The Strain: Season 1, Episode 13 – The Master


UK Pace Review – Broadcast on digital channel Watch
The Strain: Wednesdays at 10pm
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WARNING this review contains SPOILERS.

Palmer is feeling much better.  He’s now up and about and visiting Abraham’s pawn shop.  He orders Fitzwilliam to pack up everything, including the wormy heart in a jar, but not the decapitated corpse of Mrs Martinez.  Eichorst appears.  Palmer might be healthier, but he’s not been fully turned.

Flashback.  Zack’s trying out his new bike.

Loud bangs bring Zack back to the present. Eph, Abraham and Vasily are discussing yet more plans to fight the vamps.  Zack comes in asking questions and Abraham answers them.  Eph would rather he had not been so forthcoming with information, and gets pissed off.

Gus is being held by one of the vampire army guys.  Somewhere “safe” underground.  He’s untied, and tries to attack, but is easily countered.

Back at Stoneheart, Palmer displays Mrs Abraham’s wormy heart alongside his own bottled replaced organs!  How sentimental.  All of a sudden Fitzwilliam declares that he’s no longer going to follow orders.  Now he disapproves!

Eph and Vasily discover that the theatre owned by Gabe, now designated one of The Master’s favourites, is likely to be a good place for a nest.  Vasily’s historical knowledge gets them in through a neighbouring building and secret tunnels from prohibition era.  They find the remnants of the coffin, which the vamps are putting back together, and a few of them sleeping in a pile.  So they head back out again.

Dutch is looking for a TV signal, but there isn’t one.  She’s busy getting drunk, and Eph is the one to pour out her bottle of booze – into a poor unsuspecting plant!  Nora is singing to herself on the roof.

The officials are planning to put the city under quarantine.  Took them long enough!  Palmer shows up at the door.  He and the secretary go outside on the balcony to speak privately.  Palmer chucks her over the side.  The other doctor, Eph’s former boss, is spared for now.

The whole gang, including Zack, are planning to go on the hunt.  Abraham gives Zack his own silver sword, and he gets a quick and dirty lesson on how to kill vamps.

The group get to the theatre together, Abraham gives a pep talk.  Vasily left some covers open on the sewer, these spots of sunlight are holding back the vamps for now.  He also brings out his stash of dynamite (which he grabbed when he visited home).  The explosion collapses the tunnel (that one at least), and the gang passes by the other direction.  The reach the centre of the theatre, Abraham hears The Master in his head.  They all go in and attack the oncoming hoard.  Dutch hesitates when she recognises one of them.  The whole battle stops while she speaks!  Then continues on.

Eichorst comes in taunting, Vasily grabs him whilst Dutch continues to shoot.  Abraham finds himself in a quieter location, but hears the voice of his wife in his head.  And then The Master is behind him.  Eph and Zack follow into the room.  They start to smash windows to let in the light.

Eichorst gets a few silver nails in the face!

Abraham goes in for the kill, but drops his blade.  Eph shoves The Master out a window and into daylight.  Eichorst and the other vamps seem to sense this and they all back off.  The Master takes his time sizzling in the sun, and then runs off down the side of the building, back into darkness.

The Master’s tolerance of the sunlight is news to Abraham.  They’re going to need to rethink how to fight him.  Abraham becomes the voice of negativity: “we’re lost”.

Gus is still aimlessly attacking his vampire captor.  They chat for a while about the box, and Gus’ need for revenge.  Then he runs off down a corridor.  In a dark yet open space he stumbles across some of the oldest vamps – attached to high chairs.  Captor vamp claims that an ancient truce has been broken and that they need a human to move about for them in the day.  The promise of a monetary award gets Gus’ attention.

Vasily suggests they regroup at his place.  Zack needs his asthma inhaler.  They stop off at his old house to pick up a spare.  Zack faked his asthma attack so that he could pick up some mementos.  They reminisce for a while, because there’s always time for that.  Mummy vamp appears at the back door.  Zack tries to run towards her, but Eph fires his gun.  Vamp Kelly runs off.  Eph reaches for the bottle.

Abraham’s voiceover epilogue is suitably dire.  The group drive off in the bread van, as parts of the city burn.

Unanswered questions

  • So, the vampire army have done bugger all throughout the whole series!  Couldn’t they have nipped this in the bud right at the start?  Clearly they saw it coming.

My Favourite Bit
Vasily’s convenient knowledge of the area, specific history, and stash of dynamite helps move the plot along.

Overall Rating
Empty Star_76Empty Star_76Empty Star_762 out of 5 stars

It took me a while to watch this last episode, as I had lost a bit of momentum with this story.  I’ll be honest here.  I’ve never really connected with any of the characters, so it’s difficult to care whether they live or die.  The scientists haven’t done any science, the old hunter has failed to kill the monster he’s been hunting for 70 years, the hacker screwed up the system but can’t fix it, and the government officials are slow to react to a crisis, or are just plain corrupt.  The rich guy wanted to get turned, and still failed at that!  The vampire army could have had a much more prominent role; of all people they chose Gus as their helper right at the end – I don’t see why, so far all he’s done is drive a van!  We were introduced to the characters as being mostly intelligent people, but evidence suggests that they managed to get to their job status purely by luck, not through skills.

The only characters which I thought had any brains, were Vasily the exterminator, and Zack the kid; who managed to survive being left alone to babysit a mentally ill old lady.

Throughout this whole first season, I’ve been waiting for it to properly get going.  All of the storylines were disjointed, and each episode progressed so very slowly.  The series started out by putting dates and times on screen, so you knew that only a few hours had passed.  Throughout the rest of the episodes they stopped doing that, so we’re left unsure whether it’s a few days or a few weeks that have passed since the aeroplane arrived carrying The Master cargo.  Either way, it’s taken 13 weeks to tell that story which might have made a great 2 hour monster movie.

I may, or may not follow this story in season 2..