The Horror Honeys: The Strain: Season 1, Episodes 12 and 13

The Strain: Season 1, Episodes 12 and 13

A Horror TV Honey Finality Review by Lisa

The Strain 
Episode 12, "Last Rites"
Episode 13, "The Master"

It is no secret that I have found The Strain to be completely underwhelming, so I chose to watch the last two episodes together in hopes that it would make for an exciting end to the first season. How very wrong I was. Sometimes, a show has so much to cover and so many things to tie up, that the last two episodes of a season can be the best two episodes and I truly believed that The Strain was going to come through on this bet. People who have read the books were showing The Strain a level of love that was intoxicating and it was the only thing that kept my optimism up. If people who know where the story is going are excited to see it develop on screen, then it must be good, right? I will simply assume that this entire story works much better on the page than it does on the screen. It certainly wouldn't be the first or the last time that was the case. I have no doubt that this is a great story, but it just didn't transfer over to the television screen very well.

In the penultimate season one episode, Last Rites, we are treated to flashbacks that tell the story of Eichorst teaching Setrakian the ultimate lesson. We finally got to see Abraham being confronted with his wife, Miriam, and then having to kill her. I really, truly wish that they had not shown this bit of misery intercut with Nora killing her mother and all set to some super dramatic opera music. It's way too late to try to make me like or care about Nora and/or her mother. Making Abraham and Nora share this moment took away from Abraham and I resented it. Outside of the flashbacks, David Bradley (Setrakian) has, basically, been doing a super solid impersonation of Walder Frey from Game of Thrones for the last few episodes. What a waste of a fantastic actor.

Is Voldemort on this show? 
Rich, white dude is given his health, but he is not given immortality and he is not pleased with this. At least he has that really awful spray tan to show that he has been rejuvenated and he seems to get a certain amount of joy from throwing that lady over the balcony. Whatever.

Thank goodness Dutch came back. (Not really.) Although I enjoyed her idea of using the Emergency Broadcast System to push Eph and his hairpiece on the public at large, the whole broadcast was really reminiscent of that awful alien autopsy that we were all subjected to in the 90s. I don't know about you, but I would have thought it was an awesome practical joke if I had seen that. Also, I would like to know when blondie found time to put those trashy black extensions in her hair. Did she put them in just for Fet because I'm not buying their "chemistry" at all. Not for one second. Fet is on the same list as Setrakian and Eph; talented actors being wasted.

So, the Peter Steele vampire conveniently resurfaces which allowed Eph and Fet to deduce where The Master was hiding: in Bolivar's building. This is where Fet really comes in handy. As an exterminator, he knows everything about the buildings in the city, so he knows that Bolivar's building has been around since prohibition and that only means one thing; secret tunnels.

I am officially done with all of the conveniently located secret tunnels underneath the city that are on every single show on television right now. Whomever is responsible for this particular plot device, I officially hate you. It has been so egregiously used and abused for lazy storytelling that is no longer fun, interesting or clever. It just sucks. So, while we're doing the same thing that every other show on TV is doing, we might as well steal some dialogue from the most awesome and under-seen movie ever: Subspecies. That's right. During the flashback, when Abraham found the vampires, the lead one taunted him by saying, "The sun is setting professor and you are so far from home." This is a blatant rip off of dialogue between Radu and Stefan in Subspecies. Thank you Full Moon Entertainment.

It seems to be the normal route of action for this show to only show the truly engaging characters (i.e.) Gus and the rogue Vampire Army in extremely limited quantities. It's really too bad, because whatever the Ancients have in store for our Mexican badass seems ultra cool. A warrior who can move in sunlight and help rectify a truce that has been broken? Sounds interesting. If history is any indication, though, I'm sure they'll just tease it for most of the second season and then barely do anything with it.

After what feels like an eternity (13 episodes), our motley group finally makes it to their confrontation with The Master and it's so amazingly anti climactic. Much like a poorly choreographed kung fu movie, everyone takes turns fighting; one by one and it's agonizingly slow going for what is supposed to be an epic battle. Even when Abraham and Eph finally meet up with The Master again, it's pretty lame. Eph kind of lunges at The Master and this causes The Master to fall out of the window. It was harder to kill Jerry the vampire in Fright Night. Oh, wait. Sunlight doesn't kill The Master... didn't see that one coming. I wonder what does? No, actually, I don't care anymore.

The Strain is a television show that came with a lot of promise; Guillermo del Toro, Corey Stoll, a different kind of vampire, and epic story with far reaching history and some truly gross parasitic worms. For me, none of this ended up amounting to anything new, different, or remotely interesting. The Strain could be so good and so epic, but it spends far too much time wasting time. To waste Corey Stoll this way is just blasphemy and then to put that God awful hairpiece on him, I just can't wrap my brain around it. As far as these "different" vampires go, how come they're all missing their noses?

Fun fact: losing your nose is a side effect of a very bad case of syphilis.

So, the season ended not with a bang, but with a whimper. Of all of the times The Strain really should have gone all out and copied The Walking Dead, it was this episode. Eph should have killed Kelly in front of Zach. Now, that would have been an actual, exciting and emotionally engaging thing to occur. Instead, Eph starts behaving as though he's in a Lifetime movie about alcoholism and all of our characters look exceptionally pensive as the city burns. Literally. I realize that most people do not agree with my sentiments, but The Strain was a huge letdown for me and I simply cannot imagine a future where I am excited for the second season to begin.