The Strain 205 recap/ review
Quick & Painless
If you were looking forward to some action from “The Strain”, this week’s episode, “Quick & Painless,” delivered it in full and maintained the story building from last week.
Councilwoman Justine Feraldo’s street-sweeping crews work at the fore-front of the epidemic with a room-to-room clearing of an apartment complex. The street sweepers have hunted long enough to know not to get any of the milky-white vampire blood on themselves as one officers warns against it. Even though they are little more than a cleaning crew, the officers still try to help the citizens of New York even at a dire consequence to themselves as Officer Dempsey soon learns.
While doing their room-to-room clears, Officer Dempsey comes across a little girl in a corner with her face hid. As Officer Dempsey reaches out to touch her, the little girl turns and shoots her stinger at him catching him in the leg. We see the enhanced abilities of the “spider children” as they are able to jump and maneuver at an increased speed—effectively outrunning the bullets from the police officers assault weapons. The following gunfight showcases the “brother-in-blue” code that officers have as they try to save one of their own. While trying to get outside with their infected comrade, another “spider child” comes out and attacks the officers before escaping through a vent to the loving embrace of Kelly Goodweather humming a nursery rhyme.
Eph isn’t going to give up on his plan to weaponize the serum since Dutch sets up a meeting with a local forger. At this meeting, the forger recognizes Eph, but shows an indifference to him—only asking Eph about life as fugitive. With new IDs made for Zack, Nora, and himself, Eph’s plan looks to be on track until he returns to the hideout to explain to Zack what is going to happen. Zack shoots back at him that he won’t leave without his mother. Nora and Eph discuss his plan and she tells him that she will stay behind and that he should leave Zack with her so he can drop everything and run to save himself without any worries.
With his plan still racing through his mind, Eph takes the advice of the forger and changes his appearance only after a few glasses of bourbon. As Eph chases the bottom of the bottle, he gives himself a clean shave and with a new suit. Eph disguises himself as Jonathon Crowley to complete the transformation. Before leaving, we see the strain (no pun intended) on his and Zack’s father/son relationship.
While Eph prepares for his plan, Setrakian works an angle himself—namely the search for the Occido Lumen. Setrakian uses his extensive knowledge as a pawn broker to his advantage and knows the local crime bosses and thugs as Alonso Creem (Jamie Hector) shows back up with Setrakian set to use Creem to hunt for the Occido Lumen. At their meeting, Alonso has Setrakian patted down to make sure he has no weapons on him, but Setrakian manages to convince the guard that his cane is nothing more than a walking stick. Still armed, Setrakian tells Creem he is willing to give some clearly expensive watches that are rare and hence extremely valuable in payment. Creem being the thug that he is, decides to just take the watches from this old man and only finds his progress stopped by Setrakian’s blade at his throat. Setrakian clearly outnumbered by Creem’s associates, tells Creem what will happen if they shoot him—hinting it wouldn’t be pleasant for Creem. With this act of defiance by Setrakian, he not only gained respect from Creem but also another ally as he agrees to look out for the Occido Lumen.
With Nora no longer a part of Eph’s plan, she and Dutch go to the local police station to help Vasiliy get out of custody. At the police station, we see Councilwoman Feraldo giving a speech to the displaced citizens, trying to address their concerns about friends and family who have been detained. Councilwoman Feraldo tells them that those who showed no signs of infection would be free to go back to their families after a 72-hour quarantine. Hearing this, Nora sees an opportunity to exploit, approaching Feraldo with a way to diagnose within a few hours—only if she will release Vasiliy first.
As the officers release Vasiliy, Nora uses a UV light to show the worms through the skin of the infected. Councilwoman Feraldo upon seeing this work, has Nora look at a relative of hers that fell down some stairs but had a cut on his cheek. Knowing what she feared, Nora shows that her relative is, in fact, infected and tells Feraldo that there is no cure and talks about Jim Kent’s death and how they tried to save him. Later on, we cut back to Nora and Feraldo as they use morphine to humanely end her relative’s life.
As Vasiliy is freed, we see Dutch get highly defensive about how he was treated in custody. Dutch approaches one of the officers from the clean-up crew, and tries to demand some sort of justice for Vasiliy as they tell the officer that they were only helping by blocking a main route for the vampires. The officer understood why Vasiliy blew the tunnel, but maintained that he just can’t have civilians running around letting off explosives wherever. With that striking turn, Dutch and Vasiliy tell the officer how they use silver grenades and silver weapons. Even though the clean-up crews know about the blood, the officer had no idea about using silver to kill the vampires.
