Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain is now in its second season. To keep up with what’s happening with the show each week, Drew Dietsch and Andrew Hawkins will be putting their words together to cover only the most important of events from each episode. Strap in and enjoy as we recap, analyze and occasionally riff The Strain.
Warning: Major Spoilers Ahead
So this week we basically have an entire episode practically devoted to our newest strigoi hunter Quinlan. On top of that we get more development between Dutch and Fet and sadly their happy romance is beginning to fall apart. Before we get into love triangles, jealousy and the underlying sense of deception that has come with the return of Nikki, let’s get into how The Strain has treated their ‘cold open’ segments so far this season. Drew, how the hell did we get so privileged to have this kind of variety where one week you get to see an eastern European folktale followed by a perfect pastiche of Mexican wrestling followed by Gladiator?
So glad your opening salvo was about the cold opens, because they have been series highlights. I’m hoping we get at least one more this season that equals the three you mentioned, because I can’t get enough of them. This week was especially fun, with us getting to see a daywalker (Del Toro’s Blade II influences keep creeping into this story, and I’m more than okay with that) do his best Maximus Decimus Meridius. People definitely need to give this show some credit when it comes to playing around in all sorts of genres.
For me, this was a perfect example of what I want out of an episode of The Strain: a nice bit of lore, some good interpersonal drama that doesn’t take away from the larger events of the story, and some delightful vampire hacking and slashing. The fact that almost all of that was conveyed through one new character, Quinlan, makes me even more ecstatic about him joining the fray. His hardcore decimation of the feelers made me yelp with joy, and will probably go down as another high point in the season. More characters need to stand on intestines to stop their opponents from moving. It’d be a better, stronger world to live in.
Hawkins: Absolutely. I can’t stress enough how in awe of I am that The Strain sliced a kid in half only to have the killer stop the top part from getting away by stepping on its guts. How the hell do you get away with that. One thing though that really made me appreciate the more unnerving aspects of the feeler pit is when Quinlan calls it a nursery. Man that was unsettling. I gotta say I really did enjoy that exchange with Fet which basically said, “You try it, you’re dead.” Drew, what was your takeaway from the standoff we saw against Bolivar as the new Master?
Drew: Bolivar got Nosferatu-looking real fast. He’s almost unrecognizable as Jack Kesy and I love that. Of course, this was just a first tease of confrontations yet to come, but even then Chuck Hogan (who wrote this episode) throws in a nice little bit of untold backstory by having The Master mention Quinlan’s mother. Is The Master Quinlan’s poppa? NOBODY TELL ME IF I’M RIGHT.
I guess we should talk about the other big chunk of this episode, which involves the seeming dissolution of Dutch and Fet’s relationship. This is the kind of non-vamp related drama that I’m cool with. It adds complication to the characters and is totally personal, having next to nothing to do with the larger story. And man, I never knew how upset I could get seeing Kevin Durand play reservedly sad. I’m on Fet’s side when it comes to this break-up. Dutch was pretty shitty to him, especially when it comes to treating Nikki with kid gloves about her theft and leaving Dutch to die in that convenience store. Team Fet all the way.
Hawkins: Basically what it comes down to is that Dutch fucked up. Finding Nikki and bringing her back to the Red Hook compound was a terrible idea. Not only does this introduce a wild card into the group, but we’ve already established that Nikki will disregard the safety of others for her own self preservation. If she is under any kind of influence, she may well sell out the entire group for her own benefit. This kind of element could easily get any one of our main players killed.
So let’s talk about the developing drama that is taking place in the Stoneheart Group. Eldritch Palmer is getting more and more powerful with each passing day New York continues to fall. And on top of that, now Coco LeMarchand has shown her true colors as an opportunist by taking advantage of the situation. I’m still trying to make heads or tails of that courting scene to determine if there is some underlying motive behind Coco’s aggressive advances.
Drew: It’s hard for me to get invested in the Eldroco (celeb couple mashup names are obviously not my specialty) story because it feels so flat-lined. It seems pretty obvious that Eldritch is going to get into some kind of political arena before show’s end, and I guess he needs someone at his side to help accomplish that, and I’d love nothing more for Eldritch and Coco to be the Frank and Claire Underwood of the show. I feel like the end result of this plotline will be satisfying, but getting there has been the biggest slog of the season. I also get distracted whenever Eldritch says her name because Ice-T’s wife immediately pops into my brain. And I’ll admit that Eldritch’s nervousness towards romance did help humanize and endear him more than many of his other scenes.
Hawkins: Yeah, this part is where I felt the episode lost quite a bit of steam. I did find it funny how they were bantering about inexperience and virginity even though laughing at such subjects is infantile. Either way their romance is about to get broken up real quick. Eph is now on a mission and if he gets his way, Eldritch is a deadman.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Next week: Episode 8 – Intruders