The last time I wrote about the FX vampire series, "The Strain," I commented on the repulsive amorality of its teen protagonist (antagonist?) Zach Goodweather, who decided to detonate a nuclear bomb, killing untold numbers of people in New York City, because he was mad at daddy.
The series recently wrapped up, and I enjoyed it (annoying whiny teen mass-murderer notwithstanding). But I was surprised by a strongly pro-life message buried in one of the last episodes of the final season.
Leading up to that episode, a character named Sanjay Desai (played by Cas Anvar) has been collaborating with the vampires (called "strigoi" in the series), who are now in control of New York, and purportedly in a joint government with humans known as "The Partnership." Desai has been tasked with managing a Partnership facility that appears to be a home for pregnant women. But unknown to many -- although not to Desai -- is that the back of the facility is an abattoir in which humans who are deemed unworthy to live are brought in, hung on hooks like slabs of meat, and drained of their blood to feed the vampires.
Even the "pregnancy home" front is a brutal ruse. The young women there are being impregnated, so that their babies can be taken at birth and drained to provide a highly desirable type of blood for the vamps.
As episode nine ("The Traitor") opens, Desai has been captured by two of the show's main characters: Vasily Fet (Kevin Durand) and Kristen "Dutch" Velders (Ruta Gedmintas), who are trying to find and kill the head vampire ("The Master"). Dutch has escaped from Desai's facility, but not before seeing what went on there, including watching in horror as her friend Sophie's newborn infant is taken and killed.
Fet confronts Desai about his despicable collaboration with the vampires, and Desai tries to justify his decisions. He argues that society is "better off," given the humans who have been "sacrificed": "Gang members ... terrorists ... drug addicts, alcoholics, mentally ill ... How many millions of dollars did we spend warehousing them in prisons, or keeping them going on welfare? ... At least this way they're making some kind of positive contribution."
The notion of expendable humans, including the "draining rooms" and the vampire farms of human cattle seen in earlier episodes, weren't surprising. The theme of the Holocaust runs throughout the series. Primary character Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley) is a Holocaust survivor who first encounters The Master while imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, and hunts him for decades thereafter.
But the next bit of dialogue stunned me.
Dutch yells at Desai, "You let them take Sophie's baby and drain it!"
"Come on," he says. "If we're going to be absolutely, brutally honest, a newborn baby is hardly worth that of a fully developed adult. It's not even self-aware. It didn't even know what was happening to it! And it no doubt is in a better place right now."
Dutch's character is hardly a paragon of traditional morality, but this is beyond the limits of her tolerance. Shrieking an epithet at Desai, Dutch violently punches him in the face multiple times.
I had to rewind and rewatch the scene. I couldn't believe that Hollywood scriptwriters would dare present -- as evil, mind you -- the rationalizations for infanticide proffered by infamous Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer, and the specious arguments that groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL have peddled for decades in support of abortion.
Sanjay Desai's monologue is a string of their talking points: the unborn child isn't fully human; it's just a "fetus," "the product of conception" or "a clump of cells"; any reason a woman wants is good enough to have an abortion; the mother's life is worth more than the child's.
And for that, his character gets the crap beaten out of him.
I thought of this scene again when I read a recent news item. Michigan abortionist Michael Roth lost his license for one year, after a 2015 car accident that revealed containers with aborted baby parts in Roth's car, along with the illegally obtained drugs fentanyl and ciprofloxacin. Roth has an ugly history going back at least 20 years, including multiple allegations of malpractice, and previous citations for illegal abortions, negligence and incompetence.
If the press were more honest, we'd hear more about stories like these; there are many. Michael Roth is just following in the footsteps of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, whose grisly conduct the American press was shamed into covering. And then there are the videos released two years ago by the Center for Medical Progress, which revealed some of Planned Parenthood's repulsive practices, including the sale of aborted baby body parts for scientific research. More recently released footage has even more disgusting content: "I might ... pull off a leg or two, so it's not PBA (partial-birth abortion)."
"The Strain" may be fiction. But the backrooms of Planned Parenthood and America's other abortion clinics are just as bloody as the "draining rooms" of the strigoi apocalypse, their victims are just as dead and their rationalizations are just as transparent. There are truly monsters among us.