuked New York out of rage at his father now saves humanity out of love for his father. On paper, it’s nice. There’s poetry in his redemption. In practice, however, it doesn’t work because it feels wholly unearned. The Strain has spent the last four years charting a path for Zach to villainy. He started as the woeful winy apocalypse kid, everybody’s least favorite character in the genre, but at a certain point, his path became distinctly darker. Tiresome and petulant, foolishly devoted to his mother even after she becomes a monster, even after he sees her kill, Zach was just consummately hateable and the writers found new ways to make him more evil and unlikeable with impressive regularity.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:21 PM on September 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

Honestly Fett lived and that's all I gave a shit about. Fett smiling at rat droppings (which I have never seen on the streets of NY despite seeing MANY rats, was all I needed. I got it.

In the AV Club's defense Zach JUST betrayed his father. Why watching the master kill quinlan would be the thing that resulted in a sudden change of heart is never explained or built in.
posted by miss-lapin at 3:03 PM on September 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh, and the Collider article also reminds me: the Occido Lumen turned out to be just a McGuffin. The show spent alot of effort to have Abe & co first acquire it, and then hold onto it. And in the end Abe's final insight of "go after the collaborators" lasted for, what, half an episode of plot? and wasn't at all relevant to the final confrontation at all?

Unless, I guess, you could argue that Zack was the Master's most definitive collaborator; and that turning him against the Master -- however unearned that was by everything that went before -- was the Master's ultimate doom. Hmm.

(Oh, and I misspelled the author's name -- Haleigh Foutch-- in the link above and didn't notice until the edit window had closed.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:40 PM on September 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah I agree that all the shenanigans about the Lumen being wasted time is annoying.
posted by miss-lapin at 3:27 PM on September 21, 2017

I too am pissed they left out the key found in the Lumen. Really, show? Fuck. What a waste.

Also, my prediction that the silver heist would result in the gang creating a silver case to surround the nuclear bomb in so they'd have aerosolized silver particles floating around the globe and killing off any remaining Strigoi stragglers that weren't turned by the Master came to literally nothing.

Well, that is the prediction I yelled into my own empty living room. I didn't post it online because everyone (rightly) abandoned the show way before the last episode.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:19 PM on September 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have been forced to watch way too many episodes of this and dear god, I was hoping the vampires won. Or at least killed stupid, stupid Zach. Well, poop.
posted by fshgrl at 9:53 PM on September 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hi I recently watched this show through for the first time and am immensely pleased to discover that "fuck Zack" is the dominant fan position.

This show had the same problem Silicon Valley had, where they were unable to have the characters win and had to keep inventing new and increasingly silly and frustrating ways for them to lose over and over and over without losing so badly that the show would have to end, though that show at least was clever enough to come up with "the protagonists win, but discover that they are morally obligated to burn it all down". The Strain shedding plotlines like cat fur in late spring is the worst way to handle it, and it's a shame that the solution was unearnedly redeeming one of the most morally indefensible characters on the entire show.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:56 PM on August 15, 2022

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