Welcome to The Strain-ger Talk, where each week we breakdown and discuss this week’s new episode of FX’s The Strain. We will be going over major plot points, the game plan from both sides of the upcoming war, best action moments, new types of vampires, and of course the Tongue-Punch of the Week! If you missed last week’s talk then CLICK HERE! Now a lot of drama happened this week that we need to cover, so without further ado, lets talk some Strainge!
*MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU DO NOT WANT THIS EPISODE SPOILED THEN STOP READING*
This week’s episode opened with a great homage to Luchador films, playing out like the classic Santo film Santo vs. las Mujeres Vampiro, only this hero is named The Silver Angel. This was an awesome and fun break from the normal pace of the show. We see the star of the film watching it on a VHS tape in the basement of the restaurant he works at. Later on he has an encounter with Gus who recognizes him. Not sure where they are going with this character, as he doesn’t do much in this episode. Then again, The Strain is known for introducing characters and not doing much with them until the next episode. Seeing how lost Gus is after the failed attempt to kidnap Palmer in the previous episode, maybe he will work with Angel. Though I am not sure how much help he can be being an old/retired wrestler with a messed up knee.
Gus has been through a lot over the course of the show. He has lost his family to the plague, has to deal with the fact that he helped in making it happen, and has now lost his purpose when The Ancients’ plan when up in smoke. This week we see him fall a bit more when he goes home to get some things. He ends up running into his Strigori mother, still “alive” as he is unable to come to terms and end her reanimated corpse. After an emotional struggle, The Master uses her body to talk him. The Master calls him a coward and a failure amongst other things. The scene leaves the viewers and Gus a bit confused on what his involvement from here out might be, but I think The Master is keeping an eye on him with a purpose. A few episodes back it was revealed that The Master needs a new body, and a lot of people have been chiming in on who they think he is going to go for. While others believe he will be going after Fet, I think this scene points it in the direction of Gus. Time will only tell who The Master will be taking over, but my bets are on Gus at the moment.
This week we finally get to see Eph and Nora’s “cure” go into play as they bring the infected Strigori out into the open. At first it seems the plan failed as patient zero doesn’t go into the tunnels to infect the high population down there, instead he went to a smaller gathering of Strigoris in a mental hospital. After a day spent sleeping/making direct contact with the other Strigori, Eph and Nora return to see if the infection spread. They end up finding out that the other Strigoris were successfully infected, only The Master knew this as well and forced them commit suicide by jumping off a nearby building.
This is a great step forward as it not only proves that their “cure” works, but that The Master is threatened by it. Eh immediately starts talking about going to Washington to try and get the “cure” out through the proper authorities to manufacture and weaponize their findings. This will probably be a big point of next weeks’ episode, but for now its good to have something to celebrate. I was left wondering how the infection could work/spread if The Master could see through all of the Strigori. I am glad the showed him reacting to the “field test” and I look forward to Eph and Nora trying to spread their infection against The Master.
This week we also see Councilwoman Feraldo’s plan to take back the city expand to Red Hook with Fet catching her on the news. Even though Fet is behind her plans, Nora is not convinced its a good idea. She brings up concern about martial law and private militias taking over the city. The Councilwoman’s plans have already proven to be extremely tough with her displaying of dead Strigori on the edges of Staton Island. Nora’s concern comes true when Fet is later beaten and arrested by a militia of men sporting arm bands with the hazard logo on them.
As I have stated before in previous Strain-ger Talks, I was excited to see the Councilwoman join in the fight. Last week she showed she could get results, but between some of her “medieval” like practices of displaying slain Strigori to setting up/enforcing curfews, its looking like her plan might be too extreme and might hinder the mission. The group could have reached out to her sooner about what they have been doing to stop the epidemic or not blow up subways after curfew. At this point its looking like the group and the Councilwoman will not be teaming up to end the epidemic. Either way, her plans to save the city are adding some pretty interesting obstacles in the group’s way.
This week we are treated to more of Abraham and Palmer’s quest for the ancient book in flashbacks. This time, they both travel to a nunnery in Austria where the book was last seen. Upon investigation, they discover they are not the first ones to arrive. After finding an alter boy hiding, Abraham runs off to save the boy from Strigori turned monks, while wheelchair bound Palmer is left behind. Palmer then meets Eichorst for the first time and while Abraham is fighting Strigoris, he is convince to stop his search and to work with him. I would have loved to have seen Eichorst’s pitch to convince Palmer to join him. This is a great turning point in the flashbacks as we see Abraham’s fall from a great hunter to the defeated man we see in the beginning of the first season as well as Palmer joining Eichorst. I also just wanted to note that they finally nailed Young Abraham’s make up as this episode it is less noticable and looks great.
