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The Strain recap: Fallen Light

The pieces are moved into place for the finale as Gus orchestrates a jailbreak and Eph prepares to get Zack out of the city.

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Michael Gibson/FX

The Strain

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
David Bradley, Corey Stoll, Mia Maestro
Drama, Horror, Thriller

The penultimate episode of any TV season can be frustrating on its own, usually saddled with having to set up every major character and plot moment to come in the finale. “Fallen Light” plays into that stereotype, though the episode tries to abate the problem with flashbacks and the reappearance of Quinlan. (Oh Quinlan, I’ve missed you so much, were you off mulling over spin-off potential?)

Still “Fallen Light” in many respects is about the battle to come in next week’s finale, and likely the continued struggle in season 3. That doesn’t mean the episode was devoid of some fun moments (Gus and Angel teaming up to free a prison full of inmates ranking above the best).

Sadly, however, “Fallen Light” begins with perhaps The Strain’s greatest horror that I thought we had overcome — Eph’s wig. Yes, “Fallen Light” kicks off in 2005, with a not-yet-dead Jim Kent and a not-yet-bald Eph at an infectious disease conference. Eph is there to give a talk, where his findings are publicly challenged by a woman in the crowd, who just so happens to be Nora. (And conveniently, they’re having a similar back-and-forth to their initial disagreements on how to fight the strigoi plague.)

Eph isn’t angry with her behavior though — in fact, he offers her a job because of it. Jim assumes he didn’t hire Nora just for her brilliance, but for now that’s the story Eph is sticking to, even if the two will eventually become more than just coworkers.

Flash-forward to present day, however, and their relationship is much more at odds. Tension hangs between them at headquarters, even as they learn that Kelly’s parents are alive and well in Georgia. They even are able to call and reconnect with Zack, who wants to go see them, an idea Nora thinks should become reality.

Eph is resilient of course, because even if the best parenting tip is not to keep your kid in the middle of a vampire apocalypse when he has perfectly safe and healthy family hundreds of miles away, he still has fought so hard partially to be with his son. In the end, he decides moving Zack out of the city is what’s best for him, so he and Nora venture out to meet Justine, who has just gotten a major promotion (more on that in a minute) to secure permits out of the city. She agrees, particularly after they sweeten the pot by selling her on the idea of helping them mass-produce the bioweapon that will kill the strigoi infection’s chance of proliferating.

And so Zack’s fate seems to be secured, with Nora, Eph, and Zack primed to travel together to his grandparents’ safer location. All will not be well at home though. A far cry from their days passionately hooking up for the first time while a drunk Jim sleeps in the other room, Nora and Eph are still on the rocks, even as he declares his continued love and sincere regret.

So even if things look up for Eph in regard to his talk with Justine, he may not have been so eager to make the deal had he known who Justine just partnered with. While she was receiving pushback from the mayor about her taxing the rich on the Upper East Side, Justine finds herself sitting pretty by the end of “Fallen Light.” As long as you ignore the angry protesters demanding she resign.

Though the mayor threatens to have the city council deal with her, that threat becomes a moot point when the mayor turns up dead. NYPD detective Paul Sampson suspects Justine and her men, but so far as she or Kowalski know, they did nothing to cause his death.

Then Eldritch Palmer, the perfect prime suspect for suspicious murders in a lawless New York, appears by Justine’s side. He offers his services—in exchange for a big payday when this cataclysm is all over—and helps her secure a position as Special Director of Security for New York City.

NEXT: Eichhorst tries to regain control and Gus is given a terrible task.