The Strain - Season 2 Episode 10: "The Assassin" TV Episode Review
Written by Giuseppe Infante
Directed by Phil Abraham
Written by Liz Phang
2015, 45 minutes, Rated TV-MA
Episode premiered on September 13th, 2015
Corey Stoll as Dr. Ephraim Goodweather
David Bradley as Abraham Setrakian
Mía Maestro as Dr. Nora Martinez
Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet
Jonathan Hyde as Eldritch Palmer
Warning! There are spoilers in this recap.
Several characters on The Strain call in "favors" to enhance the plot. Eph, Fet and Setrakian have all done it, as others probably have too. This time Dutch's "favor" enables Eph to somehow gather spy equipment, which is not shown, only mentioned. These little plot devices are needed, but can always be shown to the viewer- a ten second scene is better than a zero second scene. Although there are some flaws, as usual (if possible, new hairpieces for Season 3, please), the program still makes for an entertaining horror television. "The Assassin" is on the fast track, moving the narrative using tension-ridden pacing, while the closing segment leaves the audience fearful yet hungry for more.
The episode opens with two scenes, the first presenting Eph and Dutch gearing up to snipe Eldritch Palmer. The showrunners could have displayed the duo acquiring the equipment, but let's not dwell on the negative points, as this episode is pretty damn good. The next scene is more powerful. Justine Feraldo uses an anecdote about her childhood and mother, where the crowd applauds with cheer. Then she mandates a tax on the residents of the Upper East Side. "The people of Redhook paid with their blood," she declares at a press conference, referring to the events on the previous episode, "The Battle for Redhook". She has come a long way since her debut on the show, and this scene solidifies her leadership and status. "Justine, you can't do this," exclaims the Mayor, in which she responds, "Mayor, I just did." She is a bad-ass, and then disappears from the episode.
After the initial commercial break, Eph and Dutch are on a roof preparing to shoot Eldritch Palmer. They discuss relationships and their sexual tension can be cut with a pinky finger. This is actually an excellent scene. The show forgets the plot for a brief moment, and the dialogue and acting take over, providing outside-the-box commentary. "You've changed a lot since I met you," says Dutch. This is alluding to his alcoholism, which has yet to severely ruin him, but surly will. But before Eph pulls the rifle's trigger, he takes a big swig of Dutch's flask, and the plan to kill is back in play.
Elsewhere, Setrakian is on the hunt for the Occido Lumen - still. Nora and Fet are by his side as the trio are seeking Rudyard Fonescu by crossing off all R. Fonescu's from the phonebook. Really? They still have bulky print phonebooks nowadays? Anyways, the good news is by episode's end, Setrakian finds it. The bad news is he gets a knockout blow to the head from an unknown assailant. But before finding the book, he shows his true colors. They find out Dutch and Eph have been arrested, but Setrakian is reluctant to go with the other two on a rescue mission. He is devoted, rather obsessed, with the cause. Don't blame him though - the epidemic can eventually wipe out the human race.
In the melodrama department, there are some more small flaws. "I need you, Coco... I've never felt like this... It's like I'm being burned alive... I will prove myself to you," are some of the cheesy lines sputtered out by Eldritch Palmer. The clichés are enough for Coco to forgive him, but will this sentiment be enough after she gets some of the Master's blood?! Let me backtrack. Eph pulls the trigger; his shot to Eldritch misses and hits Coco. After trying to medically treat her back at the Stoneheart Group building, he demands Eichorst to save her. The Master arrives and obliges, but there are certainly ulterior motives behind his life saving actions. What will come of Coco after Palmer spills the beans about his partnership with The Master? The Palmer/Coco storyline has certainly become more compelling after shooting her.
Lastly, the closing scene sent shivers from my toes to my nose. While Dutch and Eph are behind bars, strigoi raid the police station and kill all the cops. But before the invasion, Dutch is taken from their cell and brought to unknown whereabouts. Eph, now alone in the cell, cannot escape. And then Eichorst appears on the other side of the bars, and has an intriguing conversation with him about the attempted assassination. This is more tension-building dialogue, where The Strain is at its finest. Nora and Fet eventually free Eph, and the cop who escorted Dutch from the cell is alive. He informs them she was dropped off at the Mayfeild Hotel. In the hotel, Dutch is screaming, chained up by her neck in an all white padded room. Eichorst is cranking the chain, dragging her toward him, and the episode ends. So does this recap.