WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS!
Last Rites signifies The Strain entering its final stages of Season 1. The action, tension and pace is higher now as developments start to come forward as well as revelations from the past. Despite several dumb moments (which I’ll get onto later), Last Rites was one of the strongest hours of The Strain since Creatures of the Night, episode eight, which unfortunately still isn’t saying much. Whilst this episode feels like it needed to cram too much in as it had to lay the groundwork for the finale, which is next episodes ominously titled “The Master”, it did at least provide something that was better than the previous few weeks, at least in my opinion.
The episode itself explored Abraham’s past as a vampire hunter but, unfortunately, it didn’t make him look to be the badass he already was. In fact, it underwhelmed his character with the opposite effect, presenting him as incompetent and making several stupid decisions. I didn’t feel that the twist concerning his doomed lover didn’t have as much impact as it should have done, and much like the appearance of the Master at the episodes’ end, didn’t get the right effect across.
The Strain’s strongest part of the series so far has been its villains, even with the slightly goofy look of the Master taken into account. Eichorst had a good role to play in this episode and, along with Palmer, it’s good to see that some developments are being made. Perhaps what was the best thing about this episode was the much-needed reappearance of the Vampire-SWAT squad, who busted in on Gus’ storyline of the week as the character still struggles to find his place in the show. Now that it looks his story is gaining some more momentum, this should be a good thing especially with the fact that we’re almost certainly going to be seeing more of the Vampire-SWAT team in the future, if not in the finale then most certainly in Season 2.
The storyline had its strength and weaknesses with the Canary team as well. Dutch again didn’t impress in this show and anything that the writers tried to create between her and Vasily didn’t really work. We also could have done with better moments from Eph’s address to the nation, which felt rather underwhelming when it should have been a moment of crowning awesome for the character. However, that said though, it did allow for an awesome scene featuring Eichorst’s raid on the pawn shop, and the fleeing of Team Canary. They’re on the run without a place to stay, so the tension is certainly ramping up and hopefully as a result this will see the episodes become faster paced and more exciting.
You didn’t have to be a genius to spot a certain scene coming this week, but when Mariela did meet her inevitable end, it was handled with extreme effectiveness making it one of the most emotional moments of the show so far, particularly as it was always going to be Nora who would prevent her from turning into a vampire. It was good to see that, although we returned to the Abraham-centric flashbacks this week, they were relevant to the plot with Nora going through the same experiences that he went through all those years ago.
In conclusion, The Strain has never been the most consistent of shows and this episode highlighted that point once again. Whilst it may be one of the stronger hours of the show, that doesn’t redeem itself from being terribly flawed in several areas and yet another episode that doesn’t quite live up to its potential. Hopefully everything can be redeemed in next week’s finale, as The Strain’s first season comes to a conclusion.
Have you been following The Strain so far? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Let me know in the comments below.