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TV Review: The Strain: S3E9 Do or Die

the strain s2 imageEph and Dutch fanatically race to finish their device to stop the Master; Justine, Gus and Angel take a final stand to stop the spreading virus; Palmer takes revenge for past wrongs.

With just one more episode to go, The Strain begins to wrap up its third season with things looking really bleak.

The episode is an interesting one in that we get some history about Eldritch Palmer, who up to this point is a character we haven’t learned too much about. How’d he become the wealthy power wielder he is today? That’s somewhat answered here.

The episode really has a couple of things its focused on, Palmer as I mentioned before, Angel and Gus, and Eph and Dutch’s tool.

Palmer is a big focus as he makes some big moves against the Master and his crew. I’m definitely not ruining it as it’s something that’s somewhat unexpected and really cool to watch. Lots of action there and it comes in a way that’s actually interesting. In it all, we find out what’s in the crate and it’s something I’ve been wondering about for some time.

Speaking of action, there’s Angel and Gus who are attempting to get out of the city, but so is a lot of the police who decide to abandon it. Justine is left with just a small group and they eventually cross paths with Angel and Gus. That I definitely am not spoiling. There’s some really touching moments between Angel and Gus and makes me want a show of just the two of them. They’ve been some of the best things of the series as a whole. But, this particular segment is pretty explosive and there’s quite a few deaths. It’s definitely not something I saw coming at all and there’s a bit abruptness to it. Still, blaze of glory.

Finally, there’s Eph and Dutch who we get to see test their new weapon dealing with a signal the Master omits. It’s a really cool aspect of the show and feels like something new in this sort of genre. I’m digging this aspect and it gives a way for the series to wrap up easily and quickly if it needs to.

With just one episode to go, there’s a lot to still wrap up. There’s another season to go, but it’s a big question as to how far the series will go in its finale. There’s an interesting direction it could go if it follows the books and comics, but I have no idea if that’s the intention. If so, the finale could be one hell of a season ending.

Overall Rating: 7.85

TV Review: The Strain: S3E8 White Light

the strain s2 imageThe Master’s voice emerges and proves overwhelming; Fet and Setrakian search for cargo from the Egyptian vessel; and Quinlan agrees to deal with the Ancients, but a betrayal afterward proves deadly.

The Strain begins to wrap up its third season with just a few more episodes left as various plot lines move a hell of a lot forward with some impressive events that really shake things up.

The big chunk of the story revolves around the mysterious cargo which we still don’t quite know exactly what’s inside, but Fet and Setrakian go after it while Quinlan confronts the Ancients considering it. There’s a lot of play here and you never quite know who’s on what side and if there’s going to be a betrayal or not. But, when it’s all said and done, there’s a huge shift in status quo and we really have no idea who is left standing to fight on. It’s an impressive move for the series which seems to wipe out a whole bunch of characters that most would probably say didn’t add much to the series and does so in a fashion that has your jaw drop. It’s cool to see even though it’s a rip-off of Blade II.

Eph and Dutch have their moment as we hear the Master’s voice and in a way I’m not sure where they’re going with it. It’s definitely interesting and a new direction that feels like it’s something new in the bigger war. I can make some guesses as to what I think will happen with this, but it’s interesting to me overall. There’s also some movement in the relationship front with tensions having been ramping up for some time.

My favorite part of the episode is between Angel and Gus. There’s an exploration of these two characters who have stood out the entire season and actually make the case the two deserve an entire series focused on them. There’s real character development and I was left wanting to see more of just them.

The episode is a good one bouncing back from last week’s. It moves some plot lines along and adds what feels like progress to quite a few of them. We get a bigger picture of things going on and leaves it all open enough that you never quite know where things are going and who’s on what side. It’ll be interesting to see how the season wraps up, because there’s still a hell of a lot to go.

Overall rating: 7.85

TV Review: The Strain: S3E7 Collaborators

the strain s2 imageSetrakian creates a new plan to trap the Master as Eph and Dutch search for the Master’s “voice.” Also: Palmer fights for his life and needs Setrakian’s access to the white and Fet suffers a tough personal loss that reveals a deep family secret.

The Strain is actually somewhat slow this episode as the various parties go along their way to figure out what they’re going to do next. This all seems rather odd as it feels like they had a plan when they found out what to do with the Master. Instead of having one strong plan it feels like the team is now throwing things against the wall to see what sticks and maybe that’s part of the point.

Part of the plan thrown out there is to disrupt the signal between the Master and his minions. It’s a cool aspect and a decent one, but what Setrakian and Fet are doing confuses me. They know a silver/lead box will stop him, but they don’t seem to be really going about making that a priority.

There’s also a focus on Fet’s family’s past. It’s an odd addition to the story and one I’m not sure is important or adds much to it overall. Yes, it fleshes out the character a bit, but for now, there’s no major impact and it only adds odd coincidences.

It’s the weakest of the episodes so far this season that I can tell has a goal of giving the characters further direction, but the directions they go feel like they kind of contradict some things we already know and there’s a lot of new information that just doesn’t feel like it’s needed.

Still, there’s interesting things, especially involving Palmer, that make the episode worth watching for the greater story. On its own though, it doesn’t hold up.

Overall rating: 7.15

TV Review: The Strain: S3E6 The Battle of Central Park

the strain s2 imageFet strikes the strigoi army at its heart and Justine tries to drive it out of Manhattan for good. Also: Gus and Angel fight for their freedom and face a moral dilemma.

The Strain actually feels like things are on the offensive and there’s some actual wins in the battle against the strigoi. A couple of stories finally merge as Gus and Angel’s journey comes together with Fet’s plan.

There’s some really great action sequences in this episode showing off the upped production values compared to the previous two seasons. There’s some big explosions, lots of gunfire, and a solid battle that’s enhanced through a great use of shadows and darkness.

But, what I really enjoy about the episode is that it’s showing actual strategy and the bigger picture. Sacrifices in one location are made as a feint so that a move can be made in another. It’s more than just one small heroic move by someone or one person’s perspective, you get an epic feel of it all.

The other thing I really enjoy is that nobody is perfect. What feels like a win and smart play is shown to be shortsighted and folks are outplayed. Folks act naturally too, they put others in danger before themselves or attempt to protect themselves and generally show fear. Again, it’s a solid change from gung-ho superheroes you might see elsewhere. In a world full of vampires these folks are very human.

“The Battle of Central Park” feels like one in the end and you see why the episode gets its title. This is one that builds throughout the hour paying off numerous times especially as it comes to an end. Again, this third season is really showing its strengths and is the best season so far with some of the best episodes yet. Looking forward to seeing what’s still to come.

Overall rating: 8.65

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