The Strain brings its big guns out this week for a stellar episode.
The Strain: Season 1: Episode 8: Creatures of the Night: GRADE: A
What makes the latest episode of The Strain really work so well is the fact that it works so well on such a great centered and condensed level of storytelling, this could work as a horror movie. Horror movies have had centralized one location stories and that’s what tonight’s episode is with the CDC crew and Setrakian meeting up with Vasiliy and being trapped in a gas station from an oncoming herd being controlled through the eyes by of Eichhorst and Palmer. The shot through Eichhorst’s leg literally seems as if its the first shot in the growing war now.
This episode work as wonderful plot advancement and a greater developing of characters in such a bad situation. Again this worked so well it could be reworked into being its own tense, 90 minute feature length horror film.
Speaking of horror, it also shows off the show’s talent in tension and providing great scares within the allotted time for the show. They really pace it very well and know what to use. Eph and everyone are able to get some UV lights in their light against the vampires while coming across Vasiliy. Soon when getting supplies in a nearby gas station, shit goes wrong when a hoard of the vamps show up. We have cannon fodder too, one of them being VFX master Rick Baker in a fun little cameo and bread stacker and gas station worker. The hacker Palmer hired just happens to be there too and suddenly regret her big fat paycheck. That made for an interesting dynamic having her in the fold as she acts like such a different character from being cool, calm, and collected from terrified bystander.
Ruta Gedmintas does do a good job with it, but this also feels like Sean Astin’s episode as Jim does bite the dust having gotten nicked when thwarting off some the vamps outside at first and Astin’s acting here is really goddamn good. His regret and want of redemption really plays through and is the best of Astin’s work here. I like Astin’s acting for the most part and this is some the best work he’s done in a while and his last scene with Eph before being put out his misery by Vasiliy is particularly great because of what has happened before in the episode as well as the direction of it and how tightly shot is it. The whole episode is nicely directed and just adds to its greatness in the quality upswing the show has taken since the pilot.
The performances as a whole come through great with more nice work from Corey Stoll but also giving more for Kevin Durand. Vasiliy is quickly becoming a favorite character of mine and I think he could be a breakout favorite for most viewers. Another reason the show works so well this week, no Gus. HOORAY!
The Strain makes itself perfect for this week with a knockout punch of an episode that tightens up its pacing overall and has even more genuine great scares, character development, and storytelling. Its just fantastic and I think the show can only get better from here.