[TV Review] “The Strain” Episode 1.06, ‘Occultation’ - Bloody Disgusting
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[TV Review] “The Strain” Episode 1.06, ‘Occultation’

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“Occultation” wasn’t exactly the full-blown insanity I was hoping for. However it does demonstrate The Strain at it’s best is fixated on stellar characters. Sadly, there are more than a few duds in the cast that round things out to a less exciting finished product.

Let’s talk about Eichorst’s killing room. I don’t even care that he was offing a random nobody who had zero relation to the plot. I just loved that chain crank so much, and the spattered blood around the room. Plus Eichorst’s neck kind of looks like Tony from Total Recall’s face.

Yes this is Dean Norris.

Yes, this is Dean Norris.

Taking center stage this week should be the total eclipse of the sun. Which is basically Vampire Christmas, but it was quickly overshadowed (har har) by Eph’s family drama yet again. These elements feel incredibly stilted and never hit any new beats. We understand the relationships and why they are broken relationships are hardly this forward or understanding. Zack doesn’t feel like a real child. His rationalizing for his father is impeccable. He’s far too advanced. Perhaps he’s the real monster of the week.

Actually that title definitely belongs to Eichorst. The scene in the sewers between him and Gus showed just what the old Kraut was capable of. He’s not just a fancy German with no nose. He’s terribly powerful and although I really didn’t want to see Jim again, it makes sense that he’d be further exploited by Eichorst’s incredible pull. It’s just that everything this week seems to undercut any progression he made as a character last week.

Speaking of character progression. I lied about everything I said about Nora last week. She seems to be regressing into a point of no return with that god-damned mother at her side. Their dialogue exchanges have been so awful. But what’s more, she WENT TO A PAYPHONE AND RIPPED A PAGE OUT OF THE PHONEBOOK. Is this real life? Seriously? I understand the visual cues are great but that sort of thing just plain doesn’t happen anymore.

Vasily was the highlight of my week yet again. His plot has come on strong and doesn’t show any signs of letting up. The scene in the diner with his wonderful albeit inaccurate drawing of the vampires he witnessed was amazing. The scene where he came back to his work only to really get into extermination was anchored by a fantastic performance by Kevin Durand. But the real meat came later when Vasily went home to warn his family of what was going on. It’s touching to see him have some heart and even more interesting to find out the dude is extremely intellectual.

The Strain still struggles to maintain identity. It should be rather easy for a show about a viral outbreak of Vampirism, but this week shows a cast of characters so large that there isn’t enough time to care about them all. Or at least the show hasn’t done a very good job about making us care. What does work are the smaller moments of newfound horror in a visually bankrupt monster. The Vampires here feel lethal and dynamic and the scenes with them never cease to send chills down my spin. The coroner attack in gridlock and Vasily’s foray in the supply closet both showed promise of the insanity to come. Where Abraham’s scene in the basement shows the claustrophobia the show can already handle. It really impressed and made me more tense than anything in the show thus far.

Now that Eph and Abraham are together we must count the minutes until Vasily joins them and shit gets real.

 

 

Stray Thoughts:

–       Those two FBI agents were about as flat as they come. Knew they were stinger fodder from the get go, but their deaths were some of the worst attacking I’ve seen in a while.

–       Holy shit, Matt sucks as a character. I don’t know why he got so much screen time this week. I’m really surprised he’s still part of the story.

–       Abraham felt a little short changed this week, but dat basement scene makes it all worth it.


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