If you were expecting to see a big fallout from last week’s Central Park shit-show, unfortunately you may be disappointed with tonight’s episode. In fact, we don’t even check in with Team Feraldo (Samantha Mathis) and instead, we watch our heroes — specifically Fet (Kevin Durand) — hang up their battle gear and perhaps realize that Setrakian (David Bradley) may have been right all along. That is, the key to defeating the Master might not be an elaborate war or combat but may lie in the secrets of the Occido Lumen. Ready for some fun field trips? Good, because we have a couple of humdingers tonight.
A HAUNTING PAST FOR FET AND A SHOCKING FAMILY “ALLIANCE”
As I had mentioned, we don’t see Feraldo this week and how she’s handling such a crippling defeat, but we do spend some time with Fet, and boy is he down on himself. Having trouble coming to grips with the Master’s elegant trap and the massive loss of human life, Fet decides to pair back up with Setrakian as he begins making preparations on building the stone sarcophagus for the Master as is outlined in the Lumen. Fet utters “Putting him in a box, huh?” and we can hear the optimism just booming in his voice, but hey, why in the hell not? Everything else that Fet has tried has failed, and so, this certainly can’t hurt.
With the blueprints from the Lumen in hand, the first step is to find a big stash of silver, and Setrakian knows just where to look. Using his professional contacts, Setrakian decides a good starting point is a fellow pawnbroker who specializes in silver and other precious metals. But, first…. Fet has to make a quick stop. They are in the neighborhood of Fet’s parents, and given how the last conversation with his father went, Vasily feels the need to check in on them. If you’re like me, you probably already know this is going to end badly.
And, it does. Poor Vasily! Fortunately, he doesn’t find his parents turned, and instead, discovers them lying in bed each with a gunshot wound to the head.
You coward — Fet
They were infected. This was an act of mercy — Setrakian
Very sad scene, but one that wasn’t really surprising. The real shocker comes in a series of flashbacks where we learn exactly why Vasily’s father hated him being an “exterminator,” thus revealing a long-hidden family secret but one that I think will show its ugly head again before the season is over.
The flashbacks are from the Ukraine, 1941 in the middle of World War II and are centered around Vasily’s grandfather, Sergei Fetrovski (guest-star Mike Dopud), After an air strike by the Germans, Fetrovski and his friend, Alexei (guest-star Costa Ronin), are captured by the Nazis and sent to work in the concentration camps. Care to take a guess who’s the Commanding Officer at the camp they’re assigned to? Oh yeah, get ready to shit your pants. In another major deviation from the source material, Thomas Eichhorst (Richard Sammel) is the leader of the camp, and he approaches the prisoners with a possible new work detail. Better food, better housing, better everything. And, with Alexei not doing very well working out in the bitter cold, Fetrovski offers himself and Alexei for the job. But, they don’t know what the job is, and once they do, I’m sure they wished they were still out in the cold mending fences.
The job is basically to do the Nazis’ dirty work for them. They are to execute the old, the sick, any prisoner who can no longer work. Of course, being good, honorable soldiers, Fetrovski and Alexei refuse to do it, and asshole Eichhorst responds by ordering them to be killed as well. Given the fact that Fetrovski is the one who got them both in this mess, he quickly steps up, and even though you can tell it’s the most painful thing he has ever had to do, he finally pulls the trigger and shoots the first prisoner. At this very moment, Fetrovski becomes a “collaborator” with the Nazis, responsible for the murder of thousands of Jews. And, he’s also responsible for his best friend’s death, because Eichhorst turns around and shoots Alexei on his way out.
Setrakian finally gets his silver to begin building the sarcophagus, and while they are in the lab melting it down, Fet tells Abraham the story. It’s a major tear-jerker, and both Kevin Durand and David Bradley hit the scene right out of the park. Kudos and plaudits and a standing ovation to both!
However it happened, my grandfather was a Holocaust collaborator. He killed Jews in the concentration camps — Fet
Now, you must do for your father what he could not do for his. You need to forgive him. There’s a saying. To forgive is to set a prisoner free and to discover that that prisoner was you — Setrakian
While interesting, I find this entire revelation quite odd. First, why now? Why tell Fet’s backstory now while everything is blowing to hell and NYC is about to fall? And, the bigger question is why did the television writers decide to create a link between Fet’s grandfather and Thomas Eichhorst that is nowhere to be found in the trilogy? I refuse to believe they jumped through all these hoops just to give Fet and Setrakian that special father/son Hallmark moment. They are definitely up to something, and I have a feeling this connection with the Master’s #2 is going to come back in a major way before the season is over. Stay tuned, more on that later.
