Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Strain, Season 2, Episode 7: The Born

Romans! It’s Quinlan’s back story as a Roman Centurian back in the day, fighting in daylight (though covered in mud and ending all his fights almost instantly). He had a senator patron – who knew all about what he was: a half-breed vampire/human. He tolerated being a gladiator for his own reasons.

In the present we have Vasiliy and Dutch being all cute and couply though she still has some issues that have her put some distance between them. They briefly lament Fitzwilliam’s death.

Despite the distance they do discuss moving in some of Dutch’s things – only when they go to her place it is locked. Vasiliy doesn’t tolerate locks. Inside is Nikki – Dutch’s ex-girlfriend (or maybe not so ex), very much alive. Dutch is overjoyed. Vasiliy less so. He’s a little snarky about Nikki hiding while they were fighting and he wants them to leave asap. Dutch agrees – and thinks Nikki should come with them. Not what Vasily intended

When they get back to the base with Nora looking at Nikki’s bad ankle, Vasiliy continues to be rather arseholish. He also wants Dutch to confront Nikki about her stuff she stole – and to tell Nikki that he and Dutch are a couple. She won’t – nor will she come with him on Abraham’s mission; she chooses to stay with Nikki.

That mission involves going to the buildings that Palmer has bought and whining to Abraham about Dutch. Abraham could not possibly care less about his romantic moping. What they do care about is the school bus from the blind school they find. A security guard finds them – but that’s ok because Quinlan finds the security guard.

Inside they see the whole blind-spider-vampire hatchery and face several of the lightning fast spider vamps. They’re too fast for Abe and Vasiliy –but then Quinlan shows himself and just slaughters them with terrifying efficiency.

Having established how awesome he is, Quinlan introduces himself and says he’s been hunting the Master all his lie – with a little flashback of Quinlan stalking the Master, the Master actually avoiding him and Quinlan knowing the history of Abraham’s sword-cane. And he’s super impressed that Abraham managed to wound the Master enough to make him shift bodies – the first time anyone has managed that. They’ve also led Quinlan to his nesting place

That would be there, where they are, right now. Abraham is super excited that they’re this close to the Master though Vasiliy spares a moment to be duly freaked out by Quinlan. He goes to scatter all the people on the site and wave bombs around for funsies while Quinland and Abraham hunt the Master

After some proper taunting from the Master and Quinlan (including the revelation that the Master killed Quinlan’s mother) we end up with Quinlan and Abraham facing off against the Master and Eichorst. Something almost happens – alas Vasiliy’s ineffective bomb breaks up the fight. Quinlan is not amused and tells Abraham to leave the fight to him.

Ephraim has made his way to a bar to treat his wounds and drink booze. He eventually staggers his way back to New York (past all the checkpoints, apparently) and into the base where Nikki is asking Dutch about Vasiliy. Ephraim clumsily mentions that Dutch and Vasiliy share a room (there is no scene not made worse by Ephraim).

Nora wakes Ephraim to check his wound and to tell him about Kelley – how she’s a Lieutenant vampire and how Zach probably saw her so we have to deal with family issues. It could go worse

Back to Dutch and Nikki and, despite hating Nikki’s mother, Dutch asks Nikki to call her and reassure her. Vasiliy comes home and there is Awkwardness. He takes out a lot of his awkwardness out on a really nasty attack on Ephraim. Damn it Vasiliy don’t make me sympathise with Ephraim.

Abraham reads some of Quinlan’s history to Zach – including Quinlan’s title of “The Born”.

Ephraim and Vasiliy both go drinking with Vasiliy’s relationship issues and Ephraim deciding to kill Palmer

Over to Eldritch Palmer (who is being creepy with Coco) who gets the news that the assassin they sent after Ephraim is dead – they have the bioweapon, but they’ve lost Ephraim.

Coco and Palmer have a helicopter ride because creepy romance – and Palmer presents Ephraim as a vicious murderer while creepily discussing renewal and the upside to disasters. Then back to his tower for drinks and flirting. Her taking the lead this time – leading him to his bedroom and despite his many misgivings and insecurities she kisses him.

Vasiliy’s jealousy is not endearing, it helps that he’s been established as rather shy and socially not adept in a child-like endearing fashion, but it’s far from a pass. But there are some interesting elements of this scene. For one, I’m happy to see that that Dutch’s bisexuality is not being dropped, ignored or made a one off mention (in fact, it’s far more prevalent here than in season 1). For another, we’re not seeing Dutch as a bisexual who must have both genders nor are we seeing Vasiliy as jealous for the sake of it: After all, Nikki is Dutch’s sorta-ex-sorta with whom she clearly as a lot of unresolved affection and issues with. Many people would be insecure in that situation albeit it can be handled with better grace. What’s also important is that Vasiliy regards Nikki as, for want of a better term, equal competition. He sees her as an equally valid and possible love interest for Dutch. At times I think this matters – because while bisexuals rarely stand on that “I am attracted to all genders exactly equally” there’s still prevalent trope on many of the shows we’ve watched and the books we’ve read where the bisexual may have had a brief fling with the same sex (often historic and never depicted) but for a REAL relationship. Even though Vasiliy and Dutch is almost certainly the end-game (main characterless if nothing else ensures it) at least the show and Vasiliy are presenting Dutch and Nikki as a legitimate possibility. There’s no overt presumption (though, again, the main-characterness does pretty much hammer down an implied meta-assumption. Yes, while saying this we have to stress that Dutch & Nikki really isn’t going to happen and the chances of Nikki dying tragically at worst or disappearing into the sunset at best are ASTRONOMICALLY HIGH but at least in show they’re pretending that’s not automatically going to happen) that Vasiliy will definitely be the one Dutch chooses nor that Vasiliy believes he is naturally the obvious choice – he’s insecure and jealous because he isn’t presuming he is Dutch’s automatic romantic choice

I also kind of loved Abraham’s eye-roll – so often I’ve complained that romance drama often happens at inopportune times, it was nice to see the snarky acknowledgement of this.

The pacing is still PAINFULLY slow….