FX’s The Strain Intruders TV Show Review. The Strain: Season 2, Episode 8: Intruders is my first episode of this series, and I admit I had to watch it more than once and read a few other reviews to figure it all out. It’s heavy on the characters and light on action for a horror series. I’ve noticed some other critics’ complaints about subplots, and I’m sure they are attempting to refer to the individual arcs of the main characters, all of whom have a subplot. TV producers usually refer to subplots of different characters in a series as A, B, C, etc. If the subplots relate to the spine of the story, then there shouldn’t be an issue.
This week, Dr. Eph Goodweather (Corey Stoll) sets out to get a sniper rifle and encounters a gunshot wounded, Mr. Wu (Ho Chow), owner of a warehouse who Eph treats with supplies stored in the stock. This is part of Eph’s subplot, but relates to his arc as a doctor who has a duty to save lives even while in a state of strigoi emergency. He makes a nice trade for the rifle by treating the patient and realizes that his services could come in handy as a bartering method. He teaches his son, Zach (Max Charles), some basic surgical skills that could potentially save himself later in the series. If everything has a purpose for some other point in the story, then it works. Clearly, there is value being stored by encountering believable situations in the New York these characters call home, filling up with infected people. Zach presents issues with his denial of reality and gullible child mind later in the episode. The strain is spreading faster than Ebola.
His mother, Kelly, is a strigoi carrier who gets a fresh makeover in the introduction. I am deeply impressed by the makeup and effects in the series. There just can’t be enough of it, but I understand that if it were as gorey as say, I, would like, it wouldn’t be fit for basic cable. She has made friends with the ex-Nazi, Thomas Eichorst (Richard Sammel), who has a plan to sneak some Feelers into Red Hook, Brooklyn, which they pull off with some well timed luck, but she is almost exposed by the U.V. light detector when the cop approaches her to check under her skin in case she doesn’t know she’s infected. She is stalking her son and his father and gets past the checkpoint when some strigoi in the car behind her causes a scene.
The main plot of the episode is the bidding war over the ancient book, the Occido Lumen, carrying the secrets to destroy the Master who now occupies Gabriel Bolivar’s (Jack Kesy) body. Cardinal MacNamara (Tom Kemp) claims to have access to it, and Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) wants it for $500,000. Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley) and Vasiliy Fet (Kevin Durand) show up unannounced and claim to have access to $750,000 in gold, but the real strategy is in stealing it. Eichorst has his own ideas and decides to coerce it from the Cardinal to spare his life, but Cardinal upholds his vow of secrecy before Eichorst who mocks God just as the thieving pair return and storm an entrance in their plan to acquire it. The Cardinal has already been infected with worms of strigoi and Eichorst makes a narrow escape from silver bullets and grenades. The dynamic duo find out where the book is and behead the Cardinal. Palmer finds out about the mutilation at home and is underwhelmed.
Mr. Quinlan (Rupert Penly-Jones) visits Gus (Miguel Gomez) and invites him to join the quest in defeating the Master. Gus is uninspired, but appears to be interested after some poetic prose and heartfelt empathy for the loss of his loved ones to the strain. Quinlan also implies that more death is inevitable, and thank some nonexistent God Gus is easier to motivate than the rest of the people on this show who bear no signs of militarizing any brute force to deal with this situation. Come on, people. Deal with it.
Kelly is more convincing to her son Zach than a streetwise kid would have taken to task. He also has a penchant for ignoring his father’s best advice and opens the door to let her in their warehouse which is defended. She makes off with minor upsets to her makeover, but the fort retaliated heavily enough to make second thoughts about coming back with more Feelers.
There’s something about the coolness of the characters in this show that hasn’t struck a chord with me just yet. No one seems to be losing their mind which I find a little under played. It’s almost as if they are all intrinsically underestimating the speed at which this vampiric parasite can spread. It isn’t safe to walk around outside without a gun or some form of vampire defense. Gus is the only one in this episode who tries talking sense into anyone about the situation in order to be convincing. You almost can’t blame Zach for not quite letting it sink in. No one else is panicked enough to relay the risk with any accuracy. Everyone is just taking it in stride as if there were no impending state of complete and total chaos on the horizon.
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