This review of The Strain contains spoilers.
The Strain Season 2 Episode 13
Well that was freakin’ depressing.
I guess now we know why we had a few uplifting episodes of The Strain these past few weeks. Of course I’m talking about the Battle for Red Hook and about Eichorst’s humbling defeat at the hands of Dutch and Fet. Those were some stirring moments of victory for our heroes but now they seem like a distant pleasant memory because this episode, the series finale, was almost a total downer. A major character died and we’re going to talk about it, so if you don’t want spoilage, now’s the time to hit the parachute and skedaddle.
Yeah, this week hurt. It featured a bleak loss of a beloved hero that left the viewer feeling empty. But things weren’t completely depressing because where one half of our cast was utterly defeated, the other half emerged almost victorious – a win that could end the Master’s plan once and for all. So let’s look at the victory first.
As you might remember from last week, Setrakian and Fet were on their way to bid on the Occido Lumen, the literary McGuffin that Setrakian has been obsessed with all season. Eichorst was after it too and was using Eldritch Palmer’s funds to procure the book much to Palmer’s chagrin. This story arc has been kind of endless this season but it came to a satisfactory conclusion. When done right, dramatic auctions can be rather gripping and this one was no exception with Jewish vampire slayer and Nazi vampire proxy bidding on behalf of ancient vampires. It was like the two old foes were sword fighting with other people’s gold. Eichorst won the auction until Palmer pulled the funds. Eichorst, still stinging from his defeat by Fet and Dutch and still stinging from being pushed aside by the Master for Gabriel Bolivar, did not take this latest defeat well and went after Setrakian and the book.
Ah, but we had a third player. On behalf of the Ancients, we had Quinlan, Gus, and Angel de Plata along with their crew of gangbangers taking down Eichorst and his men. This action sequence was a culmination of a season’s worth of plot juggling and man, was it worth it. And yes, Angel de Plata charged into battle wearing his lucha mask! When I saw that mask, when I saw the old luchador swinging his silver chain, man, did I pop like a five year old girl popping for John Cena! It was brief, it was schlocky, and it was awesome! All that the scene needed was La Parka swinging a silver chair.
But I digress; Gus took down the cannon fodder while Quinlan confronted Eichorst. If vampires could poop, I think Eichorst filled his Brooks Brothers trousers at the sight of the ancient Quinlan. Eichorst wanted no part of Quinlan and pounded the pavement, his Nazi tail between his legs once again. Meanwhile, lest you think Vasiliy Fet needed rescuing, New York’s coolest rat catcher tricked his ride into a vampire killing machine and blew the sucker so he could escape. Gus pursued but Setrakian quickly convinced both Gus and Quinlan that they stood a better chance together. So we have a new team of vampire hunters. A team made up of Setrakian, Fet, Quinlan, Gus, and Angel de Plata. Yeah, I can get behind that. And this team has the Lumen so there is hope because the book is secure in the hands of folk that can and will use it. Folks protected by the resources of Quinlan. So in this crew there’s hope.
But all this is tempered by what happened to the other half of our cast. Before we get to Eph, Nora, and Zack, let’s just briefly mention the price Palmer paid for withdrawing his funds and forcing Eichorst to lose the Lumen. The cost was the life of his beloved Coco. Yeah, that plot thread went way too long, but, I guess it was necessary, because her drained white carcass was the price for Palmer’s hubris. And she was drained by The Master himself. We were left with the image of Palmer removing her worm infested heart so it looks like that Palmer is going down a road Setrakian is all too familiar with. But will Palmer now withdraw his support to the Master or will this lesson make him even more loyal. Whatever the case, Coco probably should not have mouthed off to an ancient, demonic vampire lord. That never ends well.
But on to our great tragedy. Nora, Eph, and Zack were on their way to Zack’s grandma to drop off the little fart smeller and then move on to Washington to work on Eph’s vampire killing virus. Of course, Mama Goodweather attacked and derailed the train and this is where things got truly tragic. Before the attack, Eph went to the train’s bar to sauce up. For the past two seasons, Eph has been using booze as a crutch and this time it cost him. Separated from his son and would be lover, Nora was infected by Kelly. Nora stood by Zack bravely, she even almost killed Kelly, but in the end, it was too much and Nora hesitated. Eph, who had never been there for his family, left his son in the care of anther to sauce up, and now Nora, brilliant, tough as nails Nora is dead. Zack didn’t stand placidly by and just watch this tragedy unfold. When Nora was ready to deliver the killing blow on Kelly, Zack screamed for her to stop. Nora hesitated a second and Kelly struck. Believe me, I was ripping pissed at this. The little shit was dumb enough to still think that was his mom? No, he wasn’t dumb; Zack was just as vile as we always suspected he was. He told Nora to hold her hand on purpose so Kelly would win and take Zack. Zack wants to be with Kelly and because of this shitty kid and his shitty father Nora is dead. Nora had one last noble sacrifice to make as she grabbed the third rail rather than turn. Because Nora is noble while Eph is a crappy father and an alcoholic and Nora is dead because of it and that sucks.
From here on, it will be very hard to get behind Eph, it really will because in one moment this week, all his crappy decisions cost the world a brilliant and capable champion. Sucks.
But we still have Setrakian and company and the thought of a vampire killing luchador to keep us warm till The Strain returns next season. The episode loses points for not acknowledging Dutch or Justine Feraldo as we say good-bye to the world of The Strain. But still, despite the pain of Nora’s death, it was still much better than last season’s flat climax.