FX’s The Strain Bad White TV Show Review. The Strain, Season 3, Episode 2: ‘Bad White,’ started with bad science – bad science often being good science to us, so long as we don’t know how the sausage gets made. In this case, however, the ‘sausages’ were for a ‘starving’ Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde); so not so good, in this case. No, this was a case of synthesising Milk of Master (Jack Kesy), so Palmer could cut out his secret benefactor. Bad White for Bad Whitey.
Nothing like having a sadistic handler like Eichorst (Richard Sammel) playing with your heart, to remind you of why such treachery would even be worth risking – given that the heart in question belonged to Coco, and has been sitting in a jar, next to one belonging to the love of an adversary. A keepsake and a trophy – each a reminder of what has been at stake. Of course, Coco wasn’t enough to redeem Palmer; so the scene primarily served to set the stage for what would be an exercise in pliable allegiance.
For some, that began with a bit of moving on – to varying degrees of success. After a wee bit of boyhood level disappointment, Fet (Kevin Durand) was back to happy hunting (show of hands – who wants to see more America Olivo, aka the hook-up, aka Kate?). We all know what he’s capable of, when not saddled with emo moments; but it’s also nice to see him get his happy on, when there are no strings attached, either (I know – he was still a big softy about it; but it was a good score, any way).
As for the other half – Dutch (Ruta Gedmintas) has been babysitting whatever hipsters become, when they survive long enough to fancy themselves survivalists. The team trade had not been an upgrade for her. If anyone deserves the occasional emo break, on this show, it’s Dutch – since she apparently can’t help but self-fulfil her abandonment issue. A reason for sympathy, sure; but also a reason to maybe keep her hot mess away from Fet & the others.
As far as the others go, Eph (Corey Stoll) currently fills the emo quotient, and the Master leveraging his son against the Occido Lumen wasn’t helping. To make matters worse, his predicament left his rocky intro to Quinlan (Rupert Penry-Jones) tingling the Daywalker’s treachery sense. All the same, Eph’s losses were enough to at least give Fet & Setrakian (David Bradley) pause. They were also team losses, after all.
Setrakian has ranked among one of the cooler heads among the cast, lately (especially since acquiring the Lumen); so I actually appreciated this one moment of sentimentality that he was allowed, and what David Bradley did with it. That said, I hope his expressed fondness for Zach (Max Charles) was strictly for Eph’s sake. Unless he’s been largely (or completely) unaware of Zach’s ongoing issues, I’d like to think Setrakian would recognize someone like Zach for the liability that he’s been.
Speaking of the little liability – maybe it was being cooped up, underground, or his mom’s particular way of being inappropriately affectionate, but Zach was starting to get as restless with Kelly (Natalie Brown), as he had once been with Eph.
Hey, Zach: we’ve seen what you did over missing your mom – what are you willing to do to see your dad again? Not saying I’m holding out for a Zach redemption – I’m just a fan of irony (tacked on, or otherwise).
The focus of the episode remained on the White, however. When bad science couldn’t get him the key ingredient to betraying the Master, Palmer tried to leverage his stake, in the overall scheme, for Setrakian’s home-brewed recipe. Thanks to their history having not been forgotten, Setrakian’s response may have left him as the one with leverage over Palmer. At the same time, Zach’s lack of forethought continued to mean bad things coming from his lack of impulse control; but what could’ve wound up as a particularly heinous case of child abuse (consider what the show’s done to blind children, of all things), wound up with the Master bringing more White into the equation. Whether that will mean better leverage over Zach, himself, I don’t know. I’d point out that the showrunners have shown little interest in curbing Zach before; odds are, they won’t be, just yet.
On the other hand, maybe the episode was less concerned about leveraging White, then just leverage. The White made for a good instrument, to that end; but between Eph’s own brand of impulse control deficiency, and Quinlan’s sense for his predicament, ‘Bad White’ leveraged into something else, entirely.
A whole other episode kind of something else, as it turns out; so that’s that with that, for the time being.
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