This week, ‘The Strain’ focuses on Gus and the elderly wrestler, Zach moaning about his mommy, and other completely pointless storylines that NOBODY CARES ABOUT. Why are we wasting time on this? The show’s season is only 13 episodes long. Surely, the writers can find some more interesting way to fill that time?
‘Intruders’ may not be the worst episode the show has ever had, but next to nothing of any importance happens in it. This is pure filler. You could skip the whole thing and not realize that you’d missed anything.
Why the hell does the Master care so much about Eph’s whiny brat? In this episode, he has loosened control over Kelly just enough to let some of her original personality come back, and Eichorst puts a wig and makeup on her so she’ll look human again. The idea, of course, is to lure little Zach into her arms. But what’s the point? Just to get back at Eph for injuring him? That’s only going to piss Eph off and make him fight harder. Why wouldn’t the Master just focus on killing Eph directly? It can’t be that hard. The guy has a drinking problem and a major death wish.
As expected, Zach once again spends the entire episode sobbing about his mommy. A typical scene goes something like this:
Zach: Mommy… Mommy… Oh, I miss my mommy!
Eph: Dude, you mom’s dead. Her body’s been taken over by a fucking vampire that wants to rip your face off and eat it.
Zach: I don’t care. I want my mommy!!
Eph: Would you let it fucking go already, kid?
Still determined to kill Eldritch Palmer, Eph decides that the best way to do that is to snipe him from a distance. Never mind that nobody on their team has any military sniper training. All you need is a rifle and the rest takes care of itself, right?
So Eph grabs Zach to take him to do some “errands” – in other words, to go see a black market guy about getting a rifle. ‘Cuz that’s a responsible thing for a parent to bring his child to, and the kid will be so much use there. When they get to the place, they find that the guy has been shot in the gut, a result of a deal gone sour. Eph then spends about 30 minutes of screen time patching up this character we will never see again. At the end, the guy gives him a rifle.
Wow, that was worth devoting half an episode to.
Meanwhile, disguised as a human (which somehow gives her the ability to go out in daylight), Kelly slips past a quarantine checkpoint into the Red Hook neighborhood and sneaks in a couple of “Feeler” vamps in the trunk. That night, the Feelers sniff Zach’s trail back to Fet’s apartment. Seeing her boy sitting alone on the couch, Kelly knocks at the window and beckons to him.
MOMMY!!! YOU’RE BACK!!! HOORAY!!!!!!
Eph hears something from upstairs.
Zach, don’t you fucking open that door, you little shit! If you let her in, she’s going to kill us all!
Naturally, Zach opens the door. Kelly and the Feelers rush in and kill everybody.
Nah, that’s just wishful thinking. Actually, they run around being all vampire-y. Eph and Nora shoot at them and kill the two Feelers. Zach sees his mommy’s vampire face, and Kelly runs away.
The net result of this storyline? Nothing. Nobody accomplished anything. Eph and Zach are still alive. Kelly gets away to try to get at Zach some other way later.
The Chicken Tikka Masala Can’t Be That Good
Yes, Gus is still hanging around with Angel, the elderly and half-crippled restaurant busboy who used to be a Mexican wrestling star half a century ago. Why? Beats me.
Restaurant owners the Guptas refuse to close shop, and Angel refuses to abandon them. Gus goes with Angel on a food run, but their restaurant supplier has been ransacked. So much for that. Why is this important? Oh, right, it’s not.
Gus finally talks some sense into the Gupta parents and convinces them that it’s time to leave town. Their daughter, Hottie Gupta, is so relieved that she thanks Gus by placing her tongue down his throat. (Her human tongue! She’s not a vampire. With this show, I feel I should clarify that!)
Just as things start to get hot and heavy, unfortunately, Gus is rudely interrupted by Quinlan, the ninja gladiator vampire. He knows who Gus is and has come to recruit him. As Hottie watches on from inside the restaurant, Gus goes out into the dark alley to talk to the scary vampire dude. Perhaps she needs to re-evaluate her criteria for boyfriend material?
Gus says that he’s done with vampires and initially refuses the offer. Once Quinlan demonstrates how badass he is, Gus is intrigued again but has to ask, “Why me?” That’s a good question. What does Gus really have to offer? What great talent has he demonstrated that would make him a valuable asset?
His Eminence Will See You Now
The corrupt Cardinal we met a few episodes ago claims to know a seller in possession of the ‘Occido Lumen’ book. Eldritch Palmer is very keen to get his hands on it and offers half a million dollars. The Cardinal says that he will relay the offer, but that other bidders have also expressed interest. Eichorst walks into the room just as the Cardinal leaves. He’s very curious what business Palmer would have with the man. Palmer tells him that it’s none of his concern. Right, that won’t raise any suspicions.
In the episode’s best scene, Palmer intuits that Eichorst is sore about the Master choosing Gabriel Bolivar to be his new host body, and passive-aggressively rubs it in his face by asking questions about the proper protocol for showing devotion. Should he bend down and kiss Bolivar’s ring? “What do you do?” Eichorst seethes with resentment.
The other interested bidders that the Cardinal referred to turn out to be Setrakian and Fet. Setrakian offers $750,000 in gold for the book and says that he speaks on behalf of buyers with even deeper pockets than Palmer. When Fet asks Setrakian about this later, Setrakian admits that it was a bluff. He just wanted to verify that the Cardinal had the book so that he and Fet can break into the church later and steal it before Palmer gets it. Fet is down with that plan.
That night, Fet and Setrakian indeed break into the church, but their doing so coincides with Eichorst paying the Cardinal an unwelcome visit. Eichorst knows what Palmer is up to and demands that the Cardinal tell him where the book is. When the Cardinal refuses, Eichorst infects him with worms. As soon as he turns, the Master will get the information out of him.
Setrakian and Fet attack Eichorst with a gun, a sword and a silver grenade, but don’t come close to hitting him. Eichorst escapes unscathed. As the Cardinal lies on the ground choking, Setrakian promises to release him to the mercy of God if he reveals the location of the book. The Cardinal blurts out a name, and Setrakian beheads him. He knows who has the book now – it’s the (former) young kid from the convent we saw in a flashback a few episodes ago.
This, then, is the only thing in the whole episode to move the show’s plot forward an inch, and I know that the writers could have found another way to convey the information without wasting an entire episode to do it.