…and then everything turned into The Mist, and I didn’t breath for an hour.
That is really the only review you need for this week’s episode of The Strain, but I’ll give you more, not to worry Strainers.
“Creatures of the Night” was pure action. No talking, no debating the nature of the vampire plague, no doubts, just our heroes, trapped in a Convenience Store, surrounded by a shit ton of angry vamps and by the time the smoke cleared, we were down one protagonist and the show went from a patient zero, spreading the disease kind of thing to a full on I Am Legend, holy shit, they really are everywhere, biblical end of civilization sort of thing.
We open the episode checking in on the injured Eichhorst who seems put out by his newly Eph inflicted gunshot wound. Think about it though, the monster probably has not been physically injured in decades, after all, who would be fast enough to hurt such a super powerful entity? But there he was, bullet in leg, limping across a subway platform, it was almost…human. There was a sort of strange vulnerability to Eichhorst, as if he forgot what pain was and experiencing it again reminded him of his humanity.
That was it for Eichhorst, as the episode then focused on Setrakian, Eph, Nora, and Jim who all trekked to a medical supply depot to retrieve UV lamps for obvious reasons. Already there, gathering all the UVs he could find, was our pal, the most badass exterminator on the planet, Vasiliy Fet. Instantly, there was a respect between Setrakian and Fet, two men who, in their own ways, are both exterminators. Jim and Eph play the alpha male thing for a bit with Fet, but finally they agree to split the lights. Before going their separate ways, our crew decided to hit a Quick-E-Mart to load up on supplies while they still could. Never has a desire for Yoo-Hoo and Slim Jims been more fateful.
The only hiccup in the episode was the plot convenience of having Eph and company run into not only Fet but the beautiful computer hacker introduced a few episodes back, Jax. It just seemed a little too perfect, a little too convenient. Maybe that’s why the episode took place in a convenience store. HA!
Anyway, the sheer amount of relentless action makes us forgive some plot contrivances. Once our crew was in place, the store was surrounded. The drama not only took place outside the store but in Jim’s body as well. Poor, poor trusting Jim, poor Samwise, was nicked by a vampire in the opening moments of the attack. Twas just a scratch, but it was enough.
With Jim in danger of turning, the rest of the group got to work devising a way the hell out of there. There was some cannon fodder in the store, Jax’s friends, a jerky convenience store clerk who kept a tally of all the items our crew was using to survive, some old dude with a ponytail that was dispatched quicker than a red shirt at a Gorn convention, and a bread truck driver who became vampire food very quickly.
I came out of this episode learning a few things. One: Fet is even cooler than I first thought, and I’ve been on the Fet bandwagon since day one. He is a man that knows how to get things done, a perfect apprentice for Setrakian, a pragmatist who is quick to cave in a head with his rebar but a man with a sense of altruism. With Fet in place beside Setrakian and Eph, The Strain now has its Daryl Dixon.
We learned that Nora has adapted quickly to the reality of New York. Her hands might be shaky, but she is a crack shot with her nail gun (by the way, Setrakian pulling a nail gun from his coat like an octogenarian gunslinger was one of the coolest visuals this episode had to offer).
We learned that Eph will not compromise his principles no matter how much he is pushed to do so. His scientific mind is still not accepting of everything Setrakian tells him, even though everything the aged vampire hunter has said has come true.
Eph’s true test came when Jim was bitten. Now, Jim caused the whole vampire mess. He may have done it all for his cancer stricken wife, but Jim allowing the ornate coffin to be taken from the airport began the Hell on Earth the city was now enduring. It was Jim’s fault, and this episode, he paid the price. First, he was attacked, then wounded, then infected. Eph still played the doctor, performing surgery on Jim’s face, slicing the vampire worm out with no anesthesia.
All seemed well, until a black light fell on Jim and Eph and company saw a legion of worms thriving beneath Jim’s flesh. Jim knew he was doomed. He knew his actions had doomed him, had put ancient parasites beneath his skin. It was ironic, Jim had betrayed his species to stop the spread of a disease in his wife’s body, and there he was, brought down by a spreading pathogen.
Jim was lost, but still, Eph would not give up, would not allow Jim to die when there was still the potential for science to save him. Even though Eph punched Jim in the mouth because of his actions, he only saw his friend about to be lost. Eph, the doctor, could not kill his friend; he could not give up his faith in medicine. So Fet put a bullet between Jim’s eyes.
It would have been nice to see Jim go out in a blaze of glory, sacrificing himself so his friends could escape, to die a hero in order to redeem himself for betraying his species to the most ancient of evils. For Jim, there was no redemption, just a worn infestation under his skin and a quick bullet from a pragmatic stranger. It might have been harsh, but for Jim, there was justice.
Jim may be gone, but our crew grew by two, Fet and Jax. It will be interesting to see how the group dynamic has changed with Jim gone and the hacker and exterminator added. Now, we are no longer in the spreading stage of The Strain, we are in full out survival mode as things amped up this week on a show that was already deafeningly cool.
But what about those vampire vigilantes from last week? I need to see what that’s all about.