Horror Television

‘The Strain’ S2 Episode 2 recap “By any means”

Sunday night’s episode of The Strain put away the gross-out moments and instead focused on the storylines involving Eph (Corey Stoll) and Nora’s (Mia Maestro) quest for a cure and Setrakian’s (David Bradley) unending search for the Occido Lumen, which is believed to contain information on how to destroy The Master.

“By Any Means” begins with Eichorst (Richard Sammel) and Bolivar (Jack Kesy) discussing The Master’s inevitable transformation as he searches for a new body to inhabit. Hinting that he, himself, might become the new Master, Eichorst reminds Bolivar that his followers must remain loyal to whoever is chosen. I foresee a battle for power in the near future.

Kelly Goodweather’s (Natalie Brown) blind, dirt children have arosen and are probably the creepiest additions to the show so far. Crawling around and making clicking noises like the monsters from The Descent, the kids are now at the behest of their new momma; who, in one quick neck snap, shows that even as a creature of the night, she’s still the shittiest mother. The dirt kids have one job to do: sniff Zach’s (Max Charles) shorts and find him, so presumably Eph and Kelly can have more custody battles.

Setrakian is less crotchety this season as his thoughts are mostly consumed by finding the Occido Lumen, forging alliances with the Ancients, and probably trying not to die before he can figure it all out. “Well, Stacey, were there any flashback scenes in this episode?” Why the hell wouldn’t there be? We’re taken to 1960’s-era Vienna where Setrakian (complete with still-shitty makeup effects) is teaching at a university and is met by a younger, wheelchair-bound Eldritch (Jonathan Hyde). Eldritch believes the Master’s cane is somewhere in Vienna and tasks Setrakian with finding it. Finally getting to the roots of Setrakian/Palmer’s relationship (or lack thereof) will hopefully add another level of intrigue to thei storyline.

One of the better storylines this episode involved Fet (Kevin Durand) and Dutch (Ruta Gedmintas) who go out strigoi hunting together in order to try and clear out every building for a “safe zone”. Great idea, but really, will it work? Just like last week’s awesome shootout scene, “By All Means” gave us an even better fight scene that was visually awesome (the obvious CGI didn’t even take away from it) with slow-mo decapitated heads flying in the air in great detail. Since season 1 no one was really sure if the two sexy-accented people would eventually do the deed (a la Maggie & Glenn) or team up and become an ass-kicking pair of friends (a la Michonne & Rick), and tonight’s skinny dip in a pool clears that question up for everyone. I’m all for a love-filled subplot between the two, but let’s not forget what’s really important: being awesome and killing strigoi.

As mentioned earlier, the other “couple” in the series, Eph and Nora, are busy trying to find a cure by informing the couple, who were infected in the storage facility last week, of their fate. Shaming them into being experimented on before they eventually die, Eph’s character is still not any more likeable than before. Especially now that he’s swigging vodka any chance he gets (do we really want this dude trying to save mankind?). Norah is constantly playing the “Should we do this? Is this right?” game with herself, so I’m not sure how she managed to stay alive this long.

Zach shows up at some point just to be a snide little shit, thus making him more unlikeable than he was before. I wouldn’t be too offended if the dirt kids got a hold of him and he went away…

Setrakian realized that in order to find the Occido Lumen, he needs to first find out if it ever got into the hands of Palmer. At an opening for a food distribution center funded by the Stoneheart Group, the two come face to face where they have an old man battle of words. Palmer cuts deep and lets Setrakian know he still has his wife’s heart (y’know, the one in the jar), prompting him to vow that once his job of destroying the Master is done, Palmer is next.

It seems like a possible cure and the Occido Lumen are now the driving forces for this season of The Strain, let’s just hope at least one of them delivers!

3.5/5

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