The Strain recap: 'New Horizons'
It’s a strange decision for this show to enter its last season, which consists of only 10 episodes, and almost completely separate the entire cast and have everyone not named Corey Stoll only appear in alternating episodes. And, in the case of David Bradley, to have Setrakian solely appear briefly in flashbacks or dreams. Arya Stark posing as him can’t take up that much time.
That being said, “New Horizons” marked probably the strongest episode to date of the fourth and final season. The hour featured strong emotional moments and repeated episode 2’s winning formula of Gus, Dutch, and no Zach. Please, no more Zach. (Mark it down now: Next week is sure to be Zach-centric just to spite me.)
“New Horizons” begins in an unfamiliar place — focusing on Sanjay. It’s date night for the strigoi ally and his wife, who clearly isn’t feeling the vibe. “You know, this is the only normal hour of my day,” he declares. “If you could at least pretend to have a good time.” She rightfully points out that there’s nothing normal about their current situation.
Things get even less normal and more awkward when Eichhorst strolls in to play the creepy third wheel. The Master’s right-hand man wants an update on the baby-making factory and isn’t satisfied that the first B-positive baby is just now about to be born. He thinks the process should be expedited, even suggesting they pull the babies out months earlier to enable the mothers to churn out two per year. Sanjay reluctantly agrees it’s possible. “Should I do more of your thinking for you?” asks Eichhorst. “If you can’t fulfill your purpose, I will find someone who can.” Are we suppose to feel bad for Sanjay? Because it’s not working.
Speaking of the baby-making factory, fresh off her last failed escape attempt,
Miranda Dutch is scouting out a new target. “I’m working on it,” she tells Rosalinda as she gives a security guard the googly eyes (sorry Jeremy — you’re old news). Her flirt mission gets interrupted when she’s called up to see Sanjay, who wants her help with The Partnership’s first delivery. Sophie is going in for a C-section, and Sanjay thinks it would be really swell if Dutch could be by her side during the procedure to keep her calm. Dutch isn’t feeling the idea, but she doesn’t have much of a choice. “You got to believe me — there are places out there that would be a living hell for a girl like you,” threatens Sanjay. (For a badass girl?!) He continues: “So turn me down again and that’s exactly where you’re going.” This feeling-bad-for-Sanjay thing really isn’t working.
While the rest of the main characters get every other week off, Eph’s Philadelphia adventures continue to air weekly. As he tries to study the documents he discovered at the end of the last episode, Alex’s still-unnamed brother harasses him about grabbing another truck to poison the strigoi’s blood. Eph has no interest in that, considering the sure-to-be-heightened security. Alex comes over to interrupt and finally give us a name for her brother: Jason. Good for him, having a name and all. Well, probably not, because getting a name could definitely be the first step on the road to death on a vampire show.
And cue: the strigoi storming the high school. The bad guys are doing some damage, but so is Eph. Jason too, actually. Until…he gets attacked by a strigoi. Credit where credit is due: The ensuing interaction is heartbreaking to watch, even if we literally learned Jason’s name one minute ago. “It’s okay, sis,” he says, encouraging Alex to shoot him. When she cries and lowers the gun, Jason looks to Eph, who steps up to the plate. “You make them pay,” declares Jason in his final words. R.I.P., Jason. We really hardly knew ye.
Like Dutch, Gus also returns from a week off. He’s giving his cousin Raul an important lesson on guns, saying, “Never point at anything you’re not ready to kill.” I’m very jealous of Raul for having Gus as his mentor. The lessons get even more Phil Jackson/Zen Master when the former strigoi hunter tells his mentee that a gun is just a tool, while the mind is his real weapon. Yo, that’s deep. The schooling ends when a member of the crew shows up badly hurt and, eventually, dies after an encounter with some guys who wanted his territory. Gus does some recon and tracks one of his new rivals back to their lair. Good news: He finds an entrance through the sewers and vents. Bad news: They’re NYPD officers. (Recap continues on page 2)
There’s a lot of pressure on Dutch to help the delivery go as smoothly as possible. “This baby is the only family I have left in the world,” Sophie tells her. Welp, that’s not going to make the job feel any easier. Nurse Brigitte Nielsen Lookalike comes to check in on the patient and proves to be ruder than ever. When asked by Sophie how long the procedure will take, she responds, “Why, do you have somewhere better to be?” Maybe — you don’t know her life! Okay, she kind of does, since it just involves being pregnant and watching reruns of classic sitcoms.
