The Strain Season 2 Episode 9 Review – ‘The Battle for Red Hook’

Martin Carr reviews the ninth episode of The Strain season 2…

In the words of legendary singer songwriter Tom Waits I am a day late and a dollar short. Right now more than a week late and well past due on this review. It could said, and you wouldn’t be the first to say that I skirt round the issue of every series I watch. As one eloquent commentator said a few weeks back I didn’t review shit. This was followed by an equally even handed statement regarding my definition of strong and weak character. It should be noted that this has neither dissuaded me from continuing to type, nor made me resort to crying myself to sleep. Someone with neither the facility nor motivation to get themselves into a position, where their opinion is print worthy best keep it buttoned. As the late great Robin Williams once said a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

So what this Mexican standoff of an episode actually amount to? Take a touch of Jurassic Park, equal amounts of Middle-earth trilogy epic Two Towers and finish with some power station mayhem. As the love triangle between Dutch, Nikki and Fet threatens to split them asunder, they must once more divide and conquer. Turning up the tension with pitch black firefights, quiet character moments and segments of selfish single-mindedness, ‘The Battle for Red Hook’ keeps bringing it on until the final frame.

Focused with an unshakeable desire to lay The Master low, it is Bradley’s Setrakian and his search for the Lumen which is all-consuming. Elsewhere there is a move away from Nikki as Dutch is drawn into the fray. Taking up arms against the undead as Feraldo’s military contingent realise they may be outmatched. In these moments Samantha Mathis leads from the front, displaying a fragility beneath the steel which adds depth without becoming mawkish. As Eichorst and Kelly Goodweather continue to forge their unhealthy alliance, Ephraim, Nora and Fet combine to make an all new arse kicking trinity.

 

Carrying that Helm’s Deep vibe to a crescendo which includes the disposal of cadavers as dawn breaks. The Strain season 2 continues carving off a slice and riding the rest home. Sammel, Bradley and Stoll milk their confrontation, layering it with back history, psychological taunts and foot chases which end in a compelling cliff hanger. If anything the only element which undermines this episode is the ease with which Eichorst and Kelly enter Red Hook. One is left asking why such a heavily fortified area, can be so easily accessed by flimsy jetty without any police involvement. However if that is the only thing worthy of complaint then we have much to be thankful for.