Martin Carr reviews the twelfth episode of The Strain season 2…
In typical fashion I am yet again running to catch up. Procrastination should replace my middle name as Christian no longer seems adequate. Legend has it that Robert Towne, master screenwriter, was horrendous at finishing things. There would always be a reason, an emergency, or other distraction to stop him writing. There is of course no comparison between myself and Towne, apart from our reluctance to start work. For some reason I just felt the need to pepper my opening with something obscure, as openings are always such a chore. That aside this penultimate episode of The Strain, throws out more story strands than audiences have a right to.
Whether flashing back to Ephraim and Nora’s first encounter, or fleshing out the Vasilly Dutch dichotomy things are never boring. With The Ancients building an army thanks to Gus and the ‘Silver Angel’, Quinlan remains a marshalling force. While Setrakian’s obsession with the Lumen continues unabated.
Eichorst and Palmer indulge their alpha male dick swinging competition, while Coco takes on a more formidable role as confidante and life partner. Alongside these threads stands the ongoing saga of Ephraim versus Kelly, Eichorst and The Master. It continues to be increasingly apparent how much hinges on this. Whatever role The Master has in mind for Zack and Kelly it is guaranteed not to end well for Goodweather. It is mere fact that all these coalescing factions are gathering arms, while Feraldo is destined to be another Palmer glove puppet that makes The Strain so gripping.
What we have here then is a real power struggle waged on a social and political landscape. Played out by characters with emotional depth which we have invested in. As much as Feraldo personifies the ‘Fallen Light’ of our title, it could just as easily refer to anyone else. Take Setrakian for example. A learned philosopher, professor and emotionally ravaged individual who fell from the light decades ago. Goodweather another academic of sorts, being eaten up by the desire to rid us of this scourge. While Fet personifies the Good Samaritan. A seemingly dark and dour man, emotionally flawed seeking his way back into the light through a woman destined to destroy him. Not to mention Eichorst who represents the good in all men turned bad. Circumstance having pushed him beyond the need for emotion as a mode of survival.
All of these people are either falling or seeking redemption for previous transgressions. Perhaps only The Master and Quinlan are seeking neither. Their goal is each other. A battle which has seemingly raged for centuries, across continents and without equal. In the minds of those who remain they are the fallen perpetually blinded by the light. so gripping.