This week’s episode of The Strain successfully proves just how deep and adaptable the corruption of The Master has become and makes these sentient strigoi characters more than just villainous effects.
Corey Stoll gets to play the “wining and dining” of the political sphere in Eph’s efforts to get his bioweapon against the strigoi cleared through the government in barely a couple of days, meeting up with an old buddy and his lovely colleague. Eph, under his new identity, gets weirdly frisky with the new acquaintance to certify his chances of getting things in motion…basically, the episode is a sequence of things going far too well for Eph’s side of the story, until the point at which they don’t, and an affiliate of Stoneheart interferes with a hunky-dory good time amidst all the madness.
We see Gus back at the restaurant trying to have a conversation with Angel the Dishwasher about Angel the Luchador. Where Angel shields himself from the ex-con, Aanya opens up to Gus, showing the old film we, as the audience, have seen before in which the legendary wrestler takes on the vampires. The three, after some awkward arguments over who walks with the young lady to make a delivery, drop off an order of mexican food to a sickly woman in an apartment, but are interrupted by a couple of strigoi: a moment that clarifies, for one, just how efficient Gus has become at decimating these vampires, and two, that Angel wrestles them in a way that implies, perhaps, that he’s encountered their type before. Could Angel have been fighting real vampires way back when? Could it have been strigoi that broke his knee? We certainly will see.
Fitzwilliam joins the crew this week to offer insight on Eldritch Palmer’s search for immortality to Abraham. Nora and Zack make a quality connection this week as they console each other over their loss in Kelly, and Zack is the first person I can think of to offer a condolence to Nora about the loss of her own mother, or at least the only person to offer it and her reply not being an effort to remain strong. It’s a surprisingly heartfelt moment, and from this point through the shootout in the Church against the Feelers, Zack feels more like a genuine and courageous character when he’s not in the presence of Eph, or at least not cooped up in his room. That being said, Kelly and her blind children prove more formidable to our crew than they could have ever expected…
Lastly, the episode concludes with a creepy effects extravaganza in which Eichorst and Gabriel Bolivar witness the Decaying form of The Master ready for a new body–but rather than resting on the laurel of the expected upgrade and the grotesque nature of this ritual, The Master makes an unexpected choice in his new vessel for a 21st century, bringing a deeper cutting understanding of Eichorst motivations, and The Master’s manipulation of him. This was a moment that made these sentient strigoi not just cut-out creepy villains, but characters. If we see more like this, then The Strain’s second season will be a success. I expect we will see such an evolution with the introduction of Quinlan, a show-stealing Vampire-Hunting-Vampire himself, with his monologue to The Ancients this week as one of the most engrossing pieces of dialogue on the show yet.
The Strain Episode 2×06 “Identity” (7/10)