‘The Strain’ Recap ‘Occulation’: Total Eclipse of the Heart

Eph deals with the FBI, Abraham has health problems, and Gus, Felix and Vasiliy all start to realize that what they are dealing with goes far beyond normal human understanding….

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

When the virus of vampirism first appeared in the debut episode of ‘The Strain’, I wondered how long it would take this plague to become an epidemic. Through the first five episodes, there’s been a relatively slow burn to the spread of the vampire strain that’s infecting all of New York, one person at a time. Full disclosure, I did not read the original books in this series so I’m not sure how global this entire ordeal goes. This could be ‘The Walking Dead’ where we know the whole world has gone to hell, but the show only focuses on one small sect of the bad happening or this could be ‘World War Z’ where it’s truly a global pandemic and we see the world from afar and up close.

The latest episode titled ‘Occulation’ gives us our first clues that ‘The Strain’ is not only ready to unleash the vampire plague in a monstrous way, but this is a global threat after seeing satellites from above Earth while messages ring out about stock markets crashing and internet signals still falling apart all over the place. The vampires have started a chemical reaction, but once this gets set into motion, the effects will sweep over the world in what seems like a matter of months not years.

You Should Have Listened

Eph is trying to get the word out about the vampire plague to those he loves most, but it’s tough to get around with the FBI hot on his trail. He avoid their visit to his ex-wife’s house, but then pops up there minutes later to warn them that they need to get out of town as quickly as possible. His son Zack is all about listening to dear old dad, but not Matt — the new boyfriend living in their house. Eph’s wife Kelly is also concerned about her ex-husband’s ranting and ravings, but before things can get too serious the cops show back up and arrest him. It seems Matt decided to call the cops and get rid of Eph before he could stir up anymore trouble.

Kelly isn’t happy about this and threatens to remove Matt all together – he is a guest living in their house after all (ouch that hurts). Kelly and Zach decide to watch the coming eclipse, which leaves the city in darkness for hours while the sun disappears behind the moon. She’s contemplating leaving town and maybe even leaving Matt behind as well. Eph may be a lot of things, but he’s not crazy and she knows it.

Down at FBI headquarters, Eph sounds just like the Ghostbusters trying to explain the plot of the sequel to a psychiatrist while attempting to sound like anything other than a complete whack job. Eph gets smacked around and threatened with being thrown in a cell for a few days to think about his next plan of action. So Eph gives up the goods — he’ll take them to the place where all of the 206 missing bodies can be found. Not sure what his grand plan was in all this, but thankfully for Eph on the way to wherever he was taking the cops, his old friend the medical examiner pops up in the middle of the street banging on car windows. See the eclipse is in full effect so vampires can wander the streets during the daytime hours and this guy needs a serious snack.

The FBI agents decide to intervene but all that gets them is a tentacle to the neck and a quick death. Eph is able to escape and finds the one cop still bleeding out on the ground, begging for help. Eph helps alright — by grabbing the keys to the handcuffs so he can make his escape while explaining that this guy really should have listened and maybe he wouldn’t be dead right now.

The Strain Occulation 1

A Rough Day

Abraham is still going house to house, exterminating the vampires who turned from the airplane. He finds another home and when he wanders down to the basement where the light sensitive creatures usually reside, he finds the culprit of all the bloody hand prints staining the walls. Abraham lops its head off, but he soon realizes that this vampire turned his entire family into blood suckers as well and to make matters worse, he’s having chest pains and his pills slip from his hands and fall to the floor. Abraham has to fire off a few of his patented silver nails to keep the vampires at bay while he runs upstairs into the fully lit living room to make his getaway.

He decides to turn on all the gas in the house and leave it near a burning flame. He couldn’t kill them all before setting the house on fire, but they’ll end up dead either way. It’s also clear from this exchange that Abraham’s health isn’t great (he is like 80 years old) and he’s going to need a lot of help if he plans to defeat the oncoming vampire apocalypse.

The Truth Hurts

Nora realized last week while running away from Eph’s mission to kill the vampires that she was facing a kind of monster she’d never seen before. When she watched a random vampire pop into her mother’s nursing home to get dinner, Nora knew that this plague was already spreading far and wide and in a hurry.

