The Strain - Season 2 Episode 7: "The Born" TV Episode Review
Written by Giuseppe Infante
Directed by Howard Deutch
Written by Chuck Hogan
2015, 46 minutes, Rated TV-MA
Episode premiered on August 23th, 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.
New York City is now in full blown vampire-mode, as the epidemic is rampant and not seeing any changes after Eph returns from Washington. The showrunners decided on not exploring his venture back to Redhook, so we must assume getting back into the city is much easier than leaving. On some levels this is disturbing, as it is important to show both sides of the fence. A scene or two of his voyage back to the Hook, rather than panning in on him at a local bar and strolling right into their makeshift anti-vamp headquarters, with a gunshot wound nonetheless, would be real. By the end of "The Born," Eph's next step is to kill Eldritch Palmer. The Strain is authentic when it wants to be, but at times it does wander outside the lines.
Wandering outside the lines can be a good at times (see Quinlan), though when it comes to Dutch and Fet, stay inside! Remember Nikki, Dutch's old flame? She's back and Fet is leveled down to the archetype of the whiny, overzealous, cliché ridden lover. He is a loyal man, as we've seen his character develop, but why is he so over-the-top with their "passionate destructive relationship"? It's one way to get his mind away from the present state of chaos. Their union was doomed from the get-go when she declared her problems several episodes ago in the skinny dip pool scene. Dutch and Fet's connection is a platform for their progression from mundane characteristics. Dutch used to detract from the show as is, and bringing in Nikki again takes away from the main cause: ending the strigoi takeover.
In more relationship news, Palmer and his lovely assistant, Coco, are officially an item. The juxtaposition of his dusty relic of a man (or is he a genital-less strigoi?) and her as a blossoming flower is interesting, but feels out of this worldly – which works in the universe of The Strain. This storyline has more significance than Dutch/Nikki, as Palmer is one of the central antagonists of the show. We've seen him before and after meeting Eichorst, giving his character depth. Presently, Palmer's reinvigorated self is longing for love, and Coco is willing to open the flood gates for him and his cobweb-full underpants. She seems to be the one ray of light in the gloomy world of killing and blood sucking he is now enduring, as he keeps her from his new reality. But something is up with her. She has yet to be examined through a lens the other characters have been under, exposing them for who they really are. Coco is still a mystery, a wild card.
These scenes and subplots have their ups and downs, and do not compare to what dominates the episode. This is the official introduction (with mythology) of Quinlan, the bad-ass vampire slayer. We begin to learn his origins in a flashback dating back to the Roman Empire where we see him battling in the Coliseum. He is referred to as the "Night Demon" in Italy, though viewers learn of his day-walking, as he is half human/half strigoi. The undead duo have been at war for hundreds of years, and when The Master was weakened, Quinlan felt his pain, being drawn to America to continue the hunt. The Master has claimed the life of his mother in the past, taunting Quinlan, and as he is about to lay the whooping down, the Master flees with the not-on-purpose help of Fet's explosion fetish. There has to be more to their history, I'm sure of it, but will it be delved upon in the next episode?
This episode skips out on Angel, Gus and Kelly, though we see some Feelers in action. Quinlan using his bone-handled sword to slay the "stupid little monkeys," as Fet calls them, is the action highlight of this week and not to miss. Also, Nora is being underutilized. She started the season off with a battering strigoi and working the lab, but has been put on the backburner as Zach's personal babysitter of late. The episode's ending is a mere tease as to what seems to be the final act of this season – Eph's hunt for Palmer and Quinlan's hunt for the Master. All in all, The Strain needs to skip on the melodramatics at this point and move on with the main stories being told. Quinlan is a saving grace here, and without him this episode would have dropped the ball. Blending his intriguing story with the relationship dramatics only elevates his status on the show, as he seems to be a fan-favorite from the novels. In the end, it was a decent move by the writers to get some of the fluff out before the final couple of episodes, leaving plenty of room to capitalize on what the first half of the season setup.