The Strain Season 3 Episode 5 Review: Madness

Come, explore a world of madness as the war with the strigoi escalates on The Strain.

This The Strain review contains spoilers.

The Strain Season 3 Episode 5

This week on The Strain, it’s all about madness as our characters must overcome their own inner demons in order to push back against the strigoi now that the Master has temporarily been removed from the game board. It should be stressed that The Master is gone for now, reduced to a fat red worm hidden in the sewers of Manhattan (here’s hoping no one gets the old evil, primordial red worm of vampiric death up the pooper while they’re sitting on the throne and voiding themselves of a gyro at three in the morning). With the Master gone, each of our major characters are trying to figure out a way to take advantage of this absence and take the fight to him.

First we have Eph and Dutch. Man are these two fun together. I really feared that the death of Nora would rob the series of a strong female presence and rob us of some awesome interactions between Eph and his always staunch lover and confidante. But Dutch fills the Nora roll nicely and brings a whole new dynamic to Eph.

First off, Dutch doesn’t tell Eph to stop drinking, she out drinks him which is funny but not really advisable during a vampire apocolypse. Two enablers, that’s our Eph and Dutch! There’s a great deal of Marion Ravenwood in Dutch and it’s fun to watch. Their mission this week is to figure out a way to block the psychic link that binds all strigoi.

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Let me tell you, you think you’ve seen gross autopsy scenes before? Well, the gleeful, worm-riddled autopsy that Eph performs on a captured strigoi takes the cake. For real, when Eph removes a cluster of brain worms from a strigoi skull, the pulsating mass of parasitic organisms almost made me blow my crackers. The Strain has continuously brought gru-heads the best gore on TV for three years running now, and the effort is appreciated. Add an extra layer of ha-ha as Eph gleefully slices and de-worms the lumpy mass of death on his lab table. So where’s the madness you ask? Well, this experiment brings Eph to a Doctor Frankenstein place of obsession. His experiments fail to produce a result for now, but Eph’s obsession might be the very thing to defeat the strigoi. Eph brought the science and Dutch brought the engineering and the strigoi communication code was almost cracked using science and microwave emitters. It is all very Bill Nye, but with more dry heaves.

Then we have Setrakian. This week, the oldest of vampire slayers must work on cracking the code of the Lumen with the daywalking vampire Mr. Quinlan. We are also treated to a Setrakian flashback to the 70s where the younger Setrakian hunts an on-the-run Eichhorst. Setrakian doesn’t find Eichhorst but he does find a high level strigoi Nazi who also worked in the death camp where Setrakian was held.

What happens next exposes the level of Setrakian’s madness for revenge. Setrakian discovers a death chamber in the Nazi’s home, a room filled with recently removed body parts and tubs of rotting skin (what was I saying earlier about awesome gore?). He puts that room to good use and makes the strigoi Nazi sorry he ever heard of Hitler. Setrakian doesn’t just torture the vampire, in fact, the vampire might still exist to this very day, but Setrakian does remove his limbs, chain him in a silver chest, and drop him, still alive, still aware, onto the bottom of the ocean. Yikes.

This flashbacks and some passages in the Lumen give Quinlan and Setrakian some insight into how the Master might be defeated as the series suggest that the only way to defeat the strigoi plague might be through unthinkable torture and madness. Before any of this can occur, Setrakian must make a deal with the devil, Eldritch Palmer, to help locate the Master.  Madness indeed.

Before we go, let’s check in with Vasiliy Fett, who also suffers from a form of madness, the madness of complete dedication. This week, Fett works alone to tag strigoi with GPS trackers. He follows these munchers back to their layer and finds thousands of strigoi nesting beneath Central Park. A big brouhaha is coming, kids, this should be good.

Sadly, no Gus or Angel this week, but we did get plenty of action as the battle is heating up between our heroes and the strigoi, a battle that may only be won by embracing madness.

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3.5 out of 5