The Strain: One Shot Review
The Strain, season 4, episode 3, ‘One Shot,’ almost made one kill of my favorite thread, this season. The combination of Quinlan (Rupert Penry-Jones) & Fet (Kevin Durand) is winner, by most criteria; but what should’ve been a straightforward retrieval – complete with a newly acquired Human key – got pinned down under sniper hold-out cross-hairs. Suspense drama, sure; but also the stuff of filler. Unworthy of the Quin-Fet.
There was also a pretty crappy rendering of a deer; but the take-away to this scene was that Charlotte (Rhona Mitra) wasn’t just eye-candy. After that was established, she would serve no other purpose, this episode – Quin-Fet’s stock continued to drop.
Further underscoring that fact, was Ephraim (Corey Stoll) taking Underground upstart, Alex (Angel Parker), and her walking-liability brother (c’mon – tell me Rainbow Francks‘ character doesn’t have that giving-death-a-piggyback-ride look to him, every time he’s on screen), to useful places. Forget the chemistry cram, to the Eph-Alex dynamic, the combination of her energy, and his brains, promises a more interesting thread than first outlined.
I was going to make a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup analogy, about that last bit – but common decency got the better of me. This time, anyway.
Since there really will be no avoiding him, this crucial final season, the Zach (Max Charles) thread has at least given me something to work with. What works, in this case, is the likely tragic figure of Abby (Jocelyn Hudon); and since I’m not interested in watching Zach work her over, I’ll just settle for working over their prospects.
Whether by choice, or compulsion, this will not end well. Coco, anyone?
That said, the boiling point to their dynamic will likely constitute a corner-turn for Zach. Like original recipe Palmer, it could be the harsh lesson that gets Douche Boy to questioning his priorities (where the death of Nora, NYC, and Human freedom failed). On the other hand, it could be the thing that earns him his Sith Lord name (and a bunch of dead Younglings to his resume).
I’d settle for either – just so long as the character actually becomes interesting.
On the polar opposite end, of the interesting character scale, Quinlan took a literal knee-capping, this episode. It made sense, plot-wise, since there wouldn’t have been any silo drama, had he been free to deal with the conflict. I could’ve done without the drama, myself; but this was too straightforward a mission to leave wrinkle free – there was an hour to fill.
Patriotism being a virtue of the vicious, and all, the whole matter boiled down to Fet appealing to a soldier’s sense of reason, while Quinlan spoke to his sense of self-preservation. They both got their points across; but I liked Quinlan’s outcome better. The Philly operation had enough Urchins, at this point – keep the Dakota trip lean.
Since nothing easy is ever simple, the missile grab was bound to end in frustration (one more reason Quinlan getting his kill on was a good idea). Ordinarily, this would be an excuse to keep the Quin-Fet rolling. Time constraints, however, suggested that this might’ve been the thing that eventually gets a good guy bad apple into the bad guys’ good batch. Consider the apples we’re talking about, and this could add up to some impressive mushrooms (OK, I really should eat before I write these).
Speaking of bad batches, Eph’s Urchins actually managed to show-up the Quin-Fet, with a pretty big win. Of course, a sizable win, this early into the season, could only add up to a Nail Sticking Out. With Eichorst (Richard Sammel) already jubilant, at the prospect of swinging the Hammer, I’m hoping that the Philly resistance thread becomes a shoot-and-scoot, full-scale partisan war.
The odds remain with whichever thread Quinlan’s a part of, of course; but it wouldn’t hurt to have more than one interesting thread, at a time.
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