The Strain: Extraction Review
The Strain, season 4, episode 8, ‘Extraction,’ was the breather, after Setrakian (David Bradley) settled accounts with Eichorst; the reset, after a post-settlement farewell; and a bridge to what comes next. The thing is, what comes next could go either way, payoff-wise.
Quinlan (Rupert Penry-Jones), Fet (Kevin Durand), and newbie Roman (K.C. Collins) had some work cut out for them, after all bridges into Manhattan were blown, Dark Knight style. Somewhere between plot armor & plot convenience, however, it didn’t look like it took too much work.
Given that there is a time crunch to consider, I still thought the Quinfet crossing was too easy. Quinlan has that effect, sure; but this was more a case of plot convenience. If Desai (Cas Anvar) & the Master (Jonathan Hyde) were serious about cutting off Manhattan island, they would’ve provided more security along the coast – then issued a shoot-on-sight order, for anything that moves on the water.
Well, Quinfet got in, and stuck Roman with bombsitting duty – convenient, since Roman had no stake in what awaited Quinfet.
Ephraim (Corey Stoll) & Dutch (Ruta Gedmintas) were too casual, coming on to the scene, and would’ve made easy prey for Eichorst, had he been up for it; but he wasn’t, so gloating happened. By the time Quinfet arrived, it was all about the fallout – namely Setrakian pulling a Trojan gambit, to get to Eichorst, then a martyr rally, to get everyone on the same page. No one seemed concerned about a follow-up attack (the Master knowing where they were, and all); but the episode – and its characters – needed to focus.
No one took events harder than Fet, of course – even after the precognizant dream, of an earlier episode. Setrakian was like a father to the man, and Setfet was the first, and most enduring, committed combo of the series. Fet has always been the most sentimental of the lot (I don’t wanna hear about Eph’s fixations); so losing his trademark whistle-while-you-work smile was kind of a deal.
Sentiment was exactly why Quinlan was the best choice to let the Silver Sing to its own master, and the only one likely to have anything useful to say, as a eulogy.
Now, let’s just set sentimental sunset send-offs aside, for a bit, to think a smidge o’ science. Never mind that the Warfarin should’ve killed Setrakian (we can chalk that one up to years of White use, if we absolutely have to) – if the OD was enough to hobble Eichorst, then it should’ve at least made Setrakian distasteful to the worms. If the worms aren’t affected, then it shouldn’t matter what happens to the host body – and that’s a whole other can of worms, right there.
In any event, Fet got Silver Wolf, and maybe a chance to get Fetch (Fet & Dutch) going again.
Dutch, for her part, got some personal payback, out of this ep, in a way that was generally useful. I’d figured Desai’s raised profile somehow telegraphed Eichorst’s exit; but it turns out I gave the show too much credit.
Desai will not be the New Number Two.
As for the question of “Who is Number One,” the Master may have hit a new low, regarding his own losses. Zach (Max Charles) – fresh from having Abby (Jocelyn Hudon) downgraded to creepy comfort blanket – got upgraded to sentimental contingency measure, and sent off to seek-and-annoy. You get zero guesses as to who his target was – that dynamic got fatally old back in season 2.
Keep in mind that Fallout Boy is the reason Ephora (Eph & Nora) wasn’t the most enduring committed combo of the series (just sayin’).
Now, about Operation Gentleman Grab, itself. The Partnership has proven to be as tight as a colander – its Human details still know nothing about Quinlan, and the men of every check-point has been free to make their own calls. The Master is well capable of micromanaging all assets, but has not; and his army of Strigoi has lost a significant level of significance. For someone now paranoid about the nuke getting through, you’d think he’d fill every square foot with Strigoi, serving as his eyes & ears. Worse than failing that, he didn’t notice Quinlan through the Strigoi that did appear (bringing a Boss Fight, even).
I really hope the “I’m no traitor” line was done for ironic effect (otherwise: Ijustcant); but expendable Murphy (David Bronfman) had to die for his suddenly resurrected conscience (not enough time to break in newbie resistors).
Notice that nobody ever shoots to incapacitate, anymore? Desai was able to run pretty far – despite several clear shots at him – because they “needed him alive.” I’d just shake this off as more plot convenience; but shoot to incapacitate no longer seems an option IRL, either – so I might have to let that particular detail go, depressingly enough. IRL quarries run-at-the-mouth, to their already ticked-off pursuers, too… so, headshakes.
The issue of sentiment had to stay relevant – Eph dwelling on their losses left him in just the right mindset to ignore the obvious Master baiting (you know what I meant!). Even so: what the Eph, man….
‘Extraction’ could’ve been regarded as a pause, to take stock in the end of the Setrakian-Eichorst thread, or as a loose-end tie-up, before the finale, or even as a way of getting the Zach brat back to a relevant level of hate-inspiration. Whatever it was, it just felt kind of weightless – a lot of elements, previously regarded as big deals, settled as a matter of transition, between major happenings (fingers crossed).
The end to this series will determine if the series, itself, had any real merit to it (not always the case – The X-Files was still great, despite the awful finish). That said, the best thing I can say about ‘Extraction,’ is that it at least provided enough comeuppance to make an end seem reasonable; but left enough room-for-error to keep things apprehensive. Conflicting forecasts that could – could – add up to an ending worth sticking around for.
Thinking hopeful thoughts, about Eph & Zach (Ech?) reunited. Kinda left the whole affair in Limbo, frankly….
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