Martin Carr reviews the sixth episode of The Strain season 3…
This plays out like an extended section of the Cameron classic Aliens. Dark tunnels, pitch black caverns filled with twitching bodies and small factions of mercenaries poorly equipped for carnage. There are the occasional diversions into the daylight which primarily involve people looking concerned, but in the main episode six is a monster mash.
In truth down in those inky depths trailing along with Fet, Gus, Angel and Kate Rodgers the tension is palpable. Coincidence, circumstance and purpose collide while lesser enforcement officers are culled, slaughtered and dispatched by stingers left and right. Minimal plot progression occurs between Eichorst, Kelly, Zach, Goodweather and Dutch, while Feraldo stands back at HQ looking worried. Beyond that there is little to recommend this episode, but when the white flies thick and fast while nests of these things are vaporised who cares.
Other films which came to mind in quick succession were Scott’s original Alien, indie horror staple Pitch Black, and Event Horizon. Their common comparison with The Strain being that sense of oppression which was a great thing when it lasted. But the moment we were pulled away from those service tunnels things seemed to lose urgency and focus. Plot got in the way and ultimately that atmosphere suffered. Eichorst and Kelly played a distinct second fiddle as a result of this popping up more to remind people there was something else going on. Character moments between Goodweather and Dutch gave a sense of the human angle amongst the explosions, screaming and shotgun blasts, while Setrakian and Quinlan were sorely missed. That though is the price of multiple character arcs and a narrative this size because people inevitably get neglected.
However that aside ‘The Battle For Central Park’ did exactly what it says on the tin. People fought, characters gained some clarity while others got their comeuppance. And there’s the matter of that plot twist which to be honest was neatly avoided until the last minute. It buys more time and strings things out for a little while longer. A question that people might start asking now is simply whether there is any way back from this one. Divided yet still unconquerable the scourge which plagues Manhattan and most everywhere else is not going down without a fight. Let us hope that those left after this battle can overcome the insurmountable obstacles currently blocking their way.