Eph scores a big win, while Fet's victory is short lived

By Derek Lawrence
July 30, 2017 at 11:01 PM EDT
Shane Mahood/FX
S4 E3
C+
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  • TV Show
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In my recap of last week’s episode, I applauded the absence of Zach and the return of Gus and Dutch. So naturally, this week reversed that winning equation, resulting in a subpar outing that isn’t inspiring confidence in a memorable final run.

While the Goodweather boys continue to bore, the adventures of the ultimate odd couple — Fet and Quinlan — provided the sole bright spot. “One Shot” begins with Fet hunting with his other partner: Charlotte. As they hunt in the snowy North Dakota woods, the duo spot a deer in the distance. On her first shot, Charlotte hits the target, prompting Fet and me to both say “damn” at the same time. Back at camp, the men are enjoying the results of Charlotte’s kill when Quinlan expresses frustration over the fact that the base they’re headed to isn’t on a map. “It would kind of defeat the whole secret base thing, wouldn’t it?” responds Roman. He insists the men there won’t mind letting the warhead go. “Who gives a s—?” he quips.

Back in Philly, Eph and Alex are moving forward with their new plan by cooking up some rat poison to mix into the strigoi’s blood supply. The budding relationship between these two continues to blossom as all great romances do: over a dead son and meatloaf. “That’s nice that you can remember the good times,” says Eph. “I remember the events, but the feelings… I’ve lost them.” That might be for the best.

Speaking of his human-trading, strigoi-loving son/worst person ever, Zach is feeding a rat to his snake. (He would have a pet snake — and I say that already bracing for hate mail from all the snake lovers out there.) When his new cleaning girl is harassed by his even creepier pet feeler, Zach proves what a man he is by keeping the feeler in check, but the girl rightfully scurries away. And the award for worst wingman goes to this feeler. After chasing her down in the streets and offering her some fruit, Zach continues to prove why he’s clearly a catch: “You don’t have to worry about them when you’re with me,” he says as he stands up to a strigoi, who backs off. “I do anything I want, go anywhere I want.” What a baller! He knows a place where they can go to be alone. My suggestion to this nameless girl: Run.

Fet, Quinlan, and Charlotte arrive at the base to discover dead men and strigoi, leading Fet to throw a grenade down the silo to kill any possible munchers. “Finally, some good news,” says Quinlan as he takes a look. Not so fast, sir! He’s hit with a shot from above, causing him to violently fall to the bottom. Luckily, he’s not human, so he survives. Not so luckily, he’s still being shot at. Following no verbal response from the shooter, Fet decides to go in alone. “Tunnels are my turf,” he declares. When is The Exterminator getting its big-screen adaptation?

While Quinlan draws out the shooter, Fet tells the man, who seems to be losing it, that his friend will kill him if he doesn’t stop. “My friend is telling the truth here,” confirms Quinlan, who distracts the shooter long enough for Fet to sneak up and take him down. But it isn’t enough for Quinlan that the man is injured; Quinlan kills him with a shot to the head. When Fet asks why, the vampire responds, “Because I said I would.” I mean, you have to admire his commitment to his word.

They aren’t able to celebrate their victory for long, considering Roman soon discovers that the nuke is missing the pit assembly, which is essential. They posit that The Master had his minions collect them to prevent their use, so they decide to go searching for a strigoi convoy they recently passed. (Recap continues on page 2)

As Alex and Eph wait on a school bus for a strigoi tanker come by, they enjoy some more bonding time! Among the topics discussed are Eph’s reason for moving to Philly (a dude had a car) and the first nuke going off in NYC, something he’s clearly and understandably haunted by. “What kind of s—head would help them set off a nuke?” she asks. His son, that’s who. And with perfect timing, the tanker drives by, putting Eph’s plan into play. Two cars have a head-on collision, blocking the streets and forcing the tanker to stop. While the driver is distracted, Eph hooks up the tanker to the poison supply on the bus. At one point, Eph is forced to go rogue and show his face to buy some time — and it works.

As it turns out, Zach’s secret hideaway is the American Museum of Natural History. (Not sure what’s scarier: being there with him or the exhibits coming to life.) He and the girl start to get to know each other a little better, beginning with the fact that her parents died in the bomb that, unbeknownst to her, he set off. Not the best foundation for a relationship. “What makes you so special?” she asks, to which he responds, “They think I have potential.” I’m tempted to make another joke about him being the worst, but I feel like I’ve gotten my point across.

After Zach has some weird vision when staring at a tiger, he tells the girl that she and her friends can stay there and have as much of his food as they want. Then, he finally gets her name. It’s Abby. I’m no lothario, but I’d probably learn that before I take someone to the site of Ben Stiller’s popular trilogy. “You have no idea how much this means to me,” Abby tells Zach. Oh, I think he does.

Oh, he definitely does. Zach is cheesing big time when he returns home, and he literally jumps for joy in the elevator. Upon being greeted by The Master, Zach immediately begins questioning the lack of supplies for humans and suggests he no longer needs to take the white. As if he were a politician, The Master throws the blame at the feet of the other side. “The human animal is the most dangerous,” he declares. “I will make sure their vicious impulses never ravage this world again.” But for some inexplicable reason, he needs Zach’s help. “Or you can return to being an ordinary boy,” The Master says. “The choice is yours.” Too late — Zach’s kind of all in with the strigoi by now. “No, I want to help you,” he pledges, kneeling down for his helping of the white.

There’s no movement coming from the building where the tanker delivered the tainted blood. “They’re probably dead,” suggests Eph, before announcing that he’s going to check. “Because probably isn’t good enough!” That’s an action movie line if I’ve ever heard one. Eph, Alex, and her brother go in. It’s dark and quiet, and they’re not seeing anything, but they do smell something pretty terrible. Soon after spotting dead worms, they find a huge pile of dead strigoi. (Can they be dead since they’re already technically dead? I don’t know; I’m no vampire expert. The extent of my knowledge is watching eight seasons of The Vampire Diaries and three-plus seasons of this. Wait… am I a vampire expert?) When one straggling strigoi does stumble in, they quickly kill — or re-kill — him. “I’d call this a win,” proclaims Eph.

RELATED: The Strain cast and crew preview ‘cool and surprising’ ending

The Master continues his busy day of appointments with a visit from Eichhorst and informs his underling of the incident in Philly. Eichhorst is surprisingly happy to hear the news, noting that he’s been waiting for Setrakian and company to show themselves. “We must crush them,” says The Master, to which Eichhorst responds, “Rest assured, my master, these vile terrorists will be hunted down and destroyed.”

What did you think? Are you optimistic about this final season? Do I need to lighten up on Zach?

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