You've got to hand it to the writers, they do a killer job with the science on this show.
Essentially, The Strain Season 2 Episode 2 focused on Eph and Nora's clinical trials. While it was agonizing to watch the McGeevers suffer through their transformation, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. It appears the virus worked.
What happens next though? I mean, if Eph and Nora discovered their strigoi-killer in the second episode, the Master doesn't stand a chance. Something has to go wrong, otherwise the season's over before it began.
Bolivar speaks! It's been forever since we heard the guy's voice, and now he's been "elevated" like Kelly was. Could he be the Master's next vessel? After all, he's the only survivor from Regis Air 753. My money's on Bolivar as the next Master.
Wasn't it great to see a section of the original coffin? The fact that Setrakian had carved it during the war was a fantastic reveal in The Strain Season 1. Why did Eichhorst not allow Bolivar to touch it though? He also questioned his loyalty to the Master, which I didn't quite understand. Does free thought change the strigoi?
The feelers are creepy as hell, scurrying along the floor like little spiders. Their movement is quite different from other strigoi. I read somewhere that child gymnasts play the tiny monsters. Did Kelly kill off one of the weak or defective ones? You would think beggars can't be choosers right?
At the lab, the McGeevers thought the doctors were helping them... Ah not so much.
Nora: When are we going to tell them?
Eph: In a couple of hours, when they wake up.
Nora: You mean when they're too sick to put up a fight?
Eph: They're infected, does it matter?
Sure Eph had a point, but using the elderly couple as lab rats was a tad barbaric. I kept wondering if he would actually tell them they're dying. Eph has been a divisive character among fans, but he's never been unsympathetic. I'm glad he quickly came clean and asked the couple to volunteer for the trials.
Isn't it wonderful the way Vasiliy looks after Setrakian? The old man's become a kind of father figure to him. Setrakian is grouchier than ever this season. I hope he finds the Lumen soon and chills the hell out. The flashback was great, but correct me if I'm mistaken; last season it didn't seem Setrakian knew Palmer personally. Remember when Dutch confessed her participation and mentioned Palmer? I was surprised to learn Setrakian and Palmer go way back.
It's always a pleasure to see Jim Watson as Young Setrakian. He did a brilliant job bringing the character to life last season, so I'm delighted he's back. The fact it was Palmer who originally sent Setrakian on his quest for Sardu's cane and the Occido Lumen was a clever twist. I guess I never imagined Palmer had been searching for the Master his entire life. Did I miss something? Please let me know in the comment section.
Palmer: Have you heard of a Polish nobleman by the name of Jusef Sardu?
Setrakian: According to legend he was attacked by a vampire while on a hunting trip in 1873.
Palmer: Correct and he was said to have carried a cane.
Setrakian: With a wolf's head handle made of white gold; silver blade.
Palmer: Its been missing for decades, but my sources tell me that it may have recently resurfaced here in Vienna.
Setrakian: That is the first I've heard of this. Well is it true?
Palmer: That's what I need you to find out.
Setrakian: I'll see what I can turn up.
Like last season, the flashbacks serve as a nice contrast to the events in the present. The scenes with that slimeball Steiner were riveting. Setrakian played it cool, knowing this was the Nazi doctor that tortured his people. Well, until he mentioned the operating room which led to a great chase through Vienna. Anyway, that's how Abraham acquired the cane. Will we learn who shortened it? Will we see Steiner as a strigoi? By the way, the vibrating mirrors never get old.
While Palmer flirted with Coco and mislead the public, Setrakian made a big move at the ribbon cutting. The conversation about the Lumen in the 1965 flashback informed us that Setrakian's work was funded by Palmer. It was great to see the two come face to face in the present. "There's another card left to play," Setrakian warned. The Lumen better contain some kind of valuable information, otherwise what a waste of time, right?
Meanwhile at City Hall, we met Councilwoman Feraldo. I mentioned in my review for The Strain Season 2 Episode 1 that it seemed the writers were beefing up the female characters. Well, Justine Feraldo is all the proof we need that's exactly what's going on. Is Justine badass or what? I loved her no-nonsense and direct attitude. It's about time someone gave Dr. Barnes a piece of their mind. I hate that guy! I'm curious to see how Justine handles the epidemic in Staten Island.
Fet and Dutch managed to squeeze in a little sexy time while hunting for munchers. That sequence in the gym was probably the most intense. I'm talking about the silver grenades, not the skinny-dipping. Ha! Which reminds me, wouldn't blowing up the strigoi get bloodworms all over them? It just seemed like a messy attack to me. As far as the hookup, I say more power to them, as long as Fet remains focused. He was Setrakian's one true soldier because he was "unsentimental." How will this relationship change our favorite exterminator?
Eph and Nora continued to work on their virus and ultimately struck gold. Watching the McGeevers hold hands was heartbreaking, but at least the effort paid off.
Nora: I think we have a winner, it's multiplying. Taking them on in cerebral spinal fluid.
Eph: It's munching on vampire brain juice.
Nora: I can see some justice in that.
Eph: If we can get this to happen in the wild, then this bug can obliterate the vampire central nervous system. Let's grow up a batch and give it a try.
So, it appears the bio-weapon plan was resolved, which is fine by me. The Strain has enough pacing issues as it is, I'd hate for Eph and Nora to be working on a virus for half the season. I'd much rather follow Setrakian's quest for the Lumen and see more cool flashbacks. Still, like I mentioned at the top, there has to be a catch.
I'm only going to touch on Zack briefly, because the character is so exasperating this season, I can't wait for Kelly to catch up with him. I mentioned this last week; it's a shame the kid came across so smart last season because now he's just a smart ass. I was glad to see Eph lose his temper a bit, the brat deserved it.
Keep in mind folks, I'm talking about the character. In no way am I bashing Max Charles for the turn Zack's taken. You can hear more of my thoughts on the matter on The Strain Podcast I co-host with my pals Justin and Kelli (not Goodweather).
The installment once again closed with Kelly, only this time she visited their old home. I like that she used a bunch of Zack's clothes so the feelers could catch his scent. Natalie Brown's performance is truly menacing. Last year, she was a victim and confused, but boy has mama strigoi changed. I can't wait to see what happens when Kelly eventually gets her hands on Zack. Will she infect him right away, or does the Master have other plans for the kid?
What did you think of "By Any Means"? Are you enjoying the flashbacks? Relieved it seems Eph and Nora found their bio-weapon? Do you find the new Zack as irritating as I do? You're up, hit me with your thoughts and complaints in the comments below.
Check out our Comic-Con interviews with the cast for hints on what's coming up!
NOTE: The Strain Season 2 Episode 3 is titled “Fort Defiance” and airs on Sunday, July 26.