The Strain (2014 – 2017)
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2017, FX, 10 episodes
2016, FX, 10 episodes
2015, FX, 13 episodes
2014, FX, 13 episodes
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|Executive Producer:||Guillermo del Toro|
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A series gets an Average Tomatometer when at least 50 percent of its seasons have a score. The Average Tomatometer is the sum of all season scores divided by the number of seasons with a Tomatometer.
About Audience Score
The percentage of users who rated this 3.5 stars or higher.
A vampiric virus spreads through New York City.
The Strain: Season 4 Review
The entire world faces the Night Eternal.
Season 4 never quite captured the intensity promised in those final moments of “The Fall” last year. Probably it was too much to expect for the show to maintain that level of dread and unease for 10 episodes straight. Even so, this season was able to give the series and nits main characters the closure they deserved.
The downside to that change in scenery, however, is that it took some time for the season to rebuild the show’s momentum. The first half of the season was largely devoted to getting the whole gang back together and paving the way for that true final conflict. At some point you have to question the purpose of breaking them apart in the first place. Still, that slow buildup did make the eventual reunion feel more meaningful. There was a lot of emotional baggage leading into those final few episode, with Eph mourning the loss of his family and Fet still harboring resentment towards Eph and Dutch thanks to their short-lived love triangle. There was a certain satisfaction in seeing these character finally start to put aside their differences for the common good.
The show literally became darker this season.
That ties into another thing the writers handled very well this season. From the beginning, it was clear just how much the writers were using the strigoi conflict as a metaphor for the current political unrest in America. It’s impressive how easily the show was able to pivot and tackle a post-election US head-on. The rise of the Master clearly paralleled the unexpected victory of a certain real-world political figure. Not that the series was blatantly political in its messaging this year. It was more focused on posing the same question to its characters in different ways – “Will you keep your head down, or raise your voice and take action against the injustice you see in the world?” One way or another, the heroes of the Strain chose the latter, and that made for a more emotionally resonant finish.
Nowhere was this struggle better personified than with Eph himself. He’s a character prone to wallowing in his own alcohol-soaked misery, and he began the season at quite possibly his lowest ebb. That’s what made his arc this year so compelling. Eph had to find his courage and his will to resist all over again. And when the final battle loomed, Eph had to weigh the needs of the many against his all-encompassing desire to save his misguided son. Stoll was given a lot to work with this year, and he really made the most of the material.
The Americans solidified itself as one of the greatest shows on TV in 2016 with its most intense season so far. As the Jennings dealt with terrifying bioweapons and the ongoing threat of their identities as Russian spies being exposed, we saw several characters deal with notably permanent, upsetting consequences for their actions.” />
Donald Glover added to his already-impressive resume with the new FX comedy, Atlanta, creating and starring in this look at a couple of guys starting from the bottom in the Atlanta music scene. Offbeat and unique, Atlanta wasn’t afraid to get serious and surreal, yet still delivered big laughs along the way.” />
From IGN’s Review: Game of Thrones: Season 6 delivered tremendous, jaw-dropping moments and spectacular sequences that stand as some of the show’s best. And while it wouldn’t be GoT without some heartbreaking deaths, this also stood out as a year with a surprising amount of victorious and happy moments for the show’s more heroic characters.” />
From IGN’s Review: Season 2 of Marvel’s Daredevil exceled at action and story while giving us a much more complex and layered season than the first. Matt Murdock’s ideas about the sanctity of human life and the possibility of true redemption were tested, via the crowd-pleasing introduction of Elektra and the Punisher.” />
From IGN’s Review: The People v O.J. Simpson succeeded across the board, setting a high bar for the new American Crime Story anthology series. Even though we knew the outcome of this famous case, the look at the environment it took place in, plus the individuals involved and how their own lives were impacted, made for riveting television.” />
From IGN’s Review: The fifth and final season of CBS’s perpetually underrated Person of Interest was a magnificent display of heart and smarts. It was a thrilling, intelligent, action adventure that stabbed wickedly at the heart of the artificial intelligence debate, and provided one of the best series finales of all time.” />
Zach proved a more troublesome case. Already the show’s most unlikable character by a mile, Season 4 really doubled down on all of Zach’s worst qualities. As if setting off a bomb and killing thousands just to spite his father wasn’t bad enough, Season 4’s Zach descended ever further into creepy psycho stalker territory. As has been the case since Season 2, the combination of lousy writing and Charles’ one-note performance really works against a character who should be the focal point of the entire series. The good news is that Zach did find some measure of redemption by the end. Not enough to justify the character’s questionable portrayal all these years, but enough to at least give his arc the conclusion it needed.
