Monday, October 6, 2014

The Strain Season 1 Finale Episode # 13 "The Master" - Recap and Review

Kevin Durand, Mia Maestro, David Bradley, Ruta Gedmintas, Ben Hyland and Corey Stoll in FX The Strain Season 1 Finale The Master

This post discusses the episode in detail. Readers yet to watch the episode are recommended to skip it, if they wish to avoid spoilers.

Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) and Mr Fitzwilliam (Roger R. Cross) visit Abraham Setrakian's pawnshop. Eldrtich wants his right hand man to confiscate all the materials and transfer them to his place. He is specially interested in Miriam's still beating heart.

Thomas Eichorst (Richard Sammel) drops in and expresses his surprise at Eldritch's return to good health. Eldritch enquires as to when he will start turning into a vampire. Thomas replies that The Master has only granted him good health and in due time, he will enjoy immortality as well.

It is flashback time (again). Only this time, it is Zach Goodweather (Ben Hyland) dreaming about his missing mother Kelly (Natalie Brown). Eph Goodweather (Corey Stoll), Vasiliy Fet (Kevin Durand) and Abraham (David Bradley) discuss their strategy for fighting the Master.

Robert Maillet as The Master in FX The Strain Season Finale Episode 13 The Master

Vasiliy suggests that he and Eph do some reconnaissance. They end up at a theater supposedly bought by the infected goth celebrity, Gabriel Bolivar (Jack Kesy). They discover The Master's coffin and a bunch of vampires.

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Mr Fritzwilliams finally stands up to his employer and quits, citing his discomfort with the latest development.

The current Secretary of Health, Maggie is killed by Eldritch after she refuses to play along. Dr Everett Barnes (Daniel Kash) witnesses this and readily agrees to become Eldritch's pawn as the next Secretary of Health.

Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet fighting killing strigoi vampire in The Strain Season 1 Finale Episode 13 The Master

Eph, Vasiliy, Abraham, Nora, Dutch and Zach launch their campaign against The Master. It is a free for all brawl as Eichorst, Gabe and Dutch's acquaintance all join in.

Abraham, aided by Eph fights the Master. Just as Abraham is about to kill the strigoi, he escapes in broad daylight. Abraham himself is surprised by this never-before-seen ability of the Master.

Stephen McHattie as Quinlan the hooded ancient vampire hunter in FX The Strain Season 1 Finale Episode 13 The Master

Gus meets his captor, Quinlan (Stephen McHattie). Gus tries to overcome Quinlan and finds that he is no match for the strigoi. Gus is introduced to Ancients, strigoi similar to The Master.

Quinlan informs Gus that a pact has been broken and that they need a human warrior to move in the broad daylight. Gus happily grabs this opportunity to get revenge for his infected mother.

Natalie Brown as Ephraim Goodweather's ex wife Kelly Goodweather in The Strain Season 1

In the closing scenes, Eph and Zach encounter Kelly in her changed form as a vampire. Eph shoots at her and she leaves. The grief of seeing his changed wife causes Eph to turn to drinking again. 

There were a couple of humorous moments, thanks to Bradley and Gomez - Abraham teaching the young Zach about effectively killing a strigoi and Gus asking Quinlan if he is eating Mexican tonight.

Still, this is one of the most disappointing season finales. Our heroes did not manage to kill even one major strigoi in the climactic encounter. While I didn't expect The Master to be destroyed in the first season itself, I was hoping that at least one major baddie (Thomas Eichorst or at least Gabriel “Gabe” Bolivar) would be killed. But this was not the case to be. On top of this, there was (as usual) the filler scenes with Eph and Vasiliy's reconnaissance and Dutch Velders' drinking habit.

I do give credit to the show for maintaining a consistency in terms of quality - it has been boring for the most part (except for  Episode # 8).

To give an example, this is similar to the underwhelming season finale for the Season 1 of  the CBS show Elementary. Ideally, we would all like to see something like the spectacular finish to the very well made (also from FX Networks) Fargo.

Ben Hyland as Zach Goodweather in FX The Strain Season 1 Episode 13 The Master

David Bradley, Richard Sammel and Miguel Gomez continue to give the best performances. Kevin Durand is good. The lesser about the rest, the better.

The episode ended with a very brief preview of the next season scheduled for 2015. Unless there are some drastic changes (like better screenplay, tighter plotting and if possible, recasting of a couple of lead characters), it will be a real chore to undergo the same experience again.

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