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The Strain “Creatures of the Night” Review (2×08)

31 Aug

1x08-Creatures-of-the-Night-Vasiliy-Fet-the-strain-fx-37496268-1024-682

“I need the rules.”

“Creatures of the Night” narrows the focus of the show, and everything’s better off for it: the entertainment value, the action, the directing, the acting, and even the character development. It’s a tightly plotted, sixty minute thrill ride that, for once, doesn’t attempt to try to tackle the situation from a larger scale. The show’s certainly attempting to convey a sense of widespread destruction and chaos, but sometimes, confining the characters to one space ramps up the tension more so than anything else does.

There are a couple reasons why the show chooses to set the episode within a convenience store next to a gas station: 1) Explosions, and 2) The sense of claustrophobia that permeates the environment. Whether the setting is a tunnel or the dark lab at the CDC or this store, the creative team seems intent on highlighting the feelings of hopelessness, the image of our characters essentially being backed into corners. However, unlike with The Walking DeadThe Strain doesn’t submerge itself in perpetual despair. At the end of it all, the images of Vasiliy throwing molotov cocktails and choosing the “Premium Gas” option lend a rah-rah aspect to this group of individuals.

Speaking of Vasiliy, it’s about time he joined the group. He’s easily the most entertaining character in the show, and putting him right next to Abraham Setrakian is the best decision the writers have made thus far. Their dynamic is delightful to watch unfold, and it’s intriguing watching Setrakian act as a mediator of sorts between the contrasting personalities of Eph and Vasiliy (especially when it comes to Jim’s death). This organization is, of course, paralleled with Eichhorst acting as a mediator of sorts between the Master and the other strigoi. So, the form of communication is beginning to show, and we also see that the vamps are now using tools; there’s actual strategy involved here, and that certainly makes the strigoi even more dangerous.

With more danger comes more deaths, and we get the first death of a major cast member with Jim. To be honest, he’d essentially finished up with his arc, so killing him off here before he gets too grating is a good choice. The realization that the worms reproduced already is wonderfully played by all the actors involved, and the eventual kill shot coming from newcomer Vasiliy is sure to make for some interesting interactions between him and Eph moving forward.

All in all, it’s an exciting hour that leaves us with a thrilling image: the truck driving toward the city, the flames of their friend and their enemies rising into the night sky. Escape, however, is only temporary. Just like those who’re turned always return to the people they care about, the strain will always return to chase our characters into the night.

GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Eichhorst is really struggling. If everyone was made out of silver, this all wouldn’t be happening.

-I think the moral of this story is that even with a horde of vampires outside, people will still be idiots. Truck driver, Hassan, lady who ran outside…you were all the victims of the writing technique known as “We Have Nothing For New Characters To Do, So Let’s Kill Them Off”.

-Internal monologue of the woman who runs outside: “Do I stay with these people who look like they know what they’re doing, or do I make a run for it and get myself killed? I know! Run!”

-Internal monologue of the truck driver: “Well, that other person did it, so good enough for me.” *Dies*

-Internal monologue of Hassan: “…money…I guess I’ll stay here and die, too…” *Dies*

-Dutch Velders, hacker, is now part of the team.

-It’s nice to see someone actually listen to Abraham right off the bat. Vasiliy’s “I need the rules” moment is played nicely.

-There’s no The Leftovers this week, so I found time to review this; it worked out perfectly, because this is easily the best episode of the series thus far. I’ll mainly be focused on Boardwalk Empire moving forward, but I’ll probably stop by for the finale in October.

Photo credit: FX, The Strain

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One Response to “The Strain “Creatures of the Night” Review (2×08)”

  1. Matthew Thompson September 2, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

    This was definitely one of the better ones. I really like the exterminator, so it is good he will be with the group now and I’m good with “Rudy” being dead. I was kind of intrigued by last week’s Vampire SWAT team. I hope we see them around again soon. “I need the rules” really was a great line too. I haven’t been all that entertained by The Strain so far, but I keep watching so that has to count for something.

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