TV Show Review

TV Review: THE STRAIN: Season 4, Episode 6: Tainted Love [FX]

Richard Sammel The Strain Tainted Love

The Strain: Tainted Love Review

The Strain, season 4, episode 6, ‘Tainted Love,’ got one thread off the ground (literally), while mercifully wrapping up a pair of sentimental side-bars. Unfortunately, that meant getting through a Zach (Max Charles) & Abby (Jocelyn Hudon) Make a Tragedy travesty; but the Quinlan (Rupert Penry-Jones) flashback at least had something to say about that, Fet’s (Kevin Durand) relationship with Charlotte (Rhona Mitra), and why sentimental diversions are bad for post-apocalyptic battlefields – in general – despite itself.

I suppose a previous example would be Eichorst (Richard Sammel) getting burned, by his need to savor having old foes at his mercy. Well, he got better. That, and a reassignment to Quinfet’s theater of operations.

Not only was Eichorst’s recovery & rerouting remarkably rapid, but he got to show off his elite skill set, tying up Quinfet’s loose ends. What annoys me about this otherwise impressive display, is that it means moments like being set on fire by Dutch, in the first place, was entirely due to Eichort’s own carelessness. There’s always been enough of that to go around, on this show, just to keep things sporting; but it just takes away from moments like this. How do we know when someone like Eichorst gets the flawless victory? When his opponent doesn’t come with built-in plot armor.

Quinlan has never really had that problem, thankfully enough (just try to forget about the Red Worm); so the exercise in recalling how he once did continued. Of course, Current Q summed up the point of the flashback thread before it started up, again; but the Showrunners figured we needed to see the details – so, Gentleman Q got comfy, got on the recently arrived Master’s (Robin Atkin Downes/ Robert Maillet) radar, and got schooled on how badasses don’t get tied down.

All that sentimental knot-twisting, over time & space, and all kind of moot – at least where Charlotte was concerned. As loose ends go, here was a character that knew how to tie her own. Charlotte officially rocks – good for us; but another poke to Fet’s soft spot. I love ya, man; but you really should stop falling so hard, and so often.

Considering that the relevant moral of the story was so readily established without it, Gentleman Q getting on with the business of vendetta seemed even more like filler material. Given the alternative, however, I’d sooner watch a whole season devoted to this diversion.

The Zach thread had its own heartsick diversion-in-progress going; and I so desperately wanted to fast-forward to the tragic conclusion. Was this otherwise intelligent seeming girl, Abby, playing the collaborationist angle, or just blind to the fact that the Master’s (Jonathan Hyde) guest of honor isn’t really play date material? Had she no sense that he was hard-wired to take everything the wrong way?

It didn’t matter, anyhow – Fallout Boy cut to the burn, once he caught on to what any casual viewer could’ve guessed, regarding Abby’s status. Good thing he could only push the doomsday switch once – people, places, and things die, when he emo-triggers. Not him, though – plot armor isn’t just for characters you want to stick around.

Hey, here’s a question (not that I care): if the outcome to all of Zach’s emo pain came as a release, for Abby, why wouldn’t Zach want the same release? Yeah, he’s not supposed to be that smart; but the Master should’ve known better than to even try that angle. Then again, the Master does understand that Zach’s not that smart; so it was just an Afterschool Special way to pass some time with the twit, whynot. That, and gift the brat with a custom Abby – all wiped & refurbished – to serve the Emo’s ego.

On a side note: even Zach should know that new Abby came with a built in nanny cam; so he might think twice about taking certain impulse actions, where she’s concerned. Just saying; couldn’t be the only one what thunk it….

On another note: I just realized I got this far without breaking into titular song… and I’m not going to. You’re welcome.

So, once past Zach’s chemical romance, and Quinlan’s revenge-is-a-dish-best-served-by-single-waiters treatment, the episode managed to go full-circle, back to the subject of plot armor.

I expected more from the grizzled Sky Master – he managed to blow the wheel off a speeding truck, but couldn’t hit a stationary shooter. More to the point, however, was Charlotte picking up the slack, but not paying a price for it. Heck, Eichorst probably could’ve caught up to Quinfet on foot, from what we’ve seen of elite Strigoi abilities, and it’s not like he was really put down, by any measure. Still, Charlotte seemingly earned enough plot armor to walk away from the game save, all proud-like.

Yeah, Charlotte rocks; but plot armor sucks. I hope she wears it well, at least.

‘Tainted Love’ did look to be headed in the right direction, all-in-all. With a finale in sight, the key players are actually getting stuff done, and seemingly shedding some baggage, along the way. There is still a bit too much inevitability to it, with everyone on track to making the church on time; but everyone can’t stay armored up forever. I mean, they just can’t, right?

Leave your thoughts, on this The Strain ‘Tainted love’ review, and this episode of The Strain, in the comments section, below. Readers seeking more TV show reviews can go to our TV Show Review Page, our TV Show Review Twitter Page,  our TV Show Review Facebook Page, and our TV Show Review Google+ Page. Want up-to-the-minute notification? FilmBook staff members publish  articles by Email, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, and Facebook.

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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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