THE STRAIN – “Occulation” Episode Recap
“Occultation” shows The Strain, at its best, or if that’s too strong a term at least playing to its strengths. At the very least it serves a reminder that said strengths aren’t negligible and the show shouldn’t be written off just because it’s taking a bit of time to find its footing.
Those strengths include Richard Sammel, who once again proves himself one of the highlights of the show as The Master’s lieutenant, a character who brings such decadent glee to his evil that he resembles nothing so much as the bastard love child of Christoph Waltz and Udo Kier. And once again the show’s horror sequences are top notch, there are two great ones this time out, one set during the eclipse so central to the shows imagery and marketing and one in which Setrakin is for once caught off guard, finally overwhelmed against the limitations of his age.
But horror has never been The Strain’s problem; it’s been everything around the horror. “Occultation” at least promises that the show will feature less and less of that. The vampire plague is well underway, with the midday eruption during the eclipse presented as a tipping point (whether the scale of the mayhem shown actually justifies that is another matter, but let’s just go ahead and give it the benefit of the doubt.) The scene can almost be read of a parody of The Strain’s superfluous subplots, as two FBI agents who were serving as this week’s filler were dispatched so perfunctorily and with so little consequence that it was almost as if the show was just as relieved to see them go as the viewer was. It’s heavily hinted that Ephram’s ex wife’s boyfriend, on whom we’ve spent so many joyful hours since the pilot was lost in similar fashion.
By episodes end all the characters are finally in the same page, facing in the same direction. (Aside from Vet, who was stuck in his own subplot that mirrored Ephram’s in an agreeable way. Although, man close family members are sure quick to disregard the warnings of their loved ones with inside information in The Strain’s universe aren’t they? For a show so wrapped up in the concept of famial love, The Strain seems determined to potray the only positive famial relationship as one that has been crippled by dementia.) The way forward for the show is clear; it just remains to see if it will be taken.