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The Strain “Occultation” 

Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FX
Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FX

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Holy vampire apocalypse! We all knew it was pretty much hopeless, but watching Setrakian (David Bradley) go house to house knocking off each of the Regis survivors was fun while it lasted. And those days are officially over. With Manhattan now in the clutches of a full-blown strigoi invasion, panic and hysteria are gripping the streets of NYC prompting Setrakian to come up with a new plan of action.

Dr. Goodweather Fights The Law and This Time, the Law Doesn’t Win

Tonight Eph (Corey Stoll) finally stops dicking around and does what he really should have done in last week’s episode and that’s warning Kelly (Natalie Brown) and Zach (Ben Hyland). You know, this thing called putting yourself aside and taking responsibility for your family. In these scenes, we get some fantastic character development of Kelly, Zach and even Kelly’s new boy toy, Matt (Drew Nelson), three characters who up to this point had only been peripheral. Before tonight’s episode, Kelly played the part of the quiet, subservient woman, who had raised her voice only a couple of times in minor spats with Eph. But tonight she demonstrates that Kelly has a little more fire and spunk than we initially gave her credit for. Even though deep inside I think she trusts Eph and wants to believe his crazy ramblings, she doesn’t respond very well with her ex barging into her home and insisting that she drop everything and leave town. Not to mention, Eph’s antics are scaring their son.

And, of course, Matt-the-ass continues to be an ass and outs Eph to the FBI. So, Eph is finally arrested and Matt continues playing house with the guy’s family. Nice. But just like with Eph, Kelly doesn’t take too kindly to his shit either, causing a very heated argument that culminates with Kelly’s questioning whether she should have allowed Matt to move in with her in the first place.

Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FX
Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FX

Either way, I don’t think we’re going to see much of Matt anymore. After his and Kelly’s big fight, Matt is stuck doing late-night inventory at work and gets some very unexpected and unwelcome visitors. The same scene happens in the book and while we never explicitly see Matt turn, it’s pretty clear that when he finally leaves Sears, he’s not a human anymore.

The one bit of good news from this entire mess? Eph does finally break free from the FBI, but not before loosing several precious hours that he could have spent fighting the hell that they are about to face.

Welcome Back, Medical Examiner Bennett

I have a confession to make here. I actually completely forgot about ME Bennett (Jeffrey Smith) and my gut says I’m probably not alone here. Plus, even after seeing the promo for the episode earlier in the week with the heavy-set guy running through Manhattan, it still didn’t dawn on me that it was Bennett. I just thought it was another random newly-turned vampire terrorizing the streets of NYC. But, yeah it’s our autopsy gremlin and boy, did he have a heck of a re-introduction. He also showed up just in the nick of time. Dr. Goodweather is tap-dancing as fas as he can, trying to stall the two FBI goons to avoid going back to lock-up but when Bennett is spotted running down the middle of the street, wreaking havoc on the passengers of near-by cars, the agents decide they have bigger fish to fry and begin to pursue. Of course, that’s their downfall and they are attacked within a matter of seconds, giving Dr. Goodweather the perfect opportunity to break free.

     Please. Please, help me — FBI Agent Monroe
     I’m sorry, but I tried to warn you — Dr. Goodweather

Oh, yes, payback’s a bitch.

Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FX
Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FX

Loved, loved, loved this little arc. I’ve always been a fan of shows that don’t leave any hanging chads. You know, those little plot points that make sense at the time they are introduced, but are never heard from again. One of my pet peeves, very annoying. Bennett could have easily been one of these. This guy went out with a bang in one of the most terrifying scenes in the pilot and it would have been easy to just drop the character. But the writers chose not to do this and decided to use the character again in the same fashion, making for one of the scariest scenes in the entire episode. Very well done.

Vasily Has Finally Seen The Light (literally!)

Ever since the eccentric rat-catcher was introduced in episode two, we knew this guy was going to do big things and his role in this episode only reinforces that. The epidemic has started to spread well beyond the plane passengers and their families, with ordinary people mysteriously disappearing, not showing up for work, etc., etc. So when Fet (Kevin Durand) walks into his office and it’s completely deserted, we know this isn’t going to end well.

When Fet does finally locate his boss, as well as the office secretary Loretta and sees what they have become, he doesn’t hesitate nor flinch to do what needs to be done. He quickly discovers that sunlight can kill the creatures and without a moment’s hesitation, releases them both. And he has to do it right after he learns that Loretta has a daughter. Life’s a bitch, that’s for sure.

Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FX
Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FX

This guy is one who gets things done and he’s exactly the kind of man this apocalypse is going to need. He sees the big picture, remains 100% objective and doesn’t let emotion cloud his judgement, unlike Eph and Nora (Mia Maestro). Ten bucks says he’s going to be one of the biggest players in the series going forward, not to mention likely a fan favorite as well.

