Last Week On The Strain, we saw bureaucracy and cold, calculated murder push the Stoneheart Group's plans for vampire domination closer towards being fulfilled. Those leading the fight find themselves in an ever tightening noose, with the window to save the world growing smaller and smaller. This week's events certainly don't make things easier, but there's nothing a couple of decapitations can't solve!
”It's much harder to hide evil shit these days, isn't it?”
The Stoneheart Group is the Machiavellian heart of power every conspiracy theorist dreams of! Seriously, you have to admire the precision at work with these guys. Their latest efforts of chaos and confusion have slowed the internet down to a crawl (so information can't trade freely) and now they've got the Secretary of Health And Human Services ready to give them any resources they need to get the job done.
Of course, not even her power can help Eldritch Palmer's liver from failing. That migrant worker's liver was needed after all, as Palmer is set to go under the knife, saddened that the likes of Herr Eichorst would forget him after he's done all he has for The Master.
”The voice in my head is telling me to rip your throat and drink from you.”
Meanwhile, poor Ansel Barbour sent his kids away with his wife, so as to protect them from his mystery illness. While Ann-Marie gets the kids to safety, her husband decides to have the dog for dinner. By time Ms. Barbour returns, she sees that her husband is in the shed and his leftovers are in the yard.
Unfortunately for her, Ansel's locked himself in the shed and he's making lots of primal noises that piss off their neighbor. Fortunately, the neighbor finds himself sacrificed to the hungry vampire in the shed, courtesy of his loving wife. Gotta love a couple that can stick together through anything!
“This thing just shot a six foot python out of its mouth, its dick is gone, and it just squirted a shit load of shit all over the table.”
Eph, Nora, and Jim had a rough week as the latter two members of the Canary team have been put through the paces with all of the new information and experiences they've had. In Jim's case, he breaks and confesses his dealings with Stoneheart after seeing the autopsy of Doyle Redfern's newly formed vampire body. Guess he wasn't trained for those patients that grow an elongated stinger in their esophagus.
While Nora starts off believing in Eph and ready to follow him down the path of vampire, she breaks by the end of the episode and wants out of the hunt. The moment that pushes her over the edge is also one of the best damned moments of this week, as Setrakian destroys the Arnot family with a singing sword of silver. By time the week's episode is over, the only one still dedicated to the cause if Eph, who is warned by the old man himself when he comes on board, “It's not for everyone.”
”If she ever tells me you ever talk to her like that again, they're gonna find your body in one of those recycling bins you love so much.”
Gus Elizade is squaring things away with his life some more this week, as he tries to return the clock that Crispin stole from Setrakian back to the old man's shop. But that's not the extent of his brother's screw ups, as he has to set the landlord straight about some missing rent. Gee... wonder where that could have went?
Gus is finding it hard to go straight, as his brother keeps making his efforts to break even harder and harder. We saw that this week as Gus and best friend Felix got screwed by some Nigerian buyers of a stolen car they appropriated from a valet garage. Little does Gus know that stolen cars are going to be the least of his, or anyone's worries in the near future.
You actually have to feel the slightest bit sorry for Palmer, as the vampires aren't returning his calls. He might be an evil old man, but even evil old men have reasons to be sad. On the other hand seeing Eph and Setrakian finally team up is something that's going to be a sight to behold, especially with the eclipse coming in next week's episode. Three Flight 753 survivors are still out there, and we've heard from all but Joan Luss. Will we see a bloodsucking lawyer in our future? We don't know, but what we do know is that this week's edition of Nitpicks, Notes, and Nods is on the next page!
NitpicksGus and Setrakian meet in prison in the book, with Felix being infected at this time as well. However, Setrakian isn't still in prison and Gus hasn't gone yet (if at all.)
I don't remember Nora being as resistant to vampire hunting in the book.
By now, Eph would have been questioned by Barnes and the authorities on the Redfern death, in the book. This leads to a classic “innocent man on the run” plotline.
The Barbour family had two dogs, not just one. Guess Ansel just wasn't that hungry in the series.
NotesI liked it better when Jim was dead by now. He's too whiny for my tastes, and he never became super apologetic in the book. Mostly because, by now, he was in isolation and being turned into a vampire.
I'm so glad they kept the moment with Ann-Marie feeding her neighbor to her husband. The smaller stories of vampirism are going to be, undoubtedly, cut. Seeing this moment actually make the cut helps give me even more confidence in this show.
FINALLY, the word “strigoi” is uttered! Seeing Setrakian in action this week
The actor playing Ansel shares a good likeness with a young Steve Buscemi.
That stinger scene and the slaying of the Arnot family prove just how much of an influence Del Toro still has on this project, particularly the stinger scene. Jim's “shit load of shit” freak out was actually kind of funny, especially during such a serious moment.
Stoneheart is even smarter in the television version of The Strain.
NodsThe conversation between the Secretary of Health And Human Services and Eldrich Palmer hints that The Stoneheart Group is going to be showing its more charitable side in the future. If this is going where I think it's going, book readers are going to have some peeks at how aspects of The Fall have been moved to The Strain. Particularly, readers will remember that in The Fall, all of the children who went blind because of the eclipse are sacrificed to become feelers for The Master, and a lot of the ultimate endgame in The Night Eternal is all thanks to The Stoneheart Group's immense power.
Reading Assignment: nothing this week, though you should seriously check out the Mondo posters on the market. They're both pretty awesome, but Version 1 is the one I chose.
Join us next week for Episode 6 - Occultation! If you're a sentimental viewer, go back and watch the first five episodes before The Fall.