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The Strain Recap: Yawn of the Dead

For seven weeks, The Strain’s locations have spread across New York City like strigoi themselves. (Or, if Eph prefers, “the transformative disease.”) But with the exception of its opening scene, which picks back up underneath Grand Central and shows us both a gravely concerned Abe and acutely wounded Eichhorst (yay), “Creatures of the Night” goes down on one small stretch of Brooklyn turf.

Eph, Nora, Abe, and Jim hop down to one of the CDC’s medical-supply outposts, and are forced to break in when they realize all doors are locked. Nora, still ever the Goody Two-Shoes, expresses pause. Eph makes clear they’re far past the point of no return when it comes to petty crime. Yet, he’s still a stubborn son of a bitch when it comes to completely heeding Abe’s instruction. “When will you decide to believe me?” an increasingly, and understandably, weary Mr. Setrakian pleads when Eph scoffs at the notion of each vampire ostensibly serving as another set of eyes for the Master.

Vasiliy, on the other hand, doesn’t need as much convincing. He’s already beat Abe & Co. to the supply center and hoarded all the heavy-duty ultraviolet lights. In a moment of grace, he agrees to share his haul. Perhaps he was convinced by Nora’s humanitarian insistence that, if it’s every person for themselves, “Then this war is over before it even began.” Or maybe he’s just a softie who can’t resist a pretty face.

What we do know is he’s kind of racist. When the quintet of undead-killers besieges a nearby gas-station convenience mart in search of supplies and snacks, Vasiliy derisively addresses the attendant as “Apu” (actual name: Hassan). It’s doubtful Abe would have been so quick to shake his hand and pledge allegiance had he known Mr. Exterminator was bitten by the bigotry bug. Although later, Vasiliy does offer Hassan his winning scratch-off ticket as a sort of “No hard feelings, my marginalized friend” peace offering, so one supposes it’s all good.

Bottom line is Abe’s army has a plan, and it’s to create artificial sunlight and vanquish as many strigoi in the dark of night as they can. It’s a bit of an inside-out twist on an old Gremlins 2 scheme. Namely, when media mogul Daniel Clamp tried to tease the titular critters out into daylight by blanketing his overrun HQ in an enormous night-sky-patterned sheet. And à la that ambitious strategy, this one has limitations. That’s made abundantly clear when a mischievous vamp climbs the utility pole and axes power to the gas station, leaving our heroes with 20 minutes of battery power. This is problematic, since dozens of preying bloodsuckers have descended on them, presumably compelled to stalk and kill Abe at the Master’s behest.

No such luck. Similar to how Eichhorst narrowly escaped “For Services Rendered” with his life, The Strain’s swelling band of protagonists slips past danger with not too much more than a flesh wound. Unless you count Jim, who got nicked in the cheek while fumbling with UVC equipment. Despite Eph’s desperate attempt to surgically remove a facial parasite and save his pal’s mortal hide, Jim’s fate was inevitable, and no different than that of Neeva’s daughter Sebastiane. The “virus” had spread, and as Abe urged while their fate loomed in the balance, it was time to spare Mr. Kent’s soul and put a bullet in his head. Much to Nora’s dismay (Nora mad! Nora knock snacks off shelves and scream about the complexity of authoring an end to someone’s life!), Vasiliy stepped in and did the deed, not only releasing Jim, but possibly saving his family’s life in the process. Because, lest we forget, Abe’s always over our shoulder to reiterate that once turned, “Love is corrupted into the need to consume those closest to you.”

And so rotates this series’ random Ferris wheel of life and death. The Strain is a show in which characters we hardly know but didn’t mind pass in vain and anguished husbands looking to make amends for unleashing evil lay with a bullet in their brain underneath a display of Slim Jims, yet bratty hacker Dutch Velders survives her karmic brush with comeuppance to facilitate her perfunctory role in the re-stabilizing of telecommunications. Fortunately, it’s also a show where, as Dutch puts it, “a crazy old man with a bloody sword” beheads monsters, a pest-control expert cracks wise about his credit debt while struggling to light a fire underneath some pesky vampires, and guys like horror-makeup icon Rick Baker make fun, insider cameos. It’s also in the midst of a first season with just five episodes to go, so hopefully we’re about to witness that war Nora refers to — and maybe that Bolivar concert?

Apart from all that:

  • Speaking of Gabe, where he be at?
  • The last song that delivery man ever listened to was “Here I Go Again.”
  • The idea of mature and immature vamps, and the overall vamp caste system, is very interesting. And it’s clearer and clearer that Eichhorst is indeed this show’s analog for Adolf Eichmann.
  • So, Sylvia’s kind of screwed, huh? Or maybe they’ll just randomly happen on her too.