Previously on The Strain, “Extraction”
The Strain handled Eph’s reunion with his misguided, petty, and murderous son a lot better than I thought they would. We miss the first moments of their reunion as “The Traitor” begins with Zach already asleep in the cell they’ve locked him in. Eph points out that the team doesn’t trust Zach, but neither does he. Zach is suspiciously understanding and claims to have seen past the Master’s machinations. He knows Eph took no pleasure in killing Kelly, who no longer truly existed after being turned. The audience might have let their guard down when Zach even admits that the Master sent him there to be a spy, if the audience hadn’t been paying attention to what a little shit Zach has been for three seasons. Still, it’s enough for Eph to approach the situation with a cautious skepticism I wasn’t sure he was capable of; I’m glad to be wrong.
Dutch, Fet, and Quinlan have their needles firmly set to “Zach’s a lying liar who lies” and though they want Zach to be telling the truth for Eph’s sake, they doubt that he is. While Eph works Zach for information, the trio do the same with Sanjay Desai, also locked up but with less hospitable accommodations. He claims the New Horizons compounds are actually working, thriving communities and accuses Dutch of fabricating the video evidence to the contrary in order to gain power for herself and the other rebels. He draws parallels between his actions and those Dutch and Fet have made in fighting the strigoi; they all have blood on their hands, he believes, as they’re just trying to make the best of a terrible situation. This earns him several punches in the face from Dutch, who only stops when Fet takes a suspiciously long time to pull her off of Sanjay.
If Dutch was Good Cop, Sanjay wasn’t ready for Bad Cop Quinlan, who releases Sanjay and drags him into a room where his wife, Selah, is being held. The Born threatens to drain her unless Sanjay reveals the Master’s location, which he does. They later ask Zach for the same information and he readily gives it up. His answer matches Sanjay’s: The Master is holed up on the top floor of the Empire State Building… which still looked a lot like Palmer’s penthouse to me, but whatever. Zach’s double-cross might have worked if Eph wasn’t already so damn suspicious. When Zach cuts his thumb opening a soda can, Eph realizes it was a deliberate signal to the Master; the Feelers can track Zach’s blood.
He confronts his son and Zach finally admits that he’s there to learn the location of the nuke. If Eph tells him, he’ll let him live once the Master arrives. Unable to kill his son — yet — Eph locks him up and warns the others that it’s time to move.
Zach gets off easy for alerting the Master even though he didn’t learn where the nuke is — easy compared to Sanjay and Selah. All season it appeared Sanjay was slowly embracing his Ain’t Shit side, but it turns out he didn’t have to extend his arms all that much. Prior to the vampire apocalypse, Sanjay was a power-hungry adulterer and Selah calls him on it when they’re left alone. Nothing he did was to protect her, but only to protect himself. This is made clear when he offers her up to the Master as the one who gave up his nest to the rebels. The Master breaks Selah’s neck, but doesn’t buy Sanjay’s lie. Zach is now The Master’s official right hand man after the death of Eichorst and Sanjay getting his head pulverized against a concrete wall.
Gus and his crew provide Roman with backup in protecting the nuke, and they take a stash of silver bars to use in case the nuke plan goes awry. Maybe they plan on bludgeoning the strigoi with them? They answer the call when it’s decided they’ll move against the Master at the ESB, even though they’re fully aware it’s most likely a trap. Quinlan volunteers to detonate the nuke once he’s with the Master, even though this means he won’t survive. This has always been a suicide mission for The Born, so this isn’t surprising, but it still impresses Gus’ crew.
Of course, it was a trap and Quinlan isn’t confronted by the Master himself, but the Master speaking through Abby. After Quinlan beheads her, he prepares to fight a room full of strigoi while the others face an attack by more vampires as they descend upon the nuke.
More great work this week from Kevin Durand and Ruta Gedmintas, especially the scene in which Dutch questions is Sanjay didn’t have a point. Are they no different or is that what Sanjay needs to tell himself to live with what he’s done? Considering Sanjay went into Whole, Entire Asshole Mode shortly after being confronted by the Master, I’m gonna go with they are nothing like him.
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The Strain S4E9 Review Score
The Strain - S4E9 - “The Traitor” Starring: David Bradley, Kevin Durand,Corey Stoll,Richard Sammell, Jack Kesy, Miguel Gomez, Ruta Gedmintas, Jonathan Hyde, Natalie Brown,Rupert Penry-Jones