The episode’s opener is one of the most unique sequences that I’ve seen thus far on the show: a feature presentation of an old vampire film on tape starring a new character for the series who once went by the name “El Angel de Plata” when he was a famous Luchador and movie star. The five-minute sequence feels like the most direct homage to the classic, campy B movies this show has cooked up so far. The character in question has an alter ego who has aged considerably. His story is largely left open at this point in the season, although he has formally crossed paths with Gus in this episode.
Gus, after the failed attack on Stoneheart, is left aimless, and he finds himself going back to his mother’s apartment, only to be forced to talk smack to The Master, telegraphing himself through mama’s transformed corpse. Gus, not willing to destroy his mother’s corporeal body for the most obvious of reasons, finds himself in Angel’s restaurant and flirting with the former wrestler’s daughter. After a slightly confusing verbal scuffle, Gus chats up Angel in the back alleyway, recognizing his stance from the old movies and wrestling matches. Could Gus be learning a thing or two from a lucha libre legend this season? It could make for a fun side plot.
Eph and Nora open up the episode proper with a plan even a bit too crazy for Fet, and that’s saying something. The audience is made aware of just how crazy this all is when the sequence opens with Creedence Clearwater Revival coming from somewhere on the radio. A weird choice of American Freedom tunes, and I’m not certain it’s meant to reflect any particular tone on The Strain’s current story. Admittedly, watching back-to-back scenes rolling on maximum campy factor started making me smile and enjoying the character’s jabbing at one another through all the gore and screaming.
Eph’s side of the story this week is a bit lacking in substance, as he and Nora discover that their Counter-Strain is working so effectively that the Master is forcing his vampires to commit suicide rather than pass it on. While it is a curious concept in the plot for containing the spread of vampirism, Eph’s decision to take it immediately to Washington DC seems a bit brash. Then again, he as a character has become brash overall. Meanwhile, he tries to keep things on the up and up by taking Zack to a batting cage, only to have the place stir up nostalgic memories of Kelly. While it’s interesting to see the world in shambles under daylight in comparison to the past, the scene feels about as frustrating as really bringing a pre-teen to a place and having them show 100% indifference and mopey-ness. Maybe instead of letting Zack just laze around to think about his mother, Eph should actually try to bring him into the plot? The season one finale actually had some strong moments of Eph and Abe showing him how to defend himself; I don’t quite understand what happened to that budding chemistry.
Setrakian’s young adventuring through the 1960s returns in this week’s episode, in which he brings potential employer Eldritch Palmer along on a search for the ancient book. When Setrakian descends to the catacombs to eliminate some priests-turned-vamps, Eichorst makes his first appearance to Palmer on record, swaying the crippled billionaire based upon his desire for immortality. It’s curious that these characters happened to have crossed paths so briefly in their young age. The two, at one point seemingly completely disconnected, are bridged by their necessity for longer lasting life, despite differing goals meant for such power.
Oh yeah, and Fet continues his Vigilante shenanigans by blowing up a subway tunnel and getting arrested. We’ll see how he charms his way out of that one.
The Strain Episode 2×04 “The Silver Angel” (7/10)