With her mother oblivious to what happened the night before due to her illness, Nora scoops her up, packs a back and high tails it to Harlem where she goes in search of Abraham and his pawn shop.

After a harrowing escape from the medical examiner and two moronic FBI agents, Eph shows up as well and offers to finally and officially join the team. There he finds Nora and her mother already waiting in the basement. At least one person finally believes him!

It’s Just a Job

Thomas Eichorst — after chaining down his dinner and having a bite to eat — charges Gus with a new mission. Oh sure, Gus tries to resist because after his last coffin toting trip out of the airport, he declared that he was done working for him, but he also took a peak inside the cargo and that’s a big no-no. So Eichorst has him back under his thumb and while Gus tries to punch his way to freedom, it’s clear this vampire has a whole lot more power and a really good chin as well. Eichorst tells Gus that he can be his salvation or his downfall — while also threatening to have his mother deported.

Gus finally relents and agrees to do the job. The work that day involves Gus and his buddy Felix meeting up with another of Thomas’ subjects (it’s Jim Kent) and they are to dispose of a body from the hospital. The body is Captain Redfern’s and Jim helps them get it out of quarantine so they can ditch it in the river. Now, Jim seems to be playing double agent right now and I’m hoping the character is being groomed as an inside man of sorts, staying close to Eichorst while secretly helping Eph and Nora. If not, he’s just an idiot who can’t help himself from lying to everybody.

Regardless, curiosity gets the best of Felix after he notices the body they are carrying is in pieces so he unzips the bag to have a look and out flops the tentacle that Eph pulled from te good captain’s head after smashing it in with a fire extinguisher. Felix and Gus are shocked, but Jim quickly tucks it back away before throwing it into the rivers.

After the job is complete, Felix and Gus are walking home when they run into the medical examiner who is still feasting all over New York. Gus is no match and Felix tries to shoot the monster but he’s still coming. Thankfully, Gus grabs a pipe and cracks his head open like a sunroof but before he dies, the worms of plague wiggle their way into Felix’s hand. Before Gus can help him get loose and pull the worm out before it takes root, the police show up and arrest them both. Just in the nick of time!

The Light of Day

The Strain Occulation 3

Vasiliy knows there’s something bad brewing under the streets of New York. The surging rat population on the streets let him in on that secret, but the real revelation came last week when he decided to explore the underground tunnels only to be chased back to the surface by a horde of blood thirsty basement dwellers. He tries to explain this growing threat to his fellow exterminators, but they just laugh it off.

Back at the office, Vasiliy walks in and notices nobody is around. Not his boss and not the cute little secretary who loves to flirt with him everyday. He wanders around to look for a new poison to fight off these humanoid creatures from the sewer, but instead he finds his boss sitting in the dark, eyes bloodshot and tongue wagging just looking for supper. Vasiliy fights him off long enough to open the shades and the sunlight fries him up crisp. He then finds his little secretary honey suffering from the same affliction and he has to open another blind up to deep fry her as well.

From there, Vasiliy goes to his parent’s apartment to warn them that bad shit is going down and they need to get out of town as soon as possible. The only problem is Vasiliy has been estranged from his parents, particularly his father, for the last two years. It seems Vasiliy moved to the United States from Ukraine and had a brilliant mind for architecture, just like his father. But instead of accepting a full ride to Cornell to study, Vasiliy opted to go into pest control and this severed ties with his parents forever. His father is a writer and he’s about to go back to the Ukraine to tour with his new text book exploring the history of, yep you guessed it, Ukranian architecture.

Vasiliy isn’t there to discuss the latest and greatest in historical design — he’s begging his parents to leave town before the vampire plague reaches them. His father wants nothing to do with this theory and Vasiliy leaves in a huff, knowing full well if his parents don’t get out they’ve basically just signed their own death warrants.

Now that Vasiliy is on the case, you have to wonder how much longer it is until he runs into Eph or Abraham or Nora to officially join Team Kill Vampires. It better happen fast because with the eclipse looming overhead and no natural defense to keep vampires in the shadows, things are about to go from bad to worse in a hurry.

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