With a newfound ally, Vasiliy and Dutch agree to help the officer go back to the complex and help him clear the rest of the building. As they show the officers what silver can do to the vampires, one of the apartments that they clear just happens to be Gus’s mother’s apartment. As they go through the rooms of this apartment, they don’t see a single vampire. Vasiliy uses his keen senses of an exterminator and notices a wall vent torn off. As he gets near, he hears shuffling inside the wall and using his trademark piece of rebar, starts poking holes in the wall. Vasiliy decides to get a better look through one hole and moves in closer, only to pull away in just the right time to avoid a stinger to the face. Dutch moves in with quick efficiency and cuts the stinger off the vampire, leaving it in an agonizing squirm. Just then, Vasiliy shoves his rebar through the face of the vampire. This scene has me worried that the vampire they killed in the wall is Gus’s mother. The reason for it is she still played a major role within the book series—even as a vampire.
On their way out, we hear Vasiliy ask the officers if they checked the elevators only to be told they haven’t since the elevators quit working. Vasiliy opens one to see a nest of vampires sleeping, and Dutch seeing the opportunity to showcase a silver grenade, drops one down the shaft. In all of its explosive, sparkling glory, the officer understands the use of silver after that display.
As new allies are made in the fight for New York, Eph sneaks out to get to Washington to develop his serum weapon. At the train station, we see Eph just narrowly get by the officer standing guard. As he checks Eph’s ID, the train is about to depart and lets Eph pass. With Eph seemingly free on the train, he turns around yo see his old boss from the CDC, Everett Barnes, coming down the aisle. Escaping into the next car with some freshly acquired cans of beer from a lunch compartment, Eph settles into a seat across from a stranger. Regular small talk commences about how having a government job saved the lives of both of them. The stranger has a moment where he thinks he recognizes Eph, but blows it off only to get up and go after some beers of his own.
With Eph already paranoid, he decides to head off to another car and ends up in the bathroom just as Homeland Security runs a health check on all passengers. Tested out in the open, Eph almost blows his cover by saying that he isn’t infected and would know since he was there at the beginning of the outbreak. After a few concerned looks from the agents, they eventually let Eph go free. Eph immediately high tails it into another car only to literally run into Everett Barnes.
During their face-to-face, Everett says that he had no choice which side he ended up on since his other choice was to be thrown over a balcony to his death. He praises Eph for still fighting back against this epidemic and that Eph can trust that he won’t tell anyone about his presence. Barnes turns to leave as Eph hits him, saying he can’t be trusted and a fight breaks out between them. Eph gets the upper hand and slams Everett’s face into a table and lets his seemingly unconscious body drop to the ground.
After this fight, Eph decides to get to a door that he can possibly jump from—only realizing that the train is traveling too fast for safety. Eph, deciding if it would be worth it in the long run, isn’t paying attention and turns to see Everett standing behind him holding his head. Another scuffle breaks out with Eph getting the upper hand again and throws Everett from the train. While this doesn’t look to have killed Everett, he will be severely hurt the next time we see him. With Barnes gone, Eph safely makes it through the last checkpoint at the Washington terminal and we get a look at life outside of New York.
Eldritch Palmer shows up, and we see him show his secretary/love interest that parts of New York still function like normal as they have a meal at an upscale, high society restaurant. The restaurant crowd applauds Palmer for the “help” that he is offering to New York and its citizens. Here we see that Eldritch hasn’t given up his search for the Occido Lumen. In fact, a Cardinal of the Catholic Church is helping him and states that the Occido Lumen will appear soon. Palmer, impatient for everything, wants to know when only for the cardinal to reply that his contact hasn’t stated when, but will let him know.
At the end of the episode, we cut to a random air strip in New Jersey where we see some airport security approach a private plane. When they arrive at the plane, the pilots come out and tell them that their passenger was sick and they needed to land as an emergency. The guards question the pilots about the location of this passenger and they point over to a fence. The guards take off for the fence only to see it cut in half. A figure emerges from the woods, surrounding the airport to a waiting SUV. We get a good glimpse of a white-faced hooded figure with a bone-handled sword on his back. This can only be Mr. Quinlan coming to help the Ancients with their fight against The Master.
“Quick and Painless” was an amazing episode that showcased what an action episode of “The Strain” can be, but also the way the writers helped introduce new alliances and even a new character was great to keep the show fresh. Although this was a great episode in those aspects, I’m concerned that they are rushing some parts of Del Toro and Hogan’s book series. In this episode, we saw them clear Gus’s mother’s apartment and possibly kill his mother. If this is the case, then they’ve cut a significant minor character out of the show in regard to the books—reminiscent of Nora’s mother killed off in season one when she still had a part to play in the books. This was still a well-done episode that will have me tuning back in this Sunday to see what Mr. Quinlan is doing here.
With Eph’s alcoholism taking forefront, will we see him become reckless or useless to the others? Are we going to see more of the group interacting with Councilwoman Feraldo’s clean-up crew? Was that Mr. Quinlan, and will he team-up with Gus like Vaughn did before? Flip over to FX this Sunday night to see episode six aptly titled “Identity.”