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Last week on The Strain, we were treated to an hour-long set piece, as our heroes were trapped in a gas station for a good portion of the night. We also said goodbye to Jim Kent, as he was on his way to joining the army of the undead, and we saw the group power dynamic change as Vasily Fet officially joined the Setrakian hunting party. This week, it's business as usual, which is both good and bad.
”I don't know where your mom is, but I'm going to find her. Your mom is a survivor.”
A good chunk of this week's episode follows the beginnings of Eph's search for his missing wife. Judging by the condition of her boyfriend Matt, who was last seen dealing with a vampire problem of his own, there's a good reason she's no longer in the house. Eph dispatches Matt in order to rescue his son, and it's one of the two huge action beats we're treated to this weekend. Poor Gus wasn't so lucky as we also saw someone close to him turn into a bloodsucking machine. As Felix finally turned full vamp and disrupted the police transport carrying both him and Gus. Then, after taking his best friend out at gunpoint, Gus slips off into the night, still wearing his prison jumpsuit.
”If we handled your friend the way you wanted to, we'd all be dead.”
Fet gets the most screen time he's had on the entire show this week, as he escorted and defended computer hacker Jax at her home base. More importantly, we start to see Setrakian admire Fet's quick trigger finger and lack of indecision when releasing someone who's been infected. While some might not yet be in Fet's corner character-wise, it was clear to see that he did what he had to do last week when he killed Jim. Even the sequence where Fet is checking out the armory while Setrakian briefs him on why he chooses him for service seems like a moment out of Daniel Craig's modern Bond. Ladies and gentlemen, we've got a badass over here.
Meanwhile, we've seen what looks like our last Setrakian flashback for this season, thanks to his tenure in the concentration camps coming to an end. Not only do we see how Setrakian's hands became so frail, we finally see how Eichorst was turned into the beast he is today. The usage of the flashbacks this week was a little uneven, as the episode would sometimes cut to the flashbacks for a couple of seconds, then jump back to the primary story without any real developments. We still got some really good character development between Setrakian and Eichorst, but I was hoping for a little more in terms of editing.
”There's power in naming things.”
In the last third of the episode, we saw two big moments that changed the dynamic of the show. One occurred in the present and one in the past. Back in the day, we saw Herr Eichorst have his ultimate moment of weakness, leading to his surrender to the powers of The Master. That “new Reich” he was talking about turns out to be, surprise surprise, the vampire master race. Meanwhile, back in the present, Eph and Nora had a moment together while waiting for his wife to show up, deciding it would be a good idea to have sex. This is shortly before Kelly's best friend shows up looking for her, as well. Bitchery ensued, naturally, and Eph blabbed about how much he loved his wife, the “mother of his child.” Which is totally a smooth idea when the person you just slept with is right in the room with you.
Next week, the search for Kelly intensifies, and Eph may not like the results that he finds. We'll see you back here next week for The Strain episode 10, “Loved Ones”!
NitpicksLast week, Jim died because of a gunshot to the head. He actually turns in the book. Also, Jim's girlfriend is in on the Stoneheart Group conspiracy theory in the text.
Fet actually joins the group after phoning the CDC about the vampires he saw underground in the sewers.
Gus uses a regular handgun to kill Felix. That shouldn't kill him, as police issued pistols aren't normally equipped with silver rounds.
Nora and Eph don't have sex in the book. Their relationship never really picks up again, as Nora starts to and eventually develops feelings for someone else in the group, while Eph still has a thing for his wife.
Eichorst's transformation was never really elaborated upon in the book.
NotesThe whole Eph and Nora having sex thing, at least in my opinion, should have never been there. I'm not being a prude, mind you. I watch Game Of Thrones like the next fan, and don't bat an eye. My big gripe is that Eph has always been in love with his wife. The first time he had sex with Nora, he and his wife just separated and we never saw it. It was a momentary lapse in judgment, and it powers the dynamic through the books. The way it's handled in the show makes Eph look like more of an ass than ever. I'm not against anti-heroes or the imperfect hero's journey, but this week's actions just felt extremely out of place.
NodsNora and Fet have a cute little moment that hints towards the long-term development of the relationship they eventually engage in during The Night Eternal.