Previously on The Strain
, Eichorst and Setrakian threw down in a train station. This week's episode, "Creatures of the Night," begins directly after this fight, with Setrakian gathering his 90-year-old dignity and Eichorst limping off to deliver a message to the Master. Oh, and the message is received.
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A Fateful Meeting
Because this show wants desperately to be as rooted in science as DC Comics adaptations are rooted in humorlessness, Eph quickly comes up with a biological reason why strigoi can't tolerate sunlight. It's not just the sun but ultraviolet light in general that adversely affects them, so the team realizes that they can hold off the creatures using UVC lights. They break into a medical supply store to get some, but Fet is already there.
Fet is quite possibly the smartest person on this show. While Setrakian has had 70 years to figure out how strigoi work, and Eph and Nora have been guided through their introduction to the creatures, Fet has figured out all the basics for himself in about two days. Setrakian is immediately impressed, but Fet is an "every man for himself" kind of guy and isn't interested in joining with someone who was born before the discovery of penicillin. His opinion of Setrakian rapidly changes, though, when he sees the man in action. Strigoi begin to converge on them outside of a convenience store, and Setrakian quickly gets to beheading.
The strigoi encroach too quickly to kill them all. Everyone holds them off while Jim runs into the store and struggles with simple outlets for a minute before finally managing to plug in the UVC lights. He then fends the strigoi off enough for everyone to get inside the store, though he is thrown down and scrapes his cheek in the process. We all know what that means.
Our intrepid group of vampire hunters joins the group already in the store: Hassan, the store clerk trying desperately not to get fired; a man with a ponytail who is, in the name of fashion, sacrificed to the strigoi; a hapless bread vendor; and Dutch Velders with someone that I'm going to assume is her girlfriend. Everyone freaks out, and the explanation of "vampires, deal with it" doesn't really have a calming effect. In fact, Dutch's girlfriend (who is less than pleased when she finds out her lady is responsible for all the phone and Internet problems in the city) decides to leave the relative safety of the barricaded store and make a run for it. Miraculously, the strigoi don't follow her. She's not the one they're after.
This raises some questions about what exactly the strigoi are capable of. They seem fairly mindless, but Setrakian explains that they rapidly become more and more lucid. Just in the course of this siege, they begin using tools and making strategic moves, like finding multiple points of entry and cutting power supplies. In a month, they will be fully matured. This doesn't mean they'll be the same as Eichorst, though.
Only a select few, chosen by the Master, retain a semblance of their former selves as Eichorst has. They essentially form a caste system, with every caste stemming from the Master. Setrakian even insists that the Master is connected to every strigoi and can see through each of their eyes. Eph thinks this is ridiculous because this is supposed to be science-based vampire lore and the connection makes no scientific sense, but Setrakian is insistent.
It's Just a Flesh Wound
At this point, the team is dealing with a laundry list of crap. The store is at least 80% glass windows, which will not hold off the strigoi. They are simply waiting for reinforcements before attacking. There are cars in the loading dock, but they're all broken. The batteries on the UVC lights are running low. And on top of all that, they discover that Jim has a worm. Since this is their friend and not some random person on the street, they opt to save him instead of kill him. Eph uses box cutters to perform impromptu surgery on Jim's face. There is screaming, there is blood, there will be nightmares. But it does the job, and he manages to remove the worm and kill it with UV light. He and Nora are not only relieved to have saved Jim, but also they may have found a treatment for the newly infected.
But as he's moving the UVC lights, Eph sees something crawling under Jim's skin. Eph lifts Jim's shirt to reveal that his entire back is crawling with worms. Apparently, they reproduce much fast than Eph anticipated. There is no amount of unsanitary surgery that can remove them all.
Jim quickly realizes that he is doomed. Eph and Nora, however, are less willing to accept it. Had this been someone not in the main cast, they wouldn't have hesitated to do what needs to be done. But this is their friend. This is someone billed after the title sequence. His life has actual meaning. Though Eph tries to convince him that they have options, Jim knows that staying alive will only cause the people he loves harm. He has done enough damage recently and has no wish to do any more. Setrakian respects this pragmatic viewpoint and moves to kill Jim himself, but Eph stops him. In the commotion, Fet takes out his gun and shoots Jim several times in the head. Screaming is done, anger is had, but he only did what needed to be done. So long, Jim.
When in Doubt, Call the Exterminator
Reeling from this death, everyone seems to forget that they are actively under attack by a hoard of the undead. Setrakian reminds them of the situation and of how awesome it would be to not die. Their only option now is to make a run for the bread vendor's truck, but the bread vendor already attempted that and did not fair very well. In this impossible situation, he leaves the planning up to Fet.
Fet has clearly dealt with some intense rats in his day because he knows exactly what to do. The group leaves the store in a circular formation, each person protecting themselves with a UVC light. They throw Molotov cocktails to clear a path to the gas pump, where Fet springs for the premium. Eph grabs the van's keys from the vendor, who is barely alive and unquestionably infected. Having gone through the character development of losing his friend, Eph is able to shoot the man in the face. The group makes it to the van and drives off as the store explodes into flames. Only 12 hours until they have to do it all again.
The Strain airs Sundays at 10pm on FX.