Oh, and that part about his being a college graduate and turning down a full graduate fellowship at Cornell University to work for the city just made him even more likable. While that scene with his father played out, I could actually hear all of the Kevin Durand fangirls out there let out a huge “Squee!”  I think we have just found our Daryl Dixon of this series!

Gus Gets a Final Job Assignment from Eichhorst

Lord, I just knew that Gus (Miguel Gomez) violating one of Eichhorst’s (Richard Sammel) rules and examining the cargo in the pilot would come back and bite him in the ass. And it all finally catches up with him in tonight’s episode. Eichhorst knows of his deception and uses it against him to force him to do a final job, which is to retrieve Redfern’s remains at St. Sebastian’s Hospital.

The real shock comes when Gus and Felix (Pedro Miguel Arce) meet up with their partner-in-crime for this particular assignment, Jim Kent (Sean Astin). Even with all of the crap that has happened, I guess Eichhorst getting Jim’s wife admitted to the Stanford clinical trial forces Jim’s hand once again. I have to admit that I was sweating bullets the entire scene and I thought for sure this was going to be the end of our beloved Jimbo. And when Redfern’s stinger fell out of that body bag and Jim attempted to push it back in, I was just waiting for a slew of worms to attack and infect him. But it didn’t happen. Whew. And so Jim continues to live on borrowed time.

While Jim may have escaped the Master once again in this episode, our poor Felix isn’t as fortunate. When he and Gus are attacked by Bennett, he is able to dodge Bennett’s stinger, but not the worms that spew out after Gus bashes the ME’s head in. For those who are familiar with the books, you knew this was coming. But it still was a total buzz kill because even though the big guy was into some shady stuff to make a quick buck, he was a good guy with a good heart. Either way, this is going to make for some really depressing episodes going forward as Gus will have to face the reality of what has happened to his friend — and what ultimately needs to be done.

Greetings from Eichhorst’s Breakfast Room

We’ve known since the very moment Eichhorst was introduced, he was terrible, the absolute worst of the worst. But with our introduction in the opening scenes of what Richard Sammel called himself Eichhorst’s ‘breakfast room,’ this guy makes even the Master look like Big Bird on roller skates. He enters a room in a robe and reaches his food not by walking to him but with a chain mechanism. So horrible yet so stylish. How could you ever top that? Wow.

Photo Credit: FX
Photo Credit: FX

This character is one of the most interesting and best-developed ones on the show and trying to discuss his role in tonight’s (or previous) episodes as a small part of a review would not be doing this character justice. As a result, I plan on doing a separate character analysis on Eichhorst alone and if you find this villain as compelling as I do, be sure to check back earlier in the week for the article.

A Heartfelt Reunion and Setrakian Has a New Plan

If you have been keeping track of time, you will know that it hasn’t even been a full day since Eph and Nora went their separate ways. But with all of the horrors they have seen in that short period of time, both end up at Setrakian’s pawn shop in the closing scenes of the episode, ready to join Abraham’s Army.

But Abraham had a pretty close call at one of the survivor’s homes earlier on and with the eclipse closing in, the plague is spreading much faster than he had anticipated. Desperate times call for desperate measures and Setrakian has a new plan.

Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FX
Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FX

Next week on The Strain, we have the return of Neeva (Kim Roberts) and her mission to protect the Luss children at all costs. But when mother Joan finally tracks them down and things begin to look hopeless, Neeva gets the help from a mysterious hooded stranger, someone she isn’t exactly sure she wants help from. Contrary to how he may look, this man is a good guy and definitely on our side.


Photo Credit: FX
Photo Credit: FX

This marks the introduction of Mr. Quinlan, one of biggest kick-ass characters in the entire Strain trilogy. If you are a fan of the books, I’m sure you are absolutely thrilled, especially since this character isn’t supposed to appear until book two. And if you’re not, then trust me when I say you are going to love him.

Quinlan is a hybrid between a human and a vampire and the sire of the Master. Back in ancient times, the Master infected a pregnant girl and she gave birth to Quin. The boy didn’t possess the infecting pathogen necessary to turn his victims, but he did inherit some of the more attractive traits of the vampire, including strength, speed and agility.  Quin eventually marries, but the Master, out of jealousy of his son or just plain spite, attacks and turns his entire family.

Since that day and after learning his true heritage, it has been Quinlan’s personal mission to track the Master down and exact revenge for all of the pain he has caused. This guy is the Master’s ultimate nemesis and as it turns out, humanity’s one hope at defeating this thing and wiping out the Master’s strain forever.

Check out our Comic-Con coverage of the show where co-creator Chuck Hogan discusses Mr. Quinlan, how much we should see of him this season and who has been cast into this pivotal role.

Episode 1.07 of The Strain is titled “For Services Rendered” and airs next Sunday at 10/9c on FX.

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