Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Strain, Season 3, Episode 7: Collaborators

Eichorst has been badly injured losing a hand. And apparently the vampire cure for unexpected limb severing is to burn the stump then plunge it in water. Ok

Eichorst is going to get a lot more irritated because Palmer is pushing more and more against the control of the Master. He is determined to find out what’s on the ship in his name – but when he gathers his own force of men to invade the ship (which is what he takes, so low has his authority sunk) he finds his own men slaughtered and the ship empty.

Meanwhile, Ephraim and Dutch are joined by Quinlan (with lots of awkwardness) to leave the Safe Zone to go to the airport and find the plane that started this whole thing to try and find a recording of the Master’s communication without a whole lot of background noise. This involves going through parts of New York that have been reduced to an utter war zone, looting, murder, robbery in the street and everyone carrying weapons – it’s a complete ruin.

But here we get to the meat of the plot – Vasiliy and Abraham

There were times this episode where I questioned why we needed this episode. Did we need the history of Vasiliy’s grandfather? Did we need a scene of the two going to stock up on more silver?

But we’ve had a rift between the two. They were very close in early seasons of this show but have drifted apart as Abraham studied the Lumen and Vasiliy took the fight to the vampires

Vasiliy is shaken now. His fight has lost, completely lost. The vampire victory destroyed Vasiliy’s confidence and Abraham spells it out – you can’t fight a war against an enemy that can quickly restock their numbers over night.

So the two needed to reconnect. As they go to find the silver, Vasiliy detours so they can check on his parents. Earlier in the show he asked them to leave the city but the rift between them was too great. They find his parents, dead, in a vampire infested building: dead by suicide after both were infected. Vasiliy is contemptuous of his dad, holding a grudge, but Abraham calls them brave and tries to comfort Vasiliy

Faced with this, his shaken confidence and Abraham’s gruff kindness, Vasiliy reveals his family history. His grandfather fought the Nazis in Ukraine in World War 2 and was captured… and recruited as a concentration camp guard. Vasiliy and his dad never knew if he was forced or not (the flashbacks show clearly he was) but the guilt of grandfather Fet killing Jews in the concentration camp haunted the family. And was part of why Vasiliy’s father, an academic, a man who desperately avoided any chance of violence or darkness in his life, loathed that his son became

With this we need to remember that Abraham is a Jew and a holocaust survivor.

It’s a haunting scene. And Abraham doesn’t absolve the grandfather – I think it would have been utterly appalling if he did – but he focuses on Vasiliy himself, on forgiving his father (not his grandfather) on not being haunted by his past. He offers comfort and advice and it is, simply, one of the best paternal scenes I’ve seen on television in a long time. It’s a powerful scene that really reconnects the pair after so much distance

After this scene, Abe and Vasiliy meet Palmer – and Palmer tells them about the ship and it’s hidden contents. In exchange, Abe gives him a dose of the White: which painfully helps restore Eichorst’s health.

I notice Palmer has picked up a new Black servant – I hope he lives longer than the last.

Obviously we have parallels here - the parallel of collaborators is clearly there between Vasiliy's grandfather and Palmer but I'm not sure what the message is supposed to be there