Rooster Recap: “The Strain” Episode 7/8 – For Services Rendered & Creatures of the Night

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Hey guys – sorry to gang up two weeks, but I’ve been interviewing and it’s stressful and blah blah basically you’re going to get two in one enjoy. So much excitement in one little post. OH WAIT since The Strain basically plods along clumsily and awkwardly maybe not so much excitement.

Episode 7:

Actually though, this week starts with some fun times, namely in the form of “You’ve waited six episodes for this to warm up here have a reward.” We solve the mystery of who’s the lawyer lady’s husband, where’s he been, and hasn’t she turned already? Also aren’t there a bunch of strigoi/vamps running around – oh hey, let’s get that all out of the way before the credits with a scene that actually looks like it’s from a horror movie! Yay!Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 3.16.58 PM

Abraham, Eph and Nora have formed an anti-strigoi dream team, and they start to discuss the plans of how to destroy the Master and therefore end the infection. As per usual, a hardened stubborn decision (this time by Eph) results in some backwards plot movement, but I’m willing to overlook it in isolated incidents. We get another Holocaust flashback, and Abraham takes the rap for making a wooden Jewish icon and is then hired by Mr. Silence to make, duh duh dunnnnnn, the coffin for The Master. Mr. Silence and Abraham have what can best be described as a heart to heart (given the genocidal context). Let’s not pretend these biblical references are subtle, either, I mean, Jesus was also a Jewish carpenter. So. Y’know. We also see more of the Judaic tattoos on our Hispanic gangster when he’s arrested for defending himself against a vampire, and there’s some good old monotheistic guilt tripping.

Alright, now, I know that it’s beneficial for stories to feature cops who are callous and not so…law abiding, but The Strain features a lot of that, from the broken FBI agents to the crooked cops in jail. For me, it gets a little silly, even though I know it’s somewhat plot pivotal. I do, however, want to give credit where credit is due. Richard Sammel is super amazing as Mr. Silence (who’s real name is Thomas Eichorst, but I’m going to continue calling him Mr. Silence). He actually manages to look like he’s wearing prosthetics in the future. Good job, makeup team and Mr. Sammel. Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 3.49.34 PM

By the end of this episode I am convinced that we are watching a good, smart, horror show that suffers from writers being incapable of writing mundane everyday things. The cinematography improves as well, check out that awesome span above. Oh yeah, and we get to meet the vamp-anti-vamp squad. Strigoi masquerading as Black OPs and killing other strigoi. It’s…it’s kind of great.

Episode 8:

Our Ghostbusting squad has just attempted to cripple Mr. Silence in the subway and are now attempting to break into a medical supply store. It’s kind of…high school gang style, which is kind of funny to see if I’m being honest (and I usually am). Very Scooby & the Gang. Plus they get to meet their Scooby, aka the Russian rat catcher (Kevin Durand, being my favorite character as always).

Are you guys fans of The Walking Dead? Did you hate that you’ll never know how the outbreak started, or how it could possibly get so bad that when Rick awoke the whole world had gone to hell? Then you are gonna love love love this episode of The Strain. It really starts to hit home and, while there are some plot holes rampant (some things are easier to accept on the page and less when they’re in your face), it’s a fairly solid journey into the plodding exposition that was the first half of this season.

This episode is definitely a mini-horror movie, even more developed than Episode 7. It was directed by Chuck Hogan, who apparently has a knack for horror direction. He knows what works, which isn’t easy in such a short format. He also directed “Gone Smooth,” one of the most promising early episodes and my running contender for favorite episode so far. Tonally it reminds me a lot of Rec.

Really the only disappointing thing was the lack of vamp black ops. Like, I read the books but I don’t remember that at all because it was a longggggg time ago. Explain, FX. Explain! It does end on kind of an excellent moment though. Maybe it’s finally is coming into its own!

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