TV Show Review

TV Review: THE STRAIN: Season 4, Episode 2: The Blood Tax [FX]

Ruta Gedmintas The Strain The Blood Tax

The Strain: The Blood Tax Review

The Strain, season 4, episode 2, ‘The Blood Tax’ showed us how the other other half was living, in the Master’s post-apocalyptic paradise, to set up this closing season.

With Quinlan & Fet clear of the urban occupation zones, occupation survival originally focused on Ephraim’s (Corey Stoll) new Philly stomping grounds, while the rot of his loins enjoyed being the sell-out Prince of New York. This time around, that focus expanded to include the balance of the remaining NYC cast (minus the emo Prince, thankfully enough).

Gus (Miguel Gomez) finally resurfaced, for one thing. Near the end of last season, it seemed like the Showrunners had run out of things for him to do, once Angel was out of the picture.

So, naturally, Gus was given a new handicap. No, not strange bedfellow, Alonso Creem (Jamie Hector) – this came in the form of younger cousin-all-of-a-sudden, Raul (Michael Reventar), who also doubled as an inside asset. Of course, having an inside liability is one way to keep suspense a thing; so, besides being a conveniently poor shot, Creem went sour on the whole family-in-business take-away, from their near-miss mission.

Speaking of handicaps: it could be just me, but the Strigoi seem far less capable as authority hands, than they had been as hunters/ foot soldiers. Add to that the fact that controlled media gets pumped to the masses, but secure facilities couldn’t be bothered to spring for CC cameras, and plot holes get to double as plot armor, it seems.

Until it doesn’t, that is. That old collective consciousness aspect resurfaced, just so Eph could adopt the Fertilizer Pail Kids. That, and prove himself the Daddy War Buck they always needed (“OMG! This scenario I just spit-balled – as a thing not done, as a reason for not doing anything – is actually a thing I can do! We should do stuff, now.”)

Dutch (Ruta Gedmintas) & Setrakian (David Bradley), meanwhile, had their own handicap to contend with. No, not Setrakian’s health issues – his attachment to the Lumen. The Lumen that happened to be in jeopardy, since Strigoi just happened to be raiding their building… and burning it, for reasons. For the Prof’s sake (at some point, how those two wound up sticking together might get touched on; but I’m not holding out for it), Dutch got to flex her hero muscles, for a bit; but only so that there’d be some outside chance, to their mutual character downturn.

After all that, it would’ve been kind of an insult, having them just penned & processed. So, naturally, the Professor drew needless attention to himself – getting both of them singled out from the herd.  I suppose this had to be done, since it now seemed obvious that The Master wasn’t using his all-seeing-eye app, anymore.

Much of that fallout focused on Dutch, this episode; as one particularly delicious quality of hers got her reproductive rights turned into a privilege.

At least, that was the way a resurfaced (and comfy, considering the state he was last left in) Sanjay Desai (Cas Anvar) saw it. Since the Master’s Inner Circle was now a ruling circle, the task of rationalizing the master plan fell to lead collaborator types, like Dasai; and Dutch (being Dutch) was made to our earpiece for the spiel. Some elements of the LGBTQ community aren’t all that found of the designation ‘Breeder.’ Of course, Dutch (being Dutch) also had her ways of getting a way out, as well.

It was actually a good plan, and Dutch knew how to overcome certain character flaws, that come with the territory; so this stint, under the Master’s unwitting thumb, was to be short lived.

Ah, but never underestimate the power of needless panic. Order now, and we’ll even double the offer – for maximum plan-shot-to-hell effect.

It seems Misadventures in Baby Breeding will be a thread, for the moment. At the same time, there’s bound to be more bonding between Eph, and his new militant Munchkins; Gus & Creem are bound to beef; and Setrakian has to be due all kinds of special attention.

…How long before we get back to questing across Big Sky Country, with the Quin-Fet?

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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