‘The Strain’ 2.09 Recap: “Something Terrible Is Happening”

How odd. Three-quarters of the way through the show’s second season, the producers of ‘The Strain’ decided that now would be a good time to change the opening titles sequence, replacing the quick and simple but effective title card previously used with a looong (I swear, it’s at least six minutes) and extremely cheesy animated montage. Chalk this up as yet another confounding artistic misstep in a series filled with them.

The episode is called ‘The Battle for Red Hook’, which suggests something a lot more exciting than what we actually get.

We open with Eichorst chartering a water taxi to haul a big load of vampires into Red Hook. It’s a shame that the authorities who have quarantined the neighborhood didn’t consider that possibility.

Kelly is sad about not getting Zach. She’s also mad that Nora has taken her place as the boy’s substitute mommy. Eichorst shrugs, “These things happen,” and orders her to put her face makeup back together to look human again. She doesn’t do a very good job with that.

In the aftermath of Kelly’s intrusion into their apartment, Eph consoles his son, “It’s not your fault.” What bullshit! Of course it’s all his fault!

Dutch spends most of the episode welding iron bars onto the windows of her ex-girlfriend Nikki’s apartment. I thought they’d moved Nikki to Fet’s place? What’s the point of this? Fet and Nora stop by to check on them, mostly so that Fet can continue to pout about how much time Dutch spends with her ex.

Eph, Zach and Setrakian pay the Mayor and Councilwoman Feraldo a visit to warn them that vampires have gotten past quarantine. The Mayor has no idea who they are and thinks they’re crazy.

That night, the water taxi brings the vampires across the bay. Kelly kills the pilot. Big shock.

Dutch finishes her welding. She and Nikki have a big fight about Dutch’s relationship with Fet. Naturally, this leads immediately to them hopping into bed together.

Eichorst and the vampires take over a power plant and cause a blackout through the neighborhood. This causes the UV lights at the quarantine checkpoint stations to go out, because nobody thought to hook them up to a backup generator. With a See ya, suckas, the Mayor immediately hightails it out of there. Feraldo is determined to stay and fight for the neighborhood. She grabs a gun and is given a quick lesson in how to shoot.

A small wave of vampires swarms toward the fences at the checkpoint. Much shooting happens. The vampires are pushed back. Setrakian calls this a probe of their defenses and warns that a bigger wave will come soon.

Fet, Nora, Eph and Zach (WTF?) head to the power plant to turn the lights back on. As if any of them would have an idea how to do that. Setrakian goes a different direction to find Eichorst.

Basking in the afterglow of her sweet Sapphic tryst, Dutch notices that the lights have gone out and hears noises from the street. She throws on some clothes to investigate.

A huge horde of vampires (how many fit on that tiny water taxi?) gather outside the fence next. Feraldo panics momentarily but eventually pulls herself together and gives a big inspirational speech to rally the citizens of Red Hook into joining the fight and defending their neighborhood.

Eph and Nora kill a couple of vamps at the power station. Kelly sees through the vamps’ eyes and races back to get her son.

A swarm of vampires break through the fence. The people of Red Hook (Dutch included) fight them off hand-to-hand. Nikki shows up as well and saves Dutch from getting bitten.

With the few vamps at the station cleared out, Eph leaves Zach behind to go find Setrakian. Nora searches for the circuit breaker to turn the lights back on. Finally, she finds it and flips the switches. All the power to the neighborhood is restored. The UV lights come back on and fry the vampire horde.

Kelly arrives at the power plant. Fet fights with her. He gets worms on his hand yet they don’t infect him? Kelly gets away. Again.

Setrakian confronts Eichorst in the street. From a nearby rooftop, Eph takes a shot at Eichorst with his rifle but misses. He’s a lousy shot. Setrakian and Eph both open fire. They injure Eichorst, but he runs and gets away. Again. Seriously, how many times does this need to happen?

The next morning, the streets are filled with many dead, both human and vampire. Feraldo gives another speech, declaring that, “People are gonna remember this day.” Especially when they vote, right? I suspect that we’ll have a Mayor Feraldo next season.

Sadly, I don’t think there’s much particularly memorable about this episode. For what’s supposed to be an epic, action-packed standoff between our heroes and a big horde of vampires, the whole thing is curiously slack and dull, without even the slightest sense of tension or suspense. Ultimately, this is just another instance where nothing gets accomplished. At the end of the episode, everyone is right back in the same place where they started. Nothing of any lasting importance happens. I’m getting really tired of this show treading water like this.


  1. Shawn Smith

    Yeah, where did the horde come from? Eichorst told the water taxi guy (smugly) he would be bringing no more than the maximum load of 20. Maybe the vamps have their own maths as well.
    Isn’t it hilarious that the trained police officers (and maybe military?) guys, armed with automatic weapons, are woefully overmatched by the vamps, but here comes Dutch cracking headshots left-and-right with a sidearm from range. I have the same problem with Under the Dome and The Walking Dead. I guess all our main characters just have latent marksmanship skills.
    I’ll have to give the writers a little credit on this episode. They had Nora actually crack a book at the power station to try and figure out how to turn the power back on. Didn’t do her a damn bit of good and they just kinda winged it, but she tried. Too bad Dutch killed the internet (and apparently no one else in the world can figure out how to fix it??!!) or they could have just googled how to get the power back on.

  2. Pretty sure the title change was to make people think this show is somehow associated with a comic book, like walking dead, but yeah it came out pretty bad.

  3. Julie

    Agreed that the late season title change was jarring and confusing. I thought perhaps I hadn’t been paying attention to the beginning all season….

    Agreed that the size of the attacking horde was ridiculous considering the water taxi scene….unless Eichhorst opened a check point, but wouldn’t our heroes have heard about that??

    Another nitpick is that there is still electricity in Manhattan. With the exponential infection (the vamps are too efficient) would expect total collapse of infrastructure.

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