Last week on The Strain: romance was having its way with New York City, as Palmer and Coco were getting closer just as Fet and Dutch were drifting apart. Yet amidst the personal dramas, vampires were still hunted and the mysterious Quinlan entered the great game. By the end of the hour, Eph swore he’d do what greater hunters before him had attempted: to kill Eldritch Palmer. While last week’s episode lacked the action and intrigue The Strain does best, it all came back in tonight’s episode - “Intruders.”
”Eph? Give him to me. You never wanted him anyway. Let’s let Zach decide who he wants to be with. I wonder who he’ll choose?”
Tonight’s biggest surprise was the fact that Kelly Goodweather was cured! At least, she looked and sounded like she was cured. The Master’s plot to abduct Zach called for mother Goodweather to be given a boost in the cognitive ability to speak and act closer to her former self that she acquired at the beginning of the season. Unfortunately for her, the act wasn’t powerful enough to shake Eph’s skepticism, and after dispatching her pair of Feelers, she escaped into the night. Just as Eph was starting to connect again with his son, a traumatic event like this had to happen to shake it all up again.
Earlier in the day, Eph had to operate on a black market connection Fet set him up with. In exchange for performing surgery on a shopkeeper - with his son as his triage nurse - he walked off with a shiny new rifle. While the good doctor hopes to take out Eldritch Palmer with his new rifle, his straight shooting with Nora has now caused a rift. Eph admitted not only to killing Palmer, but also implied the truth about his momentary relationship with Leigh Thomas. Kelly’s intrusion was enough to prevent any sort of further discussion of his activities in D.C., but it wasn’t the most disruptive vampire attack of the evening. That honor goes to our beloved Herr Thomas Eichorst.
”I prefer to think of it as recovering a stolen artifact, but yeah… we’re gonna rob the son of a bitch.”
The Occido Lumen is still in play, and Cardinal MacNamara has given his life in service to the book - whether he wanted to or not. Both Palmer and Abraham Setrakian put in high-value bids, in gold, for the sacred text - and both parties are going to be extremely disappointed as they’re going home empty-handed for the time being. Herr Eichorst found out about Palmer’s bid on the book, which was kept a secret from him earlier in the episode, and he vamped his eminence in order to link his mind to The Master. Lucky for him, an angel released his spirit to God - and that angel was Professor Setrakian.
The Professor killed Cardinal MacNamara, as he and Fet were infiltrating St. Benedict’s Cathedral. Hoping to steal the book before Eldritch Palmer could get his hands on it, Setrakian and Eichorst learn that the book isn’t in the Cathedral. Surprisingly, Cardinal MacNamara has been trying to sell the book for another party - and it’s someone from both Setrakian and Palmer’s past! Remember Rudyard Fonescu, the child with the burnt ear who escaped the vampire attack back in 1966 Vienna? He is the true seller of the book, and only Setrakian knows this. At least, that should be the case if he stopped The Master’s hold over the Cardinal's mind in time.
”I gave you every chance. You want to keep your secrets to yourself, then that’s exactly what will happen.”
Of course, you don’t just set a bunch of romantic subplots into motion, only to forget them just as quickly, and two pairs of lovers may have split for good tonight. Apparently, Eldritch Palmer’s lack of experience with relationships has shown in a big way as his secretive life looks to have finally pushed Coco Marchand away. Sad is it may be, seeing as the old stoneheart was starting to loosen up a bit, this could only fuel him in his quest for immortality. Let’s just hope Coco is far away by then, lest she end up on the wrong end of the rich man’s wrath.
More importantly though, we finally saw Gus’ budding romance with Aanya Gupta play out with an all-too-brief kiss. Just as things were looking up and Gus was ready to shepherd the Gupta family - as well as his new friend Angel - out of the city, someone showed up to draft Gus back into the fight against The Master. Book fans: Gus has finally met with Quinlan, and if next week is as action-packed as we hope it will be, this could be the start of the kick-assed anti-vampire squad we’ve been hoping for ever since the series began. It’s just unfortunate that Mr. Quinlan has warned Gus he should break up with poor Aanya until The Master is dead.
The Strain is back on track with this week’s episode, so let’s hope the momentum continues to chug down the tracks, instead of getting shoved outside of the train. If you thought “Intruders” was a promising episode title, next week’s episode of The Strain is writing a big, fat check that it can hopefully cash: “The Battle For Red Hook.” “Nitpicks, Notes, and Nods!”
NitpicksKelly wasn’t sent undercover with her human make-up in the books. In the book, the Occido Lumen is auctioned at Sotheby’s; though it looks like that auction may have been supplanted by the dealings with Cardnial MacNamara.
NotesSo they knew that Kelly wouldn’t be able to speak or act as fluently human as she once did. Couldn’t Eichorst and The Master have either started this plan earlier, or trained her a couple weeks more before they released her?
No, your eyes did not deceive you - a quick cut of Kelly’s eyes in close-up briefly flashes before this week’s title sequence.
That Eichorst / Palmer sparring match this week was one of the best moments of this whole season. These two need more time bitching at each other on screen!
Come to think of it, Eichorst in general is a stand out character this season, as Richard Sammel is relishing in the delightful evil his character represents. His monologue on God with the Cardinal is compelling stuff.
NodsCheck out Subhumans Of New York before every week’s episode. In addition to being a great look into the world of The Strain, it holds clues and nods to stuff that’s happening on the show. For example, if you want to see what the real Jonathan Crowley looks like, entry 57 reveals it all.
R I have to wonder if the writing staff of The Strain are big fans of history, as not only Justine Ferraldo’s name seems to harken back to a real life politician, but Cardinal MacNamara seems to invoke a comparison to former Secretary Of Defense Robert McNamara - who was quite calculating himself.
Reading Assignment: None This Week