The Strain – “For Services Rendered”

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I planned on reviewing episodes seven and eight together but this episode was too damn good. Shall we start with that opening scene? I mean, come on. That’s how you do horror. Frantic woman trying to convince too relaxed guy? Check. Idiot cab driver who doesn’t drive away when he witnesses a fanged tongue shoot at him? Check. Relaxed guy’s face when he figures out his wife is a monster (or more of a monster than usual)? Priceless. The actor may I add was fantastic in the way he freaked out over the creatures. It’s honestly what I would have sounded like. A thrilling start to the episode, with it cutting just before his wife fully gets her stinger out.

Setrakian explains to Eph that to defeat this disease you need to cut the head off the worm. Clearly Eph is skeptical, seeing as how that makes no sense in the scientific world, but if he hadn’t noticed, there are fucking vampires on the loose. I think science is off the table from now on, old pal. The way to get to “The Master” is first through Jim. He’s the backstabber, he’s the first link. Funny to see how Eph refused initially to go back to his betrayer. It’s incredible how people hold grudges. Even during the end of times.

We get deeper and deeper into the relationship between Eichorst and Setrakian. Their conversation about having a choice and taking a chance was riveting. The conversations between Eichorst and both old and young Setrakian are always my favorite part of the episode. It was a perfect lead in to the chase in the subway. I’d never seen Richard Sammel before. Apparently he was in Inglorious Bastards. The man does a bang up job in this show as the villain. The way he said, “Consider your wife dead” to Jim was harrowing. He almost seemed perky. Really great stuff, and adding that with Setrakian’s hatred towards him makes magic.

The highlight of the hour was the caretaker and her reluctance to bring those children back to their house. We knew it wasn’t going to end well for them. They eventually went back to see their father on the verge of turning and a fair glimpse of what their mother has become. All of that was great, it was intense, but it didn’t hold a candle to what came next.

Those hooded guys were BAD ASS. They are like zombie Daryl’s. I’m assuming they are some vampire half breed. They can talk. Clearly they do not like the infected. The way they dealt with the woman’s daughter was dark (although well deserved. If she’d only listened to her mother). Their appearance on the show just piqued my level of interest up a few notches. Maybe this show has a little more depth than I anticipated.

I honestly don’t know what to think of this show. It’s still not the highest of quality, like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, but it’s more than just snack food television. It’s on its way to being above The Walking Dead for me. It seems they have a genuine story, from front to finish for these characters. Well, of course they do. It’s already been written as books. But where as The Walking Dead only shows the after math, The Strain is showing everything as it happens. And even more, with Setrakian’s flashbacks. And Eph has been wearing hats more than usual to cover up that awful hair piece. This show is on the rise.

We didn’t get any Fet this episode, and only a few minutes with Gus in jail. I’m sure we will hear more from them in the next episode. Which I will be watching in a matter of moments. A top notch episode with one hell of a finisher.

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