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! Apologies for this weeks being a few days late, but sometimes life gets in the way of talking Strain-ge. Now a lot of ACTION 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 is about one thing: Thomas Eichorst. A majority of the episode follows him as he tortures Dutch in his “Feeding Room.” We also get a glimpse into the man Eichorst was before joining the Nazi party and meeting The Master. Getting a better look into our favorite villain revealed a darker and more disturbing side to the Strigori that had not come out until this point. Eichorst has always been a big bad in the series, spending a majority of his time behind others influencing them. In this week’s episode he bursts out from the shadows and shows us true villainy in both the flashbacks and modern times. Before we dive into who Thomas Eichorst is and the depths of depravity of which he dwells, lets check in on Abraham and the Occido Lumen.
Last week The Strain ended with Abraham finding the Occido Lumen, only to be knocked out before he could take it away. This week, we find Abraham bond to a chair with the book out of reach. It is revealed that the young boy, Rudyard Fonescu, that Abraham saved many years prior in the nunnery had kept the book all these years. Abraham tries to appeal to the now grown man to give him the book. It does not work. Rudyard reveals that he spent most of his life being misjudged and treated poorly. It has caused him to become a bitter old man who only thinks about himself. The book is his “silver ticket” to a better life. He leaves Abraham to go to one of the bidders and sell the book. His secret bidder turns out to be Alonso Creem, the gang leader that Abraham and The Ancients hired to find the book earlier in the season. Whether or not Creem sells the book to Abraham is left unknown. We will have to find out in the next episode.
Oh Gus. You were so badass earlier in the season, training with vampires and ripping out Strigori tongues with your bare hands. Love has made you, boring. This week, Gus hooks up with Aanya before taking her and her family to the border. His deal with Quinlan allowed them safe passage out of NYC, something reserved for government officials. Honestly, I can see the show runners putting Gus through the typical “hero’s journey” with this being the beginning of his rise. The problem with his story is his interactions with Angel and the Guptas have been boring as all hell. There is not much happening with any of it past Mr. Gupta being stubborn about leaving and Angel just being plain old stubborn. The preview of next week shows him teaming up with Quinlan and leading a group of humans, but will it be enough to redeem him? Also, what is Angel going to do? He left the Guptas after they successfully left NYC to join in Gus’ fight, but what use is an old out of shape wrestler with a bad knee? Their stories have been some of the most disappointing parts of this season. Hopefully that will change with the final two episodes.
This week we are treated to flashbacks of the man Eichorst once was. A terrible radio salesman living in Germany post World War 1. During this time, Germany was in the middle of an economic crash as many people struggled to survive causing wide-spread desperation. He is put down and treated horribly by his customers, co-workers, and his boss. His luck changes when his beautiful co-worker, Helga Richtler, agrees to go out with him. We get a chance to see the kind misguided man Eichorst was before his Strigori transformation as he smiles and encourages Helga to pursue her dreams of playing violin in Vienna. Eichorst’s biggest issue in life is that he is without direction. He talks about how everyone in school knew what they wanted to do with their lives. Everyone, except for him. While on the date with Helga, he is inspired by a proud German man who stands up to talk about his solutions for saving Germany. The man points to the directionless Eichorst telling him that Germany needs him.
The man of course, is a Nazi recruiter. His rousing speech inspires young Eichorst. Filled with excitement in finding something for him to belong to, he seems to find a path in his life believing that the Nazi party will save Germany. He is so caught up in his new-found purpose that he is blind to see that the woman he took out to dinner was herself a Jew. She bursts into tears as Eichorst tries to defend his views saying the Nazis only hate the foreign Jews and that Hitler doesn’t hate German Jews. It’s too late. He ruins the only chance he has at love. Helga tells Eichorst how much of horrible man he is, leaving him broken.
The next time we see Helga, Eichorst has already risen through the ranks in the Nazi party. She is brought to him, claiming to have known him in order to save her family. Eichorst struggles with the decision to either save her and her family’s lives or to save his own life/career. He ultimately chooses himself as he claims her to be a liar and a thief. Shortly after, we see Eichorst walking down the street smoking a cigarette with pride as the townsfolk salute him. He is confident and filled with pride as he struts by those who once put him down are now saluting him. The interaction that stands out the most is when he walks into his old boss when he was a radio salesman. His former boss salutes him and says thats its good to see him. During the interaction, he has his head down and is very intimidated by Eichorst’s presence. This adds more confidence in Eichorst’s smoke/walk as he now has power and respect over those who wronged him in the past. His prideful walk is interrupted by the sight of Helga and her family.
