I’m not sure what I expected out of the penultimate episode of FX’s The Strain, but I think I expected more. If you’ve been keeping up with my weekly recaps, you know my feelings about the series and it’s hit-or-miss episodes. “Last Rites” was teetering on the edge of being a full blown miss, until the last 15-20 min. There were a few sad and heartfelt moments and the action, where it was, was tense and exciting. The episode did set up a lot for some potential fun in next week’s finale.
After last week’s failure by Setrakian (David Bradley) and the group to take out the Master when they FINALLY confronted him, the gang heads back above ground to Setrakians pawn shop. When Dutch (Ruda Gedmintas) makes her return, she has the grand idea of hacking into the Emergency Broadcast System so Eph (Corey Stoll) can give an urgent message to the people who still care enough to watch tv when the world around them is going to shit.
We’re treated to some flashbacks to 1960’s Setrakian (Jim Watson) and finally the origin of his wife’s infected heart is revealed. Young Setrakian tells his wife, Miram (Adina Verson), to just let him try and find the Master one last time and then they can live their life happy with adopted kids. That doesn’t sound like a good idea at all. And of course, it wasn’t. After being lured into a trap by Eichorst (Richard Sammel), Setrakian goes home to discover poor wifey is now vampire wifey, and I think you can guess what happens next. You didn’t think I was going to talk about the flashback scenes without discussing how HORRIBLE the aging make up on Setrakian was, did you? What the hell were the makeup effects artists thinking?! Miriam looked like she was pushing 22 years old and he looked like a 22 year old in bad old man makeup. The wig…the wig was worse than Ephs- no really. With how great the flashback scenes were to 1940’s Poland, I was really bummed that these ones failed so hard.
“Last Rites” brought us some Gus (Miguel Gomez) again and this time, and they kind of made him a greedy unlikeable character, I’m not sure what was up with that exactly. As he takes Creem (Jamie Hector) hostage for guns and money, there’s a container full of vampires, some shootout action and then out of nowhere we meet the rogue group of strigoi hunters again(FINALLY). Wait a minute, did they just grab Gus and drag him into a black SUV and drive off? What connections do they have with each other? Why would they introduce a storyline like this in the second to last episode?!
Eldritch (Jonathan Hyde) is back again in the episode looking closer to death than ever as he tells Eichorst that he and the Master better make good on their promise to give him immortality. I think we’ve seen enough t.v. to know that it doesn’t look like it’ll be that simple. That is, until the Master pays him a visit.
Finding ourselves back in the pawn shop and immediately after Eph has given his warning to the nation, this is the last 15 min. when things get crazy. We see vampire rocker, Bolivar (Jack Kesy), take out Mrs. Martinez (Anne Betancourt) and I’m pretty sure everyone did a collective sigh of relief. The unncessary drama is no more. Everyone knew she would die and to be honest, she shouldn’t have last this long. Nora (Mia Maestro) having to come to terms with her moms inevitable transformation unless proper action is taken was a little heartwrenching. There was no time to grieve for very long because as this is all happening, Eichorst and his group of vampire henchmen made their way into the pawnshop. Now, they’re supposed to be stronger than your typical strigoi in The Strain yet Setrakian’s wooden secret door couldn’t be broken through by 5 strong vampires and a crowbar? In any case, Eichorst reminded Setrakian that his time is not long on this world and he’ll still be coming for him.
It seems that “Last Rites” was setting up for some crazyness in the finale but with a lot of episodes relying on unncessary characters and holding back on important storylines, it could spell disaster if they scramble to tie up loose ends.
My predictions for next week’s finale of The Strain: Setrakian will say his goodbyes to viewers but will finally get to take out Eichorst in the process. I’m not sure the Master will die, because then where does our series go? Eldritch will probably die as well. I’m still not sure if they’ll take out Nora but it’s highly likely! Dutch and Vasiliy will finally swap spit. And Gus and the rogue strigoi will finally meet up with the group for ultimate badassery.