Film & TV

TV Review – The Strain, Season 1, Episode 7

This week’s episode is a good one, with more flashbacks into Abraham Setrakian’s past with Eichorst, and even a twist that leaves us desperate for answers…

Warning: Spoilers follow!

We haven’t seen much of the airplane survivors recently, but this week’s “For Services Rendered” starts with the last one to turn, Joan Luss (Lesley Hope). We were left in the dark about the lawyer in question, but when her husband returns home from his business trip, it’s revealed she has become a pretty gruesome bloodsucker. Their street is deserted, which the taxi guy states started ever since the eclipse. So now we know it affected much more than a few guys in the street – it was their chance to spread the virus even further.

Don’t worry viewers, there is a chance Joan’s poor children will not return home to become vampires themselves as their maid Neeva (Kim Roberts) has taken them to her house to keep them safe. Finally someone is getting it. However this serenity is disrupted when Eva’s daughter convinced her to return the children to their parents.

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The kids arrive at their house to see their father dead (or not yet turned) and if this isn’t traumatic enough, their mother is red-eyed, white-skinned, with a huge forked snake flying out of her mouth and desperate for their blood. I don’t know why, but I think Joan suits being a vampire more than the others, mainly because she was a bit of a bitch before anyway.

It’s some excellent acting from Leslie Hope though that is the real terror; terrifyingly good as she really flips the script as the vampire character with no hesitation to attack her own family. The use of lighting in the scene not only supplements the story (vampires can only travel in the dark, also making them that extra bit sinister) but vitally helps create this good vs evil trope in The Strain.

Meanwhile, Eph (in this episode described as a “self-centred prick”- that’s a new one) and his gang of vampire hunters try to track down The Master. Yes, Abe’s new plan is direct, explaining that by killing The Master himself, all the others will die. A tad unrealistic, but bearable.

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They confide in Jim to help them find The Master (good luck getting Jim to do something right) and Jim’s wife becomes more involved in their secrets but doesn’t believe them. As they follow Eichorst into the subway stations, the show produces more of an action tone that we have not seen before. This abrupt change of scenery has the viewers’ hearts racing, with the game of musical trains giving the episode almost a Bourne Identity feel.

In the failure of trying to set Eichorst up, there are flashbacks of Abe’s time in a concentration camp. The flashback format is an imaginative tool the creators use to give us background without convoluting a narrative that is working really well. We see both Abe and Eichorst’s character develop – Abe as the victim in this, and Eichorst as a monster.

It’s revealed Eichorst is a Nazi who is trying to use The Master as a backup plan to Hilter’s failure in the 3rd Reich, and Abe is just a poor Jewish boy who is forced to create the ancient box we have seen in previous episodes. Because of course it was the Nazi’s idea to spread the virus, and with Eichorst stating no one really wants a choice, and freedom is overrated, he has really stolen the role as the villain. It could be argued he even has more of a role as the monster than The Master, who has been slightly neglected in this episode.

The Strain

But, let’s get back to Joan Luss’ family (this is where it gets reaches perfection). As the children are about to be attacked by their own mother, she is shot in the head, and so are the other vampires that have surrounded them. But who would save them and why? No seriously why, because these hooded figures have brought a whole new mystery to the series. They dress in the costume and makeup departments’ best work of the series yet.

These figures look like the infected but less sinister, less bloodthirsty and just all around strange. Their leader looks a bit like Frankenstein’s monster, who helps in making sure the children are unharmed. Their collective voice is both assuring and completely off-putting at the same time – a soft robotic sound that is somehow likable. They seem to be their own group of vampire hunters and savagely shoot Neeva’s daughter on seeing that she has been bitten, ending this week’s episode with the quote “she’s corrupted’’. Who are these people? It’s all very exciting….

Eleanor Missen



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Writer and Editor for the Film & TV section of Impact, Bharat is a keen previewer, reviewer and sometimes just viewer, of all things cinematic and televisual, with a particular passion for biographical pictures, adaptations and sitcoms.

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