Eichorst is shocked and overwhelmed at the sight of his one true love hanging in the gallows of the street. Suddenly he is facing the consequences of his actions and it breaks what is left of the once kind man. He quickly notices a group of Nazi officers and saves face by acting nonchalant, flicking his cigarette at the hanging corpses. Eichorst’s back story shows how easy it is for a disenfranchised person to be caught up in a terrible cause. He was once a good man who lacked direction in life and jumped at the first opportunity to have a purpose. These actions caused him to lose the one love in his life and in the end, himself. It is easy to see how once the Nazi party started to show weakness, Eichorst went and joined The Master. His back story gives so much more disturbing weight to what he does to Dutch when we return to the modern timeline.
Last week ended on the screams of Dutch as she was chained in Eichorst’s feeding room. Eichorst promises Dutch that he will do “everything” to her. He was not lying. After drinking a cop dry in front of her to show his brutality, he continues to toy with her like a cat with a mouse. He toys with her, first pointing out her flaws stating that she likes to be looked at and admired. He claims that her cloths and perfume beg for attention. She quickly point out that she doesn’t wear perfume and Eichorst gets uncomfortable close, sniffing her hair. He claims that her shampoo reminds him of someone he knew in his past life. He then tries to get into her mind by asking her to tell him something she never told anyone else. After she prevails, he tells her about the one love he had and that he lost her. All the while stating that Dutch that her shampoo reminds him of her. This is a dark foreshadow for what Eichorst has in store for her. Then, he leaves the room to cut up some pineapple.
Dutch refuses his offering claiming he is trying to flavor her. He quickly reminds her that this isn’t a dinner party where she can refuse the host’s choice of meal. Stepping on her chain so that she is pinned to the ground he reminds her that he is in charge and forces her to eat the pineapple. This is a scene that would have failed if it wasn’t treated properly. But The Strain proves to make something that would seem like a punchline into one of the more unsettling scenes in the series. Everything about the pineapple has a disturbing feeling to it, from the way he meticulously cuts the pieces to the way he gives her a piece after she knocks the plate out of his hand. They honestly couldn’t have made pineapples more creepy, even if they put it on a perfectly good pizza. His attempts to break Dutch prove to be fruitless as she sees an opportunity to break free on the dead cop’s belt.
She tries and reaches for the cops pepper spray. Her only means of escape lies in the hope that she can not only grab the pepper spray, but that it would be effective against a Strigori. Eichorst returns to the room to find her eating the pieces of pineapple. He stands over her and asks her to take of her pants. After lifting her off the ground screaming his command, Dutch reluctantly takes off her pants. Trembling, she still finds the courage to comment about him not having genitals for over seventy years. Dutch uses her wit as a coping mechanism and a way to stand up when she is chained. She does this a few times in the episode, even though Eichorst always responds with violence. The comment nor does the lack of genitals persuade him as he sits behind her on the ground.
Eichorst tells her that tonight is the night for trying new things and commands her to bend over. Watching this scene is extremely unsettling and terrifying. I have to give props to Richard Samuel and Ruta Gedmintas for handling this scene with such intensity. Eichorst seems to be entranced with the power he holds over Dutch is trembling through the entire scene. You can see in Richard Samuel’s performance the love he once had for Helga projected onto Dutch only now it is twist and made demented due to his Strigori transformation. These twisted urges and feelings come out as deranged devices of breaking someone down. Just as Eichorst is about to make me regret spending this entire season making tongue-punch jokes, Dutch fights back.
While Eichorst is thriving in pain on the ground Dutch steals the keys from him and runs out the room. Frantically running through the halls, she steps on a carpet nail. Eichorst runs to the bathroom to wash out the pepper spray and ends up looking like the T-800 at the end of The Terminator with some of his makeup removed. The chase is on.
While Dutch runs for her life through the labyrinth of Eichorst’s hide out, the rest of the group are on a frantic search to find her. They arrive at the hotel to find that it is the base of operations for the National Guard. Behind the building they find the cop car used to transport Dutch. After some quick thinking, Fet remembers that they built secret tunnels in the subway to sneak FDR into the hotel. They go into the subway tunnels to find the entrance to the closed off part of the hotel. Once inside, the begin to run up the stairs making their way to Dutch.
