The Strain: Quick and Painless Review

This week's episode of The Strain went off into some Hitchcockian places. Here's our review...

What, no luchador? No Angel de Plata fighting vampires in grainy black and white? What a rip! You can’t just promise me hot luchador action and not follow up on it, consarnit! I was hoping to see Angel de Plata bust off a few ranas and topes on the Master this week. Seriously, imagine Angel versus Eichorst! A luchador versus a Nazi vampire, it’s like someone filmed the deepest recesses of my subconscious. But no luchadors this week and no Eichorst, and all kidding aside, it was still one heck of an episode.

The drama in The Strain is not the subtle kind. The stakes are usually thus – if a characters fails, he or she will be turned into a soulless parasite or be torn to pieces. Pretty simple. This week’s episode of The Strain went off into some Hitchcockian places as Eph took a trip out of New York to deliver the anti-vampire virus to Washington. Now, this was really the first time we have left New York (I’m not counting flashbacks of course) since the show began. Eph leaving on that train momentarily cut that constant claustrophobic tone the show has had since the first minute of the first episode.

There were no vampires on the train, but the claustrophobia was quickly back as Eph was recognized by the CDC scumbag from last season. You remember – the dude that Eichorst gave the job to after he tossed the dude’s predecessor off a balcony. Yeah, that dude was as corrupt as the day is long and he recognized poor Eph. He tried to disguise himself by getting a fake ID from one of Dutch’s connections and by shaving his head. Now Cory Stoll was rocking that oh so marketable synergistic Ant-Man baldness and he wore it well, but the scumbag head of the CDC still recognized Eph and it was on. What followed were some tense minutes of subtle paranoia as Eph tried to remain a few steps ahead of being caught. He ended up tossing the douche off the train in a bit of poetic justice. I guess the CDC needs a new chief officer now.

The train drama wasn’t the only conflict Eph had to face this week as Nora and his son both refused to accompany him on the journey, so Eph went it alone with his sullen son bidding him a cold good bye. Eph’s only company on his journey into paranoia was a few cans of cheap beet. I’m telling you, Eph’s drinking is going to bite him in the ass at some point, let’s hope that’s the only think that will bite him. While Eph was away, Nora was left in New York and quickly had to deal with some drama of her own.

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Last week, Vasiliy Fet was arrested by Justine Feraldo’s roving band of peacekeepers. Well, he did blow up a major subway tunnel. Fet was having a grand old time in prison, playing cards with his fellow inmates and generally being his charming self when Nora used her status as CDC worker as clout to get her pal out of the clink. This turned out to be a very important plot point as now, Fet has joined with Feraldo’s crew of cops and soldiers and Nora has gained the trust of Feraldo. These newly formed bonds were certainly the highlight of this week’s episode, as watching Fet and Dutch and their new comrades teach each other effective ways to kill vamps was beyond awesome. There was even a vampire in the wall sequence that I won’t soon forget. Let’s just say, Feraldo’s boys have a new appreciation of silver and rebar.

As for Feraldo herself, this week’s installment went a long way in humanizing her. Thanks to Nora and her UV light, Feraldo now had an easy way to detect who had been infected. Sadly, one of those infected was her own nephew. Now, Feraldo no longer saw things in terms of statistics and collateral damage, she saw just how personal and devastating the infection could be. She had no problem decapitating vampires and hanging them around Staten Island, but now that her own darling relative was infected, we got to see a very human side to this tough as nails New York politician. Feraldo is a welcome addition to the cast and should make for a great asset now that she and Nora have bonded over tragedy. 

As all this was going on, Setrakian was certainly not idle as he continued his search for the Occido Lumen; a book he felt could lead to the end of the Master. Setrakian tracked the book to a street hustler named Alfonzo Creem (awesome name) and when Creem tried to get the jump on the old man, Setrakian had to introduce Creem to his sword cane. Creem soon gained respect for the old man and give him a new lead on the book. Yeah, it was a b-plot this week, but it was intense and seeing Setrakian bursting with energy and confidence and facing down gangsters four times younger was pretty cool. Sadly, Creem may have been a dead end, but by episode’s end, Setrakian had once again encountered Fitzwilliam, Palmer’s old bodyguard, who now seemed to be willing to help find the book and end the plague.

Speaking of Palmer, the old letch is still putting the make on his new assistant and it’s hard to tell what she feels about the Mr. Burns like billionaire. Even more ambiguous, was the arrival of a new vampire who wore some kind of awesome bone sword. Between this dude, Angel de Plata, and Feraldo and her crew, season two of The Strain has delivered some awesome new characters to make this gripping horror adventure even cooler. 


4 out of 5