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The Strain Review: New Strigoi On The Block

by at .  Updated at . Comments

First off, in case you're not aware of the good news, The Strain has been renewed for Season 2.

I know many people don't jump into new television shows right away out of fear of cancelation. Well, The Strain will continue next summer so if you're not watching yet, get on that ASAP. This series will be around for a long time.

The Strain Season 1 Episode 7 gave us some fascinating insight into the Setrakian/Eichhorst relationship.

We also met an interesting new soldier in the war against The Master.

Last week, in my review of The Strain Season 1 Episode 6 I wondered why we didn't see more strigoi wreaking havoc during the eclipse. We now understand the occultation was the tipping point for spreading the virus. There are probably thousands of infected people out there. 

In the opening moments of "For Services Rendered" we met Mr. Luss. Those screams he hears outside plus his strigoi neighbor are meant to clue us in to the fact the virus has spread. I still would have liked to see more strigoi running around infecting New Yorkers but that's just me.

Neeva warns Mr. Luss that Joan is ill, but of course he pays zero attention. Frustrating wasn't it? The dude got what he deserved.

The scene with the cab driver playing action hero was silly yet fun. These are the moments I've mentioned defy logic a bit, but hey they keep the show engaging right? The Strain doesn't take itself too seriously and neither should we. I wish more people would understand that.

The meat and potatoes of this week's installment were the conversations between Setrakian and Eichhorst. Whether in the Poland flashbacks or in the present, this relationship is our link to The Master himself.

At eight years old, Setrakian began hearing about The Master from his grandmother. She tells young Abe that silver harms the creatures. Nora explains it in terms Eph can understand "silver is known to interfere with sulfer bonds in bacteria." He still needs everything explained logically, the old man blames Eph's huge ego. Get with the program already Eph, time's a wastin'.

So what exactly is old Abe's new plan? Kill The Master, naturally.

We kill The Master and his spawn will die. I promise you.

Setrakian

Poor Jim, he was pretty damn brave agreeing to be the bait for trapping Eichhorst. Though we've been unsure of Jim's allegiances in the past, I think it's clear now he truly is on Eph's side. Again, we meet a female character that is totally unlikeable. Did Jim's wife, Silvia, really expect him to turn his back on a city-wide contagion he helped spread? Seriously, this is the woman Jim has risked everything for? We sympathize for our guys, but it's definitely at the expense of the fairer sex.

Let's add Neeva's daughter to the list of female characters we don't like. She should have listened to her mother right?

In our first flashback, Eichhorst bursts into Abe's workshop with a Jewish talisman. Gorgeous craftsmanship, but didn't young Abe tell his friend that he only had six weeks as a carpenter's apprentice? I'm assuming his father taught him well and he's just being modest about his skills.

Eichhorst has proven himself to be monstrous in the past as well as the present. It was interesting to learn his point of view on everything from the Third Reich to why he's in a position of power to this day. Which reminds me, when will we see Eichhorst and The Master interacting in the past? I'm really looking forward to Eichhorst being turned. 

Did you have any clue that Setrakian carved The Master's coffin? That's one I didn't see coming, but it certainly solidifies his connection to both Eichhorst and The Master. By the way, huge shout out to Jim Watson who portrays young Abraham. His performance has been brilliant and you can almost see David Bradley's intensity in his eyes. I completely believe these two actors are the same guy. Great job!

At The Stoneheart Group we learn that Palmer's assistant isn't too happy with his boss' plans. Palmer raised him since birth, his parents worked for the old man's parents. The Nazi in Eichhorst resurfaced when he said "it's disappointing that it's no longer a common practice." Why did Eichhorst use Palmer's first name? Jim's voicemail was pretty ballsy. It was fairly out of character for him, even the audience realized this.

Palmer: You assured me you had this fellow under control.
Eichhorst: It's a bluff. Kent would never have the courage to try this on his own. The Jew is behind it.
Palmer: I thought you were going to deal with him.
Eichhorst: He has more tenacity than I thought.

Jim and Eichhorst have a scary encounter in the subway station. The strigoi tells Jim he's now on the wrong side of history. It turns out, Eichhorst was actually after Setrakian the whole time. Good thing Eph and company manage to shoot the pasty villain before he caused the old man permanent damage.

