The Strain Recap 1.8: With “Creatures of the Night”, The Sky Is Officially The Limit

The_Strain_Early_Promotional_ArtThe Strain topped last week’s episode with another series best, and made it look easy in the process. More than any other episode so far, this week was completely focused, completely devoid of fat and completely exciting. We now have what looks to be our New Scoobie Gang, which among other things finally delivered the Abraham/Vasiliy meeting I’ve been waiting for, and should hopefully keep the story on the right track as we proceed.

Unlike the sprawling, multi-arc episodes the show has featured so far, “Creatures of the Night” followed one story at pretty much one location for the entire episode. While I’m still greatly curious about the mysterious figures at the end of the last episode, it was good to follow up that WTF moment by zeroing in on the most essential characters and their primary mission, rather than continuing to clutter the show with more subplots. Also, by confining the protagonists to one simple dramatic situation, we are able to see the characters explored and revealed through action, rather than spaced-out debates and snippets of dialogue and character amidst a sea of plot machinations. Now that the overall setting of the show- that of a vampire apocalypse- has been fully established and set in motion, it’s time to just let the characters exist in that circumstance, and let the plot flow naturally from those characters.

And with standout Vasiliy having now joined the main group, I think things will really take off on the character front. It was both expected and exciting to see him learning the basics of strigori extermination from Abraham, and butting heads ethically with Eph and Nora. With the four of them together, we have the sort of core hero group that we should want, one full of friction and personality, and one that will hopefully remain the backbone and driving force of the series moving forward (and I can’t wait for Gus to get folded into that mix as well). The one questionable moment was the return and integration of hacker Dutch, who played an unwitting part in the spread of the strigori and who just happened to be at the same gas station as the others when things went south in this episode. Unlike the group’s meeting with Vasiliy (which was motivated by both sides looking for tools for survival), the odds of them all just happening to stumble into the same gas station as Palmer’s pet hacker would be pretty long, and this was the one time where I could feel the hand of the writers pushing the chess pieces on the board. But otherwise, it was an excellently crafted set piece, right down the perfectly-placed joke at the end (when Vasiliy decides to pump Premium gas of Eph’s card; a great bit of tension relief), and one that provided a necessary ante-upping death to remind us our characters are still in danger.

So after a couple of clunky first episodes, The Strain is really moving along nicely now, with the whole story building up speed as it moves from week to week. Hopefully they can continue to keep up the momentum and not lose the focus that made this week’s episode such a success. Keep on keepin’ on guys, looking good out there.

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