The Strain recap: The Silver Angel
For every step forward during “The Silver Angel” for our merry band of vampire hunters—well, Fet at least qualifies as “merry”—it seems as if another step is taken back in the fight against the Master. Eph and Nora may discover that their cure is working, but an innocent day out with Zach could spell doom for Dr. Goodweather and his son. Fet succeeds in blasting a subway tunnel entrance, only to find himself face to face with a new, less friendly strigoi extermination group.
Luckily, the group in general appears to be on the right path toward victory, despite the roadblocks and pre-teen angst making a mess of things in the meantime.
The greatest advancement comes in the form of Eph and Nora’s possible strigoi cure, though in the end they can’t necessarily agree on how to proceed. The two of them, with a little help from Fet and “Fortunate Son” take their test subject out into the field. They unleash him into the streets, hoping he’ll go on the attack.
Instead, he finds his way to a psychiatric hospital, where he settles in with a nest of strigoi. With nothing to do until the next sundown, they decide to wait until then to follow him and see if their creation takes hold on the strigoi population.
Eph is too amped up on adrenaline (and apparently not enough alcohol) to sleep, however, so he takes Nora’s suggestion and spends the day with Zach. He visits Zach in his makeshift bed and, reminded by a foul baseball they caught at a Yankees game, decides to take his son to the batting cages, even though Zach would rather sit around and play on his PlayStation Vita (ASIDE: Corey Stoll, must really love the Vita, as his kids had one in House of Cards too. END OF ASIDE).
Zach warms to the idea enough not to shout at his father like he has in every episode so far this year, and so the two venture out to an empty batting cage. No line to wait on and power still being routed to the building, Eph and Zach are immediately able to hop on a machine.
That’s were things stop going smoothly. Zach misses pitch after pitch, his father trying to coach him all the while. But Zach is too distracted by the thought of his mother and memories of the three of them as a family heading to the batting cages together. (I realize it’s unrealistic to expect anything else, but it’s a bit jarring to see the current Zach appear in a pre-season 1 flashback when another actor had already portrayed a younger Zach last season.) The two leave, their relationship neither damaged much further nor repaired.
Eph has his strigoi-stopping cure to focus on, however, and so he heads back out with Nora to investigate the fruits of their labor. They find the nest has emptied out, but searching around the hospital they discover their guinea pig suffering in pain. Boils have formed on his face—it appears the infectious cure actually is working.
They’re not the only ones to notice its efficacy, though—they search around to find more dead strigoi, as well as a series of them flinging themselves off the roof of the hospital. The Master has detected this alteration to his design, and rather than let it spread, he has the infected strigoi commit suicide to prevent dissemination. It’s a smart plan, but Eph has aspirations to mass distribute his creation.
Talking to Nora back at HQ, he describes his desire to go straight to Washington D.C. to a man named Rob Bradley who can help them weaponize the cure for the military to use. It’s a good endgame, but for now, Nora is concerned that going straight to the top after one successful trial may be missing a few key steps.
Eph is of course worried about letting the world linger in this state of chaos, but he also wants to cure humanity to make the world better for his own son. Unfortunately, an unexpected thorn may soon make its way into his side. Kelly has discovered Zach and Eph’s trail thanks to her feelers who find the bat and helmet Zach used at the batting cages. Eph may want to express ship that concoction to D.C. if he intends on protecting his son.
Fet is taking a more immediate, explosion-filled tact to the vampire extermination process. He heads into the Red Hook subway tunnel with plenty of dynamite to blow up the major path of strigoi into the area. He’s successful, but it comes at a cost: Councilwoman Feraldo has made Red Hook her latest project after cleaning out Staten Island. To protect the area, she’s instituted a curfew and a strict martial law, including her own task force patrolling the streets. They happen to spot Fet heading into the subway, and rather than hiding, he decides to confront them.
