Last week’s episode was somewhat of a slow burn for me, and after having seen tonight’s “Quick and Painless,” I now view it more as a calm before the storm. This week’s episode really picked up the pace with some serious tension and a (fatal?) fight aboard a train, major “spider-children” action in Red Hook, and the introduction of THE key character and fan favorite from The Strain trilogy in the very surprising final scenes of the episode. Basically, tons of action and suspense and a gigantic punch at the end, and when all put together makes this the, hands-down, best episode of the season thus far.
DR. GOODWEATHER GOES INCOGNITO AND ONWARD TO WASHINGTON D.C.
I personally had thought that taking off for Washington D.C. with his half-baked strigoi virus was a little impulsive and very risky, but I guess Dr. Goodweather (Corey Stoll) feels it’s a desperate time for desperate measures and throws all warnings in the wind. But, with his being a wanted fugitive and his face plastered everywhere, this also means it’s time for Eph to get a new look. We can officially say RIP Toupee, and let’s hope that regardless of what happens in Washington, Eph decides the bald look is a good one in a vampire apocalypse because that fake hair was not cool.
Even though I thought this was the mother of all bad ideas, there is one good thing that comes out of it — we may have finally gotten rid of that horrible wretch Dr. Everett Barnes (Daniel Kash). It’s an unfortunate circumstance that both Eph and Dr. Barnes end up on the same train to Washington, and what’s more, as big as the train is, they still manage to run into each other. Of course, Eph isn’t exactly thrilled to see Everett, because he’s actually the reason Dr. Goodweather is a wanted man and has to tip-toe around everyone, everywhere. A big fight ensues, which culminates with Dr. Barnes taking an unfortunate fall from the train. Oh dear, I’m so heartbroken and crushed.
Of course, we don’t know if Dr. Barnes is dead, and in fact, in the books, he survives for a lot longer. But for the moment, he’s out of the picture, which I’m going to call a “win” for the time being.
THE NYPD GETS A STRIGOI HUNTING LESSION — COURTESY OF FET AND DUTCH
After being all touchy-feeley over the past couple of episodes, Fet (Kevin Durand) and Dutch (Ruta Gedmintas) have decided to take it down a notch and instead, focus their attention on assisting the NYPD with the muncher problem in Red Hook. After an initial scuffle with Captain Kowalski (Paulino Nunes), Vasily is finally released from holding, in exchange for Nora showing Justine Feraldo (Samantha Mathis) how to avoid lengthy quarantines with quickie infection tests using UV lights. Justine has been projected as this fierce spit-fire of a politician who would do anything — including what would be considered politically-incorrect — in order to protect her people from this horrible disease. But, even she loses her composure when her nephew, Mikey, is infected, and she is forced to put him down. While Nora and Justine do view things a little differently, I think there may be enough common ground that it wouldn’t surprise me if the 2 groups joined forces in the very near future.
While Nora is assisting in the quarantine area, Fet and Dutch are off with Captain Kowalski getting a lesson on these “spider children” who kicked their asses last night in an apartment building in Red Hook. These creepy-crawley creatures we learn are not only expert trackers but also fast as lightning and who can case up and down walls like the common granddaddy long-leg. Definitely a breed of strigoi that neither Fet nor Dutch had seen before, but no worries because Vasily, the master vermin-catcher, is here. It takes no time at all for Fet to ferret one of the boogers out from behind a bathroom wall and end Kelly’s (Natalie Brown) little minion’s life with a stick of rhubarb through the brain.
The big concern from this scene, however, is the fact that the feelers being this close means that Kelly has almost located Zack (Max Charles). AND Nora is away from Vasily’s loft. AND Eph is on a train to Washington D.C. Something tells me next week’s episode is going to be a big one for Kelly, Nora and Zack.
THE 86 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN GOES ON A DATE
In the book trilogy, Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) is said to have remained a virgin all his life even through his old age, primarily due to all of his chronic illnesses. And, whether or not that little tidbit made it into the television series, watching Palmer go on his first date with the young and lovely Coco Marshand made for some seriously nauseating scenes. What’s more, taking into consideration appearances alone, it appears that Coco is as smitten with the billionaire as he is with her. However, I’m not sure I would call that one yet, because honestly, I still haven’t figured this woman out.
A part of me believes that there is something evil lurking under that cute and naive exterior, perhaps a rogue and clandestine vampire hunter who is simply manipulating the infatuated old man so that she can topple him in the end. Or, maybe she is just another Fitzwilliams (Roger Cross), who is loyal and unsuspecting at first, but who will ultimately back away (actually, probably run!) from her suitor once she sees the true monster that is hiding underneath that philanthropic facade. Either way, please, let’s hope any further smooch-sessions are kept off-screen, for the benefit of myself and all other viewers out there.
Besides the big date with Ms. Coco, Palmer is having an extra-good day in the midst of this vampire apocalypse, as he gets news of a possible sighting of the Occido Lumen by the shady Cardinal McNamara (Tom Kemp). No doubt Palmer’s interest in the Lumen was revived by his very charged meeting with Setrakian in “By Any Means.” However, as we know, Abraham (David Bradley) hasn’t been sitting idly by either because as it turns out, he has a lead of his own. Alonso Creem (Jamie Hector) isn’t very impressive standing next to Gus (Miguel Gomez) as we saw in season 1, but when it comes to commerce and very unique, pricey collectibles, this guy knows his shit. Right now, he is Setrakian’s best hope in locating the Lumen, but will Palmer beat him to the punch?
FAN FAVORITE MR. QUINLAN MAKES HIS GRAND ENTRANCE
With only 5 minutes left in the episode, we are taken to the Somerset, New Jersey airport where a private jet has just landed. The crew claims their client had gotten sick and took off towards a field, but as airport security finds a gigantic hole in the reinforced fence, we immediately realize we are dealing with something much more profound and formidable than an ordinary man.
A tall figure eventually emerges from the shadows sporting a black long coat and hoodie and having the most striking pale blue eyes. Clearly a strigoi, but also something else — something much, much more. Yes, folks, this is the famed half human/strigoi vampire hunter, Mr. Quinlan, from the trilogy, and what a magnificent introduction. Without speaking a single word, Quinlan is driven away in a black Sedan by a female driver (Miranda Edwards), and there is no doubt in my mind that this war with dear old Dad, the Master, is about to get very interesting.
For those who may doubt this is the real Quinlan given the writers’ bait-and-switch with the character, Vaun, there’s no need to worry. Fortunately, I was able able to confirm with the network last week that this is, indeed, Mr. Quinlan and is being portrayed by the immensely talented British actor, Rupert Penry-Jones. You can check out my other article which confirms the Rupert Penry-Jones character as Mr. Quinlan, and that also provides a good biography of the actor who has just been cast into perhaps one of the biggest roles on cable television today.
Critic Grade — A+
The Strain airs on Sundays at 10/9c on FX.
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