A The Strain Community
FX (ended 2017)
And so two of the biggest dicks on The Strain get their what-for in "The Traitor".

The first and most obvious one is Desai. The creative team gives him a couple of minutes to put out his twisted worldview about how he's saving humanity by draining the blood from thousands. Including babies, as Desai himself pointed out. Although didn't he say he had Sophie killed last week? So using her as a selling point in his "I killed the baby to save the mother" argument didn't seem to make much sense.

I never buy the "You're a hypocrite because you're killers, too" accusation in situations like this. Setting aside that killing thousands in the most painful way possible is kind of oranges to Team Strain's shooting of people that are fighting with the bad guys apples. It means that the conqueror is saying that because you resist us, you're hypocrites. The alternative is for the conquered to… roll over and play dead? I've never been quite sure about that.

Anyhoo, Desai squeals like a baby when Quinlan threatens to eat Desai's wife Selah, and tells Team Strain where the Master is located. This doesn't make a lot of sense since we find out later that Desai has been cheating on his wife. And sells her down the river to the Master, claiming that she told Team Strain about the Empire State Building (ESB). The Master first kills Selah in front of Desai, and then kills Desai. You'd think that Desai would have learned that the whole "You need me!" argument didn't work with Creem a few episodes ago, and it ain't going to work when he tries it out. But oh well, exit Desai stage left.

The second dick to get it is Zach. Kudos to the creative team for at least making a small effort to make it seem that Zach had been playing along with the Master. But being the omniscient narrator types that the creative team has made us, we know from a few episodes ago that Zach let a feeler turn Abby. Admittedly, the Master doesn't crush Zach's skull like a grape (why not?), but it's clear that Zach has failed both his father and his father-figure, and neither one is going to trust him anymore. Zach is only alive because... I don't know, really. The Master is feeling charitable, I guess.

As for the rest? Gus and his gang go to the Federal Reserve to get the nuke and pick up some silver. Gus and Roman bond, and hey, we get a mention of Aanya! Remember her? She was the daughter of the restaurant-owning family that escaped NYC in season 2. And we haven't heard about them since. So it's nice to see that Gus still remembers her. I did, because that's why I get paid the big bucks. But does your average audience member? Only if you wonder why the creative team wasted four episodes with her and Gus' budding romance.

Vasiliy and Dutch question Desai, which gives him a reason to spout his self-justifying crap mentioned earlier. It's not clear why they bother, because all it seems to do is make Dutch doubt the rightness of their cause. They eventually just have Quinlan threaten to drink Selah anyway. Vasiliy isn't so easily moved as Dutch, because he's a guy and all.

I did like Desai pointing out that someone with a computer (Dutch) could have easily worked up fake photos of the farms in Pennsylvania. Since that's essentially what the production team did. Unless you really think they had thousands of carpenters build a farm compound for an end-of-episode matte shot and a phone photo.

Anyhoo, Zach eventually lets slip that he's still working for the Master. By cutting his thumb on a pop can in the most obvious way possible, and Eph picking up on it. I'm always torn on this. On the one hand, the creative team and director really play up the "Ooh, Zach cutting his thumb is really really significant" camera shots. So on the one hand, it's pretty obvious. So if Eph catches it, it's no surprise. And if he doesn't, it makes him look like an idiot. In this case, he catches it.

Team Strain evacs the building and goes to the Federal Reserve. They collect the bomb and head for the ESB, which Zach has also confirmed is where the Master nets, as part of Zach's cover. The team knows that it's a trap, but Quinlan spouts some dialogue about how they can turn that to their advantage. And... huh? Not only do they fail to do so, but when they're dealing with a consciousness-projecting 2,000-year-old vampire-ish creature, it's pretty clear that they're going to fail once he knows that they're coming. Which he knows. And they know he knows. And he knows that they know that he knows.

So Quinlan strolls in and says that he'll tell the rest of the team via radio to plant the nuke when he confirms the Master is there. And almost quick as I can say, "The Master is only there if he's a real idiot: consciousness-projecting, remember?", Quinlan finds out that the Master isn't there. But Abby is, and the Master speaks through her (consciousness-projecting, remember?). he and Quinlan banter a bit, a bunch of other strigoi arrive, and the Mater says that he and Quinlan will meet eventually at a time and place of his choosing. So... the strigoi aren't supposed to kill Quinlan?

Meanwhile, more strigoi advance on the rest of Team Strain in the street. And so ends the penultimate episode of The Strain. Desai gets his, and gets at least three reveals that he's a horrible human being. First he gives the bullshit "Kill humanity to save humanity" argument, then we find out that he's cheating on his wife, then he tries to blame his wife for his own informing even though he did it to save her.

It's finally out in the open that Zach is scum. I did like how the creative team set it up so that Eph clearly realized that Zach was a traitor but still tried to give him a couple of chances to come clean. I also liked Max Charles since he was given a chance to portray evil. Not conflicted, not "My daddy killed my mommy so I've got a grudge." But, "Hi, I'm here to screw you all." He portrays Zach as just as deluded as Desai is, albeit in a different way. Like Zach actually believes that the Master is going to let Kelly out permanently from where her memories are buried in the Master's "Take the memories of all of his victims" gestalt.

Zach also tosses out that Eph slept with Nora while Kelly was still alive. Which seems like a good thing everything considered. Remember when Eph was sleeping with Dutch "Shower, what shower?" last year? Be thankful for small favors, kid.

So next week, Quinlan gets to hack his way through a bunch of strigoi who presumably aren't trying to kill him. Team Strain takes on a bunch of strigoi and finally shots evil pseudo-vampires with lots and lots of silver. Judging from the previews, the Master decides that he's had enough with this whole Partnership thing. And of course, they have to kill the Master with at least one of them doing the noble self-sacrificing thing.

It still seems like they could have wrapped up most of it in a mini-series. What was the point of Alex, and Raul, and going further back Barnes? It seems like sometimes they just wanted to up the bodycount. Would you know from anything that happened this week that Eph lost Alex two episodes ago? No? I sure don't.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
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