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The-strain

The Strain Review: The Master Fights Back

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This week's The Strain Season 1 Episode 8 picks up right where we left off last Sunday, with Eichhorst temporarily wounded. The Master is pissed and sends his minions after Setrakian and company.

Our heroes find themselves under attack at a convenience store and we finally got to see a strigoi hoard do their thing. At the expense of one of our lead characters unfortunately. Sad to see him go?

Fet and good ol' Abe's worlds finally collided and I think Setrakian has found the protégé he hoped Eph would become. Vasiliy has no problem doing what must be done.

Vasily and Ephraim - The Strain

They say great minds think alike right? Well that explains why Vasiliy has his run in with Eph and the gang.

Both parties were looking to simulate sunlight using UVC lights. When Eph attempts to break into the medical supply store and Nora complains, did you notice he referred to them as "vampire killers?" Is Ephraim Goodweather actually accepting these creatures are beyond saving?

It certainly was convenient of Vasiliy to disable the store's alarm system. I found it amusing when Eph identifies himself as CDC and Vasiliy replies with "I'm a looter." Kevin Durand has some of the funniest lines this week.

Nora manages to guilt trip Vasiliy into giving them half his UVC lamps. It's clear he's one of the good guys when he agrees without putting up much of a fight.

Vasiliy and Setrakian bond while the others make their way to a Gold Star across the street for supplies. When Vasiliy talks of the tunnels and mentions hundreds of vermin-like humans, Setrakian quickly points out there must be thousands by now. The old man refers to them as vampires, but Vasiliy still sees them more like rats.

Setrakian is impressed with Vasiliy and when several strigoi wander close to the convenience store it's Abraham's turn to impress. I don't think watching David Bradley take down strigoi will ever get old.

As I've mentioned before, to me The Strain isn't cheesy or campy. Del Toro and Hogan are simply having fun with the material. Dutch screaming "crazy old man with a bloody sword" is a great example of this. Yeah lady, nevermind the bloodsucking monsters outside looking to make a Slurpee out of you Ha!

Here's a bit of nerd trivia for you. Earlier this week Chuck Hogan tweeted "Sunday's episode of #TheStrain features a seven-time Academy Award winner." Hogan wrote this installment and del Toro asked him to include a cameo specifically for this person. Naturally, we were expecting the familiar face of some famous actor.

However, the white-haired man with the ponytail standing in line behind Sean Astin is special effects/makeup guru Rick Baker. Rick has worked on everything from The Exorcist and King Kong to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, An American Werewolf in London, Men in Black, Hellboy, and so many more. Google him for a full filmography.

In my review of The Strain Season 1 Episode 6 I complained that we didn't see enough strigoi out and about during the eclipse. Well, it's safe to say this week's "Creatures of the Night" made up for it. Those things were everywhere, weren't they? I loved that Nora finally joined Eph in taking a few down.

So the UVC lamps did their job beautifully, but Jim is nicked by a stinger. Remember last week how Neeva's daughter was infected and put down by the hooded strigoi? I knew right away Jim was a goner, did you?

Vasiliy notices the creatures are waiting, but for what? "Reinforcements" Setrakian tells him, yes sir this is all part of The Master's plan.

Vasiliy: I need the rules. What kills these things aside from direct sunlight?
Setrakian: Brainstem must be destroyed or severed from the spinal cord.

These two characters have seriously connected. The moment Vasiliy extends his hand and tells Setrakian "good to know you" we realize he's now part of the team.

I thought it was hilarious how the Gold Star employee, Hassan, kept making a list of everything stolen. Really buddy? There's an apocalypse going on outside Ha!

When Eph mentions "plague," Dutch asks if they're vampires. She's catching on now, good thing this woman is a brilliant hacker. "It's a transformative disease that makes people predatory and extremely dangerous" Eph responds.

Dutch's friend, Nikki, makes a run for it and interestingly enough the strigoi stop chasing her. When they turn around, Eph realizes they're after them. Mostly Setrakian, but his friends will certainly do.

The bread delivery guy and Dutch run for it as well, but a strigoi's got to eat. They're not going to turn away every meal that crosses their path. Bread dude goes down but Dutch makes it back inside. I'm guessing she's now seen too much to not become part of the team. She had revealed her secret to Nikki, will that come back to bite her on the ass?

They're connected to The Master who sees through every strigoi eye.

Setrakian

Nora spots a blood worm in Jim's cheek. I knew it, poor guy. The hooded strigoi would not have hesitated to release him, but Eph desperately tried to save his friend. The scene with the box cutter and Eph pulling the worm out of Jim's cheek was intense. "This is gonna hurt like a bitch" Eph warns. Yeah, no shit doc Ha! Did you think Jim would be okay at this point? Not me, I knew Sean Astin's time on The Strain was over.

There were a few touching moments between Jim and Eph. Jim explains he knew what he was doing was wrong, just not how wrong. He's been trying to make up for it ever since.

The strigoi begin to attack, but it's simply a distraction to knock out the power. When the Gold Star goes dark, we and our heroes know they'e in big trouble. Get to the bread truck!

It's here that we're given a bit more information on the strigoi. Setrakian explains that the creatures are fully matured at one month, but they're not like Eichhorst.

There are a few to whom The Master grants greater power. They retain parts of their former selves.

Setrakian

That's right there's a caste system among the strigoi and Eichhorst is one of the chosen few. Will we meet other's like him?

Vasiliy attempts to get Hassan out of his fish bowl, but no luck. That dude was meant to go down with the ship. Poor fool.

