The Strain Recap 1.7: YES TO ALL OF THIS

The_Strain_Early_Promotional_ArtFuck. Yes.

Halfway through its first season, The Strain has finally started delivering the show I hoped for. This past week, we’re in the thick of the cat-and-mouse battle between Stoneheart and Abraham’s resistance, and getting lots of great worldbuilding and definition, with a lot of the setup baggage from earlier episodes almost completely stripped away here. And then to top it all off, there was THAT ENDING, which was one of the best moments of the season so far, and has me actively excited and curious about what’s next for the first time in awhile

Let’s forget the amazing ending for a moment and consider the rest of the episode. Thankfully, even excluding the ending, this was arguably the best episode of the show yet. We finally got some extended interactions between Eichorst and Abraham; indeed they form the backbone of the episode. Normally I would be disappointed that they almost exclusively happen in flashback, except the actor playing young Abraham is terrific, so wholly becoming the young version of David Bradley’s Abraham, that we can just focus on the interaction between two characters. The scene where a drunk (!!!) Eichorst confronts Abraham about his choice to avoid death is brilliant, showing us Eichorst in a slightly different tone while also conveying the core of his character. Once again, the writing steps up a couple notches when it comes to Abraham and Eichorst, and the results were stunning.

The main modern-day plot moved along nicely this time too, with the core group of heroes united and pursuing a clear goal. Unfortunately we also had another Attack of the Over-Bitchy Wife, which is something that continues to bug me: in this case it’s the cancer-stricken wife of Jim (Sean Astin). This time the wife is presented with a perfectly good reason to be pissed off (her husband played a major role in the outbreak of a horrible plague) and instead she’s just angry at Eph… without any real reason for her to be. It’s another instance of the writers sacrificing the integrity of the wife characters for the sake of easy (but still somehow misplaced) conflict. We also get brief check-ins with Gus and Joan’s stories, the former of which was just a superficial moment that barely hints at further developments, the latter of which contained some nice domestic horror moments in building up to THAT ENDING.

In the end, Joan’s children, housekeeper, and the housekeeper’s daughter are saved from Joan by a mysterious, black-clad, vampiric-looking figure (played I believe by the awesome Stephen McHattie) who proceeds to shoot the housekeeper’s daughter when he sees she’s been scratched. These vampire-commandos are by far the most interesting thing in the show so far; even in a world of ridiculous parasitic monsters, they are a very otherworldly presence, and they raise so many questions about the mythology and the story going forward. I can’t wait to find out what their goals are and how prominent their part is, and I really hope we get to see McHattie playing off David Bradley, and facing off with Eichorst as well. These new players feel like they could easily become fan-favorite, “why-isn’t-the-show-about-these-guys?” type of characters, which is the kind of ingredient that every show needs.

Suffice it to say that The Strain is better than ever, and I am as excited for the next episode as I’ve ever been for any part of the show before. I can’t wait for next week, and what awesome turns that episode might bring. Stay tuned to find out!


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