The Strain: New Horizons Review
The Strain, season 4, episode 4, ‘New Horizons,’ got things rolling, for threads that were starting to settle in. Gus (Miguel Gomez) got goosed – forcing his crew to re-qualify itself, as the premier black market operation; the Empire struck back, at Ephraim (Corey Stoll) & his Urchins; and Dutch (Ruta Gedmintas) decided to trade a lock-pick for an acetylene torch, in escaping the Partnership breeding program.
Why the new Dutch touch? Because Desai’s (Cas Anvar) irritating night out, with the wife, came with the worst case of heartburn: Eichorst (Richard Sammel) bringing a heaped helping of emasculating dress-down to their table.
First of all, I’ve been wondering (someplace back of my head) about Eichorst’s old musings, over a time when he wouldn’t have to wear his Human disguise anymore. Specifically, I’ve been wondering whether he’s been keeping up appearances, for moments like the Desai sit down, or if the Showrunners just forgot about those musings. Considering that he’s been wearing the disguise around the Master, and I’m thinking it’s the latter. I’ve also been waiting to see if anything comes of his history with Dutch; but more on that, later.
The Desai sit down also instantly reminded me of a pivotal scene from Inglourious Basterds, where the ranking German Officer crashing a private gathering did not end well. I’m not sure the Eichorst crash fared all that better.
Well, the buck should pass up; but crap always trickles down, when things run like they should. Desai’s problem became Dutch’s problem. Problem was, Dutch already had a problem – solving the problem of landing her next problem solving sucker (I think I may have wordsmithing problem). Dutch, however, has always been a survivor first, and a schemer second; so needing Sherry (Jess Salgueiro) to talk her into playing along didn’t completely track with her character. It just wasn’t the time, or place, for soul searching.
On the other hand, never underestimate the negative pull of peer pressure, when the script calls for a character break; so Dutch wound up succumbing to the very thing Desai tapped her to prevent happening to his Breeders. To put it another way: all that scheming was reduced to a nut-shot.
In the event you forgot about Desai’s pre-Illumination pet-project, and the subtle reminder in the opening credit sequence, the final scene will likely take your mind off the bait-and-switch.
Don’t look at me, though. I’ve been having nostalgic thoughts about Eichorst, Seasons Past….
The Ephraim nail, in the Master’s side, took the hammer sooner than expected. On a more personal level, so did Alex’s (Angel Parker) sore thumb relation. Despite everyone knowing the basics – about how Strigoi sting automatically makes you an enemy informant – no one seemed all that interested in taking colleagues – or themselves, for that matter – out of the equation, when stung. So we’re still doing the long goodbyes, at this point; and Alex couldn’t do the deed, when it came to little liability – err, brother, Jason (Rainbow Francks). I’d say Eph still has work to do, getting her into Revolutionary shape; but Eph’s own soft-hearted history (soft-headed, really), regarding the rot-of-his-loins, takes some of that cred away.
The good news: Alex was a little lighter, now. The better news: Alex seemed to be the only Urchin left for Eph to carry. School’s out.
Despite having a familial liability of his own, Gus seemed to have a better handle on his sentimentality. When dirty business took out one of his boys, he got straight to business. He also knew his liabilities – all of them.
Despite Gus getting his crew to fight smart (instead of like “men”), their conflict climaxed in the now commonplace fashion of bad cover (couches, storage racks, and chain-link fencing?), carelessly handled hardware (who stores a SAW fully belted?), and bad guys not knowing when to cut their losses. It also came with a menacing glance that only viewers can see; so make sure to break your own Fourth Wall, to find out who in your crew been staring daggers at you.
Aside from getting things rolling, for Eph & Gus, the ‘New Horizons’ Dutch gear shift was a clear reminder that a wrap-up is in progress. While I like the idea that plots/ plotting won’t be taking forever, anymore, that gear shift does raise some concern about corner cuts – in terms of both plot & characterization.
Great. Now I’m actually wondering if I should just expect a series of series ending cop-outs….
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