Remember D-Bag Matt? The Sears manager who took over Eph’s home, turned Eph’s home office into a rumpus room, is banging Eph’s ex-wife, and narced on Eph to the cops? The Sears manager Kelly Goodweather thought would be more attentive than her workaholic, CDC all-star husband?
Yeah, he’s dead and that’s not the only bit of goodness from this week’s episode of The Strain.
Last week, Eph and his small crew of vampire killers finally met up with Vasiliy Fet, exterminator par excellence and Dutch, a beautiful computer hacker hired by the vamps to shutdown the Internet during the infestation. So, with our gang in place, Eph journals home to check on his ex-wife and son. What he finds is a transformed Matt trying to kill his son Zach. Since the story began, Eph has had to swallow his pride in every scene he shared with Matt. He knew that the Sears manager had summarily replaced Eph in every way; in the bedroom, in his son’s life, and in the home Eph had built. Matt was kind of a parasite long before he was infected with vampire worms. It was Eph versus Matt once again, finally, but this time the consequence was not pride, it was the life of Zach. And Eph won. He removed the head of his rival, he proved he was the man of the house, and Sears is going to have to hit indeed.com to find a new manager.
Matt wasn’t the only bit of manliness Eph got up to in his old home. After Matt was dispatched with great prejudice, Eph decided he was going to wait for his ex-wife to get home to either make sure she was safe and still human. Nora volunteered to stay with him and Eph, and his Argentinean partner in disease control and vampire killing got busy in Eph’s old bedroom. Yeah, Matt, you Sears douche, that’s Eph’s old bed and he’s getting busy on it again while you’re burning in the dumpster.
While Eph was reasserting his alpha male status, we also learned more about Setrakian’s past in the German prison camp under Herr Eichhorst. We got to see the prison camp freed and young Setrakian come face to face with the Master. It was creepy the first time when The Strain showed the Master using the death camp barracks as a buffet, and time has not lessened the colon curl factor of this particular bit of imagery. Setrakian stole a silver knife and was ready to avenge his fellow prisoners. The Master was having none of it and snapped Setrakian’s fingers, a wound that still has not healed correctly as the episode masterfully showed us in a series of close ups on old Setrakian’s ruined hands.
The show should be applauded for the realistic portrayal of the death camps, one of the most claustrophobic and honest bits of Holocaust drama ever presented on television. It is very clear Setrakian saw true evil long before he set his eyes on the Master. Through these flashbacks, we now know what pain hides behind those old eyes, and it is obvious we are not done with these compelling peeks into Setrakian’s pasts just yet, as we still haven’t learned why Setrakian keeps a worm riddled brain in a jar. There has to be a horrifically tragic story surrounding that bit of insanity.
As the flashbacks flesh out Setrakian’s history, they do the same thing for Eichhorst. Eichhorst is as evil as they come, as he is on the run after the prison camp is liberated. We also see a vulnerability to the Nazi officer, a man who thrived on power, but now, power was taken from him and he was just a fugitive who would be hunted for the heinous war crimes he had committed. Eichhorst was a living contradiction, a lover of art and music who enjoyed the fine things in life, but a man who did not flinch from brutally executing huge groups of prisoners who could no longer toil for the Reich. When his camp was liberated, Eichhorst was stripped of power; he no longer could define himself through strength. When the Master embraced him and he was turned, Eichhorst once again had power, a power he would do anything to keep.
Yes, we got our first glimpse of the Master this week. Like Nosferatu after being caught in a Gamma explosion. Yeesh.
Setrakian expresses his admiration for the pragmatic Vasiliy Fet this episode but also connects with Dutch the hacker. We learned more about Dutch, who was betrayed by her roommate and lover who stole the money the vamps paid Dutch to break the Internet. Sometimes the comment section on YouTube makes me want to break the Internet, but that’s not here nor there. Dutch provides Setrakian with a lead on who is funding the vampires and seems determined to make up for her misdeeds. There is not much to Dutch yet other than her sexuality and her convenient hacking skills, but the show has not given us a dud character yet, so I have faith that Dutch will prove to be a bit more layered as we move forward.
Finally, we got to check in with Gus this week as he was transported from holding to prison with his large friend, the infected Felix. Now, if Felix was fully transformed, he would be the slowest vamp on record because homeboy looks like he ate King Kong Bundy. But, we never got to see Felix chase down anyone. After Felix completed his transformation in the police van, killing two cops in the process, Gus gunned down his friend with no hesitation. Like Fet, Gus is a pragmatic fighter who knows when to cut ties to his loved ones. Eph and company could sure use him as the struggle to free New York from the Master and Eichhorst continues.
Speaking of Eichhorst, we are left with the image of the former Nazi removing the silver bullet that Eph shot him with from his leg while letting out a primal scream that foreshadows a dire fate for any who hurt Eichhorst or try to make him powerless.
Through flashback, humor, and balls out action, The Strain did it again.