The Strain Season 2 Episode 10 Review – ‘The Assassin’

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

Does anyone remember The Day of the Jackal? Not the sub-standard, Bruce Willis pay check movie where David Addison dyed his hair blonde. I mean the Edward Fox effort which portrayed a cold blooded, calculating killer wrapped up in a web of deceit. Before the days of Bourne, Matt Damon and beating people up with paperbacks, Fox’s Jackal was the epitome of a contract killer. There are few who would claim to come close. Maybe George Smiley would be one. Whether you plumb for Gary Oldman or Alec Guinness in the television adaptation. It was these solid, believable, slow burn storylines which defined an era.

With a few exceptions storylines are defined by narrative set pieces. Point A is a meeting, Point B an explosion or act of retribution which sparks off another one, then another one and so on. Now I understand the limitations of film, but the beauty of television is the time allowed to do things properly. Using Ephraim Goodweather as a prime example, we have watched as he turned from a morally upstanding scientist, to fugitive then freedom fighter. Now I’m not saying the transition has been easy, or particularly interesting to watch at times, but nonetheless here it is. Which brings me to the latest turn of events. The picking up and purposeful firing of a long range rifle from atop an adjacent building. With the sole intention of offing a pivotal player in The Strain game.

With Fet, Nora and Setrakian tracking down the last known resting place of the Occido Lumen, we are left with Dutch and Goodweather. Neither friends nor enemies. These two are drawn together by circumstance rather than design. Either perched on rooftops or spying from adjacent offices, it is the division of agenda which keeps this episode ticking over. Even after the attempt on Palmer is fudged and things go downhill, this protracted waiting game takes on a different dynamic. Effectively defined by the disappearance of Dutch from the police station after their arrest.

 

In the final moments we see her manacled to a choke chain pulley in a padded room. Eichorst’s torture chamber where he keeps humans for sport and feeding purposes, is disturbingly familiar. With each turn of that handle the screams increase as Dutch fights inevitability. As these closing images sink in, we are left contemplating The Master’s intervention for Palmer. Setrakian’s motionless body next to a solid silver Occido Lumen and Feraldo’s levy on those one percenters. So many divergent storylines coming together, in a show which has no intention of taking its foot off the gas. Let’s hope they can keep up the momentum until that all important finale.