Meanwhile, upstairs, Eichorst is now chasing after Dutch like a classic slasher film killer. Keeping a steady pace behind her as she frantically runs for her life. She soon runs into a wall built in the middle of the stairwell and begins screaming for help. Dutch’s failed attempt at escape has proven to be her breaking point. She screams for help as a last ditch effort. Luckily Fet, Nora, and Eph hear her cries through the wall and begin sprinting up the stairwell until they hit the same wall. Get begins to furiously chip away at the bricks. When Eichorst catches up, he thanks her for the chase stating that he hasn’t hasn’t had much of a fight from a meal in quite sometime. He knocks her down and drags her up the stairs. After breaking through one of the bricks Fet blows up the blocked entry way. The group catches up with Eichorst and use a glitter bomb to wound him. Dutch and Fet are finally reunited, but Eichorst escapes into the tunnels.
What seems like a happy ending to a terrible ordeal is only the beginning for a new chapter. The group’s story this week ends with them in the bread van, all of them defeated in someway by what happened in the hotel. Dutch has been violated by Eichorst, Fet struggles with his rage while still providing comfort and stability for Dutch. Nora/Eph just seem broken by the whole experience. Up until this point the Strigori have been pretty single-minded and operating on a basic animal like state of mind. But what Eichorst was doing to Dutch is a whole other level of evil. Eichorst proved what happens when men have the weight of morality taken away. He is proof of the sadistic nature of man and has shown the group what true evil looks like.
Tongue-Punch of the Week:
This was the only tongue-punch we were given this week, but it was one of the gnarliest in the series. Eichorst brings a cop (presumably the one who brought Dutch to him) into the room as “company” for Dutch. After forcing him to drink schnapps, Eichorst brutally drinks him dry and promptly snaps his neck. He comments saying that he use to enjoy schnapps and likes to make “human cocktails” as a means to relax. This was used as a demonstration to Dutch to prove how little he cares for human life and also to demonstrate that he likes to flavor his food every so often. Most tongue-punches we have seen in this show are quick, but this one was long and we got to see the full act as Eichorst drained his meal of every drop. Brutal.
Best Action Sequence of the Week:
Dutch fleeing Eichorst while th group tries to rescue her was an awesome sequence harkening back to classic horror films. Eichorst becomes an unstoppable force as he does his best Terminator impression. Everything from his perfect posture to his lack of make up and contact lenses on one eye screamed T-800. Dutch proved to be a formidable final girl as she ran through the halls and stairwell of the closed off hotel. But the truly chilling moment came when she came to the wall in the stairwell. Her screams were heard through the wall by the group. Eichorst catches up to her and drags her back up the stairs as Fet furiously tries to break through the wall with his trusty rebar. This was a tense sequence that utilized and gave homage to many horror films of the past. The added bonus of the glitter bomb topped off a great conclusion to a horrifying night for Dutch.
This week’s episode of The Strain upped the level of horror and intensity for the show. They brought the evil to a new level and it was hard to watch. Eichorst knew that if he could break Dutch that it would destroy the group. Dutch proved to be stronger than he could ever anticipated. Every move he makes in the feeding room is fueled by pure calculated evil and if Dutch hadn’t stolen the pepper spray, this would have been a different ending. Its great seeing the show being able to switch focus and utilize different methods of storytelling as well as different tropes of the horror genre to keep the show fresh. This was an extremely powerful episode because of how hard it was to watch. Intercut with the intensity of the Feeding room was the story of a directionless young man looking for purpose. Seeing the once good man juxtaposed with his older self made both stories more effective. On the other side of it though, hopefully they will start to put Gus and Angel to better use in the final two episodes. They spent too much of this season building their story and characters with very little to no pay out. Next week we will hopefully see more of them as they team up with Quinlan.
NEXT TIME: Will Palmer seek further revenge against Eph? Will Gus and Angel do something more than argue? Will Coco trust Palmer and join him in his evil plans? What is Quinlan planning? Will Abraham get the book? Will Eph figure out a way to use his bio-weapon? What will happen with Dutch and Fet? Is Nikki out of the picture now? What video games has Zach been playing while everyone else is being beaten up and tortured? Only two episodes left of the season. Prepare, war is coming.
What did you think of this episode? Do you agree with me or think I am wrong? Let us know in the comments and we will see you next week with “Fallen Light”