The Strain Recap ‘Identity’: The Ascension

In the latest The Strain recap, Eph finds help in Washington, Nora and Zach get trapped and the Master’s search for a new home comes to an end….

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

The past couple of episodes of ‘The Strain’ have been an admittedly slow burn as the story started to develop and evolve with humanity battling against the strigoi threat ever growing in New York City.

This week’s episode titled ‘Identity’ saw Eph find hope and then tragedy in Washington while Zach was nearly reunited with his mother. Fitzwilliam joined the fight to provide Setrakian and the others with some valuable information although he didn’t make it much further than that. Gus showed off some of his moves while cozying up to a childhood idol and a new squeeze while a new weapon showed up on the Ancient’s front step with a look we’ve seen before but power like nothing that’s ever appeared on screen.

And then there’s The Master.

The leader of the vampire invasion on New York who has been absentee for the last few weeks, but the payoff finally happened in the latest episode as the ancient undead leader finally chose a new vessel to inhabit and his final selection might come as a surprise to some.

With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘The Strain’ titled ‘Identity’:

Stone Soured

Eph makes it to Washington D.C. but not without a few bumps in the road — namely chucking his old boss Barnes of a high speed train — but he finally made it to his old friend Robert’s house and he’s the guy who can help him disperse this new bio-weapon that could wipe out the vampires once and for all.

Robert is an influential man around D.C. with connections in both the pharmaceutical world as well as military, which are the exact two branches Eph needs extended if he hopes to turn his Hail Mary into a touchdown pass. After explaining to Robert the particulars of the strigoi invasion not to mention the problem that killing a disease is that much harder when the disease fights back, he’s on board to help his friend in any way possible.

Robert connects Eph to a woman named Lee Thomas, who works for a major pharmaceutical company in D.C. that just happens to produce one of the biggest parts of the biological weapon needed to wipe out the vamps. Lee is intrigued by the idea and agrees to take the research to her company to see if they are on board to produce the weapon.

Meanwhile, Robert gets the military on board thanks to a general he plays basketball with who is already taking a beating in the public eye for not doing a better job at containing the threat in New York. All the pieces of the puzzle are coming together for Eph’s trip to Washington, which inevitably means it’s all going to fall apart again.

Later that night, Eph and Robert swap old war stories about how they met while doing Doctors without Borders, but when a booty call comes through he has to abandon his old friend with a lovely pharmaceutical executive who is just looking for love in all the wrong places.

Sure enough, Eph gets into bed with Lee because he’s in a different area code and apparently Nora is an afterthought in D.C.? The next morning instead of pillow talk, Lee tells Eph that if he wants this drug to be produced by her company, he has to sign over exclusivity rights so they can begin the testing phase of the project. Eph begrudgingly decides to sign, but a few hours later Lee comes back with the news he wanted to hear — they are on board and will begin production in 72 hours.

Eph is overjoyed and Lee is more than happy to help him celebrate. They head back to Robert’s place to scoop him up to join the part, but when he doesn’t answer his phone or appear to be home when they arrive, Lee and Eph opt for a little horizontal celebration instead.

The only problem is when they get upstairs to the bedroom, Robert is dead and a few seconds later a gunman appears and he takes out Lee as well. He’s got a picture of Eph on his phone and it’s clear he’s been tracking the good doctor ever since he left New York. The assassin gets off a round into Eph’s shoulder but just as he’s going for the kill, the crafty vampire hunter wields his own weapon and puts one through the shooter’s eye.

When Eph picks up the killer’s phone he sees his picture and then the lock screen appears — The Stoneheart Group. It seems Eldritch Palmer has been keeping an eye on him and now it cost Eph his friend and his new lady’s life in the process. Does this mean the drug protocol is now dead as well?

Gus vs. The Vampires

Since losing his strigoi hunting crew thanks to Eldritch Palmer’s ultraviolet light trap in his penthouse, Gus has been a stranger in strange land just trying to find a purpose everyday. Recently, Gus has found refuge in an Indian restaurant called Toondori Palace where he flirts with the owners’ daughter while hanging out with the dishwasher named Angel, who he believes is the famous el Angel de Plata aka The Silver Angel — a Mexican pro wrestler who used to star in a series of ‘B’ movies battling against all manner of demon and monster.

Gus pesters Angel to the point where he finally admits that he’s the man behind the mask in all those films and when he brings it up to Aanya, she takes him to the basement to show where she finds the dishwasher everyday on his break watching the same part of the same movie over and over again. It’s the film where The Silver Angel has his leg broken by the dastardly vampire that effectively ended his career.

Before Gus can question Angel about the movie, the restaurant gets a delivery order and it’s up to their daughter Aanya to get the food where it’s going. Gus and Angel accompany her because one of them wants her to be safe and the other doesn’t want her getting too close to a ‘gangbanger’.

Aanya delivers the food (for $99 with a $50 service charge!) but before they can escape the building, two strigoi pop out trying to impede them.

Gus makes short work of one with an axe and his gun but the other nearly snaps Aanya while Angel desperately tries to fight it off. Gus is able to finish it with his axe as the trio quickly gets out of the building and looks for safety while Angel nurses his bum knee.

A New Kind of Weapon

THE STRAIN -- Pictured: Rupert Penry-Jones as Quinlan. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

THE STRAIN — Pictured: Rupert Penry-Jones as Quinlan. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

The strange hooded man we saw at the tail end of last week’s episode appears again this week, shrouded in mystery with what I can only assume is a sword with a bone handle hanging on his back.

One minor spoiler just to give this some context — his name is Quinlan.

But why is Quinlan in New York and why is he able to walk in the sunlight like it’s no big deal?

