Eph and his gang go on a hunt to find and kill The Master as Zack is forced to stay at the pawn shop and Gus returns home to find something awful waiting for him….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
When ‘The Strain’ was first optioned for television a couple of years ago, executive producer/creator Guillermo Del Toro and fellow executive Carlton Cuse knew the series had only so much material to work with when making the show. The original story lasted for three books by Del Toro and Chuck Hogan and even in the most exhaustive efforts, the TV show probably couldn’t go more than four or five seasons without going completely away from the initial concept.
The reason I’m bringing this up is because of the latest episode of ‘The Strain’ titled The Third Rail where Ephraim, Abraham, Nora and Fet go on a search and destroy mission for The Master, deep in the tunnels underneath New York City. It was a valiant effort, but I knew there was no way they were going to kill The Master this early in the story. I was, however, curious about how close they would get and what the repercussions would be. Read on to find out what those were…
Welcome Home, Gus
Gus finally makes it back to the apartment after the jail ride from hell. When he knocks and there’s no answer, he quickly checks the door and it’s wide open. As he walks inside, Gus spots his brother standing silent watching soccer on TV. Gus finally calls out to him, but when he turns to face his brother it’s clear he’s infected and he’s not looking for a hug. Gus has no choice but to kill his own brother with a baseball bat.
Once he’s done with his brother, Gus has a bad though run through his mind — what about his mother? He calls her work but she’s not there and just at that moment he hears a noise coming from the back bedroom. Sure enough, his mother has been turned into a vampire as well but Gus doesn’t have it in him to kill her so he gathers his things and gets out of the apartment for good. On his way out he grabs an axe from an emergency fire case (do they still put axes in those?!?) and lops off his landlord’s head on the way out (don’t worry he was a vampire already).
Gus is done with this place but when is he finally going to join the real vampire hunters?!?
Haven’t We Learned from The Walking Dead?
The hunt is on this episode as Eph and the gang are fueling up with ultraviolet flash bombs (Blade 2 ring a bell – also a Del Toro movie) and weapons to go after The Master with everything they’ve got. It’s time to put this vampire plague to an end. Eph’s reasons are still somewhat selfish because he knows deep down his ex-wife Kelly has likely been turned by now and his best friend Jim is already dead. So beyond his desire to stop the vampire virus from spreading, he also wants some good old fashioned revenge.
Before they head out to find The Master, Eph tells Zack he has to stay behind to watch Mrs. Martinez (Nora’s mom), who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and floats in and out of normalcy. Zack wants to go, but his dad says no way. They head off to invade the tunnels and sewers in search of The Master and Zack is left at the pawn shop with strict instructions to stay inside, keep the gate locked and don’t leave the basement.
Would you like to guess which order Zack broke those commandments within minutes of his dad leaving?
Unlike Carl Grimes on ‘The Walking Dead’, who just can’t get out of his own way during any given episode, Zack’s intentions were good at least. Mrs. Martinez is frantically trying to get out, convinced somebody has taken her daughter and the worst part is she’s out of cigarettes! I don’t smoke, but with plenty of friends who do, this kind of reaction as witnessed by Mrs. Martinez is pretty accurate when somebody needs a fix.
So of course Zack decides to venture out into the city to find some cigarettes for Mrs. Martinez (he didn’t even take a note giving him permission to buy them!).
He finds a convenience store already looted and grabs the cigarettes but at the same time a couple wanders in looking for food and supplies. Zack tries to hide, but he gets stuck in a dark basement and you can already guess what was down there waiting for him. He scrambles to get away while sacrificing the couple in the story to the vampire from the basement. On his way out, Zack runs into Gus, who has the same idea to go here for some food. Gus tells Zack to scoot while he heads to the back to kill some vampires.
So close to Gus joining the team but alas not yet. Dammit.
Zack gets back to the store and Mrs. Martinez puffs away with pure happiness. At least there wasn’t a giant can of pudding in this episode.
The Hunt Is On
The search for The Master starts deep in the bowels of the tunnels underneath the World Trade Center buildings. Why you ask? As Abraham explains The Master is drawn to the site of the greatest human suffering — the World Trade Center in this case or back during the concentration camp days of World War II.
As they venture down into the tunnels, Vasiliy goes on and on about how well he knows this place. He knows the rails that are electric and which way to go to find the best possibly hiding spot for The Master. He unfortunately doesn’t have a subway schedule and a train nearly runs them over before they get to kill anyone.
Finally as they get closer to The Master’s lair, more and more vampires start to appear but because it’s daylight outside they are nesting and not active. Abraham warns his team not to kill any of them because it will alert The Master to their presence.
The group makes it all the way through the maze until they find a small open hole leading down into a cavern where they are sure The Master is hiding. Eph is the first to go, but when he reaches the bottom he starts hearing Kelly’s voice calling out to him. Now any horror movie will tell you that this is almost as bad as saying ‘who’s there?’ because you know something bad is going to happen but sure enough Eph follows the voice.
Nora and Abraham follow him down as does Vasiliy although he nearly gets stuck in the confined space before he gets some help making it to the tunnel floor. If you’re a claustrophobic type, this entire sequence was like something out of ‘The Descent’ and probably made you gasp for air because it was a close quarters scene especially when Vasiliy got trapped for a moment or two.
At the bottom of the tunnel, Eph is off chasing ghosts, Abraham is chasing Eph and Nora and Vasiliy aren’t far behind.
Eph finally happens upon the giant coffin he first spotted when the airplane landed weeks ago full of infected passengers who helped to launch the vampire plague in the first place. Before he can do much of anything, The Master swoops down from out of nowhere, knocks away his sword and gun and grabs him by the neck with his giant clawed hands. Right away, The Master recognizes that Eph is the prodigy of ‘the professor’ Abraham Setrakian. But just like Setrakian failed to kill him all those years ago in Poland, Ephraim Goodweather will soon do the same in America.
“You will fail as he failed. I have taken everything from him and I will take everything from you. Your wife, your son — I am a drinker of men.” ~ The Master
Ominous words indeed. Just as it appears Eph is all kinds of screwed, Abraham shows up but The Master dispatches of him quickly as he falls down when a sound erupts from the gigantic vampire. Thankfully, Vasiliy and Nora arrive and the exterminator tosses his ultraviolet light bomb to the middle of the room where it starts flashing like a strobe light, taking out several vampires in the area. Before he can get caught, however, The Master drops Eph and flees in great haste.
Abraham, now recovered, wants nothing more than to go after The Master as quickly as possible. He smashes the coffin he once constructed upon Eichorst’s instructions a lifetime ago so The Master has no place to rest and he’s off to find the lead vampire and kill him once and for all. Unfortunately before he can jump in and sacrifice his own life, Vasiliy stops him long enough to toss in a flare to light up the dark room he was about to enter. As they look inside, the fearsome foursome spots an army of vampires all chomping at the bit to serve The Master’s will and ready to protect him at all costs.
This job is going to take a lot longer than just a day trip into the heart of New York City.
Another pulse-pounding episode and there are only two more to go this season so chances are things are going to get even crazier next week. Judging by the promo video, the hooded vampire hunters first shown several weeks back will finally reappear next week and looks as if they run into Gus along the way….