FX’s The Strain Last Rites TV Show Review. The Strain: Season 1, Episode 12: Last Rites, was a solid title choice considering we are one episode away from the season finale. Up to this point, Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) and team have taken themselves from the novice league and become professional Vampire hunters. Augustin “Gus” Elizalde (Miguel Gomez) is also making waves and may end up being a bigger contributor than originally thought.
Europe 1967, a time Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley), will never forget. The concept of having him carry his wife’s heart all these years serves as a perfect fuel to keep him pressing after The Master (Robert Maillet). It’s also very poetic in a way. Watching and living through his journey from concentration camp to losing his wife becomes more real with every grimace he offers. So now we understand why he was so raving mad when the team pulled him away to regroup after the last confrontation. This is just another reason why this show works.
Gus is making it clear that he will not only survive this chaos but he will also stay relevant…at any cost. Kidnapping Alonso Creem (Jaime Hector), a young man known for his illegal business deals, was a smart bet. Watching Gus decide to get a bit greedy after the cash drop truly played into his basic instincts. He is after all, from the streets. I was also impressed with how sophisticated Creem was about his operations. Once again the writing on this show throws an interesting curve ball. When Creem reveals he was planning on shipping a container full of infected people, I asked myself…”where is that container going?” Before I could begin to ponder that fully, here comes Quinlan (Stephen McHattie) the half-breed vampire hunter. He arrives just in time to swoop up Gus and leave Creem to deal with a container with vampires pouring out. This was another solid scene that successfully pushes the tale forward.
In another strange turn of events, Dutch Velders (Ruta Gedmintas) returns to the pawnshop to try and repair the damage she has done. Her plan is to setup Eph so he can shoot a warning video. What’s interesting about Dutch is she comes off as a very confused young lady. She knows her stuff when it comes to hacking and computers. For some strange reason, she can’t seem to tell Vasilly Fet (Kevin Durand) that she is into women. The flirting that exists between them at some point will have to be dealt with. For now, it seems to be helping them not think about loved ones lost and how dire their situation looks. Watching Eph deliver his warning really plays out believable. His delivery is anything but smooth but given the set of obstacles they have faced…it’s effective.
Just when you think it’s safe to watch TV at the pawnshop, here comes Thomas Eichorst (Richard Sammel). Having him be the response to the public service announcement Eph did really kills two birds with one stone. Having Dr. Nora Martinez (Mia Maestro) mother Mariela Martinez (Anne Betancourt) meet her end from Gabriel Bolivar (Jack Kesy) in a dark way frees up Nora to be a more active member. She will also be looking to take Gabriel’s head for infecting her mother. Witnessing Eichorst and his crew storm the pawnshop forces the team to make a power move. With their base of operation compromised they will no doubt have to take the fight to the Master sooner than planned.
In the final scene, we see Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) finally get his wish. The Master pays him a visit and offers up some of his infected blood. The concept of death giving life plays well in this scene…but at what price? On one hand its good to see The Master finally deal with Eldritch. Having Mr. Fitzwilliams (Roger R. Cross) arrive in time to see his boss alive and well presents another question mark. As he looks on, watching Eldritch celebrate I can’t help wondering what he is thinking. Will Eldritch still need him?
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