BACK TO THE BEGINNING WITH AN AWKWARD QUINLAN FIELD TRIP
In the meantime, while “Daddy” Setrakian decides to take a field trip with his other favorite “son,” Vasily, instead of sitting around The Olympian Club and sulking, Quinlan (Rupert Penry-Jones) decides to pay Dr. Goodweather (Corey Stoll) a visit to see what progress he has made from the scientific angle. As was hinted in the promo photos released by the network, this is where Dutch (Ruta Gedmintas) is finally introduced to Quinlan, and as most would suspect, the meeting is awkward at best. If you have read my past reviews, you know that I’m a huge fan of the Eph/Quinlan alliance. If you had told me this before season 3 premiered, I would have laughed like a hyena and yelled “No f*cking way!” But now, well into the back half of the new season, I stand corrected and watching these 2 characters interact usually are the most entertaining scenes in each episode. Not to mention, the constant Eph and Quinlan sass contest delivers the much-needed comic relief to a series that screams gloom and doom nearly all the time. So, as you probably can guess, of the 3 arcs in tonight’s episode, this is, by far, my favorite.
I see you’ve been busy, Doctor — Quinlan
You don’t know the half of it! Strigoi brain stem. We think this is the strigoi’s communication center — Eph
We? — Quinlan
Oh, you haven’t been introduced. Dutch Veldars… — Eph
Yeah, I know what you are, uh who you are, sorry — Dutch
Okay, this is …… uh, weird. We really can’t be sure what Dutch thinks of Quinlan initially, but Q definitely seems “curious” about her. Did everyone catch the look on Quinlan’s face? Now, before the fandom completely implodes from this scene, I personally don’t think there’s a romantic interest here (and **definitely** not from Dutch’s end). I just don’t think Quinlan sees a lot of women and definitely not one who is super-smart like Dutch and also a bad-ass with a gun and sword.
So, Eph and Dutch lay out everything they’ve learned, specifically what they discovered from their latest Central Park excursion. Showing Quinlan a diagram of the strigoi communication patterns, Dutch (again, appearing VERY uncomfortable) explains there are distinct spikes, and they believe these are “calls to arms,” very specific signals from the Master.
The Lumen refers to ‘the silent voice of the Master.’ Interesting yet trivial — Quinlan
Quinlan, Quinlan, Quinlan. 2000 years under your belt, and you’re still not the sharpest tool in the shed, are you? Sigh. As Eph explains, if this is the Master’s voice and if they can isolate it, then they can use it to determine the Master’s location. All they need is a point of reference. Dun, dun! Now, do you see, Quinlan? Doh!
Next comes what is the best part of the episode, in my opinion. In a brilliant tieback to the Pilot of the series, Eph remembers the Regis 753 flight and how the Master’s “voice” may have been used to incapacitate 200+ people. Great connection, except they would need the blackbox, and that means travelling to JFK which is way out of the city’s safe zone. Oh well, guess they won’t be doing that. But wait….they have Quinlan, who just happens to be the toughest, most bad-ass strigoi fighter. Yes, everyone, time for a road trip!
Now, for the scene that everyone’s been buzzing about. Ever since the Promo for tonight’s episode was released, fans have been speculating about where the blood that Quinlan slurps up with his stinger comes from, and for the past week, I’ve seen everything with my personal favorite being Quinlan stabs Dutch. No, No, No, and NO! As I said, JFK is way out of the safe zone, and so, Eph and Dutch have to go through some pretty seedy parts of the city that are overflowing with looters and marauders. Well, an innocent family is being attacked by a group of thugs, and Dutch just has to stop to help. Of course, Eph jumps out after her, and the situation quickly escalates. Well, until Quinlan steps in and takes out all of the assholes in less than 10 seconds.
Were you expecting a ‘Thank You’? From now on, stay inside the vehicle — Quinlan
Under normal circumstances, I’m sure those jerks would have become dinner, but there’s too many prying eyes, and so, Q has to settle for the “leftovers” on his sword (NOTE: any ideas on where — or who — Quinlan is getting blood while in New York City??).
Well, thanks primarily to Quinlan’s major bad-assery, Eph and Dutch make it to JFK and are able to locate the blackbox of Regis 753. Oh, and as an added bonus, they find a secret stash of booze and with that we get THE best quote of the entire night.
You ever drank a drunk, Quinlan? — Eph
Ummm, I don’t think Q really appreciated the humor, but still, great stuff. Now that Eph and Dutch have what they need, let’s just hope this little Eph/Q alliance continues on because it definitely has been one of the strongest points of the entire season.
