In ‘The Strain’ series finale recap, Fet, Eph and the others take on The Master one last time for the soul of New York City and the world…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
For the past four seasons ‘The Strain’ has told a much different kind of vampire story than the one’s we’ve witnessed on series such as ‘True Blood’ or ‘The Vampire Diaries’.
Instead, ‘The Strain’ vilified vampires as monsters of the highest order — blood sucking demons who were controlled by one all consuming leader known as ‘The Master’. There was no romanticizing these creatures — the vampires in the story were known as ‘strigoi’ and they only longed for one thing — attacking humans with a projectile like stinger and sucking the blood from your body like food.
It was a different concept from the dozens of other vampire stories that were all the rage a few years back before zombies became the preferred supernatural monsters on television and movies.
‘The Strain’ started out almost as a mystery of sorts as characters from all over New York City converged to try and figure out the disease that was spreading across the world that was soon revealed as vampirism in its most primal form.
From there, Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, a former exterminator named Vasiliy Fet, a hacker named Dutch Velders, and a lifelong vampire hunter named Abraham Setrakian joined forces in an attempt to save the world by stopping The Master from spreading his strain any further.
The third season of ‘The Strain’ showcased what happened with the strigoi started to win and the final season was dedicated to humanity finally fighting back — one last time.
It was a satisfying end to the series if not for one grave error made in the second to last scene from an irredeemable character that the show’s creators still somehow attempted to save before it was all over. Still the final moments were enough to send ‘The Strain’ off as one of the better science fiction series of the last few years and a brave attempt from FX to tell a different kind of vampire story than anything else quite like it on television.
With that said, let’s recap the series finale of ‘The Strain’ titled ‘The Last Stand’…
Water Tunnel No. 3
Picking up from where the penultimate episode left off, Quinlan figured out that the Master was nowhere to be found at the Empire State building while Eph, Fet and the others were trapped outside by a swarm of strigoi beginning to surround them in attempt to take away their nuclear weapon.
While Quinlan taunted the Master through his proxy slave, he then dispatched of the strigoi soldiers sent after him. Downstairs, Gus tells Eph and the others to get out with the nuke while he clears out the strigoi before meeting them at the rendezvous point. At this stage, Gus and everyone else knows that the nuclear weapon is the only chance they have to destroy the Master so that’s the only thing that matters now.
Thankfully, Gus and his men are able to fight back the strigoi although he loses a couple of his guys in the battle and they are forced to retreat into a nearby apartment building after Eph and the others get away.
Meanwhile, Eph, Fet, Dutch and the bomb make it to the designated rendezvous point picked specifically for its strategic location where the strigoi will never find them.
Fet reveals that the place they are hiding is water tunnel No. 3 — a giant underground system of tunnels that started construction back in 1970 with the goal to distribute water to New York from reservoirs from dozens of miles away. The project was expected to finish in 2020, which means it was a 50 year construction plan specifically made to help get people get clean drinking water in New York.
Fet marvels at what mankind could do before this entire strigoi apocalypse started but the unfinished tunnel also gives them a base of operations 800 feet below the surface where the Master can’t get to them…or maybe they want him to find this place.
After Quinlan returns — and accidentally scares the crap out of Dutch — he and Fet come up with a plan that could be used to destroy the Master once and for all.
The idea is to lure the Master down into the tunnel in a fight with Quinlan and then the nuclear bomb will be set off with both of them trapped down there. The city will be saved and the tunnel is so far underground that the rest of New York won’t be affected. Sadly, however, it means Quinlan would die and one more person would be needed to trigger the bomb because the tunnel is so far underground that the radio remote wouldn’t work.
Fet volunteers to finish Abraham Setrakian’s work for him by offering to set off the bomb after Quinlan lures the Master into the tunnel. Of course, Dutch hates this plan and confesses her true feelings for Fet — something she’s been fighting for several seasons but finally realizes that it’s literally now or never. Fet appreciates Dutch’s admission but he still has a job to do and that’s ensuring that humanity survives by destroying the Master once and for all.
Extinction of the Species
Following Quinlan’s escape from the Empire State building and Fet, Eph and the others making off with the nuclear weapon, the Master is none too pleased with how things are going. He even scolds his favorite human pet Zack for not securing the information about where to find the nuclear weapon after infiltrating his father’s camp.
Now the Master is going to have to take matters into his own hands and that means eradicated every last human in New York City until they finally find the nuclear weapon and the people protecting it. The Master unleashes his troops into the city to find and kill any human left alive.
