Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain is now in its second season. To keep up with what’s happening with the show each week, Drew Dietsch and Andrew Hawkins will be putting their words together to cover only the most important of events from each episode. Strap in and enjoy as we recap, analyze and occasionally riff The Strain.

Warning: Major Spoilers Ahead

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Drew Dietsch:
First things first: looks like that wickedly fun intro we got last week isn’t going to be standard operating procedure for the show. I’m assuming it’s going to be used much to the same effect as The Simpsons’ couch gag; it will augment a shorter episode’s overall length. That’s all fine, but I kind of missed it this week.

With that bit of inconsequential blather out of the way, I’m willing to say that this week might have produced the best episode of the season. While there have been better individual moments or sequences in other episodes, the entirety of this episode was firing on all cylinders. Every plotline had weight, propulsion, a feeling of immediacy to the overall story, and they all delivered where it mattered. And the episode ended with what might be the biggest gut-punch the series has left us with yet, but we’ll get to that. Do you share my enthusiasm for this week, Andrew?

Andrew Hawkins:
“I don’t see any version of this that ends well for us.” You said it Eph. Holy shit this episode delivered on all of the setup we have been presented with in recent weeks. The show has been inching us closer and closer towards catastrophic events lately, and finally shit has begun to hit the fan in ways many of us never would have expected. Coco, Eldritch, Dutch, Eph, Bolivar, Feraldo and Setrakian all get huge moments here. We didn’t see any moments of Zach and Kelly or Gus and Quinlan, but we didn’t need to. This was very mature story development and under the direction of Phil Abraham, The Strain has reached a watershed moment here. From this point on the stakes have been raised and its gonna take a lot of work to keep this kind of momentum going.

Drew: So let’s start dissecting all the greatness we were blessed with this week. I have to begin with the attempt on Eldritch’s life as it made me much more accepting of a pairing that I felt nothing for. Culminating with Coco receiving “the white” from The Master and being made aware of Eldritch’s alliance makes me really, really anxious to see how she deals with this info. If her last shot in this episode is any indication, it won’t be good for Eldritch’s recent affections.

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Hawkins: Seeing Eph and Dutch working together was a great way for this episode to establish that every member of the team is able to work well with each other now. We especially get to see this with the pairing of Fet and Nora as they help Setrakian look for the Lumen. What happens with Eldritch Palmer and Coco really threw me for a loop. I don’t think anyone expected Coco to get sniped by Eph, let alone become one of The Master’s chosen few. I have no idea where Coco’s path leads in the big picture of The Strain, and damn if it isn’t exciting to wonder what’s going to happen.

So Eph makes his assassination attempt and blows it, getting himself and Dutch into a hell of a dangerous situation. What gets me here is that not only do they both wind up in a jail that eventually gets overrun by strigoi, but we are given a double dose of corrupt politics and law as a supporting storyline. Eldritch owns the mayor and the police force, basically positioning him as the king of New York. The Master rules all, but Eldritch is definitely not one to be fucked with. Now about that abduction of Dutch and the hunt leading to her rescue. We lost a week, so let’s discuss ‘Dead End’ while we’re at it.

Drew: Before we move on, I have to highlight two of the biggest moments of this episode: Eph and Eldritch verbally squaring off and that amazing ending. It was great to see the less mythic protagonists exchange words (Where The Master and Abraham are direct enemies, I like that same dynamic between Eph and Eldritch). I especially enjoyed Eph’s line about Eldritch rationalizing evil. And the strigoi attack in the jail cell was yet another perfect example of how The Strain’s action works best in close quarters.

And man, if Coco’s near death and resurrection was shocking, seeing Dutch in Eichorst’s feeding room was one of the best and worst feeling moments of the series. The Strain often falters when it comes to how it wants to end an episode, usually opting for a scene that feels more like the start of a commercial break than an episode ender. Not this week! I was chomping at the bit for the next episode. More like this please, The Strain.

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Hawkins: The Assassin and Dead End are two of the best back to back episodes of the series. Tonally they are completely different and the shock of going from such a fast paced and fully cooked story featuring almost all of our main players, to a very focused and smaller scale episode is jarring. Dead End was a shocker. Eichorst’s past is littered throughout basically the simplest narrative we’ve seen yet. Dutch is being tortured and the gang is on their way. I think other than a quick bit of Gus and Angel being chivalrous, we pretty much got the most bare bones chapter to date. That said, damn this was fucked up.

Drew: I don’t want to touch Eichorst’s “It’s a night to try new things,” scene with a ten foot pole. That made my skin crawl off of my body and leave the state. That being said, getting to see how an utterly detestable character was once pitiful, meek, and even relatable is always something I thoroughly enjoy. Eichorst’s backstory also worked as a great example of how people can be swept into unimaginable evils thanks to the promise of power and respect. The culmination of his story with Helga was both heartbreaking and completely exposed the evil bastard Eichorst is and always has been at his core. Richard Sammel continues to absolutely kill it on this show.

Hawkins: I’m looking forward to the multiple set ups we got in The Assassin and I’m glad that Dutch isn’t down for the count as far as we know. Fet looks like he’s about to go after The Master harder than he ever has before and I’m pretty sure he’s gonna be the one to take out Eichorst for the sheer of revenge. The next time we see Eldritch and Coco is going to be interesting and I wonder how much longer that house of cards has before it falls. We’ve only got a few episodes left here and I’m ready to see some serious shit go down.

Drew: You and me both, my friend.

Episode 10 – The Assassin

Hawkins’ Rating: 


Out of a Possible 5 Stars


Drew’s Rating: 


Out of a Possible 5 Stars

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Episode 11 – Dead End

Hawkins’ Rating: 


Out of a Possible 5 Stars


Drew’s Rating: 


Out of a Possible 5 Stars

Next week: Episode 10 – Fallen Light

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