Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Strain, Season 2, Episode 2: By Any Means

Bolivar is back, he and Eichorst are gathered around his giant coffin while Eichorst explains that the Master is going to choose a new body soon. I sense some competition over who it is going to be. And they apparently want it.

Kelly has her collection of blind kids turned into tracking, animalistic monsters (which are intensely creepy) and decides to kill one. For extra creepy

Ephraim and Nora have the two scratched “survivors” of the fight in the storage sheds in their lab pretending to play nice doctors. Nora wants to know when they’re going to tell them the truth and rightfully skewers Ephraim’s excuse as “when they’re too sick to put up a fight”.

Whether that time is now or Nora shamed him, they tell the survivors they’re infected, they’re going to die terribly – but they could help them find a cure (and not become vampires and eat their son). Ephraim is, unshockingly, not a nice man but Nora plays good doc.

Vasily continues to be all sweet and worried about Abraham (and tells him to eat. Awwwww). Abe frets that there’s some knowledge in his research for the special book, the Occio Lumen but he regrets he just can’t remember things as he once could.

Nora carefully checks with Abraham whether the Master will be able to use the experiments against them and Abraham reassures them and gets all huffy at her double checking, she argues back that he needs to get over themselves because they’re all dealing with shit which seems to settle him down enough to reassure her that, yes, experimenting on people is all kinds of wrong but she does have a damn good reason (rightfully guessing the shit she’s dealing with). Doctors experimenting on people is something that is especially poignant for Abraham as a concentration camp survivor – but he draws a sharp distinction between that and what Nora’s doing

It would help if Ephraim weren’t so callous about it – though even he finds it awkward to explain to his kid, Zach.

Their science doesn’t seem to be working – vampires are damn resistant. As they begin to suffer, the survivors start to beg to die though Ephraim tricks him to laying down so he can tie them down, yelling and protesting.

Nora becomes more troubled as the patients turn, the wife before the husband, his concern near breaking her. It doesn’t help that Ephraim is an arsehole. But she does have inspiration – and they finally seem to find a plague that will kill vampires without killing humans.

We also have this week’s flashbacks – to Vienna in 1965 and Abraham lecturing on vampirism myths – and being approached by Eldritch Palmer as a young man who believed vampires exist even then. He offers Abe help and resources – and information about the sword cane of Josef Sardu.

He finds it in a shop among a collection of Nazi artefacts – but it has already been spoken for. But Abe recognises the man as a doctor from the concentration camps. The man runs, with the cane – he manages to escape, but leaves the cane behind as he does it.

His info proven good, Abraham is inclined to believe young Palmer when he talks about the Occido Lumen and making him a professor after working for him. Abraham’s wife is much less thrilled with the idea and Abraham’s obsession.

Back to the present. Vasily and Dutch put Vasily’s plan in action, clearly the local area starting with a gym. They hunt and they snark (yes I do like some good snark. They’re fun vampire hunters) with vampy killing grenades and silver swords. And then some flirting after the fact – well, Dutch decides to speed things up with naked bathing (and sweet, awkward Vasily) and naked teaching him how to swim.

Abraham becomes more and more frustrated

To the city council who have finally realised something is going on (explicitly describing the vampires) and council-woman Feraldo is gloriously caustic tongued in calling everyone out for their damn failings. The mayor, pretty decently, points out far too many people are blaming overs and covering themselves to actually help which kind of dampens the joy of Feraldo’s snark. A little. There is a plan in place to quarantine the infected and keep them in, as Feraldo puts it, warehouses. She would rather they all be dead than be stored. Of course, they still look at the vampires as sick people and aren’t going to do that. More pointedly, Feraldo calls bullshit on the number of national guard supposedly in the city – she demands to know where they are, as does the mayor.

Feraldo has her own plan, taking back the city block by block blowing he heads off any vampires she finds. Something she’s already putting in place.

Eldritch has hired Marchand who, of course, thinks he’s a wonderful person doing so much to help the city (he has some very good actual plans for the city) and has her write her speech – something of a trial by fire. He uses the speech without reading it first. Which turns out to work – because the speech is epic.

Oh and the centres distributing food also ask what your blood type ism which isn’t ominous at all. In the crowd Abraham runs into Eldritch to fix him with an epic glare for seeking the Master. They also talk faith, Eldritch having none since he prayed for a cure and never got an answer (Abraham: “yes he did. The answer was no.”) Though Eldritch throws Miriam’s death at him but I think Abraham gets the last laugh by pointing out he nearly killed the Master in sunlight.

Vasily sets off a bomb to help them escape.

Feraldo strikes me as both an utterly awesome person to have in this crisis and someone everyone would merrily strangle outside of it. Decisive, abrupt and capable and unwilling to tolerate bullshit… or much else, or counter arguments and decisive can easily be brutal. More of her would be interesting

Nora’s conflict coupled with Abraham’s stark memories of a Nazi doctor are really powerful when juxtaposed together. There’s a lot of pain and guilt and complexity there.

I still hate Ephraim

But that’s fine because I kind of love Vasily. Also I must comment on the surprising rarity of a skinny dipping scene which didn't seem to show any naked woman but got to see Vasily's bare backside.