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The Strain Dutch looking out the window

Spoiler warning for this week's episode of The Strain.

Last week on The Strain, the path to the end was starting to become clearer, as the Master's eventual defeat has been put into motion with the search for a nuclear warhead. But in the meantime, there's obviously going to be a lot of fighting on the ground, with both the forces of humanity and The Partnership pursuing their respective agendas. This week's episode has given us the layout of the plans for both, and they only reinforce how this final season is playing for keeps.

In terms of The Partnership, we see that none other than Sanjay Desai has returned, now sporting a jaunty cane after being left for dead in the start of the nuclear apocalypse. As head of The Partnership's new breeding program, he's making sure that folks with B+ blood are getting a bright and wonderful future...by creating as many future donors as they can. Unfortunately for our newly reunited friend Dutch (now going by the name Miranda), this means her B+ status has her in line for becoming one of those very donor machines. That is, of course, unless the good guys can save her.

On the side of humanity, we have two prongs of action, as we've found Gus and former foe Alfonso Creem running a lucrative business practice together in terms of black market goods. Meanwhile, Eph is still linked up with the resistance fighters that bombed his bus, as he's not only tending to the soldier wounded in his escape, but he's also inspired a quite cunning plan. Rather than acting like a bunch of scattered anarchists, why not start strategic targeting? Better yet, why not poison the blood being pumped into Strigoi hotspots?

The world has changed drastically in The Strain's universe since the early days, but what hasn't changed is the fact that the characters we know and love are still their rough-and-tumble selves. With the first two episodes reacquainting fans of The Strain with the entire team, as well as setting the battlefield for the final season, the show's creative minds are finding fun and new ways to integrate our favorite characters. That much was said in Carlton Cuse's remarks at the series' final Comic-Con panel last week, as he described Season 4's approach as follows:

The fun thing about the show in this final season is seeing how these characters survive in the nuclear winter. They are not the prime series, the Strigoi are. The Dutch storyline, she's basically found herself as a breeder. This B blood is something the Strigoi love and this becomes a big part of the narrative as the season wears on.

So while the world has changed, the players on The Strain's board have only become more grizzled. With only eight episodes left to continue showing us the drastic measures being taken to win back humanity's freedom, the final battle will only get more intense as time marches on. And, seeing as it's the last season and all, not everyone's going to make it out alive.

The Strain will return next Sunday, on FX, at 10 PM EST. To see what else is hitting the small screen in the near future, head to our summer premiere schedule.