Back near the Empire State building, Gus is waiting for the right opportunity to escape while Roman and the others watch TV to pass the time. Sadly, Marcus — the soldier who had become a friend to Gus in recent weeks — was infected during the fight with the strigoi down on the street and he’s already started to feel the effects of the worms writhing through his body. He asks for a quick death and Gus grants it to him before he rallies the rest of his troops to meet back with Fet and the others at the water tunnel.
While Fet puts the final pieces in place for the trap to get the Master, he has a heart to heart with Eph while they also enjoy a flashback to 11 months earlier when they were all sitting around a kitchen table receiving lessons from Setrakian. It was a final send off for the professor while Fet promised that the Master would hear his name one last time before he was eliminated.
Finally, Eph and Fet’s plan starts to come together when they are spotted by a strigoi straggler who immediately reports their location to the Master. Now that he’s found Eph and Fet, the nuclear weapon can’t be far away so the Master decides to lead his troops to the water tunnel for one final confrontation to take away the human’s last weapon and so he can kill Quinlan once and for all.
The Last Stand
Before leaving to find Eph and the others, Zack volunteers to accompany the Master to make up for his previous blunder. When the army of strigoi arrive, Eph, Gus, Dutch and everybody else opens fire to fight back the horde while waiting for the Master to show his face.
When he finally does, Quinlan tackles him into the elevator — while accidentally taking Zack with them — and they blow the cables holding it up so everybody goes crashing down to the bottom floor. As Fet, Dutch and Gus continue to fight back the strigoi, Eph slips into the second elevator without anyone noticing.
The second elevator was meant for Fet so he could jump inside, blow the cables and drop down to join Quinlan and the Master before setting off the nuclear warhead. Instead it’s Eph who decides to go after seeing Zack get tackled into the elevator car with Quinlan and the Master.
Down in the water tunnel, the Master viciously beats Quinlan from one side to the other, taunting him the entire time. Finally, the Master prepares to deliver his killing blow when Quinlan finds the strength to fight back. He grabs the Master’s throat and rips it out as a pile of worms and muck go flying from the wound. The Master is wounded but far from dead and he stomps Quinlan to death while proclaiming his victory.
The Master embraces Zack before they both notice Eph has made is way to the water tunnel as well. Zack fires a warning shot at his father but when the Master orders him to kil, he can’t do it. Eph is able to make it over to the nuke to arm it while Zack unleashes the full fire power of his machine gun on the Master.
Of course, the Master doesn’t die but he does tackle Zack in preparation to feed him the worms in that explosive vomiting thing he does to transfer his consciousness from one host to another. Eph decides to intercede and he saves his son, but unfortunately he ends up as the unwitting human body that the Master invades after spewing his worm stream into the good doctor’s mouth.
The transfer of consciousness takes a few moments so upstairs Fet and Dutch see all the strigoi pause mid-fight, which lets them know that they can kill all of them but the war isn’t over just yet.
Back downstairs, Zack helps his father to his feet where they walk over to the warhead for one final moment as father and son as the boy starts to realize the gravity of everything he’s done over these past couple of years. When the Master finally fully transforms into Eph, he embraces Zack and proclaims that they will now rule the world as father and son.
In that moment, Zack says a final goodbye to his father before pressing the button to ignite the nuclear weapon.
Everything is vaporized in the tunnel — Eph, Zack and yes, the Master.
Needless to say, Zack’s redemption was a little heavy handed and honestly not all that satisfying. He was painted as one of the worst kids in the history of television so even though he technically saved the world, Zack gets no credit because without him setting off the first nuclear weapon, they wouldn’t have been here in the first place.
With the Master dead, the rest of his strigoi turn back into mindless animals, which allows Fet and the others to kill them without many problems. The war was one but not without a few casualties along the way.
Five Years Later
The story picks up five years later after the strigoi have been defeated and the Master is no more.
Eph explains how the sun is starting to return from the nuclear winter — sometimes for six or seven hours a day now and it’s still growing. Since the war ended, Roman took his stockpiles of gold from the Federal Exchange and became a real estate developer to help rebuild New York. Gus left New York completely while helping all the millions of refugees who need help in the aftermath of the war as he continues to search for the girl who got away.
Dutch teamed up with some hackers to help rebuild the internet while Fet returned to his old job as a New York City exterminator except this time he was actually glad to find a few rats because it let him know things were starting to get back to normal.
Finally, Fet and Dutch reunite at the park where they exchange a few words before leaving together. It’s unclear if they just remained friends this entire time and the end was to say they were finally getting together or they were actually a couple ever since the war ended and this was just proof that they were meant for each other since the first time they met.
Either way, Fet and Dutch found each other and the world is getting back to normal again after humanity was nearly wiped off the map for good.
And with that ‘The Strain’ has come to an end.