After the scale of last week’s battle for Red Hook, The Strain took things to a more personal place in “The Assassin,” particularly focusing on the continuing efforts of Eph and Abraham. The former’s desire to kill Palmer and the latter’s to find the Occido Lumen and take down the Master drive the actions of Fet, Nora, and Dutch as their individual plights take a backseat to Abraham, Eph, and, surprisingly, Palmer’s worries as the larger battle for New York takes a personal turn.
Eph is finally making good on his promise to kill Eldritch Palmer, spying on Stoneheart with Dutch from a neighboring skyscraper. If this duo strikes you as an odd pairing, you’re not alone — even Eph is surprised Dutch to come along with him for the mission. Not that he’s disappointed to have her around, as she helped secure the tech necessary to spy on the heavily protected Stoneheart tower.
But her real reason for being there isn’t her good-natured charity. She wants to escape the romantic woes currently plaguing her life, as she struggles with having feelings toward both Fet and Nikki. Dutch doesn’t want to have to choose — she’d rather rationalize that loving both of them is perfectly natural and that the forced monogamy of society goes against a human’s very nature.
Eph doesn’t play along with Dutch’s emotional philosophy — to him, life’s about choices, and he believes Dutch will have to make one when it comes to whom she stays with in the end. For now, the assassination mission is enough to keep her preoccupied, however. At first it’s as boring as stakeouts presumably so often are unless they’re being done on an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. But when Palmer and Coco return to his office, where the mayor comes by for a visit, they finally have a reason to pay attention.
They mayor wants Palmer to talk some sense into Justine. While he’s convinced her to bring the strigoi extermination process to the Upper East Side to satisfy the city’s wealthy, Justine isn’t there to be a lackey of the mayor’s. She institutes a price as payment for the services to be rendered by her team—one percent of each citizen’s property wealth, delivered in gold, silver, or other pre-approved items.
She’s faced with charges of extortion and general anger from the masses, but she argues that the people of Red Hook paid with their blood in the battle. The wealthier crowd in this neighborhood is less likely to do the same, she assumes, so she’ll happily accept their belongings.
The mayor, who does not want to upset this crowd, can’t seem to shake Justine of her convictions, so he asks Palmer to intervene. Though they’ve never met, the mayor hopes Palmer’s presence in the city will be enough to force her to give up her demands. He’ll meet Justine where she’s holding her conferences to the people, providing Eph and Dutch with a perfect opportunity to attack.
Palmer agrees, perhaps thinking some show of kindness to the city, as well as his ability to command a room, will impress Coco, who is still angry with him after his persistent refusal to reveal to her what he’s really up to.
Palmer goes to her apartment to initially make amends — he’s shocked that she walks up several flights of stairs every day and practically has to force himself not to be afraid that he’ll get some middle class germs on him if he enters the building.
She’s not completely moved by his proclamation that she saved him after a life of pain and isolation, but she takes his pleas as genuine enough to go along with him to his office just in time for the impromptu meeting with the mayor.
Coco also travels with him to Justine’s location, neither of them aware Dutch and Eph are perched on a rooftop across the street, sniper rifle in Eph’s hands. Dutch has prepped their escape route for them and is there to calm the doctor as he prepares to take his shot.
Though she peps him up with talk of his current badass situation being a far cry from her initial impression of him, Eph is still nervous. As Palmer arrives, he’s desperate to take the shot and end it, but Palmer’s detail obscures Eph’s shot. Finally, after some Dutch-enforced patience, he finds a clear moment to take aim and fire.
The shot rings out, Palmer and a few of his guard dropping to the ground. Eph takes one last look through his scope, sees Palmer on the ground, and begins his escape with Dutch. Unfortunately, police are closing in fast, so they try to take a shortcut through the halls of the building they’re scaling.
NEXT: Eph and Abraham enjoy some short-lived success.