Martin Carr reviews the season 3 finale of The Strain…
This is a finale in more than mere name. All bombast, hyper-reality and fisty cuffs at Mach five as an old man and even older bald fella with a sword battle each other Matrix style. Here then is the season closer for a series which has definitely hit its high water mark this year and continues to entertain. Intricate plot lines converge and relationship issues are finally put to bed amongst the mayhem, carnage and fall out debris.
Like the end of Fight Club with a touch more animosity we get front row seats to the battle royal which has been coming for forty one days. Talk of Bubonic plague, Spanish flu and the overall habit humanity has of almost wiping itself out, are all imparted with subtle amounts of dread and foreboding. While a good old fashioned ambush, double bluff, last act sting and cliff hanger whets the appetite without giving the game away.
Reminiscent in part of the much maligned Indiana Jones and The Crystal Skull, this apocalyptic seasonal end game is high on production values, big in the drama stakes and not liable to disappoint. Goodweather, Fet and Dutch continue on with their unconventional love triangle, while Quinlan is slowly replacing Fet as Setrakian’s right hand man. Palmer and Eichorst are also experiencing a shift in their dynamic which is at once a stroke of storytelling genius, but also painfully obvious when you stop and think.
There are one or two moments when the effects budget clearly failed to stretch, but aside from the blatant use of green screen in the closing moments The Strain felt strong to the end. Action sequences were delivered with assurance and there was no hint of a misstep in this the penultimate season. There are still some rich seams to mine and certain paths have been chosen by a select number of characters, which will ensure audiences tune in when season four kicks off next year. With the situation remaining noticeably bleak and our heroes literally having no other options, how Carlton Cuse chooses to open things up next time is crucial.
One thing which is no longer open to discussion however is the popularity, solid writing and hard fought fan base The Strain has acquired. For those who knew the source material prior to transmission there was probably little doubt of success. But for us would-be first time watchers things were looking less than rosy. A turgidly slow opening season with no real finale, followed by an improved sequel and robust third run have thankfully turned things around for the non-believers. With the promise of resolution in a fourth and final season The Strain still has the potential to top what many consider to be one of the more entertaining runs of any show for some time. Roll on 2017.