'The Strain' Showrunner Carlton Cuse Talks the Final Season

The Strain begins its fourth and final season this Sunday, guided by showrunner Carlton Cuse, who's become an expert on bringing a series to its conclusion.

Just this April, Cuse and the team behind Bates Motel finished their five-season run on A&E with a very well-received finale.

And of course, his ABC hit Lost was among the first broadcast network shows to negotiate an end date, giving the writers a chance to map out exactly how they wanted the series to go out.

"That was just unheard of," Cuse said during a recent Q&A with reporters. "Network shows would just go until they ran out of gas."

Knowing when and how to say goodbye is a challenge, he said. "I think you ultimately have to really rely on your gut and your heart and really think about what it is that the audience is expecting and what the unresolved issues are."

In the case of The Strain, he said, "it's this larger-than-life graphic novel epidemiological thriller and there's this very larger-than-life force of antagonism — this Master and his parasitic minions — and all of these wonderful good guy characters that are trying to bring him down. So I think the right and proper ending is one that leads to sort of an ultimate conflict between those forces."

Heading into Season 4, the outlook is pretty grim for those good guys. But don't count them out, Cuse said. "Our characters may be down and they may be living in nuclear winter and they may no longer be on top of the food chain, but they are still determined to defeat the forces of evil," he said.

Speaking of evil, Cuse described Zach as "hopefully one of the evilest child characters in the history of television."

The question answered this season, Cuse said, is whether Zach has been changed by the events of the Season 3 finale. "As bad as he is, there's still some shred of humanity inside of him and that question gets explored in great detail as the season goes along," he said.

And if you think you know what's going to happen because you've read the books (by series co-creators Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan), think again.

"We allowed the television show to be its own creation," Cuse said. "All bets are off."


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Jul 17, 2017 11:40AM EDT

The Season 4 premiere started a bit slow, but it was really enjoyable. Man, that Zach is SO detestable! I hope he doesn't try anything funny with that nice maid girly.....

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