Speaking of Palmer, his former bodygaurd/right hand man is approached by Abraham and Dutch at his brother’s fire department. They ask him to to join forces so they can use his experience and knowledge of Palmer to their advantage. Maybe even to help find the book. As much as I like the fact that they now possibly have a former inside man, the show doing soft introductions the week before is getting a bit annoying. They really should be focusing on the players that are in the field and then take full time to introduce new ones into the fold. I am also hoping they expand more on his family’s ties and strange loyalties to Palmer in upcoming episodes. What was the story behind Fitzwilliam and his father working for Palmer with such intense loyalty? Always found that to be interesting and a little bit off.
She was tremendously missed last episode, but Strigori Kelly is back! Granted, she only pops up at the end of the episode for a minute or two, Kelly still provided the creepiest moments of the show. Her and her Feeler children go into the batting cage Eph and Zach were in earlier in the episode, showing that they are in fact making progress on finding them. Granted, it feels like they are taking a wicked long time to do this. Then again, these are blind vampires tracking using the sense of smell to find Zach and he hasn’t left the group’s headquarters in quite sometime. But Eph’s moment of trying to connect and have a decent time with his kid might have screwed them over big time. Not that Zach would care either way. Which brings me to:
Zach’s Freakout of the Week:
Over the last few weeks I have mentioned many times how much I don’t like Zach this season. So much so, I decided to give him his own segment. Boy did I pick an episode to start this with. After setting his test subject out into the wild for field testing, Eph was feeling pretty good and not ready to go to bed. So Nora gave him the idea to go out and spend time with Zach. Eph is greated by Zach with the look of a pissed of sociopath when Eph first enters his room.
After have a good heart to heart conversation, Eph and Zach go to the batting cages. While at the batting cages, Zach struggles to hit a ball and we are treated to a weird flashback to the time when he went to the cages with both his parents. I will give the show runners this, the scene where Zach and Eph are talking in his room came off really well. For the first time this season it felt like a genuine moment between the two characters and it was very welcomed. But once we got to the batting cages we were treated once again to more awkward interactions between them. At this point I really can’t blame Max Charles’ portrayl of Zach anymore. The whole storyline of Zach being confused and messed up about his mother fells forced and not properly explored. This tends to happen when children are brought into the beginning stages of an apocalypse story. They spend too much time making the kid unable to cope with what is happening around them. I really hope that Kelly and the Feelers would find them soon so that we can get past all of this.
Fet’s Badass Moment of the Week:
Fet has become a fan favorite especially for me, which is why this week I wanted to highlight his badassery. When Eph and Nora go out to chase after their test subject, Fet begins his plan to blow up a subway tunnel. He packs the entrance with enough explosives that would make “Wile E. Coyote eat his heart out,” he then lights a cigar and the explosives at the same time and proceeds to do a great Road Runner impression. Shortly after though, the Councilwoman Feraldo’s militia enters the tunnels to arrest him for being out after curfew. After giving a grand speech about how he hates when action heroes don’t watch their own explosions, Fet’s bomb goes off and he is beaten into submission. This scene is a perfect Fet moment, as he is totally in his element smoking a cigar, being sarcastic, and blowing things up. Get has become the embodiment of a man who grew up watching too many action films and I love him for it. Hopefully, this arrest doesn’t limit his character in upcoming episodes.
Tongue-Punch of the Week:
Bolivar continues his reign of awesome from the last episode and is starting to kick major ass. Honestly was wondering what they were going to do with him once he was brought back this season and now we can see it. When the heads of the bank came out of the federal reserve, Bolivar and his band of Strigori attacked in an awesome display of mayhem. The scene was quick and chaotic starting in the background of a field reporter’s segment. Palmer was able to be ahead of the attack and watched from his car, but the looks him and Bolivar exchanged said a lot about their relationship. Good to see that even if we aren’t getting as many tongue-punches as we use to, that Bolivar is there to pick up the slack.
Best Action Sequence of the Week:
Though we are treated to a few good scenes with action this week, Abraham Vs. The Monks clearly took the crown. Abraham had to go into the basement of the nunnery to save the young alter boy. The entire sequence is tense and plays out a bit like if Indian Jones was fighting vampires. They also used light in an interesting manner as the alter boy hides from the Strigori in a beam of light. I found the sequence to be a lot of fun and I am glad the show keeps finding interesting ways to keep the action different from time to time.
I really like how The Strain still has a good head on its shoulders when it comes to mixing things up. Whether its changing the structure of how an episode plays out or its having fun with its opening segments, every now and then the show does something to catch my attention. The Luchador movie on VHS opening stole my heart. Fet continues to kick major ass and Zach’s story continues to slow things down, but the show really hit a stride this week without having to drop too many casualties to get there. We are really starting to see everyone’s plans start to play out and I am excited to see how they unfold.
What did you think of this episode? Do you think The Master will try to take Gus’ body? Do you agree with me or think I am wrong? Let us know in the comments and we will see you next week with “Quick and Painless.”
More Screen Shots: