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'The Strain' recap: Intruders

Posted on

Michael Gibson/FX

The Strain

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

The Master didn’t just hit close to home during “Intruders.” He walked through the damn front door without even having to lift a finger — or even go himself, as it was Kelly who crossed the threshold into Team Setrakian’s HQ. Armed with the Feelers and another impressive make-up job courtesy of Eichhorst (Seriously, if he weren’t trying to take over the world, he should have gone into special effects make-up. The man would have Oscars lining his home), Kelly upends whatever notion of safety Eph and the gang held before tonight.

Now, they’ll have to remain ever more vigilant or bring the fight to their enemies before it intrudes on their home lives once again.

But whatever sense of security the gang felt wasn’t the only casualty to the might of the Master’s presence during “Intruders.” A greedy cardinal suffered an untimely death, Gus was forced to choose between the good fight and his short-term happiness, and Palmer and Coco endured some relationship woes. (Though honestly, as creepy as that relationship has been, that last change might be for the best.)

Starting with the latter, the still-infatuated couple is first seen during “Intruders” in bed together, where Coco tells Palmer that she feels safe. And while they both wish they could stay in bed all day with one another and give me further nightmares, Palmer has an important meeting with the cardinal. It’s apparent to anyone who’s seen his dealing with Eichhorst and the Master that it has to do with the Occido Lumen, but he remains tight-lipped with Coco. He doesn’t want to involve her in this nefarious part of his life, partly out of love and partly out of fear of embroiling her in the dealings of the undead.

He evades her questioning for the moment, but she only becomes more suspicious during the cardinal’s meeting. Palmer and the man haggle over pricing for the book, reaching as high as $500,000, largely because there’s another bidder involved. Palmer knows it must be Abraham — the market for ancient, mythical texts pertaining to the strigoi is likely a small one, anyway — and warns the cardinal that Abraham is not to be trusted.

Their meeting is cut, short, however, when Eichhorst arrives, and Palmer sends Coco out of the room. The two servants of the Master bicker over Palmer’s behavior. He wants autonomy; Eichhorst wants results for their plans. The two bicker like petulant school children, trying to come out on top of their passive-aggressive insult war.

But Eichhorst doesn’t take the bait as Palmer chides him for not being chosen as the Master’s next host, choosing instead to walk away from the bickering match and exert his influence in more meaningful ways.

He chooses to visit the cardinal, who has already negotiated with Abraham and Fet as well. Setrakian agrees to $750,000 in gold within 24 hours, but he’s also aware that Palmer is in contention for the Lumen. So he decides to steal it from the cardinal before Palmer can, but he arrives too late, as Eichhorst has already infiltrated the cardinal’s living quarters. He demands to know who has the Lumen under threat of the man of faith’s life, but his interrogation is short-lived, as Abe and Fet burst into the room. Eichhorst has already killed the cardinal’s aide and infected the cardinal, but he escapes as Fet and Abraham attempt to kill him.

With his dying breaths, the cardinal he tells Abraham that the man with the book is none other than Rudyard Fonescu, the little boy who he met at the Vienna monastery in the ’60s. With the information in hand, he ends the cardinal’s life before his soul is given over to the darkness of the strigoi.

Palmer finds out about the murder while in bed with Coco, and she’s finally grown sick of his secret-keeping. After refusing to open up to him about what he really had going on with the now deceased cardinal, she leaves a dejected Palmer, who is unaware that he has Eichhorst at least partly to thank for his latest romantic woes.

While Eichhorst works to get one of his players’ heads back in the game, he has little issue commanding Kelly to carry out her plans. After outfitting her with human complexion and some basic training on how to control her animalistic, strigoi impulses, she’s still clicking and gurgling like a strigoi, but she can at least control the convulsive movements that give away her true nature when she’s done up to look human.

NEXT: Quinlan finds a new partner in the hunt.[pagebreak]

The disguise helps her sail through a police checkpoint — well, that, and a minivan full of strigoi that prevents the cops from testing her with UV light — as she makes a new bid to track down Zack. She and the feelers track his scent to a boat repair shop, where Eph took Zack while he went on a backroom shopping spree. Eph was there to purchase a rifle, hoping to take out Palmer from a far away vantage point, but he and Zack had to stick around when the illicit salesman was found wounded.

His daughter enlists Eph’s help to operate on the man, a contact of Fet’s named Jimmy Wu, and if there was ever a place to have to throw together a makeshift operation, his shop seems to be an ideal location. He has stores of medical kits and painkillers on hand (both very popular items on the black market, naturally), and Eph puts it all to good use with a little help from Zack.

He’s offered the rifle he came to purchase in return for unintended services rendered while also bonding with his son over their mutual affinity for operations. (Or maybe Zack just really, really likes cutting stuff open.) What Eph isn’t able to relate to Zack about, however, is Kelly, as the young boy keeps hope alive that his mother can still be returned to normal. Abraham was wrong about sunlight killing the Master, so he has to be wrong about Kelly, Zack argues, his unfortunately grating nature returning after a few minutes of relative normalcy.

His predilection for whining and for being angry with Eph follows him home in the form of Kelly, who appears outside the window of headquarters. Eph is upstairs finally spilling the beans about his trip to Washington — including his murder of Barnes, the other people he got killed, and his implicit revelation that he slept with another woman — to Nora. She doesn’t love the news, but she’s at least happy to have some honesty back in their relationship. But determing where they stand is put on hold as Zack begins to talk to Kelly.

She convinces her son to let her in, and as he unbars the front door, Eph recognizes the gravity of the situation. He and Nora, armed and ready, begin hunting and fighting with Kelly and the feelers, who worm their way into the house in what should be a disturbingly tense scene, but which is unfortunately undercut by some rather drab directing. The risk to Nora’s life is properly shown, as the feelers crawl beneath the grating, but whatever power Kelly does or doesn’t have in the situation feels muddled by how the scene plays out.

Eventually, she escapes into the night, leaving the team safe for the moment but destroying their sense of safety.

Any semblance of safety is also ruined for the Guptas, the family Angel works for. Gus has been hanging around the Guptas since he fell for their food — and the daughter of the family. Once Gus has shown Angel the danger awaiting them in the city, the two of them convince the family that it’s time to pack up and move out of town.  Gus is happy to help, and after some wariness from the father of the family, they decide to get the hell out of dodge.

Unfortunately, it looks like they may not have Gus by their side to protect them. Quinlan appears (in all too short a sequence this time around, though it’s probably best to leave us wanting more Quinlan rather than risk making us sick of him) to enlist him in his hunt for the Master. He promises to him that the Master will not forget the role Gus has played and has allowed him to live, and so the two of them share a common enemy.

And if he wants to keep his new girlfriend and her family safe, killing the Master may be the only way of truly guaranteeing them their lives. Gus may wonder why he must be implicated in this whole mess, but after the horrors that befell just about everyone in “Intruders,” he may want to take Quinlan’s advice — don’t ask too many questions as you fight to put an end to such an unspeakable evil.