The Strain: The Born review

Eph comes to terms with violence as a gladiator with an Uzi hits the scene. Here is our review of The Strain Season 2 Episode 7.

So with Nazi vampires and luchadors, what else does The Strain need to make it awesome? How about a daywalking, Uzi-wielding, Roman gladiator vampire? Meet, Mr. Quinlan the most awesome new addition to The Strain imaginable.

Seriously, the motherfucka carries a silver sword with a bone handle, a pair of Uzis, isn’t hurt by sunlight, is like something out of a John Woo meets John Carpenter movie and is just an all around badass and a cosplayers dream. This week, we were treated to the origin of Mr. Quinlan. We learned that this former gladiator was of half human blood, which is why he can survive direct sunlight. Plus, we learned Quinlan has a lustful hatred of the Master and has been chasing the head vamp since the days of ancient Rome. And we thought Setrakian was after the Master for a long time.

This week, Quinlan meets up with our faithful crew of Master hunters. Thanks to the information provided by the recently and lamentably departed Fitzsimmons, Setrakian and Fet are able to track the Master to one of his liars. Now remember, this is reinvigorated Master as last week, he vomited his worm-ridden essence into the body of dickless rock star Gabriel Bolivar, so this time, Setrakian and Fet would have to face a fully armed and operational vampire overlord. Even Fet, in all his awesomeness, probably wouldn’t stand a chance against the Master at full strength. So it’s a good thing Mr. Quinlan is there to lend a hand, taking out a few of those nasty Feelers in the process. Seriously, the dude just unloaded with a two-fisted machine gun barrage. That was nothing short of beautiful.

Quinlan seems to respect Fet and Setrakian as equals, three vampire hunters that have the will and tools necessary to bring down the Master. Quinlan is even able to confront the new Master and the two are about to throw down when Fet brings the whole building down with one of his signature sticks of dynamite. Summerslam may be tonight (and Rollins better freakin’ win), but we will have to wait for another day for the true main event of Quinlan versus the Master.  By the way, Jack Kesy, the actor who played Bolivar, and who now plays the new Master, is absolutely killing it in his strange new dual role.

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As for Fet, meeting Quinlan and facing down the Master isn’t the only drama for everyone’s favorite exterminator. This week sees the return of Dutch’s ex-girlfriend. Dutch and the others thought Nicki, the ex in question, was vampire food, but she turns up alive and well this week. This is the first emotional chink we’ve seen in Fet’s armor. Thus far, Fet has been the perfect hunter, never letting emotion stand in the way of his mission. No matter the danger, Fet has been ever ready with a piece of rebar, a stick of dynamite, and a lopsided grin. But jealousy over Nicki seems to disarm him and this can only spell trouble for our crew. I usually don’t cotton to the jealousy trope, especially in survival horror, but seeing Fet’s very human reaction adds depth to his character. I’ll be curious to see who Dutch chooses, the man who she has fought side by side with or the woman who ripped her off.  I’m thinking Fet might soon be friend zoned.

Eph returns from his disastrous trip to New York where he failed to mass produce the vampire killing virus, mainly because Eldritch Palmer killed all of Eph’s political allies. Broken and mourning, he hits the bottle hard. Eph has learned that this new world, the Master’s world, cannot be brought down by political machinations, it can only be brought down through violence. Fet knows this, Setrakian knows this, and Quinlan has known it for centuries, and now Eph realizes it as well. Which is why, at episode’s end, Eph swears to find and kill Eldritch Palmer. Now, this is something Setrakian has tried to do, Gus has tried to do, and even the Ancient’s have tried to do. And they have all failed. But Eph and his bourbon fueled anger might be the right man to finally take down the evil Mr. Drummond looking Eldritch Palmer.

Speaking of Palmer, his character arc of the season, the romantic perusal of Coco Marchand, is the only storyline I just can’t get behind. It’s the same thing every week as Palmer makes lewd little suggestions Coco’s way. Admittedly, Coco makes for a great femme fatale, but the storyline is going nowhere. Flirt, wine, music, innuendo, more wine, end scene. This week, Coco and Palmer finally slept together (thankfully, it wasn’t shown- it would be like Emperor Palpatine bedding down- no thank you), but it all just seemed like a time waster. This one better have a good payoff for making me sit through so much leering, horny old man nastiness.

But the takeaway here is Quinlan. From his lushly produced gladiator sequence to his badass Uzi barrage, Quinlan is a TV vampire for the ages and I’m looking forward to more bone sword coolness.

Can you imagine if Quinlan runs into Angel de Plata? My pop culture nerd brain might explode.

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3.5 out of 5