Things didn’t exactly end well for our gang of vampire hunters in the season 1 finale of The Strain. Sure, they damaged The Master, but he still roams in the shadows of a crumbling New York. And he has no intention of letting Abraham and the others slow him down.
Unfortunately for him, there are forces at work far beyond his grasp, as the seeds of an unexpected alliance are sewn in “BK, NY.”
But first, The Strain deems it best that the audience understand the enemy presumably so that when he hopefully falls it’s all the more satisfying. “BK, NY” opens with a flashback prologue to a young Abraham—even younger than we saw him last season—being told one of his favorite stories by his grandmother.
It is in fact the story of The Master, who was once a man named Jusef Sardu. Suffering from gigantism (and the trope-y syndrome of being a gentle giant), Jusef still led a good life. His brother, however, grew ashamed of Jusef’s presence, hoping to heal him with the blood of a great gray wolf. As their hunting party ventures out into the forest, the group is picked off one by one until only Jusef remains. He stumbles upon a strigoi, who decides to abandon its decaying body for Jusef’s much stronger vessel.
It does so by… vomiting hundreds if not thousands of worms onto Jusef just to make sure he’s properly turned. For a show that frequently dabbles in the graphically gross, this may be one of the most squirm-inducing scenes yet, but it remains narratively important, revealing The Master’s origins.
That body lasted Jusef for a time, but as he tells Eichhorst, his vessel is dying. They must plan for a succession. Hopefully this time with less worm vomit.
Abraham isn’t satisfied with merely harming The Master, though, and returns to the scene of the crime for evidence of where he fled to. Instead, he runs into the hooded vampire antihero of season 1, who tells Abraham he goes by Vaughn. (Note: While I have not read the books, it seems the character who filled this role was named Quinlan in the original material. But according to some interviews, we may not have actually met Quinlan yet.)
Vaughn is on a hunt of his own for The Master, and he brings Abraham in on his plan. He speaks for The Ancients, the sleeping circle of strigoi we saw back in the first finale. The Master is the seventh of its kind, but he’s learned to shield himself from their collective mind meld. They want to find him, and enemy of the enemy being a friend, The Ancients want to align with Abraham.
Abraham tells them of an ancient book that appears to get a rise out of The Ancients. They won’t tell him how to kill The Master, but they realize how dedicated he is in his hunt. The Ancients let him live in exchange for any information on The Master’s whereabouts he can give them. And instead of chomping down on Abraham, he and Santos, who is working with Vaughn, watch as The Ancients feed on a defenseless sacrificial man.
Abraham keeps this new partnership to himself, though. When he returns to the team’s new reinforced hideout in Brooklyn, he remains mum as Fet interrogates him about his day.
The Master is making plans of his own on his hunt for revenge. And he’s being less shy about what’s to come. He has Eichhorst round up “the children,” while dealing with Eldritch, whose newfound vitality has also instilled him with a massive ego. But Eichhorst cuts through the power plays in all of his dealings, letting Eldritch blow off his steam while he buys property for The Master.
But Eichhorst takes a more hands-on approach with his other task. When a school of blind children are given a lucky chance to be driven out of the city to a safe location, it actually looks like things may be improving… until you remember what show you’re watching. The bus full of kids is halted long before they leave the city by Eichhorst, who promises their journey is only beginning.
NEXT: Abraham takes the crew on a dangerous mission.