Again Eichhorst mentions the sword Setrakian carries belongs to Sardu (the Master's real name). I'm sure we'll lean much more about this before the season finale. Cool the way Eichhorst attached himself to the train right? By the way, another clue the virus is spreading were all the face masks and coughing passengers on the subway. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Gus got locked up and his friend Felix is looking pretty sickly. Is the dude going to turn while they're locked in that cell? Eeek!

At the Luss home Neeva, her daughter and the kids come face to face with momma strigoi. Wasn't she the scariest looking of all the survivors? Wonder if that was still Leslie Hope playing Joan? If so, she was completely unrecognizable under all that makeup.

The minute Neeva's daughter swatted Joan's stinger away I knew she was infected. Did you catch the reflection in the mirror vibrating when Joan walks down the stairs? Very cool touch I thought.  

I promised not to discuss the books, but I will say the new guy we met tonight is one of my favorite characters from The Strain. His appearance totally exceeded my expectations. Talk about making an entrance right? Stephen McHattie's voice and the sound effects were wonderfully creepy. However, I did wonder why Eichhorst doesn't make the same sounds. What exactly is the difference between this strigoi and the others? I can't wait to learn more about him. Since his name hasn't been mentioned yet, I'll simply refer to him as the "hooded strigoi."

The hooded strigoi seemed kind and compassionate didn't he? Well up until he shoots Neeva's daughter in the head.

Be quiet. Do not touch her. She is corrupted.

Hooded Strigoi

What did you think of this week's installment? How about that ending, did you see that coming at all? Hit the comments and let me know your thoughts on "For Services Rendered." Remember if you've read the books, let's stick to episode 7 below to avoid spoiling the show for other fans.

Want to re-watch that final scene with hooded strigoi? Watch The Strain online right here via TV Fanatic.

How will our heroes ultimately track down The Master?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (11 Votes)

Henry A. Otero is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Great episode, each week is getting better and better. I enjoyed the history of how Abe and Eich's bond began. I was a little annoyed with Eph in that he still questions that Abe knows what he is stalking about.
Also who were the hooded guys? What a twist!!! Cant wait to find out who, what and why they are what they are.

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Great episode! The review is on point, good to hear they got picked up for another season

Hanko9
@ Mike Alicea

Hey Mike glad to hear you liked my review! This series will only become more popular with each season. The plan is 4 to 5 seasons to tell the complete story in The Strain trilogy books. I am hooked!

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I was totally thrown by the guest appearance of Aaron Douglas. I thought he was going to get involved somehow in the overall fight or play a significant role maybe it was wishful thinking as I recognised him from another Sci Fi show.. The taxi driver's actions or lack of evasive action was annoying, as the scene unfolded I was shouting in my head driveeeeeeeeee. But I now know that this was necessary, from a story telling point of view, to get us to the point where we are introduced to the Vampire (I'm guessing) Delta Squad and their hooded leader. I'm missing, at first glance, a lot of the subtle clues that other observers are posting about the mirrors, spread of the virus and if I'm honest I don't even know some of the main characters names. . So I'm glad that they are being posted in this forum (thanks). I'm most anxious to see what happens in the police cell next with the two Latin friends. In addition I'm also looking forward to more of an explanation about the Delta Team. I'm going to resist looking up any info on line. I'm persevering with this show because there are elements I do like (and I'm fresh out of TV shows) but at the same time I wish it was not so cliché rich; which i suppose is hard to do when there have been countless horrors and vampire themes before.

Hanko9
@ Lee Dixon

Hey Lee, there are definitely "horror genre" clichés but stick with it because there are things coming (yes I read the book) that are quite unique to the world del Toro/Hogan have created. Glad to help with those who subtle little moments like the mirror and face masks. I watch each episode 3 or 4 times. Yeah shame about Aaron Douglas (Chief from Battlestar Galactica). His was more of a cameo than anything else. If you have any questions at all please feel free to post them in my reviews. Thanks so much for your feedback! See ya next week ;)

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His name is Quinlan! Thank u to who ever posted that! Nice to have an idea what the hell is going on in this show! They should make him the main character! Way more of a badass than anyone else!

Hanko9
@ Squirrel

I do know his name but promised I would stick to the show and not talk about the books. Therefore, until he's mentioned on the series I will refer to him as "hooded strigoi." You can always contact me at Twitter with any questions.

