The Strain: Fallen Light Review

Dogs will bite, but the Strigoi have stingers. Here is our review of The Strain Season 2 Episode 12.

In the past few weeks on The Strain, we witnessed our heroes rise up along with the people of Brooklyn to take down the Strigoi. We thrilled to Dutch’s daring escape from Eichorst and a hentai experience no one will soon forget. This week, we take a break from the heart-in-throat epicness of the past few episodes and focus on setup and character moments. While this week’s episode doesn’t match the excitement, there is still stuff to sink our prehensile throat stingers into.

I guess something huge is going to happen between Nora and Eph on the season finale because this week delves into the past history of our two featured Strigoi hunters. We witness how Eph and Nora met via flashback, and in the same flashback, we get to see Eph back in his awful hairpiece, and the welcome return of Sean Astin’s Jim Kent (’cause Samwise Gamgee gotta eat). This was the most chemistry Corey Stoll and Mía Maestro have mustered on screen and it is always good to see Astin in anything. In truth, through some very subtle character moments, the episode really portrays how close Jim and Eph used to be, as a reminder of what the Strigoi took from Eph. There is a sweet moment where Jim falls asleep on Eph’s couch and Eph removes his friend’s glasses. Little moments like that prove that The Strain is not just thoughtless clichéd gore. At times, it can be a careful character meditation.

That being said, The Strain can also get downright repetitive. This week has a renewed focus on Zach (oh, yeah, him). ‘Ol fart smeller discovers that his grandparents escaped New York and would take him in. Eph unbelievably waffled about the prospect of taking his son out of the NYC war zone and that’s stretching things. The kid gets attacked by his mother every six seconds. Wouldn’t you want to get the kid out of dodge? Once again the show conjures conflict for conflict’s sake as the Zach arc continues to be the series Achilles heel.

As does the Eldritch Palmer romance. This week isn’t so bad; we see Palmer and Eichorst butt heads over Palmer’s role in the overall plan. We’ve seen the billionaire and the Nazi go at it before, but this time the revived Coco is there as Eichorst reminds Palmer that now it would be the silver haired one percenter and his lover who needs the Master’s blood to survive. Palmer does not appreciate the threat to his lady love but this, like the Zach stuff, is a retread as the season already overly established the conflict between Palmer and Eichorst. More wheel spinning.

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But all that can be forgiven because of this week’s awesomeness with Gus and Angel as TV’s newest badass buddies bust out a bunch of Gus’s former gangbanger pals from prison. Gus and Angel slice their way through a prison overrun with vamps but the true danger comes from Gus’s former friends. Dogs will bite, so the head gangbanger openly challenges Gus over leadership of the gang. Yeah, Angel de Plata is having none of it and, no, Angel doesn’t drop kick or suplex Gus’s rival. Angel blows him away with a shotgun blast. How’s that for outside interference? By the way, it should be noted that Angel de Plata wields a giant silver cross welded onto a pair of brass knuckles because, of course, he does. Awesome.

Which brings us to the continued McGuffin hunt of the season, Setrakian’s Moby Dick-like hunt for the Occido Lumen. Well, Mr. Cream, the street thug who deals in rare antiquities, has the book and he isn’t selling. No, we won’t have to see Palmer and Setrakian have a riveting bidding war on Ebay. Both vampire hunter and vampire Nazi are coming for the book and the showdown seems like it could be epic as it will be the centerpiece of next week’s season finale. But we have a third party involved as Quinlan sends Gus and the new heavily armed group of convicts to make sure that neither Setrakian nor Palmer get the book. Finally, the Gus storyline seems to be crossing Setrakian and company’s story as things race to what will hopefully be a stirring and satisfying conclusion.

Setrakian will need Fet if he is to procure the book but will the exterminator’s head be in the game? After all, his beloved Dutch leaves him for Nicki this week, a decision that Dutch soon regrets as Nicki skipped town. Fet takes the dumping like the stoic champ he is but Nicki proves her true colors by leaving Dutch in Dutch’s hour of need. How do you dump a woman who just narrowly escaped being violated by a giant tongue?  So Dutch makes her choice and it backfires. Will Fet be there to pick up the pieces? Will it matter with the shit storm that is to come?

Let us leave you with a word about everyone’s favorite kickass version of Leslie Knope, Justine Feraldo. This episode also introduces a gripping murder mystery as Mayor Scumbag is double tapped by a mysterious assassin. We know it isn’t any of our heroes but the dead mayor created a power vacuum filled by Feraldo. Sadly, it’s Palmer who put her into power, so I have this feeling that Feraldo’s rise to the throne could end up in a very Shakespearean fall. This is a shame because the lady really did not do anything to deserve to be taken down a peg. Thus far, she has had the city’s best interest at hearts. But let’s see if absolute power corrupts absolutely.

But most of all, let’s see if all our heroes survive being caught between the machinations of the Master and the Ancients as we wrap things up next week.

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3 out of 5