NEXT: Fet lands in hot water while the split between Abraham and Palmer is revealed…
Fet hates cool guys who don’t look at explosions in movies, he tells them; so he ensures he’s facing in the direction of his blast zone as the dynamite goes off with enough force to make Wile E. Coyote green with envy. But Feraldo’s men don’t see the upside to Fet’s destructive behavior and detain him with excessive force.
And while Feraldo attempts to take control of Red Hook, her already vampire-free zone at Staten Island continues to have newfound importance on The Strain. Dutch suggests to Abraham that with Fitzwilliam out of Eldritch Palmer’s detail, it might be time to look for the former bodyguard and enlist his help. Fitzwilliam spared some of their lives once before, so maybe he’s willing to lend them a hand once again.
Abraham agrees and so the two venture out to Staten Island, coming face-to-face with Feraldo’s imperial footprint on the borough. They manage to get through the island’s heavy security detail and use Fitzwilliam’s brother, Curtis, to reach out to him. They meet in a fire station and Abraham pleads with him to join their cause. Eldritch is wreaking havoc on the city, having set a pack of strigoi on the leaders of the world’s biggest investment banks, and he shows no signs of slowing down.
Fitzwilliam doesn’t explicitly state he’ll become a member of the group, but Abraham is satisfied enough to expect he’ll join them. After all, he knew his father, who was an attendant to Palmer when he first came to Abraham in search of the Occido Lumen.
“The Silver Angel” takes a look back at the moment Abraham and Palmer’s relationship fell apart. The two followed a lead Abraham found regarding where the Lumen may have been hidden. Traveling to the nunnery where they expect it might have gone after the war, however, they find they’re too late. The place is trashed, and when they find a young boy, they learn that the Mother Superior attempted to destroy it.
Abraham runs off to protect the boy and investigate a strange noise, and deals with a few strigoi in the catacombs. But while Abraham is away, Eichhorst comes out to play with Palmer’s emotions. The wheelchair-bound Palmer is presented with an opportunity from Eichhorst, and whatever the disguised strigoi says sways him to the dark side.
When Abraham returns, Palmer says their partnership is over and he will not be investing funds in this search any longer. But as we know in the present day, the hunt for the Lumen is by no means over.
He is, of course, chasing the Lumen after making a secret pact with the Ancients, who have been working more closely with another human partner, Gus. Gus is out on his own for much of “Angel,” though he delivers the episode’s most emotional sequence, as well as offers one of the more interesting takes on the state of New York.
Gus goes out looking for food, stopping into a Tandoori restaurant despite his lack of familiarity with the food. He makes multiple trips after initially asking for something that “kind of tastes like spaghetti.” But he comes back not just for the food but the waitress with whom he’s lightly flirting. She’s told to stay away from him, however, by her mother and a man named Angel, who opens the episode.
Angel is a former actor, reliving his glory days in black-and-white films as a wrestler known as the titular Silver Angel. (While watching that opening felt particularly like something Guillermo del Toro would have added to the show. And, much to my surprise, Chuck Hogan confirmed those suspicions that del Toro directed the fun film-within-a-show sequence.) After hurting his leg in a film, he appeared to have lost his way, but Gus is actually quite a fan of his work. Angel scolds him and threatens to fight him for acknowledging his past, though, making one of the few still-operational and strigoi-free restaurants less appealing to visit.
Even worse for Gus, he returns to his mother’s apartment to collect some things, only to find the mother he couldn’t kill, come back to life as a vampire. He can’t bring himself to kill her though, and he pays for his hesitation with a visit from the Master through his mother’s body.
He scolds Gus, calling him a coward and ignorant, but really he wants to turn Gus away from the Ancients. He promises he is the future, and attempts to attack Gus by way of his mother. Even still, Gus refuses to kill his mother, instead evading the attack and locking the door, leaving her and his old life behind him.
But it’s a sign that the Master is desperate for a new host; if Eph and Nora have anything to say about that, his choices in the weeks to come will become slimmer by the day.