The Strain - Season 2 Episode 9: "The Battle for Redhook" TV Episode Review
Written by Giuseppe Infante
Directed by Kevin Dowling
Written by Regina Corrado
2015, 46 minutes, Rated TV-MA
Episode premiered on September 6th, 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.
"The Battle for Redhook" is an upgrade from last week's subpar "Intruders" and The Strain is showing signs of life again. For starters, no main characters die (ah, a sigh of relief). The tension rolling through the episode was in high gear, especially when Fet was attacked. He better not be infected by Kelly's little worms that landed on him. On top of vampire problems, he has lady troubles and needs to kick Dutch like a cigarette habit. Aside from the show's melodramatics, the battle scene, as the title insinuates, has to be a straight-up tease to a larger battle to come.
Take note of Richard Sammel's exceptional portrayal of the ruthless Eichorst. He stole the show with his sinister, yet elegant demeanor. Last week's opening sequence shows his Mr. Miyagi-esque knowledge of how to act human in disguise. This week's scene pits a poor boatman to Eichorst's menacing seduction, as he offers a large sum of cash to charter twenty strigoi to Redhook safely. And in classic Eichorst nature, has the boatman whacked by Kelly leeching on to his neck for dinner. There is a scene where he is antagonizing Eph, He is a ruthless bastard.
The actual 'battle' between the undersized strigoi army and Justine Feraldo and her SWAT team and the heroic vampire pursuing comrades is a pleasant lead in to the final three episodes. This shootout is a tease, especially as the neighborhood locals join in on the encounter. A speech by Justine encouraging them to fight for their lives is enough to stop a minute invasion. The good guys really won the battle because the UV lights kick back in after Eichorst has the power shut down. Along with Kelly's hunt to capture Zach and a showdown between Setrakian and Eichorst, the tension is high all episode.
Tension is high, except for the ridiculous fluff scenes with Dutch and Nikki- major problem! Screen time could have been devoted to Quinlan, Gus and Angel. Hell, the Gupta family escaping New York City or Palmer and Coco would suffice better. If viewers want to see two ladies go at it in the sack, the internet is vast in the genre. After a cliché ridden argument and make-up sex, this subplot is still not over. Fet is a sad puppy dog and Dutch still hasn't dumped him totally. Enough already! Later in battle, the classic 'save your life' tactic, with Nikki stabbing a strigoi and saving Dutch, is terrible writing and flat out lame. Please stop this melodrama.
The episode moves the war between strigoi and humans closer to the season finale, where shit better go down. Where is the Master? His presence has not been felt since the showdown with Quinlan. These characters need to get back into the mix. The episode is better than last, but the lackluster soap-opera relationship scenes are pulling down the quality of The Strain. Lose the love scenes and this can make for a fantastic installment. Instead, the Hollywood cliché rises again. The flashback scenes with a young Setrakian, The Master and Quinlan are truly missed. The past has gone and now is the time to march into battle and see where the final three episodes will take viewers next.