Eventually, Eph spots another blood worm on Jim and with the UVC lamp we see his back is full of them. "Oh shit" is right Jim. Nice knowin' ya Samwise.

Eph struggles with the moral dilemma of killing his friend, even though Jim is asking him to. "Save his soul, release him" Setrakian warns. I certainly was not expecting Vasiliy to shoot Jim in the head. Eph and Nora were pissed weren't they? Vasiliy has proven he's prepared to take action, not just talk about it. "I did your friend a favor" he tells the group.

The strigoi crashing through the roof reminded me of an episode of The Walking Dead last season. Our heroes are in a department store loading up on supplies and walkers begin raining down on them. The scene was just as effective in The Strain. Those creatures were everywhere. Yeah this episode definitely makes up for any lack of strigoi on the series up to the point.

In the end the group fights their way to the bread truck (Eph "releases" the delivery guy), they blow up the Gold Star (Hassan along with it) and live to fight another day. The team drives off, but not before smashing into a strigoi just for the heck of it.

Did you love this week's episode as much as I did? Bravo to Chuck Hogan for penning another excellent episode. So far, the two installments written by Hogan have been my favorites. The Strain Season 1 Episode 3 and this week's "Creatures of the Night." You're up STRAINiacs, hit the comments below and let's discuss this week's madness. Remember if you've read the books, please stick to episode 8 to avoid spoiling the show for other fans.

This was without a doubt one of those installments worth watching again and again. You're in luck too, you can watch The Strain online right here via TV Fanatic.

Do you think Jim Kent redeemed himself before meeting his end?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (22 Votes)

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

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I'm warming up to the show & thought this was the best episode by far but maybe I missed something. If cell phone, ATM's & credit card machines were down, how did they get approved at gas pump?

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I really loved this episode. Each week is better and better, they have hit their stride. I am glad Vasiliy is now part of the team. I felt he would be the better fit with Abe. He is no nonsense about it. They must be killed without hesitation, period.
Nora and Eph are still irritating but I am sure they will come around. Also I felt the episode defied logic, such as the bread truck driver and the store clerk. I mean really... now ( who is going to pay for all this????????

Chris-larrondo

Hmm so you didn't think it was campy? The bread truck delivery guy listening to Here I Go again? Dutch's friend running out looking like a Benny Hill moment? I found those parts funny as all hello. Definitely did not think Jim was a goner, I mean it is Mikey from The Goonies he can't go this soon lol. He tried to redeem himself but he needed to do far more. I like the team of Abe and Vasiliy I think they play well off of each other. Glad we finally got to see what possibilities we have when a hoard comes a knocking. These things are far more dangerous than a group of Walkers that is for sure. Love this episode and loving the show keep up the great reviews.

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Nice review..as one who read the series (don't worry I won't spoil it besides I'm hoping the TV show differs from the book), It was a great episode for two things. Fet joining the team and Jim's departure. I was confused about Eph as he destroyed the pilot vampire sand now he hesitates again? If Nora gets infected, is he going to be still conflicted?

Amy-jackey

It was funny when Fet was buying lottery tickets and scratch offs. I was thinking if he did win what about if he winds up dying and not able to use the money.

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Did anyone else pick up that Fet's first conversation with the clerk in the store was when he called him "Apu" from the Simpsons? The clerk quickly corrected him that his name was Hassan. Fet definately has a sense of humor!

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One of the best episodes ! :)
I am so ashamed but I can't help loving Eichhorst ><

Joe-desiderio

Best episode so far in my opinion. It was time for Jim to go and Fet's joined up with the rest of the group. I wish Eph would just get on board with the whole vampire thing and realize that this is a disease that can't be treated but needs to be cut off at the source. Fet continues to be my favorite character offering not only the willingness to do what is necessary but also the comic relief at the same time. Great episode and great review Hank!

Hanko9
@ joed5122

Totally agree Joe, didn't I tell ya? I liked that we got to know Jim a bit better than in the book but yes it was his time to go. I am lovin' Vasiliy Fet, even more than in the books actually. I think it's a case of great casting, Kevin Duran is rockin' the role. Eph will get on board before long. He and Nora are the voice of reason but it's time to throw all logic (and medical experience) out the window. Glad you liked my review and thank you thank you for always commenting!

Heathr14

Great episode! Super cool to see all those strigoi.... I was sad to see Jim go but it was understandable. This show keeps getting better and better... can't believe the season is already winding down. Another awesome review Hank!

Hanko9
@ Heather Otero

Hey sis, can you believe there are only 5 episodes left? I remember watching the pilot like it was yesterday. It's going to be a long wait for Season 2!

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I loved, loved this episode; I was waiting for that kind of "walking dead's vibes". Poor Kent, but I saw this coming; and I'm curious to see where the blonde hacker's girl is taking place ... thanks for your review !! :) ( ... OT, but this "disqus"stuff doesn't allow me to log in today, so I am just a "guest" now ... ;)

Hanko9
@ Marion

Yeah Kent felt "doomed" for a while now. We needed more strigoi... I've been waiting for that for a few episodes now. It's only going to get crazier. Are you trying to sign in to Disqus on a mobile device? I've had some issues myself on my phone or tablet. Thanks for always leaving me your thoughts Marion, you're just awesome!

The Strain Season 1 Episode 8 Quotes

Tunnels are the perfect ecology for them, aren't they? Dank, dark, devoid of sunlight.

Nora

Vasiliy: I need the rules. What kills these things aside from direct sunlight?
Setrakian: Brainstem must be destroyed or severed from the spinal cord.

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