Centralizing focus on both shows give it some strength this week.
The Strain: Season 2: Episode 11: Dead End: GRADE: B
A heavy centralized focused episode was exactly what The Strain needed right now to get itself ready for the last two weeks of the season.
Eichhorst is our central focus this week as he’s a perfectly creepy creature keeping Dutch ready and essentially playing with his food to make it a far better meal. In addition we get flashbacks that flesh his character out and are the weakest part of the episode. Now its good to actually see so much of the life of Eichhorst, but the story is mediocre. It’s a fairly standard story of rejected love that sent him on his path and again its great to see more of Eichhorst, but it’s a fairly weak backstory that feels a bit villain standard. Once again, its not that I don’t like it for what it is but the execution also felt fairly standard and nothing to extraordinary. This tries to make Eichhorst a sympathetic character so much that it just rings false when we already have seen him do some of the most evil shit possible. It rang false to me in how they want to give more layers to him, but just really misses the mark.
Present day Eichhorst is far more engaging in his mind games with Dutch. So much great slow tension and build up. Making her eat pineapple in order to better season her up. He becomes a far more dangerous threat because of this episode and how Richard Sammel delivers the creepiness. Now when the moment comes Eichhorst does get ready to eat he has Dutch remove her pants, spread her legs, and bend over. Honestly, not the biggest fan since Eichhorst at this point is already a hugely established threat and has broken Dutch’s mind. The imagery of the stinger growing out towards her body is already full of subtext that it’s not even funny. There are ways to do a storyline with sexual violence and make it a legit narrative choice. Here it’s not overtly bad to me, it could have been worse, but it’s not exactly the best. The ensuing chase scene is excellent as it does keep up the tension and slow pacing from before. It’s so well shot and has great cinematography on it that made it just pop. Dutch us saved in time by Fet, Eph, and Nora, but the damage is done.
Eichhorst simply makes this episode and having a huge centralized focus on his story, both the good and the bad parts, gives the show a chance to slow down and let things simmer towards a huge explosion that is sure to come for next week’s PENTULIMATE(!) installment.
Now elsewhere Gus and Silver Angel send off their crew to get to safety and Gus’ love story is boring. I really don’t have too much to say on that as it really just didn’t amount to much. There’s no dramatic stakes to this or investment at all. What’s worse is that they bring down Quinlan, who I know isn’t in this episode, but something that fascinating doesn’t need to be saddled with something this boring. Gus’s emotional goodbye is lazy as hell since he and his crew of characters so often rarely appear and well when they do its not so good. I like the idea of the Silver Angel, but again involving it in Gus’ story does it no service or room to fully grow into its full potential.
Now Setrakian find himself trusted up in Rudyard’s place and tries to desperately plead to his humanity and really that’s all that is. Its gets better as it goes, primarily for David Bradley. Sadly for Setrakian Rudyard goes and sells the Lumen to Alonso Creem. Not the best of times for Setrakian.
The Strain goes and finds a good focus to have, while kinda meandering around a bit with some less than inspiring things around it that take away some of the good quality it was building up.
Masters of Sex: Season 3: Episode 11: Party of Four: GRADE: B
This is exactly the episode that Masters of Sex needed right now and frankly of all season. It also does a great job at being a project in 2015 that brings on Judy Greer for it and doesn’t waste her fucking talents.
The centralized conflict harkens back to what is the best episode of the show, Fight, where it’s all focused on a very awkward dinner. How does this all come about? Bill of course in a wholly misguided effort to make Virginia rethink what she thinks of Dan Logan. This whole event could only have happened because of Bill and his misguided ways.
This doesn’t quit reach the same heights that Fight did, but man is this filled to the brim with tension. While under the façade of their advance on their second book, which it is, Bill uses this as a chance to once and for all get rid of Dan by bringing his wife Alice along and thus the awkwardness sets in and festers for the rest of the evening. Everything is brought to a huge boiling point where everything is now broken between everyone. Things seem fine until Bill, good old instigator, by bringing up how they can end things with Logan thanks to the advance, only bringing it up after Virginia’s expression of the displeasure of the evening. Bill doesn’t realize how not clever he’s being in doing this as his blow up with Virginia in the coat check room where Virginia does fully call out Bill on his shit. It’s a great scene for seeing Virginia truly lay into Bill for all he’s done this season. It also once again allows for Sheen and Caplan to play brilliantly off each other in heated arguments, which they do just oh so well.
Now on to Dan and Alice. Judy Greer comes on and she’s a nice breath of fresh air at helping to further flesh out the Dan Logan character and give her a lot of good material to work with as well. Sure they may have an understanding, but it seems that Alice is resentful of how Dan handles himself. The evening causes her to fall off the wagon. Greer really sinks her teeth into the role and shines so incredibly well, especially in what is the final battle that she and Dan has in their marriage which has her demand to know what Dan loves about Virginia. This is the moment where it all end for the both of them. Its just brilliant how it’s all done and how Bill still tries by bringing up Ethan. Bill just can’t ever give up; he never sees when something need to really end. Dan showing up to Virginia’s with his bag really helps to set the stage for finale next week quite well.
Now there are problems back home as Bill might be arrested soon. Johnny’s bullying Dennis where he talked about Bill showing him what was wrong with his “broken penis” has gotten the attention and ire of the police who are investigating Bill as a possible child molester. I didn’t care for this at all. This is where the other focus of the episode was. This just seem to come off as a bit far fetched. Bill is a medical professional who was asked a question by Dennis by showing visual aid. Now I know misunderstanding to lead to a conflict, but man this is a far reach for my goddamn tastes. It just seems so forced in as to introduce a new conflict and have the finale now center around this drama. There had to be better ideas for how to write the season finale next week because this is just poor to me.
This ties into Libby and Paul who might believe it, but Libby honestly knows way better. Of course he brings up their marriage, but Libby knows the kids need Bill, how they need the both of them in order to keep producing a happy household for the children so they aren’t broke by a broken home. This not only further puts their future aside, but possibly just killed it altogether.
Masters of Sex gets really good, but then really dumb heading into the end, but the good did far outweigh the dumb. I highly hope next week can pull off what they’ve set up.