The Strain‘s second season has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride of entertainment for viewers. Starting off with a strong opener, the writers seemed to have derailed from their momentous track and entered into the terrain of subplot melodrama. Finding their niche and bringing things back into perspective later in the season, The Strain: The Invaders was a set in the right direction for the horror series. This week’s episode brought in some of classic horror elements, spent minimal time on minor character plots, and progressed the story nicely for what is looking like a strong finale.
With Quinlan missing from a majority of this week’s episode, the other characters had their chance to steal the spotlight and reclaim some glory. The villainess, sometimes beautician, Eichorst returned a smooth way by helping Kelly take on a more human appearance. Though a small moment in the opener, it was a nice prelude to the role he will be taking on for the remainder of the episode and the next. He is finally proving to be more than just the Master’s lapdog this season and actually has something to do. Dreams do come true.
The Strain: The Invaders also paid more attention to the villains of this season. Bringing attention to the newly de-virginized and confident Eldritch Palmer waking from his date night with his assistant/concubine Cocoa Marshmallow, Palmer discovered where the infamous Occido Lumen was located. Cocoa’s character motivations still seem a little mysterious. From her first introduction, she seemed too good to be true and could have found a way into Palmer’s good fortune. With this past episode, she was even more curious and persistent in finding out what Palmer was hiding. What makes it seem like she is not some sort of interesting femme fatale, is her straight forward and sympathetic way of asking Palmer what is wrong instead of just sneaking behind his back to find out about the book.
Conveniently a cardinal in New York knew the location of the text, but it was not as easy to come across as Palmer hoped. The banter between Eichorst and Palmer was an episode highlight as the two continue to play on each other’s nerves. Both the ever faithful Eichorst and Sektrakian discovered its location. Though Sektrakian was the first to meet with the cardinal, his plan to steal the text was subdued by Eichorst’s interference and stinging of Cardinal MacNamara. Setrakian was still able to find out who held the text (spoiler: the young boy from Sektrakian’s first mission to find the text had possession of the Occido Lumen).
The Strain: The Invaders also brought viewers attention to Eph and his mission for revenge on Eldritch Palmer. His new plan was to take the billionaire out with a sniper rifle. Considering that there is not one just lying around, the episode injected a little subplot that correlated with a father-and-son outing. Though Zach’s character is becoming more tolerable this season, he was still in denial about his mother.
Ironically this naïvety brought about one of the best moments in season two of The Strain. Kelly and her monkey babies made their way into a quarantined Red Hook. Zach’s doorstep was her first stop and while Eph and Nora discussed recent events, Kelly made a classic vampire horror-movie attempt to get into the fortress. Knocking on the glass window and begging Zach to let her in was equally chilling and suspenseful. Of course the heartbroken Zach let his mother in, and with it a small battle took place. Though Kelly was looking like her human self, thanks to some well applied prosthetics, her actions said differently. The feeling of unease continued throughout this scene as each character’s fate was yet to be determined.
Bringing the attention on other parts of the island, The Strain caught viewers up with Gus and his reluctant partnership with Angel. As the two made a supply run, fans of the show got a chance to see just how bad the situation in New York was becoming. Civilization was deteriorating and it was time for the Gupta family to vacate the premises before their establishment was next to be raided. With some talking to, the restauranteurs decided now was the time to leave before things got worse.
This scene also provided a nice culmination to the romance blossoming between Gus and Aanya. The two shared a nice kiss in the kitchen, right before Quinlan showed up to block. The daywalker had been searching for Gus for some time and planned to recruit him in his mission to take out the Master. Their meeting was a bit of turning point for Gus’ character. Although he thought he had found happiness with the Gupta family, he still had to face the sad truth that he was partly to blame for the Strigori outbreak in New York.
The Strain: The Invaders was a good episode in the fact that it started to bring majority of the character’s plots to a clearer focus. Considering that it is so close to the end of the second season, it seems that The Strain is setting up storylines for next season. Fortunately not all hope is lost, The Strain’s progression is still moving a better pace and the climax should prove to be an interesting watch.
Opinion By Tyler Cole
IGN-THE STRAIN: “INVADERS” REVIEW: BUYER BEWARE