The Strain - Season 2 Episode 5: "Quick and Painless" TV Episode Review
Written by Giuseppe Infante
Directed by J. Miles Dale
Written by Elizabeth Ann Phang
2015, 43 minutes, Rated TV-MA
Episode premiered on August 9nd, 2015
Corey Stoll as Dr. Ephraim Goodweather
David Bradley as Abraham Setrakian
Mía Maestro as Dr. Nora Martinez
Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet
Jonathan Hyde as Eldritch Palmer
Warning! There are spoilers in this recap.
Things are heating up in this week's episode of The Strain. Redhook apartment complexes are being evacuated by a militant task force as people are forced to leave their homes – ah, the origins of martial law. A freshly shorn Eph is on his way to Washington with the anti-virus while Zach stays back with Nora and company. Kelly and the feelers, or rather "the little spider kids," make an appearance and show what they can do, but still haven't found Zach. Setrakian is on a solo mission, seeking for the Lumen on the black market. After being captured, Fet is released relatively easily, as he, Nora and Dutch join forces with Joanne Feraldo and her team. Woven with wit and elegance, "Quick and Painless" succeeds in keeping faces glued to the tube and wanting more.
There is importance to making sense of what is going on in a show with narrative arcs, especially when there are many characters sharing multiple plots and subplots. It is easy to ask questions on sensibility. The invasion by Justine Feraldo's task force and scenes of people franticly trying to flee the city as Eph heads to D.C. sets the tone for the seriousness of the strigoi plague rampantly spreading through New York City. For all the naysayers shamming the sagacity of why people are acting nonchalantly in a viral vampire outbreak, the amount of time from when the plane landed to the present is relatively short. Think days rather than weeks or months.
There is a major flaw to this episode. After last week delved into the whereabouts of Gus and introduced us to the Silver Angel, there is no trace of either character in "Quick and Painless." Major letdown. What is the consequence of introducing the Silver Angel, with an assist from Gus, and not exploring either character in the following installment? Is it merely for viewer speculation or poor artistic choices? Other than disregarding the duo, this episode brought significant movement of story, character development, humor, and bad-ass vampire hunting-all crucial elements to what makes The Strain an extraordinary show.
Although there is a blemish, I don't expect perfection. The episode does right, especially blending tension and release with action and comedy. During Eph's incognito train scenes, the balance of when he is in 'danger' as music grows tense to when he gets past an obstacle and there is relief, is paced soundly. For viewers (or maybe just me) justice is served and Eph's character evolves darkly as he tosses Dr. Barnes off the train. That dude Barnes was a real dick, but for some reason I have a gut feeling he'll be back since his death wasn't really 'confirmed.' Another thing which stands out is Eph's persistence to keep drinking. When I see him pour a glass of scotch or vodka and his eyes light up, I cringe more than seeing any gore the show has to offer. He is obviously an alcoholic, as the booze keeps flowing in each episode. On the train he sought out some beers, which ultimately brought unnecessary conflict. He succeeded in getting to Washington, but the alcohol will surely catch up to him.
Juxtaposed to the anxiety packed Eph scenes, Fet (now free after Nora bargains with Feraldo) and Dutch join the task force in vampire removal. The warfare and laughs ensue when they discuss the different ways to kill vampires with the lead cop, Kowalski, while assisting in evacuation Redhook. The acting and dialogue in these scenes are on point. Elsewhere in the city, Setrakian shows he is still not to mess with, as Alonzo Creem, the off-market antiques and illegal arms dealer, tried to double-cross him. Palmer and Coco Marchand have a weird 'date' night. After some fancy wining and dining, the couple head back to his lair for a nightcap. She asks him to dance, and after reluctance from him, they do. In the backdrop of their dance is a building set ablaze, flames engulfing the structure. Marchand seems to not be phased by this building burning away, not to mention all the other weird associates and altercations she encountered since joining Palmer. Something is up with that chick, and hopefully we'll find out more in next week's episode, along with furthering Gus and the Silver Angel's story. Maybe Kelly and the " little spider kids" will finally find Zach, or maybe he'll find them – I call him running away.
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