‘The Strain’ E.P. Carlton Cuse On That One Season 3 Episode: ‘I Have To Direct That!’

Warning: This article may contain spoilers for Season 3 of The Strain.

Carlton Cuse certainly knows his way around the filmmaking business, having done virtually everything from writing to serving as executive producer on shows like Bates Motel and Lost, but directing is something he’s never done until now. Carlton has always had an eye for directing but until now, he has never felt strongly enough about the way an episode should develop to jump into the director’s seat. All of that changed for the upcoming Season 3 of The Strain, when Cuse was faced with a season finale that had the potential of blowing The Strain fans away, if done with his own unique style.

The Strain Executive Producer Carlton Cuse Jumps Into The Director’s Chair

It goes great with breakfast. #TheStrain

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The entire third season of The Strain, which is set to premiere in just over a week on FX is in the bag, so The Hollywood Reporter reveals that executive producer Carlton Cuse shared the news that he directed the season’s final episode at the Television Critics Association summer press tour conference. While that may not be a sensitive spoiler for fans of The Strain, it may be of special interest to Cuse’s followers, who have carefully watched his rise from those early days, when Carlton was writing the script for The Witches of Eastwick (1992) and penning episodes for Briscoe County, Jr. from 1993 through 1994. Finally, after decades of shining as a writer and producer on so many finely produced shows, Cuse revealed that he has finally realized his dream of directing.

“I felt like it was time to finally have that experience, and The Strain was the perfect environment,” Cuse said. “It’s a really challenging episode. I can’t say too much about it, but there’s some stuff that goes on that was so cool that I was just like, ‘I have to direct that.’ “

While Cuse says he does feel artistically fulfilled as a writer and producer, this was a case of having felt strongly about the episode and wanting to really get his hands dirty in the actual filming of a The Strain episode. Carlton says he’s happy he followed through with his desire to direct that episode of The Strain, because it gave him a deeper appreciation for his directors. He adds that he learned much in this one experience and feels that having directed the season finale gives him a point of reference for better communicating with his full time directors.

Carlton Cuse On Curing The Strain: “It’s The Best Thing Ever…To Get To End Your Own Show”

Paint the town red. #TheStrain continues to spread 8/28 on FX.

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Upon developing The Strain for television, creators Cuse, Guillermo del Toro, and Chuck Hogan had plotted out a limited three season run, but, as IGN shares, the men behind the hit vampire apocalypse series soon realized there was room for a more extended story. Even though The Strain will certainly run for more than the planned three season run, Carlton reveals that he, along with del Toro and Hogan, are plotting out the inevitable end and they know exactly how they want the show to end.

“Story-based shows like this where there’s a clear antagonist and protagonist, you want to bring it to a conclusion,” said Cuse at The Strain‘s 2016 summer TCA press tour panel.

Even so, Carlton says the difficult part is determining exactly how to get to that point from where The Strain ends with the Season 3 finale and also figuring out how many episodes it will take to tell that story. The Strain creators are just now getting into talks regarding that endgame, reveals Cuse, who adds that FX execs have been very helpful and accommodating in allowing them to work out their own timetable.

“It’s the best thing ever as a showrunner to get to end your own show because the end of a narrative is so compelling,” The Strain showrunner noted. “I think that as television evolves, I think we will continue to see more and more of this. As a storyteller, I think most good stories have a beginning, middle and end. You want to be able to tell the end of that story while the audience is still engaged in that story.”

What does that mean for fans of The Strain? There’s no telling. Carlton Cuse suggests the series could end with season 4 or it could end up running through three or four more seasons. At this point, Carlton, Chuck, and Guillermo are just hashing out how things should develop on The Strain, so once they have a better idea about the story they want to tell, they’ll better be able to reveal just how much more installments of The Strain fans can expect.

Season 3 of The Strain will premiere on August 28 on FX

[Image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images]