Let me get this straight: A guy who’s barely ever held a pistol gets hold of his first rifle, and with no training or practice whatsoever expects that he’s now automatically an expert sniper? I’m not sure if this reflects worse on the stupidity of the character, or of the writers of ‘The Strain’ for playing along with it and taking the idea seriously.
As ‘The Assassin’ of the episode title, Eph is now full-bore determined to kill Eldritch Palmer. Dutch is on board with this plan. She’s not just the world’s greatest computer hacker, but has also obtained super-fancy spy equipment that lets the both of them listen to everything said in Palmer’s office from an empty high-rise across the street. (Wasn’t that building on fire a couple episodes ago? Maybe that’s why it’s abandoned now.)
In Manhattan, the Mayor announces that the “Safe Streets Initiative” is coming to clear vampires out of the Upper East Side. This news is greeted with much applause by the wealthy elite of that part of the city, until Councilwoman Feraldo takes the stage and declares that the cost of this happening will be a 1% tax on the property value of each business or residence, payable in gold or silver. It doesn’t faze or deter her in the slightest when someone points out that a single city councilor has no authority to unilaterally create a new tax. If they want safe streets, they gotta pay. The Mayor is furious that she sprung this on him and undermined what should have been a big political victory.
Setrakian, Nora and Fet spend most of the episode searching for the man, one Rudyard Fonescu, who allegedly has possession of the ‘Occido Lumen’ book. This leads them on a quest through the city to visit everyone named Fonescu listed in the phone book, like the T-800 systematically hunting Sarah Connors in the first ‘Terminator’ movie. This is undoubtedly not the most efficient method of finding him. Would he even go by his real name, much less be listed in the phone book? I suppose that, with the internet still down, their searching options are limited.
Palmer apologizes to his assistant/girlfriend Coco for acting like a dismissive asshole to her, and begs her to come back to work for him. When they get to the office, the Mayor pops in to ask Palmer to talk some sense into Feraldo. Eph and Dutch overhear Palmer make plans to attend Feraldo’s next press conference. This might be the opportunity they need to take him out.
After a couple of failures, Setrakian and crew discover that one of the Fonescu addresses is an antique book shop. This has got to be the place, right? The break in and find nobody home, which is good news. Unfortunately, the store and its attached apartment are positively filled with old books, and they’ll have to go through all of them. Time filler!
Eph and Dutch set up a sniper perch on the roof of a building across the street from where Palmer is scheduled to be. Seeing him handle the gun, Dutch tells him, “This is pretty badass of you.” This comes after she spent a lot of time whining about how she thinks the concept of monogamy is stupid. Is there anyone she won’t throw herself at?
The One-Percenters at the press conference are raging pissed about Feraldo’s tax plan. She has a very combative Q&A session, but remains smugly undeterred.
Palmer arrives at the building. As he heads to the entrance, Eph tries to target him but can’t get a clear shot due to too many people surrounding him. Finally, Eph takes his shot just before Palmer goes in the door. Palmer goes down. Eph sees blood on the wall through his scope. He and Dutch make a break for it but are surrounded and caught by cops. At the other building, Palmer gets up off the ground. He’s fine, but Coco was hit. Eph blew it.
While at the book shop, Nora hears a radio news report about the assassination attempt. Fet figures out which police station Eph and Dutch would be brought to, but Setrakian won’t leave without his book. They leave him behind.
Palmer brings Coco back to his office, where a team of private surgeons work to save her. They get her stabilized, but she may be brain-dead. Eichorst arrives and gloats about Palmer’s misfortune. Palmer demands that the Master must save Coco for him. Eichorst says that he’ll pass along the message, but that the Master has more important things to deal with than saving Palmer’s girlfriend.
The cops throw Eph and Dutch in a cell, but yank Dutch out and clear the room, leaving Eph alone for Palmer to walk in and reveal that he survived. Eph is disappointed. He moans that the world would have thanked him if he’d succeeded. Palmer chides him that, “The world will not even notice when you die.”
Later, Eichorst is proved wrong when the Master (in Bolivar’s body) indeed shows up at Palmer’s office to cure Coco with his blood. Coco wakes up and sees him. She is understandably freaked out. Palmer tries to explain. He’s ecstatic that he can tell her everything, and that she will now share this journey with him.
A swarm of vampires attack the police station and kill almost all the cops. Eph stays in his cell, just out of the reach of their projectile tongues, when Nora and Fet show up. Just the two of them, they wipe out all the vamps and set Eph free. The detective who arrested him also survived. He says that Dutch was taken to someplace called the Mayfield Hotel.
Just as Setrakian is about to give up on the book shop, he conveniently notices a squeak in the hardwood floor and pries up a panel to find the ‘Occido Lumen’ hidden underneath. Stunned, he starts to read it when he’s suddenly clocked on the head by an unseen attacker who takes the book away.
As the episode ends, we see Dutch in chains, tormented by Eichorst.
My first reaction is that, ultimately, this is yet another episode of the series where nothing gets accomplished. Eph fails in his plan to kill Palmer, and Setrakian doesn’t get the book. By the end of the episode, most characters are right back where they started. On the other hand, I suppose it’s notable that Eichorst has Dutch a prisoner now, for the purpose of raising the stakes for Fet. Also, the episode is blissfully free of any scenes with irritating Zach, which is a big point in its favor.
It’s not a very interesting or exciting episode, but by this show’s standards, it’s certainly not the worst we’ve seen recently.