“All the bedside manner of a tarantula,” quips Sophie when Nurse Greenwood leaves the room. (Is that a saying? Because that was a really weird comparison.) Dutch goes to get some fresh air, but instead, she gets a lecture from Sanjay and some s— talking from an eavesdropping pregnant lady, who suggests Dutch has rug burn from “helping” Sanjay. “Cut the bulls—, Miranda,” the woman contends. “Only person you’re helping here is yourself.” That’s two sick burns against Dutch, allegedly.
Appearing to be the only two survivors from the strigoi attack at the high school, Alex and Eph flee to a nearby building full of mannequins. That’s almost as creepy as strigoi. Alex, overtaken with emotions following Jason’s death, is comforted by Eph and alcohol. But Eph isn’t partaking; he’s off the sauce because of that whole “my son set off a nuke” thing. He’s psychoanalyzing Alex and pulling a lot of parallels from his own experience. “I told you, I’ve been there,” he admits. “You and Jason relit a fire in me that I thought had gone out.”
Then, Eph reveals the big bombshell (pun intended). He begins to tells Alex about Kelly and Zach before getting to the big headline. “My son…he set off the nuke,” he shares. “He didn’t push the button because he wanted people to die. He did it because he’s angry with me.” Seems reasonable; that’s usually what I did when I was mad at my dad for giving me an early curfew. When asked if Zach is still alive, Eph admits he doesn’t know and stops himself short of fully suggesting that his son might be better off dead (I sit here quietly, not wanting to say what I really want to say).
Despite this disturbing revelation, Alex sticks around and goes with Eph to scout out out a location from which strigoi have been shipping humans. They find a New Horizons ad recruiting people to join The Partnership and help create sustainable farms. If New Horizons sounds familiar, it’s because it was the logo at the scene of last week’s strigoi poisoning. Eph knows this is surely not what the brochure makes it out to be.
Gus has returned from his scouting mission and is giving his crew the lowdown on “the score of the century.” He counted six cops, which Creem deems “easy.” “They can’t kill us all, right?” he asserts, to which Gus replies, “You want to bet?” Strange bet. These two have totally different management styles, and Gus’ looks to be winning out, as he’s clearly become the group’s head honcho. Judging by his expressions, that fact isn’t going over well with Creem, so I’m predicting an eventual backstab. In the meantime, the duo’s partnership is still strong enough to lead a successful and bloody raid on the cops’ hideout.
Everyone has taken their position for the big C-section: Sanjay is watching, Dutch is by the bedside, and Sophie is lying on her back to do the real work. Upon the delivery, the baby’s silence makes Dutch and Sophie nervous until she finally cries. But unfortunately, the newborn is immediately whisked away without being shown to her mother. This causes Dutch to lose her s—. She punches Sanjay in the face and takes him hostage in order to free herself. While they briefly struggle, she ends up kicking his ass pretty easily. SHE’S A GIRL LIKE THAT! Dutch makes a run for it, but instead of freedom, she finds people in cages and strigoi throwing them up on an assembly line to be bled dry. It’s a setup first teased last season when Eichhorst gave it a test run. The discovery leaves Dutch frozen and surrounded by strigoi.
What did you think? Will Dutch make it out of that room alive? On a scale of 1-10, how scared are you that we’re going to get sooooo much Zach next week?