PALMER GROWS A SET AND STANDS UP TO THE MASTER
Sooooooo, everyone else is going out and having some exciting field trips, and as it turns out, even with his deteriorating health, Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) is able to get in on the fun as well.
First, it looks like Palmer finally has found a replacement for Mr. Fitzwilliams. He’s Mr. Duncan (guest-star Dwain Murphy) and while not as physically-imposing as Fitzwilliams (to be fair, out-doing Roger Cross would be pretty hard!), he’s got Palmer’s back, and the timing could not have been more perfect. The Aurora Cutless has finally arrived in New York City, and when Eldridge learns the manifest simply says “tractor parts” and his signature has been forged on the documents, he’s pretty damn pissed. No more playing games — he’s going to the ship himself to find out what Eichhorst and the Master have been hiding from him. Unfortunately, when he gets there and even though he’s the owner of the ship, he’s denied entry. Well, those are words that aren’t in Palmer’s vocabulary, and so, even though he leaves, he returns later but this time with reinforcements.
The bad news is by then, Palmer is way too late. The entire crew of the ship are found with their necks broken, and the cargo hold is empty. It looks like the Master has outsmarted him once again… or has he? With his health deteriorating rapidly, Eldridge has no choice but to call on Setrakian again and beg him for the white. The deal was that Palmer would have to determine the identity of the new Master, and so far, he has not been able to do so. However, he does offer one new piece of valuable information — details about the arrival of the Egyptian vessel. Of course, Palmer knows very little about it, but given what Setrakian just uncovered in the Lumen about the Egyptians locking the Ancient in a stone sarcophagus, Setrakian is intrigued — and enough to give Palmer a single dose of the white.
So, Palmer has the white, and by the end of the episode, he’s now a new man and likely feels like he’s back in control. I’m very curious as to what he’ll do next, but I suspect at the very top of his list is telling Heir Eichhorst’s ass off. He already kind of did this earlier, but I have a feeling round 2 will make that look like child’s play. And, I absolutely cannot wait to see Eichhorst’s reaction to Palmer being magically healed, and his having lost the leverage on the billionaire. Lots of questions but perhaps the most important one is whether Palmer will still keep his end of the bargain with Abraham. Given past history, I wouldn’t count on it.
All in all, while tonight’s episode didn’t have everyone’s adrenaline pumping at full speed for the entire hour like last week’s “Battle Of Central Park,” the strength of “Collaborators” comes not from big action sequences but from the questions it raised. First, what about that Egyptian cargo? I could be wrong, but I believe the writers may have thrown a giant red herring at us with that story from the Lumen, and we fell for it, hook, line and sinker. I think most of us assumed that the Aurora Cutless was delivering a sarcophagus — possibly with the buried Ancient in it — but tonight’s episode hinted otherwise. My guess — it’s carrying the machinery needed to complete the blood factories, and thus wouldn’t be far off from a description of “tractor parts.” If that’s the case, imagine the surprise when Setrakian finally tracks down the shipment.
But, perhaps the biggest question is one that I raised earlier — why, all of a sudden, are we learning Fet’s backstory and this hidden connection between Fet and Thomas Eichhorst? What possible motivation could the writers have? One thing I have learned about this show is nothing is ever thrown into the story if it doesn’t have a purpose. So, trust me, Carlton Cuse and Chuck Hogan definitely have something planned. Well, after I screened the episode for the 1st time, one crazy idea popped into my head. If you read my review of last week’s episode, you’ll recall that I offered a theory that the lead Navy SEAL, Kroft, may be the Master’s new host. However, at the same time, I also said that if that were true, it is likely only a temporary one since Kroft is injured. That being said, who would be the likely candidate as a more permanent vessel?
Well, I won’t go into the details of what I’m thinking, but I will leave you with this to ponder. Of all of our main characters, which would Kroft likely be able to get close to, or close enough to do a worm-dump and thus, transfer the Master’s “essence” to another body? Uh, huh, you know who I’m thinking, and if the writers do that, you can bet the entire fandom will explode come the season finale. Trust me when I say I have a feeling we’ve seen only the tip of the iceberg, and the best is yet to come in these final 3 episodes of the season.
The Strain airs on Sundays at 10/9c on FX.
Critic Grade — A-
Geeky computer and math nerd by day and TV fanatic by night. My beats are The Walking Dead, The Strain, Person of Interest, Z Nation, and anything that most people would call freaky. Editor-In-Chief and Lead Writer of TVGeekTalk.com
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