Even better question — what is Quinlan doing with the Ancients, who he bee lines to go see once he gets his bearings about him in the city?

Well, it seems Quinlan is the person responsible for training Vaun and the others before they were crispy fried by Palmer a few weeks back. Quinlan is now on the job and he’s going to take care of The Master personally — a problem he believes the Ancients should have done 700 years ago but never did.

Quinlan is going to find The Master, kill him and bury him, but first he needs help and this time he’s looking for a human army especially the person who wounded the Master just recently — the kind who can kill vampires and walk in the sunlight. Now who could that group of strigoi hunters possibly be?!?

Building a Mystery

Fitzwilliam officially joins the team this week and helps Setrakian and Fet by showing them several spots on a map where Palmer has been planning construction for months. It seems he’s paying exorbitant amounts of money to work crews to get this construction complete as soon as possible, but what he’s building no one knows.

Palmer is busy working on these particular locations when he has a meeting with Eichorst to detail the next phase of their plans. Palmer is getting a little tired of dealing with Eichorst instead of having an audience with the Master himself and he demands that they meet as soon as possible.

Eichorst plays it off and tells Palmer than he won’t tell the Master exactly what was said because demanding anything of the age old vampire would likely lead to his untimely death.

Palmer’s agitation is explained when Fitzwilliam reveals the true nature of his partnership with the strigoi — he will help the spread the vampire strain across New York and eventually the world and in exchange he will become the Master’s new right hand man. No wonder Eldritch is pissed he can’t get a meeting with his own boss!

Feeling Bad

THE STRAIN -- "Identity" -- Episode 206 (Airs August 16, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet, Roger Cross as Reggie Fitzwilliam, David Bradley as Abraham Setrakian. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

THE STRAIN — “Identity” — Episode 206 (Airs August 16, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet, Roger Cross as Reggie Fitzwilliam, David Bradley as Abraham Setrakian. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

With Eph gone to Washington and no sign when (or if) he’ll return, Nora decides to take Zach out on a little road trip to see Councilwoman Feraldo and check on the relief efforts in Red Hook. It seems Feraldo has been really busy — a few more streets and a few more buildings and that section of the city will officially be strigoi free.

The Mayor wants her to tackle Manhattan next, but Feraldo is quite certain she would be fighting an uphill and nearly impossible battle. Right now she needs wins to boost morale around the city and getting squashed in Manhattan wouldn’t exactly instill team spirit amongst the rest of the New Yorkers.

Following a shopping trip through some supplies at the center where Feraldo is setting up shop, Norah and Zach get a ride back to home base from a New York City cop but what they don’t anticipate is running into Kelly and her pack of feelers — the creepy spider kids now have an official name in case you were curious — and when she realizes that her son is in the car, she sets he creatures out to attack.

The cop gets killed like he was wearing a red shirt in Star Trek but Nora and Zach are able to run to a nearby church to avoid the strigoi. Inside, Nora makes a quick call to Setrakian for backup while she keeps moving to stop Kelly and her little monsters from picking up their scent.

A run around the church only yields so many hiding spots and the last one left is exactly where Kelly and her creatures end up, ready to seize Zach and presumably kill Nora.

But just in time the cavalry shows up guns blazing taking out a couple of the creepy kids and wounding Kelly in the process. Unfortunately in the midst of lopping off heads and firing guns, Fitzwilliam gets bitten by one of the feelers before Setrakian can swing his sword in time.

Fitzwilliam asks for a quick death before he turns and Setrakian has no problem helping him out because his blade is awfully sharp and one swipe later, the former Stoneheart security chief has his head no more.

THE STRAIN -- "Identity" -- Episode 206 (Airs August 16, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Natalie Brown as Kelly Goodweather. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

THE STRAIN — “Identity” — Episode 206 (Airs August 16, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Natalie Brown as Kelly Goodweather. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

This was a rather puzzling death in my book — Fitzwilliam had a fairly major part last season as Palmer’s moral compass before coming to his senses and fleeing from the old man’s plans to destroy the world. He spends half of this season deciding whether to fight or hide but 10 minutes after he picks up a weapon and offers his help, Fitzwilliam is dead.

Truth be told he didn’t provide many secrets before he died either and only got to go on one mission before he was killed. Maybe there’s something more to Fitzwilliam to come in the next few weeks — more information to be revealed perhaps — but otherwise this just felt like a waste of time considering how much went into recruiting only to see him dead an episode later.

The Ascension

As the vampire hunters in New York lose one of their own as Kelly closes in on her ultimate prey and Eph sees his new side piece and old friend meet their demise, Eichorst is putting the finishing touches on The Master’s ascension to abandon his old body and find a new one instead.

Eichorst has prepared everything perfectly and he even brought Bolivar along as a witness. See, Eichorst believes he’s about to become one with The Master and together they will rule for all eternity.

The only problem is once The Master crawls out of his dirt nap, he brushes Eichorst aside and chooses Bolivar as the vessel he will inhabit from now on. Bolivar kneels and a few seconds later he takes the worm vomit from The Master’s mouth into his own just like the debut episode from season 2 several weeks back that saw him take over Sardu’s gigantic body a couple of hundred years ago.

As offended as Eichorst would like to be that he got passed over, The Master quickly puts his No. 2 down on his knees to pledge loyalty while also promising that the two of them together will rule this world for centuries to come. Eichorst may not have been chose to become The Master, he he’s still an important piece of the puzzle.

Now The Master has a new body and Bolivar’s continued existence is finally explained.

With some new skin to protect him, The Master is ready to unleash phase two of his strigoi invasion on New York, but who or what does he have planned next?

Tune into ‘The Strain’ next Sunday night at 10pm ET on FX to find out!

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