Last week on The Strain, Eph and Quinlan put their plan of rescue and revenge in motion. While they were to trade The Occido Lumen in exchange for Eph’s son Zach and then come face to face with The Master, things did not go completely according to plan. For one, Zach was a no show as The Master pulled the old “Walking Dead” prisoner exchange and nearly got Eph killed by a subordinate Strigoi. However, all was not lost as Quinlan and The Master did engage in one on one combat, well, vampire SWAT Team and The Master on Quinlan combat. Either way, Quinlan emerged the victor and cut off The Master’s head. But was The Master really killed? We did see one remaining “master worm” escape, so it’s assumed that The Master did survive in one form or another leading up to tonight’s episode.
The first clue that The Master survived was the fact that Quinlan is still alive. According to legend, if The Master died, so would Quinlan. Unless the prophecy was wrong, The Master was still alive. Before there is even time to celebrate, Eph comes clean to Setrakian and Fet that it was he who stole the book, not just Quinlan. After receiving a well-deserved punch in the face, the group has become splintered with Setrakian and Fet no longer able to trust Eph. Instead of a celebratory drink, Eph goes home to drink his sorrows away. Now that The Master is dead and they do not have the book, there’s no reason to keep Zach alive.
Lucky for Zach, his mother still has her motherly instinct, as well as her intelligence The Master gave her as she defends him against the Strigoi who no longer have The Master to control and coordinate them. In addition to his mother, he also has Eichorst (who we haven’t yet seen this season) in his corner as well. In addition to keeping Zach alive, Eichorst has his own plans of vengeance.
As Eph is nursing his wounds through some good old booze, in comes Dutch who is also nursing her problems in kind. The two bond the way alcoholics in pain do, by drinking more alcohol and sharing their stories of misery.
Meanwhile, Councilwoman Justine Feraldo is dealing with her own drama. Although she’s in charge of security for New York, she doesn’t seem to know what her police department is doing in her name to deal with the crisis and is blindsided by the only remaining news crew in the city about the fact that they are rounding up criminals (and even just simple curfew breakers) to become their cannon fodder when fighting the Strigoi. After angrily speaking with her police captain, she goes to see them in action and gets a chance to talk with Gus for his perspective. Although she sees the heinous acts committed in the name of security, she ultimately doesn’t see much of a choice.
Quinlan and Setrakian have a meeting with the Strigoi council where they both learn that as long as the “Crimson Worm” is still alive, the essence of The Master remains and he will need to get a new body ad then become just as powerful as before. Because this news was hidden from Quinlan, he’s pretty much done with them.
Eichorst also puts his plan for revenge in action, which is done rather brilliantly. He is able to coach a few semi-intelligent Strigoi to become suicide bombers. Instead of inflicting mass casualties, they just use their blood as shrapnel, infecting more people. While Feraldo has a close call and almost gets infected, she gets a clean bill of health and as a result, her resolve is even stronger than before.
Finally, Eph and Dutch are attacked by a few Strigoi and then before he kills it, The Master speaks through it. Looks like The Master finally has a new body.
Before we can get to that next week, here are a few of the top moments of the episode.
The Return Of Eichorst
While The Master may be the big baddie of the show, from the audience’s perspective the bad guy really is Eichorst. Think of him as the “Darth Vader” to The Master’s “Emperor Palpatine.” We’ve not only seen him leading the Strigoi more than The Master, but we also have much more of a backstory for him. He’s always been a bad guy even before he was turned. He’s actually the bad guy you like to root for because he’s so deliciously evil. He has surely been missed these first few episodes. While trying to focus more of the story on The Master, the show dropped one of its most interesting characters.
Good for this episode, we get him back. Not only is he still alive and kicking, but he’s still as evil as he ever was. Because of him, the good guys got dealt a strong blow this episode. Who would have thought to use the vampires as a suicide bomber? Only someone as evil as Eichorst of course! Since The Master is back to lurking in the shadows, let’s hope that his number 2 is out front and center this season going forward.
Speaking of his plan…..
Eichorst’s Plan Of Revenge
Last week, the good guys got a much-needed victory in the killing of The Master. Of course, with one steps forward, two steps back. We knew that the bad guys would have to strike back, and strike back hard. Even though they were technically leaderless, that didn’t mean they didn’t have a great backup. Eichorst rounds up a few Strigoi and enacts a plan to get revenge and also spread terror. What better way to spear terror than to commit a terrorist attack?
He gets the Strigoi to allow him to plant C4 in their bodies and then willingly blow themselves up in the proximity of the police and security forces. Instead of the bomb being used to primarily kill the people, they use the Strigoi blood as shrapnel. Of course, Strigoi blood is bad for humans. One drop is infected with worms that will turn humans into Strigoi. So if the blood is scattered in all directions in an enclosed environment, they would not only have more for their army, but it would demoralize their enemy.
Given our current political climate, it’s always a weird “art-meets-reality type of thing when the bad guys on screen behave like the bad guys. They literally took an idea we see on the headlines from the War on Terror and placed it on the show. Given the show’s setting in New York and constant references to September 11th, it gives the show a sense of danger and realism that one would not expect from a show about vampires.
We Get To Like Feraldo, And Then Hate Her
After the attack, Feraldo briefly gets infected with a worm. It goes straight into her eye socket and only through the quick thinking by Fett is the worm burned by UV light. Given her importance to the fight against the Strigoi, the police captain has Eph come in to make a house call to make sure she is OK. The first test comes back as negative, but they have to see if any of the worms multiplied and take another test in a few hours.
As a result, she does some self-reflecting. She thinks about the husband she lost on September 11th, (another 9/11 reference) as well her pondering how she would want to die if she found out she was going to become what she hated the most.
Also during the episode she shows some compassion for Gus and the other prisoners the police deputized to fight the Strigoi (without proper weapons and training as well). We get to see that even though she has an icy exterior, she’s a human being after all.
It is only after that she discovers that she isn’t infected does she do a complete 180 ad goes back to that hardened person we always see. To further prove it, she arrests the journalists that are reporting on the dark side of her fight against the Strigoi. This pretty much loses whatever love we could have for her in one fell swoop. In that moment, she becomes one of the human monsters. Sure, we have to fight the Strigoi, but we can’t lose who were are in that process, or they already won.
The Master’s Back!
That didn’t take long.
As we properly guess, as long as the “master worm” is alive, so is The Master. Towards the end of the episode, Eph and Dutch are attacked by a few Strigoi and one of them speaks to Eph via The Master. So it appears that not only did he survive, but he’s found a few body.
But who could The Master be now?
- Eichorst? Probably not because he’s deliciously evil on his own.
- Kelly? It’s a possibility. She has been faithfully serving him and it would make some sense that he might take over her body.
- Zach? Most likely. There’s got to be a reason The Master would keep him alive all this time. It can’t be just to hold Eph hostage. The only real problem with that is the actor. Nothing bad against him, but the new actor playing Zach would have to step his game up majorly. He’s come across very much like Jake Lloyd in The Phantom Menace and has many fans griping whenever he’s on screen. This doesn’t mean that the young actor couldn’t step up to the plate, but he’s got his work cut out for him.