Season 3 of The Strain premiered on August 28, 2016, and concluded on October 30 of the same year. Consisting of 10 episodes, the season takes on the events of The Fall.
- 1 Summary
- 2 Cast
- 2.1 Starring
- 2.2 Recurring cast
- 3 Episodes
- 4 References
Summary [ edit | edit source ]
New York has been written off by the central government, and our rag-tag group of unlikely heroes are left to fend for themselves.
Episodes: 10 Original airdate: August 28 2016 Season 3of The Strain premiered on August 28, 2016, and concluded on October 30 of the same year. Consisting of 10 episodes, the season takes on the events of The Fall. 1 Summary 2 Cast 2.1 Starring 2.2 Recurring cast 3 Episodes 4 References New York…
The Strain: Season 3 Review
Humanity’s final day draws near.
You can point to two main factors that made Season 3 a better experience overall. One, the shorter 10-episode format left less room for filler. Two, the fact that the show is now confirmed to be ending with Season 4 gave the writers a specific endpoint to build towards. It’s interesting to note that executive producer/showrunner Carlton Cuse also served on Lost, and that was another long-winded series that became markedly better once a specific endpoint was established. At this point, Cuse must have a great appreciation for the value of knowing when and where the finish line is.
That being said, it did take a few episodes for the season to really find its groove. The premiere, “New York Strong,” was content mainly to touch base with the various major players in the aftermath of the Season 2 finale. We saw Eph (Corey Stoll) sinking deeper into alcohol-fueled misery as he mourned the death of Nora (Mia Maestro) and the kidnapping of his son, Zach (Max Charles). Meanwhile, Setrakian (David Bradley) and Quinlan (Rupert Penry-Jones) worked to decipher their new prize, the Occido Lumen, while Fet (Kevin Durand) relished his new role as a mentor to the city’s anti-strigoi forces. And while all that unfolded, the Master (voiced by Robin Atkin Downes) plotted his takeover of New York while minions Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) and Eichorst (Richard Sammel) continued their bitter rivalry.
Ruda Gedmintas as Dutch Velders and Corey Stoll as Ephraim Goodweather.
The first two episodes were easily the weakest installments of the season. Not only was the pacing slow, they tended to devote too much attention to the show’s weakest characters, Zach and Dutch (Ruda Gedmintas). “Bad White” proved once again that it never pays to explore Dutch’s personal life or hacker friendships very deeply. But at least those early episodes laid the groundwork for more compelling storylines and stronger character arcs to come.
The third episode, “First Born,” offered a clearer sense of what was to come for the season, culminating with the long-awaited showdown between Quinlan and the Master, who at that point was still lurking inside the body of rock star-turned-servant Bolivar (Jack Kesy). But with that battle ending with the Master losing his head and only narrowly escaping complete destruction, it suddenly became clear that the writers weren’t content to take baby steps any longer. Suddenly the plot was moving at a brisk pace.
That became even clearer with “Madness,” which made the unusual move of pushing the narrative ahead 14 days. Two weeks isn’t a big deal where most shows are concerned, but considering that the entire series had unfolded over the course of about three weeks by that point, it was a pretty big deal. And it was immediately apparent that much had changed in that missing period of time. The Master’s grip on the city had only intensified despite his brush with death, and government officials like Councilwoman Feraldo (Samantha Mathis) were fighting a losing battle to hold the territory so recently reclaimed from the undead.
The status quo was rocked several more times by the end of the season. In “The Battle of Central Park,” a rousing victory quickly turned to agonizing defeat as thousands of hungry strigoi began swarming the city. In “White Light,” the Master made his move against the Ancients and wiped them right off the board just as these powerful creatures were about to throw their lot in with our heroes. In “Do or Die,” the strigoi finally began to overwhelm the city’s few remaining defenders, resulting in the deaths of several major characters. But the writers saved the biggest twists for last. The finale episode, “The Fall” opened with Palmer unwillingly becoming the Master’s new host and Zach detonating a nuclear warhead that destroyed the Statue of Liberty and plunged the city into eternal darkness. It was quite a gut-wrenching way to wrap up an already eventful season.
