‘The Strain’ Recap: S3E5 ‘Madness’

Last week on The Strain, the bad guys fought back. Not only did we get the return of the real villain, Setrakian, but he enacted his revenge on the good guys to a major loss. With the suicide bombings of Strigoi at a few police command centers, they were able to lower morale and they even almost turned Councilwoman Justine Feraldo into one of them. Thanks to Eph and Quinlan stealing the Occido Lumen, the good guys aren’t trusting each other and are fractured themselves. Towards the end of last week, we confirmed that The Master did survive and as a result, the good guys are back to square one.

The first thing they did this episode was give us a global perspective of the apocalypse. Since the show has begun, this has been a New York-centric show. Everything that’s been happening has only been focused on the Big Apple. There have been brief mentions of other pockets in the United States, but for the most part, we’ve only focused on NYC. Setrakian’s monologue lets you know that it’s now a global pandemic. What started in a small plane has now hit every corner of the globe. Even if they find a way to stop the Strigoi, will there even be a world left?

We didn’t get to see who the “new” Master is this week. Instead, the episode focused mostly on the core group of good guys. They were all split up on their own adventures, but they all had something to do. Eph and Dutch worked on scientific ways to stop the Strigoi. Fet did some searching underground and made a discovery of his own. Finally, Setrakian and Quinlan did more research about the Occido Lumen and discovered a potential way to stop The Master.

Last week Dutch and Eph started bonding over their shared misery and their love of alcohol. This week, the two worked as partners in crime as they not only drank together, but they also hunted, captured, and experimented on Strigoi together. They waited in the part of a few to attack them and after dispatching the strong ones, captured a weak one where they would then take it back to their lab for more experimentations on. We got to see them discover more about their telepathic network that not only allowed them to coordinate and problem solve together, but also they shared their pain. The two made another discovery related to the fact that their communications seem to be through microwaves, and they can be distorted. Unfortunately, their scientific experiment ends towards the end of the episode, it gives them a little insight as to how the enemy works.

Meanwhile, Fet is also doing some research on his own. After tagging a few Strigoi, he follows them to discover that they are burrowing deep past the established safe zones and have created a master tunnel network that makes Central Park the new Ground Zero for them. After discovering the massive nest under Central Park, he immediately tells Councilwoman Feraldo about the next. It looks like next week will be an all-out assault on the nest.

While our heroes are out on their own adventure, Palmer is still somewhat playing both sides. He previously had made an offer to Setrakian for help in exchange for “The White” formula that maintains Setrakian’s youth. Setrakian has refused his offer. As a result Palmer still remains at Eichorst’s service, if only to hopefully stay alive. Palmer is also not doing well as the previous dose of The White that The Master gave him is wearing off and he’s back to his old sickly self. Eichorst has a new “number two” as we meet a new mystery benefactor as they want Parmer to ensure a shipment from Egypt can get through customs. Eichorst does say “It’s been a pleasure” to Palmer. It looks like Palmer’s outlived his usefulness.

Finally, Setrakian and Quinlan spend much of the episode studying the Occido Lumen. While it might seem as “boring” it does move the plot forward a little bit. Not only do we learn the key to stopping The Master, but we also learn that one of the other ancient Strigoi was defeated in Egypt. Now that they know how to defeat The Master, they need to find him. Setrakian doesn’t know who the “new” Master is, but Palmer might now. Setrakian meets with Palmer and although he doesn’t promise him the formula, he promises him one dose. With that, the two are now partners to take down The Master together.

Before we can get to that next week, here are a few of the top moments of the episode.

Flashbacks (And Setrakian Being A Badass)

While researching the Occido Lumen, we get to see a flashback of a Setrakian as he was hunting for Eichorst during the 1970s. He goes under the guise of selling the Occido Lumen to Eichorst, but he really has a fake. He hits up a brothel in the hopes of finding him. After the lady of the house sets up a meeting for him to sell the book, he goes to meet the buyer. Turns out it’s not Eichorst, but another Nazi Strigoi. After a little bit of small talk, they go forward with the sale, but turns out the other Strigoi knows it’s a fake and tries to attack Setrakian.

