The Strain: Do or Die Review
The Strain, season 3, episode 9, ‘Do or Die,’ brought us a pen-ultimate scenario that meant drawing a line in the sand, for certain cast members, while lightening the load, regarding others. With something of a purge already having taken place, and the fate of Quinlan (Rupert Penry-Jones) left up in the air, the core resistance centered around stubborn hold-outs. For the broader resistance: something of a hobble off stage – after being somewhat knee-capped, during a previous contest round. It was make-or-break time, for the balance of the remaining cast, before this year’s final round.
So about the question of how many character spotlight flashbacks we’ll be getting, before the (fingers crossed) big closing number. Answer: at least one more.
Bad White guy, Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde), was making moves in the present, to get his oligarchy back, while his younger self took the first steps to getting it, in the first place. Well, taking it, anyway. Fortunately, the flashback element was less filler, than brief note of context.
Is it just me, or did the effects of a low-yield tactical nuke going off, under a section of the city, go largely unnoticed? A degree of self-centered jaded concern is to be expected, all things considered; but that wasn’t part of the regularly scheduled horror show, outside any given city bastion.
The writing on the wall (and likely coming out of at least one more season) says the macro-bastion of NYC is going to fall; so at some point, the line between honor & fanaticism has to be addressed.
For Setrakian (David Bradley), getting as close as he figured he was (Lumen, Daywalker, and all) meant it was time for a last stand. I’d reason that having these resources (M.I.A. Daywalker notwithstanding) was good enough reason to play it safe (as he, himself, once stated) – keeping the key to victory out of the Master’s hands, at least long enough for a lateral pass. His deciding to make a last stand, at this point, seemed like a reckless walking of the line between stubbornness & fanaticism.
I’m not sure if Justine Feraldo (Samantha Mathis) crossed that line, this ep. Sure, noble last stands are noble – nobody can question her courage, at this point – but Charles de Gaulle left Paris, while Hitler bunkered down in Berlin; so….
Stress sex could be one reason for Dutch (Ruta Gedmintas) & Eph’s (Corey Stoll) decision to stay – sealing a commitment to deliver the V-weapon, that delivers the city from doom. Unfortunately, it may have also doomed Fet’s (Kevin Durand) attempt at extending a courtesy to one of them, while trying to save the other. At least he tried (sorry, Fet). He would also pick a fight with Eph (hopefully for the given reason, and not the other thing), which kind of came out of nowhere (and for what it’s worth, I bet on Fet); but that bit of show logic came later. After a semi-poorly executed act of Stragoi child abuse, Deph went about delivering on its commitment.
Gus (Miguel Gomez) & Angel (Joaquín Cosio) had the right idea; but after the Battle of Central Park, you’d think everyone would know better than to do anything that left them out in the open, by nightfall – especially Team Feraldo (once she decided that dying wasn’t the thing to do).
No, wait – make that especially Eldritch Palmer. As important as the cargo was, there was at least the risk of the Master securing it, after dark. The fact that he didn’t was plot luck, I guess. I would’ve expected the Master to have done more with (or to, rather) the evacuees, after dark. Even if Stragoi attacks were random, laying eyes on Feraldo should’ve evoked a more co-ordinated response. More plot luck for Justine, Gus, and Angel.
That is, until the plot decided that a last stand was going to be needed, anyway. Let’s face it, the writing was on the wall for a number of characters, this season; but at least the message was delivered in a satisfactorily typical manner (predestined, even, if you consider the history of one particular eyeball). Vaya con Dios, peripherals.
Getting a little more mileage: Palmer’s dance with Eichorst (Richard Sammel). Framed by the tail-end of the Palmer flashback story, it should have culminated with one of them getting some long delayed satisfaction. Instead, some convenient holes, in the victor’s plot, kept the dance floor open. If Palmer knew what he was opening himself up to, there were many ways to get around it (he had an entire anti-Stragoi security system in place, once).
As plot luck would have it, both dancers took a break (okay, one got a little broken, while the other made a break for it), but the floor’s still open. I’m not sure how this factors into the seasonal show-stopping number; but one good place, to leave that question, would be to have a preferred dance-off team mate sign back into the contest.
Oh, there he is. Cue the music.
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