Rupert Penry-Jones as Quinlan.
It wasn’t just the boosted pacing that made Season 3 an overall more engaging experience. Most of the main characters underwent strong arcs over the course of these episodes. None more so than Palmer, who further cemented his status as the show’s most complex and sympathetic villain. With his body rapidly failing him and enemies like Eichorst and Sanjay Desai (Cas Anvar) circling like sharks, Palmer finally made the choice to oppose the Master and throw his lot in with Setrakian. Jonathan Hyde frequently shone as his character transitioned from overt villain to more morally ambiguous ally. Ultimately, Palmer got the ending he deserved, as he finally received the immortality he craved only after rejecting the Master.
It was also a great season for Gus (Miguel Gomez) and Angel (Joaquin Cosio), even if the two didn’t appear nearly as often as they deserved and their shared arc took a weird detour early on. The season strengthened their brotherly bond and forced Gus to finally accept that his friendship with Angel was more important than clinging to the memory of his departed mother. It was hard to see Angel fall in “Do or Die,” but his heroic sacrifice was the perfect sendoff for a character whose only desire was to recapture the glory of his days as a beloved luchador wrestler and movie star.
All of the main characters had their moments over the course of the season, with Dutch improving a great deal as she settled into her new role as Eph’s lab partner. Even the decision to build a romantic connection between the two wasn’t as terrible as it initially seemed, though it did lead to some overwrought, unnecessary drama in the final two episodes as Fet reacted childishly to the situation. Setrakian and Quinlan were both fun to watch this season, both in the present and in flashback form. In general, the flashback scenes were very strong throughout the season, lending new depth to familiar characters and offering a welcome change of pace from the post-apocalyptic New York setting. And regardless of time period or setting, Eichorst is always a delightful villain.
Richard Sammel as Thomas Eichorst and Jonathan Hyde as Eldritch Palmer.
Only two characters really fell short this season. Feraldo started out the season strong as she dealt with increasingly impossible challenges to her regime and found herself making difficult moral compromises for the sake of maintaining control. But after “The Battle of Central Park,” it was as if the writers either lost interest in Feraldo or simply ran out of space to continue her story. Her death in “Do or Die” wasn’t as impactful as it should have been, as it merely highlighted how much of her story was left unresolved.
Then there was Zach. The writers were in a tricky situation with him, as actor Max Charles is clearly aging a lot faster than his character. That’s to say nothing of the generally poor opinion many viewers have of Zach. Perhaps as a result, he sat out a great deal of the season while his fate as the Master’s captive remained in doubt. And while it was nice having to put up with less Zach this year, in the end that did the show a disservice. The grand twist in “The Fall” hinged on Zach being torn between his loyalties to his human father and his strigoi mother. The show really needed to devote more time to Zach’s captivity, so that his decision to reject his father and betray humanity would have had a little more justification behind it.
But even if Zach’s betrayal played more like the ultimate act of preteen petulance than a Shakespearean tragedy, there’s no denying that “The Fall” paved the way for an even darker and more unpredictable final season. What hope do our heroes have now? How can they even survive another season in a ruined city where the strigoi now reign supreme? The outlook is grim, but that just gives Eph and the gang more room to prove their mettle in 2017.
Though it wasn’t entirely free from the flaws that have plagued the show from the start, The Strain’s third season delivered a greatly improved horror experience. The show was more eventful, more tightly paced and less prone to pointless filler this year. It delivered several strong character arcs, most notably the tragic rise and fall of Eldritch Palmer. And thanks to a particularly bleak finale, it set the stage for a dark, dangerous final season next year.
We look back on The Strain's third season and how it delivered a leaner, meaner vampire experience.