Eph and Nora deal with their moral compasses by treating the couple found hiding in the storage units, who are freshly infected by the conclusion of the season premiere. Eph and Nora come to the conclusion that in order to sway them to stay, they must manipulate the victims of the strain in an attempt to work out a cure. These are the kinds of plots that The Strain can take advantage of for its unique lore–not just for the anatomy of the transformed and indoctrinated, but by having our main characters faced with decisions based upon the line drawn when these people are no longer considered human, and whether the soul within them is still of value. Of course, this also involves Zach wigging out on Eph about his mother still being out there…a conversation that still needs to be had about what she really is.
Meanwhile, the reanimated Kelly is sent by The Master to retrieve her son, hunting him down using the new blind, crawling children.
Fet and Dutch take on a hoard of vampires in Fet’s movement to take the city back “a block at a time,” as he calls it. This sequence that takes place in what I would assume is the bathroom of the YMCA is one of the most dynamic action sequences the show has had to offer. With the zombie trope of a slumbering horde, combined with Fet’s unique tactics with explosives, and a few flickering lights coupled with unique perspectives on worm-slashing, this sequence makes for something that looks jarring; and while it’s only a few moments of the hour, it’s highly memorable. Too bad it’s followed up by awkwardly creepy foreplay in the pool.
Eichorst puts the evil plan into action to congregate humans all to a “safety” shelter as presented by the up-and-about Eldritch Palmer, with a rather edgy speech written by his new assistant, a character played by Samantha Mathis–who we haven’t gotten to know much, other than the fact that she’s got that “tough as nails” look on her face and finds old creepy dudes who like her strangely attractive. The crowded room of handshakes is briefly interrupted by Setrakian having a face to face conversation with Palmer for the first time in decades, it seems. This is all based on a hunch on where to find the book that could provide the key to destroying The Master. While we as viewers may find this risk based on a hunch a bit absurd, the show is confident that it can get away with it using a big explosion to allow Abraham to escape, with Fet snidely commenting exactly what we’re thinking. Whether the sequence works or not, Abraham has the information he needs: Palmer does not have the book. Besides, Abraham’s flashbacks are the strongest point of the episode.
Flashing back to the 1960s, Abraham is fairly younger man teaching his research in “mythology” in a university when he is encountered by a character we’ve met before–a young Eldritch Palmer, however wheelchair-bound. Palmer, even as such a young age, is a wealthy man, and he offers Abraham a largely concerning deal to continue his research on a sabbatical, leaving him with a tip that leads to where the silver sword (the one that would be destined to live by his side) is being kept. Setrakian’s flashback arc in this episode is the strongest in that it is simple, and instead of being stuck in the World War II rut, it jumps to a later time and reflects upon it. The chase for the sword, the ex-Nazis, and Eichorst’s discovery of Abraham still running about all feels inspired by Indiana Jones kinds of adventure mysteries, but I mean that in the best way possible in regard to a cable TV show.
The Strain Episode 2×02 “By Any Means” (8/10)
The episode premieres tonight at 10PM EST on FX