Last week’s episode of The Strain—“First Born”—ended with one of the show’s biggest cliffhangers, promising big changes for the future of the show. With The Master apparently dead, “Gone But Not Forgotten” should’ve been an episode of celebration. Of course, that wouldn’t make much sense this early in the third season. “Gone But Not Forgotten” shows just how much the stakes have changed and increased for both sides with The Master gone for now.
With both sides fractured and the world falling apart, let’s take a look at the five best moments from last night’s episode of The Strain, “Gone But Not Forgotten.”
The climactic fight with The Master last week wasn’t all that interesting—all it took was a silver grenade, a quick decapitation and boom—no more Master. But what made that conflict more compelling was the aftermath that was sure to come. Eph and Quinlan worked together to steal the Lumen from Setrakian and Fet, The Master’s cronies still have Zach and the strigoi are still roaming free without their Master.
“Gone But Not Forgotten” gets us almost immediately into the response to the conclusion of “First Born,” as both sides reunite to regroup after The Master’s death. Eph gets punched by Fet, after revealing his theft of the Lumen. We also see that Quinlan’s suicide mission to kill his father clearly didn’t work, as The Master lives on, and will take some other form soon.
As if this rift couldn’t get any bigger, Dutch has returned to the group, staying with Eph at Fet’s place. Dutch getting closer to Eph surely won’t turn out to be a good thing. In the books, it was Fet who started seeing Nora, which obviously hurt Eph. With Nora out of the picture, of course this storyline can’t be adapted entirely from the books, but the concept might work even better with this different, potential love triangle.
As I mentioned last week, this season of The Strain has been at its weakest when it follows Gus and Angel. The show doesn’t know how to write them as anything other than vague stereotypes, and it comes across almost every time they come up on the screen. But one of the big improvements has been that this season found a way to make the strigoi attacks almost exciting again.
“Gone But Not Forgotten” continues to try and take one of the show’s biggest weaknesses and turn it into a strength, with Angel and Gus heading into the new chain-gang armies that are sent out to attack strigoi. While watching the armies dive into the strigoi tunnels isn’t especially interesting, it creates potential for future episodes. Gus and Angel have the possibility of being put in a position of power once again, and can lead this underground effort to destroy the strigoi. Gus and Angel have needed purpose for far too long, and this arc might the point where they finally get it.
If it wasn’t heavily hinted at in the last episode, it’s clear now that The Master isn’t truly gone. While Quinlan may have decapitated him, he forgot to destroy the crimson worm that controls The Master’s body. With the worm escaping into the sewers, it’s only a matter of time before The Master returns in a new form.
Because Quinlan’s attack didn’t work, we see his frustrations towards the Ancients, as he claims that they will never see him again, which sets Quinlan on his own independent path. Up until now, we’ve always seen him with a specific goal: kill The Master. But now that that hasn’t exactly panned out, we now see him questioning his own actions and goals, uncertain of the next step. At the very least, Quinlan splitting from the Ancients could maybe make them a more integral part to this story.
Feraldo has been trying her best to keep New York City afloat and the attack on her offices shakes her in a way we haven’t seen before. It’s interesting to see Eichorst vs. Feraldo—two de facto leaders in over their heads with the recent developments. As a worm enters Feraldo’s eye, Fet seems to destroy the worm before it turns the councilwoman. As Eph says however, no one has had a strigoi enter their eye without eventually turning into a strigoi themselves.
New York City seems all but destroyed at this point, but turning Feraldo would probably be the last straw. She’s the only thing keeping the city together, and her turning would likely be the end of NYC.
This bombing also reunites Fet with Dutch, who chose Nikki over Fet at the end of Season Two. There’s clearly still something between these two, but there might be too much history between them, for things to ever be the way they were.
“Gone But Not Forgotten” ends with Dutch and Eph being confronted by a Master-controlled strigoi, claiming that they have failed in their attempts to take him down. Well, obviously. But while “First Born” ended with the possibility that the strigoi war could be over, “Gone But Not Forgotten” ends with evidence that both sides are more fractured and dangerous than ever.
For the human side of the battle, Eph seems to be at odds with Fet and Setrakian, and Eph’s new friendship with Dutch doesn’t help Fet’s animosity towards him. Quinlan is on his own journey, Angel and Gus are fighting in tunnels with other inmates and Feraldo could become a strigoi at any moment. With the “death” of The Master not working as expected, there’s plenty of uncertainty with all of the human characters about what to do next. It’s also going to be very hard going forward for anyone to trust Eph while his son is still kidnapped by Kelly.
But the strigoi side is now just as fractured. Plenty of characters point out in “Gone But Not Forgotten” that the strigoi have changed. They are attacking differently. They have no leader and are acting of their own accord. But the temporary leadership of Eichorst is making this battle more brutal than it ever has been before.
Last week brought up hope, but this week brings us uncertainty, as it seems the battle against The Master will be harder than it ever has been before.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can find more of his writing at RossBonaime.com and follow him on Twitter.