In general, most of the recurring characters were given fitting conclusions to their stories. Yes, there were some that deserved more screen time than they received. I was especially disappointed not to see more emphasis on the rivalry between the former Eldritch Palmer and his minion, Herr Eichorst (Richard Sammel). And for the most part, the new characters introduced this season – Alex Green (Angel Parker), Raul (Michael Reventar), Roman (K.C. Collins) and Abby (Jocelyn Hudon) – were fairly underutilized. But all the major players enjoyed some big moments and, pretty much without fail, received the endings they deserved. That was certainly true for Fet, who alone among the cast proved to be the unwavering hero over the course of these four seasons. Quinlan (Rupert Penry-Jones) also had a great final year, with the show digging even deeper into the character’s tragic back-story.
To draw another comparison between Lost and The Strain, whatever the finale might have lacked on a plot level, it made up for by delivering an emotionally satisfying conclusion to this ongoing story. No, “The Last Stand” wasn’t as epic in scope as it could have been. In that sense, it fell short of the standard set by “The Fall” a year previous. But the finale did ensure that pretty much every character was given the closure they deserved. It wrapped up the show’s loose ends neatly while still leaving a bit of room for a sequel, should the need ever arise.
Fet and Quinlan found some unlikely new allies this year.
Spoilers for The Strain: Season 4 follow!
The series finale was anything but precious with its surviving cast of characters. The biggest surprise was that both Eph and Zach perished in their final confrontation with the Master. But is there any way Zach’s story could have ended? He had a great deal to atone for given his actions since the end of Season 3. Nothing short of sacrificing his own life and setting off a second bomb that saved New York was going to get the job done.
In many ways, the season really peaked several episodes earlier during the final showdown between Setrakian and Eichorst. It’s become a running gag on the show that these two characters constantly clash, only for Eichorst to always escape and live to fight another day. More than anything, I was looking forward to seeing the cycle finally end this season. And their clash in the appropriately named “Ouroboros” didn’t disappoint. Setrakian proved that, even weakened and nearing death’s door, he’s not an opponent to be underestimated. That confrontation offered a fitting end for this decades-old rivalry and a great sendoff for the tenacious Setrakian.
From IGN’s Review: The fact that Charlie Brooker can give us such wildly varied stories — in both theme and tone — is one of Black Mirror’s strengths. The first four episodes of Season 3 — particularly “San Junipero” and “Shut Up and Dance” — were particular standouts, though for different reasons. The anthology format particularly worked great with its shift to Netflix, which allowed each episode to stand out more than they might have on a traditional broadcaster. Overall though, these are all solid, sinister stories with important takeaways.” />
From IGN’s Review: Bringing in strong new performances of iconic Marvel comic book characters Elektra and the Punisher, Daredevil: Season 2 blew out the scope of its world and fully embraced the conflict that comes with being a street-level hero. Audiences expect great action and dark storytelling from the show, and it delivered again, but what elevated Season 2 was the way it tested Matt Murdock’s own ideas about the sanctity of human life and the possibility of true redemption.” />
From IGN’s Review: Orange is the New Black returned with a devastating new season about our damnable privatized prison system and the maddening myriad ways it can fail and still prevail. As usual, the superb ensemble is given hearty, heartbreaking stories to tell as this series ushers in its darkest season yet.” />
From IGN’s Review: Netflix’s Stranger Things is an homage to ’80s films that still felt fresh, proving you can lean into people’s nostalgia without creating a straight remake. The Duffer Brothers took notes from John Carpenter, Steven Spielberg and Stephen King and even brought back ’90s dream girl herself, Winona Ryder, to create something that was immediately captivating. A combination of great writing, likable (and delightful) young characters, a great mystery and good notes of horror created a compact season that was appealing to just about every member of the audience, and Stranger Things became the pop culture phenomenon it rightly deserved to be.” />
After its ambitious time period-jumping second season, Transparent: Season 3 went back to a more straightforward narrative as the Pfefferman struggle with life’s unanswerable questions about the search for happiness, satisfaction and a search for purpose. It’s not just the show’s daring to touch upon existential questions and not holding back from topics of religion, gender, race and identity, but the way it explores the unanswerable. Jill Solloway still holds the series on a tight leash, and her excellent executed vision — along with the phenomenal cast she’s put together — keep Transparent on the list of “must-watch” television.” />
While fairly slow starting out, The Strain’s fourth season eventually built to a satisfying conclusion as it rearranged the playing field and explored the far-reaching effects of the Master’s rise to power. Whatever this season might have lacked in sheer scope, it made up for in solid character drama. Pretty much every character was given the conclusion they deserved, even the perpetually troublesome Zach. Season 4 gave this show the closure it needed.
We look back at The Strain's fourth and final season and how it gave the series the strong finish it needed.