This week, on The Strain Season 1 Episode 11, our heroes went deep into the subway tunnels hoping to locate the Master's lair. I'm sure they weren't expecting to find what they discovered down there.
Obviously those dark, dank, creepy tunnels were no place for young Zack and Mrs. Martinez. I had a feeling the old woman would give Zack a very hard time, poor kid.
Elsewhere, Gus dealt with a family issue of his own. Miguel Gomez has done a fantastic job bringing Gus to life, but tonight we really felt his pain. Props to you mano, terrific performance.
While watching the "last time on The Strain" recap, I realized things would not end well for Gus this week.
Let's start there, since the last time we saw Gus was The Strain Season 1 Episode 9. Understanding the virus better and having taken Felix out it made sense Gus would return home to protect his family.
Early on the writers established that Gus absolutely adored his mother. The brother, Crispin, was a troublemaker but family nonetheless. Sure, it must have been tough to "release" him, but nothing compared to realizing mamí was infected. Anyone else yell "watch out for the worms" as Gus was bashing Crispin's head in? I had a Kelly flashback and that worm slipping into her eyeball. You've got to be more careful with those creepy-crawlies my friend.
Finding his mother hiding from the sun in the closet was heartbreaking. I'll be honest, I was surprised he didn't release her. Do you think that's the end of her story or will she come for Gus? He certainly had no trouble taking out the building manager though.
I'm going to touch briefly on the Zack/Mariela stuff, because the real meat and potatoes of this installment takes place in the subway tunnels.
Yes the poor old lady is suffering from dementia, but I wanted to kill her for putting little Zack in harm's way. I understand she doesn't realize what she's doing, however, she seriously stressed me out this episode. How about you? Do you want her out of the picture?
Zack proved to be quite brave heading out to the convenience store for Mariela's cigarettes. I'm sure it was intentional, but I couldn't help shake the feeling that convenience stores in this world are a bad omen. Remember what happened to Jim? Yeah, I still miss Samwise. Maybe we'll get a flashback with him in Season 2?
The minute that looting couple walked through the door, they had "strigoi-chow" written all over them. Zack manages to get away while the strigoi is feeding off them in the back room. The coolest part for me was Gus appearing and protecting Zack. Aside from that quick moment with Setrakian earlier this season, this is the only other time he's made contact with our core group. Will Gus follow Zack to the pawnshop and join the revolution next week? I sure hope so!
Ok, back to Setrakian and company. Fet's testing a UVC light bomb. Now that's something I've never seen before in a vampire flick, pretty unique no? Though the first test was an "epic fail," it was pretty clear that bomb would play an important part later on.
It's only taken the entire season, but Eph finally seems to trust Setrakian. He tells Nora that if slaying the Master will cure the plague then's he's all in. We know his ulterior motive is saving Kelly though right? He tries to get Nora to stay by telling her Zack can't be left an orphan.
You and I are not assassins. Fet, that kill happy exterminator, this comic-con mission's his wet dream. And the old man's consumed by an ancient grudge. They have no plan B because they have have no one but themselves at risk.Eph
Nora doesn't go for it though and Setrakian giving her Jim's blade was a nice gesture. At least he understands she's an asset to the team.
I think using the tunnels beneath the World Trade Center was an excellent creative choice. Setrakian explains the Master seeks out human suffering and Fet acknowledges they're in the right place. Not to mention, it's creepy as hell down there.
Our heroes follow the strigoi ammonia trails like bread crumbs and know they're headed in the right direction. Isn't it awesome how all these elements, like the ammonia discharge, really pay off at this point in the story?
Stay to the right. The third rail, I don't know if it's live down here but at 625 volts you don't want to find out.Fet
Tell me that didn't instantly make you want to see a strigoi fry on the third rail? Good thing the writers gave us just that a little later in the episode.
As they walk through the tunnels, we see people's belongings, a wallet, shoes... lives lost all in the name of the Master's greater purpose.
Were you as surprised as I was the group shut off their UVC lamps when they stumbled upon the newly turned strigoi nesting? Made sense when Setrakian tells them it's too soon to alert the Master to their presence. Still, it freaked me out a little bit.
I was also surprised by the train that rushed past them. Wasn't this area abandoned years ago? Guess we needed a quick action sequence to kick things into high gear. It also gave Eph and Fet a chance to demonstrate their Alpha male egos. Setrakian quickly shut them up though. He's the real Alpha male of the group, don't kid yourselves fellas.
The team eventually reaches a dead end... nope, there's an ammonia-splatterd hole in the wall. Perhaps it's my own claustrophobia, but the scenes in that tight passageway were some of the scariest moments on The Strain so far. Let me know if you agree in the comments.
Eph squeezes through first, followed by Setrakian and then Nora. With strigoi approaching from behind, the Master is now well aware of the intruders. The large vermin catcher gets stuck briefly and that was fairly unsettling. Nora pulls him out and jams a UVC lamp in the tunnel to keep other strigoi from following. Smart move sexy side dish!
I had a feeling Eph would run into Kelly down there, though of course it turned out to be a trick. He was so focused on her voice he left his companions behind. Nice one Eph, great job.
Anyway, he follows the voice right to the Master's coffin... oh shit! It would have been too easy to find the monster sleeping inside. Besides, it made for a much cooler entrance watching the Master crawl on the ceiling and then drop right in front of Eph.
Have you come here to destroy me? The old professor has a new pupil. To fail as he failed. I have taken everything from him and I will take everything from you. Your wife, your son. I am a drinker of men.The Master
Let me mention real quick that somehow the Master's face did not look as goofy or rubbery as when he turned Eichhorst. Is it me or was there CGI involved this time around? If this is the image del Toro/Hogan were going for, I can totally get behind it. Still not terribly scary, but he looked better this time for sure. Do you agree with me?
Luckily for Eph, his team arrives. Yeah remember them? Those teammates you ditched at the mere sound of Kelly's voice. For a smart guy, Eph sure does behave foolishly at times. I think that's why I'm not as invested in the character as say Fet or Gus.
The UVC bomb goes off, works brilliantly now, sending the Master scurrying away like a rat while the other strigoi burn.
Sertrakian is pissed, as he should be. They had the Master and now he's gone. Hey at least the old man had a chance to destroy his own handiwork. The Master no longer has a giant coffin to retreat to. 5 points for Gryffindor!
The old man with the ancient grudge rushes past them and they find themselves facing yet another hole in the wall. This time, they see what appears to be thousands of strigoi nesting. And... 50 points for Slytherin.
What a phenomenal installment right? Will our heroes retreat back to the pawnshop and team up with Gus? How in the world can they defeat that many strigoi? Does Fet invent the world's first atomic UVC bomb? Your turn STRAINiacs, hit the comment section below and leave me your two cents. Remember if you've read the books, please stick to episode 11 in order to avoid spoiling the show for others.
Just a couple of episodes left guys. I hope you're all caught up and haven't missed a single installment. In case you have, you can watch The Strain online right here via TV Fanatic.
Will Gus join Setrakian, Eph, Fet and Nora in the inevitable finale battle?