From watching the manhood literally drop of a womanizing rockstar-turned-bloodthirsty vampire, to ogling as the series' ultra-villain infects his victim by vomiting a sea of parasitic worms all over his face, FX's vampire thriller The Strain has been an engrossing rollercoaster ride into the hideously grotesque. Not satisfied with keeping viewers on their toes through the on-screen action alone however, FX has just announced that the next season will be the last — and the internet has reacted with a deluge of speculation over just how The Strain is going to end.
Based on the book trilogy written by series director Guillermo Del Toro and fellow executive producer Chuck Hogan, The Strain is currently mid-way through season three, which in novel adaptation terms is about three quarters into the second installment. With the original plan being to make the final book span a fourth and fifth season, the news that the entire book with all of its outrageous plot twists needs to be condensed into just the fourth alone raises some serious questions over how The Strain will end. Let's have a look at some of the theories so far.
Theory No.1: 'The Strain' Will End With A Nuclear Holocaust
Just as it is written in 'The Night Eternal,' the final book in the trilogy, and as it is depicted in its corresponding comic book, The Strain is set to end not with a whimper, but a veritable bang. With Ephraim Goodweather finally managing to decipher the 'Occido Lumen' and discovering that the Master originated on one of the Thousand Islands in Lake Ontario, he travels there with son Zack where they detonate a nuclear bomb wiping out The Master's strain from the earth as well as his son Quinlan, but in the process also sacrificing themselves.
As all the vampires begin to disintegrate, humanity is able to rebuild society in the dusty ashes of their supernatural foes and order is finally restored to the universe.
Theory No.2: 'The Strain' Will Not End Like It Does In The Book
After the nuclear explosion, the book version of events shows Nora and Vasilly moving to Vermont where they have two children: Ephraim (named after Goodweather) and Mariela (named after Nora's mother). Now the only problem with this idyllic chain of events is that in a shock move, Del Toro and Hogan killed Nora, our most beloved biochemist off in the Season two finale.
When you take into consideration that Gabriel Bolivar was also shockingly beheaded in episode three of the third Season just two weeks ago, and that he too survives to the end of the book series, it is now very likely that the ending will deviate quite dramatically from that of the novels.
In a public statement executive producer Carlton Curse has said of the final season that:
"After finishing the writing on Season three, Guillermo, Chuck and I looked at our remaining story and felt the best version could be told in one more season. We have a fantastic plan for an exciting and climatic Season four."
Given their confidence in being able to wrap up all the manifold narrative threads in a way which is both satisfactory to new viewers as well as to those familiar with the book series, we have no option but to trust that a shock ending could feel convincingly concluded.
Theory No.3: 'The Strain' Won't End
As the saying goes, all good things must come to and end, but all great things get a spin-off. When asked about the possibility of The Strain getting the spin-off treatment in a conversation with Stuff last month, Cuse said:
"We are starting to talk about Season four now, and that's something which we are talking about is to what degree would it be interesting to see 'The Strain' in other places besides New York City."
This then lead to an influx of suggestions as to where The Strain could go next. With the ending now imminent, here's some of the most conceivable spin-off concepts that the show could receive:
- If the series doesn't end with the complete annihilation of the vampire race, we could be given a more ancients/born/vampire-focused version of the show instead of the perspective being largely provided by the human characters.
- A spin-off could focus on the different ages of the rise of the strigoi and the strigoi plagues, perhaps in Feudal China or the Dark Ages.
- As Cuse stated, it would be really interesting to see a version of The Strain set somewhere other than New York. Maybe we could follow a group of survivors fighting the vampire race in a completely different part of the globe.
- If Quinlan survives the final season, his character is interesting enough to carry a spin-off and would give us more of a chance to get deeper into the psyche of 'The Born.'
- Given that the 'Occido Lumen' are so essential to The Strain's ending in the books, it could be really interesting to get more of a sense of their history focusing on how the tablets were transcribed into the Lumen in the ancient times and how they were then translated in the medieval era by Rabbi Avigdo Levy in Paris.