Madness makes men do strange things — it’s an obvious truism, and it was the overriding theme of tonight’s episode of The Strain. Dutch and Eph undertook some unusual experiments in the continued hunt for a means to disable the strigoi’s telepathic network, while Fet, seemingly for fun, tagged a couple of vampires in the street in attempt to root out their nest. What he discovered, a massive swarm of sleeping strigoi huddled beneath Central Park, would be enough to loosen anyone’s grip on sanity.
But as the Born points out, good things can sometimes spring from madness — and Setrakian’s ruminations on a past confrontation did help him arrive at a possible means to stop the Master. Not war, not destruction, but imprisonment might ultimately be the route to victory. But if they have any hope at capturing him, they’ll first need to determine whose body is hosting the chief vampire.
The hour began with a callback to the season premiere, with Setrakian in voice-over offering an update on the worsening world situation — and things are looking bleak. In the course of a week, the strigoi infection has spread to dozens of cities including Washington, Atlanta, and Dallas, then to Germany, India, Africa, and elsewhere around the globe. The weary professor notes that New York City has managed to hold ground, but are those small victories merely forestalling defeat? Lest the metaphor be lost, the next image is a chess piece moving across a board, with Dutch telling her opponent Eph that since he’s already lost the game, he shouldn’t even bother with any next moves (again, no metaphors here…).
The pair has set up the game in a Brooklyn park to pass the time while they wait for strigoi to appear, and Dutch is simply bluffing because she’s bored. Entertainment arrives, finally, and the duo takes down the attacking vamps, keeping only a “small one” as a test subject. Back in Red Hook, Eph straps the creature to a table and works through the night, removing the vampire’s stinger, spinal column, and brain. Once a sleepy Dutch ambles to his makeshift lab, he’s excited to share his primary discovery — namely that a compact knot of the blood worms seem to comprise the core of the strigoi’s nervous system.
It’s all a bit stomach-churning first thing in the morning (or really, at any point, if we’re being honest), and Dutch begins to microwave a cup of coffee for herself. As soon as the appliance turns on, Eph notices that the worms begin to behave differently. The discovery prompts them to further research, so Dutch disassembles the microwave to access to the magnetron inside, theorizing that she can use it to essentially create “white noise” that will block the strigoi communications.
In Manhattan, Quinlan looks through photocopied pages from the Lumen, and he dryly notes to Setrakian that the chapter on strigoi hunters notes that they all share a need to act alone and that they often seem to be gripped by madness. “Good thing none of this applied to you,” Quinlan quips to the Professor. “Or you,” Setrakian replies. And… we’re in 1972 Amsterdam, where a much younger Abraham (Jim Watson) enters the backroom of a brothel in the Red Light district. Using a pseudonym, he plots with the madame to sell a mysterious artifact — the Occido Lumen, of course — to a third-party, a man named Kruger whom Setrakian suspects is, in fact, Eichorst. He asks whether the buyer is a German who was loyal to the fatherland during the war — possibly he was employed at one of the concentration camps in Poland?
NEXT: Unlocking the book’s mysteries