The Strain Season 4 Episode 6 Review – ‘Tainted Love’

Martin Carr reviews the sixth episode of The Strain season 4…

Lovelorn, love lost, love squandered and relationships shattered define episode six of this final season mid-point. Cat and mouse car chases across country with trigger happy snipers on guard, stand between salvation and disaster in the shape of an airfield exit. Throw in some jealousy, miscommunication and flashbacks to flesh out further backstory and The Strain continues gaining momentum.

 

Quinlan holds court once more either in the present or past as his latter-day London life continues to intrigue. Heartbreak, anger, desperation and confrontation go some way to describing those segues into the past, which all colour that decision-making in the present. Fet meanwhile clings to Charlotte as their relationship takes on another dimension irrespective of Quinlan’s opinion. Penry-Jones brings a calculating and cold self-control to the character whilst proving that the choices he makes are borne of experience not warrior instinct.

Elsewhere in Manhattan the focus stays with Zak and Abby who are brought closer together only for some home truths to be made self-evident. Max Charles does a petulant child with convincing ease as certain situations take the shine off Abby’s company. Confused, misguided but ultimately well intended he may be, but his behaviour is drifting further towards clinically cold and calculating. It is a little saccharine soaked and needlessly adolescent in the approach, but serves only to provide that all important epiphany when Zak begins to understand his actions.

Locked away from a world in turmoil his life is filled with privilege, isolated from reality which in turn is distorting everything else. What he learns beyond the point that love, affection and companionship are not easily bought, is how he fits into this jigsaw puzzle. Which in turn harks back to the original voice over given by Setrakian in season one’s opening minutes all those years ago.

 

From our most dangerous warrior down through to fragile teenage hearts, everyone is touched, tormented and traumatised by love. What this episode does is remind us to recognise it when opportunities come along and not dwell on those times when things fell apart. In terms of narrative progression however ‘Tainted Love’ does little to move things long. Setrakian and Dutch are still off the reservation, Goodweather is distracted blowing up Strigoli and poisoning blood banks, while the oddest of double acts go about stealing warheads. A little more skirting around the issues than we are used to but nonetheless another solid episode, means The Strain is busy pulling all those disparate elements together in readiness for the finale.