Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Strain, Season 2, Episode 6: Identity

We have an ominous vampire walking the street… in daylight.

Ephraim catches up with his contact in DC who is apparently an old friend who seems quite blasé about the whole hidden identity thing. We quickly learn that outside of New York news is being very carefully controlled and they don’t realise how terribad it is.

Ephraim tells him the plan to unleash his anti-vampire bioweapon and what he needs his friend Rob to help spread it around. Rob points out it’s not that easy to get the DoD to unleash a bio-weapon over New York City. Funny how that works. Instead they’re going to go with Rob’s contacts

News reports that the president is being impeached for responding so poorly to the disaster and congress and senate have pretty much devolved into childish brawling. So it’s business as usual. Rob’s contact, Leigh arrives and Ephraim shows her his method of taking down the vampires which looks hella awesome. It also reveals just how bad the vampire menace has become with over 3,000,000 infected.

We get some long winded war stories before Leigh finally sets up a meeting. And we get some flirting, kissing and going home to have sex between Leigh and Ephraim. Because we really need this right now. Really. Anyway the next morning Ephraim is outraged to realise the people Leigh is meeting will only actually deploy the cure if they get a whole lot of exclusive proprietary rights because Business.  

Ephraim gets his meeting with a big boss man, General Dean Rushing, who wants Stoneheart to help. That would be Palmer’s company and a very bad idea. They manage to get him on side. Leigh also gets her side of the deal all set up and it’s all looking good.

They return to Rob’s house to find Rob dead – and an assassin waiting. He kills Leigh but not Ephraim (damn it) who shoots him. The assassin has Stoneheart’s corporate logo on his phone

Let me repeat that – the assassin has his employer’s logo on his phone. The assassin is carrying a brand name. The assassin is carrying proof of employment. The. Assassin. Is. Carrying. Identification. Of. His. Employer.


Back in the city, Fitzwilliam joins the merry band (and Zach, who needs to be eaten). Nora also has the unenviable task of reassuring Zach while his dad is away. Fitzwilliam tells them about the properties Palmer has been buying while Vasiliy is all suspicious and untrusting. Fitzwilliam also spills on Palmer’s motivation – wanting immortality since he has always been plagued by ill health (I kind of thought everyone already knew this).

Nora checks in with Justine Ferraldo while taking Zach out for clothes where they briefly nod at strategy and Zach’s lack of family. Oh look another completely damn pointless scene. No, I take it back, this scene exists entirely so Nora and Zach can get a lift home IN THE DARK so they can be attacked by Kelly’s spider-vampires

They shelter in a church where they manage to call Abraham for help (good thing those phones are up and running). They manage to set a rather nifty trap while they play hide and seek in the church, unfortunately Zach’s asthma has him coughing loudly – it would be an ultra tense scene if it weren’t for the fact we KNOW Zach won’t die

And, yes, Abe and co come to the rescue, and Fitzwilliam gets bitten. Of course he does. Well that was predictable. He has a respectful goodbye scene with Abraham before he is beheaded.

Palmer and Eichorst talk master races (vampires), Palmer’s security system (which Eichorst is a little annoyed by because Palmer didn’t tell him about the lethal UV defences) and the ominous yet vaguely undefined plan that is about to be unleashed. Eichorst continues not to tell Palmer that the Master is injured and Palmer continues to be super arrogant with little regard for his own safety

Eichorst goes to see the Master with Bolivar; the Master arises from his grave dirt and Eichorst expects to be the Master’s new vessel (since his current one is dying/badly injured/not happy). And he’s kind of put out when the Master chooses Bolivar instead. It’s just as disgusting as last time

I would have thought not being completely replaced by the Master would be a good thing. The Master in his new body still calls Eichorst special – and how they’ll always be together.

Gus is still trying to make friends with Angel due to his love of the old Silver Angel movies. Because when vampires are taking over, you really take time out for film trivia. After much heckling, Angel angrily admits it though clearly doesn’t want to talk about it. Since he’s giving out very strong “I don’t want to talk about this” signals, Aanya decides to take Gus to the basement where Angel watches his movies

What is wrong with you people?! The city is being consumed by vampires and you’re harassing an old wrestler who just wants to be left alone? Who does this? Why would Aanya do this?!

Her dad insists that business in the restaurant continue as normal – including her making deliveries. Angel and Gus both step up to offer to go with her since it’s not safe and there’s a bit of testosterone duelling (Angel does not like Gus the “horny gang banger”) until Gus says they should let Aanya decide (what a nice and rare gesture). She chooses both of them because she’s not a fool.

They make the delivery, discussing her hopes, Gus’s past and killing a couple of vampires.

Back to the daylight walking vampire who goes to see the Ancients to express how much he hates New York and even telling the Ancients off for being too nice to the Master. Well, he doesn’t mince words. Vorn, the leader of the vampire death squad working with Gus that got incincerated, was apparently trained by this guy (which makes this guy Quinlan which is what I was calling Vorn. Oops). Quinlan wants to be put in touch with human hunters

Why is this show sooooo verrrrryyyy sloooooooooooooow? Whyyyyyyyy? It’s not even a case of so many storylines – it’s every storyline just dragging. Like Ephraim dishing out the cure – that meant all episode last week on a train ride. And this week he’s having sex with Leigh. Everything is just so slow to move – was there even a need for the whole bar scene?

What are Angel and Gus and Aanya? What is this storyline? Where is it going? Why are we focused on a wrestler at all?! Yes I know where it’s going – they’re going to meet up with Quinlan – but we’re taking so long to get there!

And we keep having these scenes with Palmer which basically just could say “OMINOUS AND EVIL! WOOO!” without anything new happening – with occasionally drop ins from Coco Marchaund and WHY IS SHE EVEN HERE?

I also call utter shenanigans that Nora would take Zach out to get clothes so late in the day that it was pitch black, middle of the night when she was returning. Why would she does this?

I’m not even going to pretend to be surprised by Fitzwilliam’s pointless death – and it was, completely pointless. It didn’t advance the story or set the tone or theme. We weren’t invested enough in him to care about his death. It didn’t introduce a new concept – being forced to kill people who are infected has already been tragically explored. There was no reason why they couldn’t have driven off Kelly without him being bitten. There was no reason for the whole church scene at all, since Nora roaming around New York at night was ridiculous. Why even spend a couple of episodes recruiting Fitzwilliam if this is how he is going to be used?

And was there a need to try and build Leigh up as a love interest? Oh yes, so she can be fridged – we may only know her for 2 seconds, but why have a woman die if you can’t also make a man feel terribad sad about it? All in service to the mighty Manpain!