Last week on The Strain, the past started to catch up to Eldritch Palmer and the forces of humanity launched their opening gambit against the vampire horde that is overtaking New York City. On the ground and in the lab, the side of good has made some progress against those that would make them a living buffet line. This week, “Fort Defiance” is not only the name of a former Revolutionary War stronghold for fledgling America, it's also a fitting tag for those trying to keep people safe.
”We're gonna kidnap Eldritch Palmer.”
This week, Gus and the Ancients' vampire SWAT team put it all on black as they launched an attempt to kidnap Eldritch Palmer from his stronghold in Manhattan. If they'd done this before last week's attack at the Palmer Freedom Center, they might have had a shot. But with a new security detail and some Del Toro-esque gadgets built into his penthouse office, Eldritch Palmer is still in play and the SWAT team looks to be down for good. While Gus may have struck out this week, Counselwoman Justine Feraldo has hit a fantastic home run in Staten Island.
In a public ceremony, and through watching Mr. Fitzwilliam return home to his brother's house, we see that Staten Island not only has some impressive screening processes, but they're also 100% vampire free. And they intend to stay that way, as Councilwoman Feraldo unveils a monument of sorts to signify their commitment to a vampire-free island. Though to be fair, there's still enough people in the crowd that booed the sight of several beheaded vampires on display, but what are you going to do? All that matters at this point is the Mayor wants Feraldo to replicate her success in New York City, and it looks like she's ready for some dodgeba... um, vampire hunting.
”You took my wife, my son's mother. I'm gonna take hundreds, thousands of yours. I'm gonna work my way all the way to the top. To you.”
Speaking of vampire hunting, Eph and Nora finally have a viable virus to infect and disable the vampires roaming the city. While Mrs. McGeever's strain of the virus worked too quickly and killed its host, the new and improved strain tested on Mr. McGeever worked like a charm. Eph actually shows off his handiwork to Zach, and in a particularly intense moment, he tries to sort-of scare some sense into Zach that this is what his mother is now. Lab testing now complete, the plan is to release the pathogen into the wild and pray for the best.
Though before they do anything, they might want to confirm with master of Strigoi biology himself, Professor Abraham Setrakian. This is especially important after tonight's episode, when we realize that the reason the good Professor has lived to the ripe old age of 94 – while maintaining the ability to wield a sword – is all because of a special regimen he cooks up from Strigoi blood. Apparently, if you boil the blood of a Strigoi, crush the worms, and mix in some of your blood – you get a solution not unlike the worm-less blood Palmer was fed towards the end of Season 1.
”When you violate someone's heart like that, the Universe remembers it. Life's coming for you, sweetheart. Count on it.”
On the personal side, we have two lost souls looking for that certain someone who's roaming the streets. In the case of Dutch, she's looking for ex-girlfriend / possible vampire Nikki. This leads her to a heated exchange with Nikki's mother, who is less than thrilled that her daughter's girlfriend has shown up out of nowhere without any information on her daughter's whereabouts. And boy, does Nikki's mother really let her have it during their conversation, pulling out all the stops and calling her everything from a vampire to a potential target for karmic retribution. It looks like her only real fan is Fet at this point, and she certainly showed her appreciation for him once she got back to the truck.
Perhaps the hardest personal conflict this week is Zach Goodweather's story. He wants nothing more than to see his mother. Even after his father's hard knock lesson showing his son what she's become, the audience can't help but know that he's going to want to see his mom again. He's already tried to run away once in this week's episode, and we're probably not going to see the end of that yearning just yet. It's funny, the vampires are the ones who search out their dear ones, but in the case of Zach and Dutch, the feeling is mutual.
“Fort Defiance” was another interesting installment of this season of The Strain, but it felt a little light when it came to actual action. Still, enough pieces have moved that next week we should see some serious stuff about to drop. If you're leaving us now, tune in again next week when we revisit Dr. Goodweather and his companions, as they battle the forces of darkness and try to keep their necks unscathed. As for the rest of you, follow us into our lair as we begin to discuss this week's Nitpicks, Notes, And Nods.
NitpicksSetrakian definitely didn't use his special concoction in the books. The most medication he was on was his heart pills. What's interesting is we've seen this sort of twist before, most noticeably in Dracula 2000.
It's exceedingly interesting to see how many people are accepting the existence of vampires so early in Season 2. At this point in the book, the vampire threat was still pretty under wraps.
The Ancients operated out of Nazareth, Pennsylvania in the books, but it looks like they're based in New York City in the series.
The kidnapping attempt on Eldritch Palmer did not happen in the books. The producers are really living up to the pledge that “80%” of this season's events are off book. It's refreshing, and in the cases of what they're doing with the gaps thus far, it seems to help address some questions folks may have had - i.e. Setrakian's longevity.
NotesWhy do I have this sneaking suspicion that Eph and Nora's new plague is going to somehow backfire on a genetic level?
I'm calling it now: Nikki is going to vamp Dutch in either Season 2 or 3, leaving Fet grieving & possibly falling for his literary mate.
Coco Marchand is slowly being exposed to the world below Stoneheart's public front. I wonder if she'll be repulsed, or if she'll comply. Looking at this week's behind the scenes video, shown above, it looks like Palmer is going to give it the college try and woo Ms. Marchand; so this could go either way.
Why didn't the Ancients put their hoods up in Palmer's lair? They've hunted in partial daylight and used protection before.
FINALLY, someone took care to Luma lamp the arterial spray of a Strigoi! They still seem to be playing fast and loose with slaying vamps and not sterilizing the area, but at least there was one instance of doing so. There's hope yet.
Nods“I will not fade away as a weak old man.” - No you won't, Professor Setrakian. You are most certain about that.
Eph's promise of “I will kill him, and I will kill myself before I let you turn us into anything like you,” is an ominous piece of foreshadowing for the rest of the series.
Reading Assignment: None This Week