RIP Corey Stoll’s Wig
The Strain: Season 2: Episode 5: Quick and Painless: GRADE: A-
This week we have another episode that’s flashback back free, but unlike the previous one from a couple weeks ago, this doesn’t feel meandering a waste of time.
As you can see, Eph is bald and Corey Stoll can be all natural. Eph has escaped the city under an assumed name to try and take the cure/infection to Washington D.C., leaving behind Nora and Zach, knowing Eph stands a much better chance of things on his own. Its played well, even with Zach’s pre-teen whininess. Its a great thing place into the story right now, what with all that’s going on, its adds new conflict into the proceedings.
Even more so when Eph spots his former CDC boss Barnes on the same train. The tense cat and mouse game Eph plays in avoiding Barnes was honestly the most exciting things for the episode, vampire hunt at the beginning and end of the episode not withstanding. It just feels good for the show to build up such tension and excitement from something like this that didn’t need to have the inclusion of vampires to heighten the scene. Barnes and Eph eventually come face to face and Barnes tries to talk Eph down, but knowing the past Eph is wary, he’s much better outside of the pack form the CDC, seeing as he’s done more than they can, also Barnes still kinda being in Palmer’s pocket. It feels natural for Eph to push Barnes out the train to make sure he can pass into D.C. with no harm. Mr. Goodweather goes to Washington should provide great drama for the show since Kelly seems to be getting closer and closer to Zach’s scent and having Zach face her alone can be just as good then him and Eph doing so. Hopefully this will make Zach a much better character.
Spaking of Nora she and Dutch are able to get Fet providing they can help out Councilwoman Feraldo in her quest. She helps show her the UV light test which she adopts after seeing a family member has worms inside of them. Just when Eph leaves, the team seems to gain a new ally. Even more evident in the vampire hunt Dutch and Fet accompany Feraldo’s team on towards the end which was pretty goddamn cool.
The rest of the episode revolves around the search for the Occido Lumen from the sides of Setrakian and Palmer. Setrakian’s side providing more entertainment as he goes out and searches endlessly with the help of Fitzwilliam. Thankfully the black market might provide some answers a well as a mysterious hooded figure whose side isn’t entirely too known.
Now Palmer is a fascinating character, I liked him well enough in season one as a cattalyst to help get the story going and this season has made him more interesting thanks to him being more active and the flashbacks. His romantic interest in Coco Morchand is less interesting. I’m not too sure Palmer really needs a love interest and I can see what they’re trying to do, bring his humanity back out that he had once before Eichhorst came in and made his offer, its not that that too compelling and their scene out at dinner was just okay. The relationship is one-sided in terms of whom admires whom and Palmer will soon have to decide what he wants more, the Lumen or Ms. Morchand.
The Strain ratchets up tension and presents a new and exciting story possibility for many of its characters that will help set the stage for the rest of the season. Its the best episode that show has present so far this season.
Masters of Sex: Season 3: Episode 5: Matters of Gravity: GRADE: A
So much is packed into this weeks episode that I think it’ll be better to break it down character by character.
Bill’s whole story this week is wrapped around the past, both professional and personal and they both tie into bullying.
Johnny is being bullied at school just as his own father was by his father and Matters of Gravity showed the wounds never really healed. Bill sees bullying the bully himself as the best tactic. Maybe not the best one, but something Bill I feel needed to do in order to let out something pent up inside of him since he’s going back to confront former bullies at Washington University thanks to Fitzhugh needing Bill’s expertise in getting a grandson and avoid sending his youngest son to Vietnam.
Bill gets nasty with confronting the kid, insulting him and the future he might have as his father’s dealing with other people’s shit as a plumber. Michael Sheen really lets out with the anger much in the way in how he nearly hit Johnny in the premiere episode. Bill’s let out his bad side before but this was something different given the circumstances Even saying, “If a doctor threatens you, no one can protect you.” That really made me really on edge. Satisfying to Bill of course to do such a thing that bleeds into his Wash U talk where he doesn’t feel the need of vindictiveness as he did with Johnny’s bully, but more so to truly expand upon his and Virginia’s work to those that had doubted them and chastised them. Bill even has maybe one of his finest moments yet when responding to a question about where love is in all of his research of sex. Once again it gives Sheen a great spotlight in which to show off his incredible chops as an actor. While the speech was a great release of Bill, it won’t match how good it felt unleashing his anger was at that young child. H equates the speech to trying to please his old man, a horizon he found he might never have reached.
Bill’s dark side is slowly creeping out from under his skin and it’ll be interesting to see how much further this is expanded upon for the season, and really the show itself overtime. Whatever allows Michael Sheen to further act his ass off and do more great performances is good by me.
Speaking of Bill he and Virginia start the episode post uninterrupted sex, but then find their second attempt is then immediately interrupted by Virginia’s parents via Tessa who brings them over just to fuck with her mom and there is no other way to describe Tessa in this episode other than frustratingly annoying. Virginia feels overwhelmed by the sudden appearance and tries to deal with it as much as possible. Though it leads to a hilarious sequence of Bill and Betty helping to reset his injured back from the escape of Virginia’s house.
Virginia tries to deal with her mother and her judgmental attitude, even relating to her father how much she’s hated it since being forced into a pageant at 8, but is reminded how she wanted to enter it herself. Virginia’s mother has been portrayed with the judgmental, only wanting what’s best for her daughter archetype, but that moment leads to a nice moment of development for them both to realize who they really are.
So back to Tessa who buys a bow tie similar to Bill’s and puts it in the laundry for grandma to see who puts it together and even tells Virginia to try and go after Bill as they leave Wash U. Virginia isn’t praised for her work or raising her children, but what is perceived as trying to get Bill away from Libby. Lizzy Caplan’s reaction to the moment plays perfectly in the moment and how one might expect her to react to such a thing being implied. It’s also why she probably asks Dan Logan to dinner right away when he shows up. This won’t end too well.
Margaret is amazing here. The past is wrapped up in her story here as well and more so than Bill, she’s able to get resolution. Last week get into the thick of things as to how her past marriage with Barton has ruined intimacy for her and puts things with Graham in some jeopardy. While Graham’s problem is taken care of her relationship problem isn’t in that she wants Graham. It’s never brought up how their open relationship might have ben the cause of Graham’s problem, but its evident underneath the surface. Margaret’s only true connection with him comes when they test out the suggestions from Bill and Virginia, more so than when they met. She’s sacrificed so much for her to be happy and for Barton to be happy, that really she feels like she doesn’t have what she really wants right now. Her lash out at Graham was a perfectly done moment for her character that it felt so very earned.
Margaret also helped Barton open up to their daughter at the end in one of the most pleasing moments on the show that was deeply emotional to see Barton tell Vivian the honest truth about himself and his marriage to his daughter.
The best episode of the entire show in a while brings out so much for the characters involved that it matures them and the show. This was a shot in the arm that this season needed and man was it great.