Being the skilled hunter he is, he quickly incapacitates the Strigoi. After securing the Strigoi, he tries to find out about Eichorst. The original plan was to use sun torture to get the information. However, Setrakian discovers that the Strigoi had its own torture chamber behind a hidden wall where it tortured people who visited the brothel. Setrakian decided that the sun is “too good for him” and says he will send the Strigoi to hell instead. In a manner that would make Jack Bauer proud, Setrakian takes all of its arms and legs off, bundles him in a suitcase, and drops him into the ocean… badass.

While this overall didn’t have much to do with the current plot, it goes to show that Setrakian has been doing this a long time, and he’s very, very good at it.

Eph and Dutch Make A Medical Discovery

Even though the show has spent a lot of time shooting and hacking at Strigoi, remember this started as an epidemic that the CDC was first tasks to stop. Even though Eph can hold his own against them, he’s a medical scientist first. He can clearly shoot one down, but he believes that the way to defeat them is on a cellular level. Today’s episode he spends much of the time in his makeshift lab where’s he’s experimenting on them and he makes a few discoveries.

One discovery is that their brains are almost completely worm-based. It makes sense since so much of their biology has been re-routed due to the infection of the worms. In doing so he discovers that the telepathic nature of the Strigoi is not limited to The Master. When he injures one Strigoi, the other one close by it also feels the pain. The other discovery is made when he is examining the “worm brain” and Dutch goes to reheat some coffee. Turns out the microwave radiation disrupts their telepathy. If there is a strong enough burst of microwave radiation, it could make them stop coordinating and being able to problem solve and turn them back into mindless creatures.

Of course, lab tests are one thing, field tests are another. After doing a lap test, the best way to see if it really works is to let a Strigoi loose and turn up the radiation. Unfortunately, the experiment is a failure and they are almost killed by the Strigoi they free. However, if they are able to build a more powerful microwave transmitter, it might be able to do the job.

Also, Dutch is turning into Eph’s new Fet. She and he seem to work well together. And since she and Fet are no longer together, who know’s if Eph and she might become an item.

Fet Gets To Do Something

For quite some time Fet has been sidelined. Besides the one run he’s done with the Special Forces soldiers (and the one-nighter with the other soldier), he’s not done much this season. Perhaps most of his activities have been off screen. However, in tonight’s episode, he somewhat goes to his rat exterminator roots. After tagging two Strigoi he follows them to where he thinks they lay during the day. After discovering one of them was a “hipster Strigoi” he goes deeper underground and discovers that they have been burrowing their own tunnels deep underground. It’s also good to note that the Strigoi are able to “dress for the job” as he first thinks two Strigoi are construction workers. Fet goes toe-to-toe with them and dispatches them (reminding us that he’s a badass as well) before discovering a hidden nest underground that goes beyond the safe zones.

After discovering the nest, he reports it to the Councilwoman, signifying that next week will be an all-out bloodbath against the Strigoi. Hopefully, this won’t be a trap.

The Occido Lumen Reveals More Strigoi Secrets

As previously stated, Setrakian and Quinlan spend much of the episode doing homework. While it doesn’t look great visually, it does move the story forward. Not only does it reveal that most of the people who fight against the Strigoi go “mad” (hence the title of the episode) in their quests, but it gives the key to defeating them.

The two learn that at one time, one of the ancients was defeated. But how? Even after scouring through the pages of the book the answer kept eluding them. Setrakian gets an idea. How do you keep the Strigoi from learning about the secrets if they ever got the book?

Hide the writing so that you can only see it in the sunlight of course. Setrakian goes to the rooftop during the day and just like in The Hobbit, sunlight shows the way. OK, it was moonlight in The Hobbit but you get the idea.

“After being surrounded by an army of thousands, the living plague was contained within a stone sarcophagus lined with an alloy of silver and lead, a tomb for the creature and the crimson worm within it, trapped for all eternity.”

Setrakian and Quinlan can the defeat The Master by trapping him in a coffin of silver and lead and he will lose his control over the Strigoi and then he can be defeated. But first thing’s first, they have to find out who The Master is which is why they now need their nemesis, Palmer to help them.


Another great episode of The Strain. While we did not get to see who‘s body The Master will take over, this episode helped lay the groundwork for future episodes. Not only does Setrakian now have a plan, but so does Eph when it comes to developing a biological weapon. As does Fet for dealing with a large amount of Strigoi underneath the city.

Now if they could all work together….

Grade: B+

Khalil Johnson

Khalil Johnson

Khalil is a ride or die fanboy who was bitten by a radioactive blogger. Now, he uses his superpowers for online entertainment journalism. ...