Payton mcmullen jr

I love this show. The hooded strigoi hit squad are no joke. "She is corrupted" So cold. By the way, does Abraham's sword have a name. I feel like it does.

Hanko9
@ Payton McMullen Jr

I'm not sure it has a name but it should right? We'll get more details about Sardu's walking stick soon I bet.

Joe desiderio

Great episode! I also noticed the vibrating mirror as she walked down the stairs and thought that was awesome. As I've said on Facebook I liked the entrance of the new hooded guy at the end of the show, especially dispatching the now infected daugher without a moment's hesitation. I just thought he'd be bigger. I may have his description from the book confused with something else. I'm sure the character will become one of my faves on the show as it moves along.

Hanko9
@ joed5122

I remember Fet being described as a big guy but this new character I'm not sure about. It's been over a year now since I read the books (and never finished #2). Depending on how the season ends, I may read the second book before season 2 starts.

Joe desiderio
@ Henry A. Otero

I need to pull out the books now and look for his first entrance or this will drive me crazy. Lol

Hanko9
@ joed5122

Shared an image with you over at Facebook Joe, check it out!

Marion martin

Again, thank you for your review, you always describe perfectly my thoughts: I didn't read the book, so everything is surprising for me, which is good. I didn't saw this end coming, who is this "hooded strigoi" ? Great twist ! and I also loved the scenes between "young Abe" and Eichhorst; interesting to see a bit of his "human" side ... but I missed Vassili, tho ( he is my fav character ) :) can't wait for the next episode !

Hanko9
@ Marion Martin

Hi Marion :) I almost mentioned how much I missed Vasiliy Fet this week. It's ok though, I'm sure we will see him again next episode. I never finished book 2 and that surprise you're talking about is why I might not pick it back up. It's better not knowing what to expect. Sure, things play out differently on the show, but book readers have a general idea of where the story is headed. Kind of ruins the surprise. As always a million thanks for your comments!

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"Those screams he hears outside plus his strigoi neighbor are meant to
clue us in to the fact the virus has spread. I still would have liked to
see more strigoi running around infecting New Yorkers but that's just
me."
Last week I would have said the same. But this week I really enjoyed it - we, the viewers, know there are strigoi who are hunting humans. But poor guys like Mr. Luss don't, so it's exciting to see how they react, what they do, what happens to them. Same in the police station. We know Felix is now a terrible threat to everyone there. So what will happen? Will he turn while still in the cell? Will Gus have to kill his dear friend? And finally the people in the subway station... Imo all these scenes put together create a much more thrilling environment than havoc breaking strigoi. Once more kudos to Richard Sammel. Can't say it often enough. We haven't seen the Master since the premiere, so Eichhorst is our main villain and he does a great job with that! And the, ahem, hooded strigoi got a great first scene. Not just because of what he did, but HOW he did it and what he said. But I don't want to spoil anything so I'll shut up now ;-)

Hanko9
@ San

You're right, after this episode we understand the virus is out of control. All the stuff together makes a nice impact. I just can't help loving scenes like the strigoi huddled in the basement and chasing Setrakian or Vasiliy in the tunnels. I'm sure they're saving that good stuff for the last few episodes. Sammel is outstanding, you almost forget all about The Master right? Speaking of which, I wonder when we will see the big guy again. Will we see his face? Sardu's story? Can't wait! Yeah no one will forget our hooded strigoi's first scene any time soon. Have a feeling his story will come in Season 2 though.

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@ San

I forgot something: didn't Eichhorst make those typical strigoi sounds in the station when he threatened Jim?! So maybe he found a way to 'suppress' them but every time he looses control (e.g. gets angry) one can hear it? It would underline his magnificent skills and self-possession. Just a thought - and maybe I was just imagining the sounds in said scene.

Hanko9
@ San

Yes Eichhorst definitely made the growling noises with Jim. Didn't it seem like our new guy had two different tones going on? A higher pitch and a much lower. The effect was slightly more exaggerated. Wonder if that means something?

The Strain Season 1 Episode 7 Quotes

We kill The Master and his spawn will die. I promise you.

Setrakian

Palmer: You assured me you had this fellow under control.
Eichhorst: It's a bluff. Kent would never have the courage to try this on his own. The Jew is behind it.
Palmer: I thought you were going to deal with him.
Eichhorst: He has more tenacity than I thought.