‘The Strain’ Recap ‘Madness’: Man in the Box

In ‘The Strain’ recap, Setrakian finds a way to defeat the Master, Fet goes hunting while Eph and Dutch look for a new weapon…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

It’s only been seven days since the latest episode of ‘The Strain’ came to an end but the show moves in the same time span with Setrakian revealing just how bad things have gotten over the past week.

The outbreak that has engulfed New York has not only escaped, but the strigoi numbers are growing and spreading around the world. Cities like Washington D.C. and Atlanta have been overrun by strigoi attacks as the military does everything possible to fight back while the vampire threat has spread as far as Germany, India and other countries around the world where survival is no longer guaranteed.

Meanwhile, New York seemed like the one city that was truly fighting back against the strigoi plague, but in recent days, the police are cleaning up bodies all over the place as attacks are happening in areas that were deemed safe zones. Councilwoman Justine Feraldo — the heralded shepherd who led New York out of the darkness into the light — is now taking it on the chin thanks to these latest attacks and her police forces are dwindling day by day while the strigoi only grow stronger.

It appears to be a very perilous time, but Abraham Setrakian’s tireless pursuit of answers in the Occido Lumen may have finally paid off with his latest discover while researching the ancient book alongside Quinlan.

Is this the answer that will finally defeat the Master? There’s only one way to know for sure.

With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘The Strain” titled ‘Madness’….

White Noise


Eph and Dutch have teamed up to continue his research into finding a newer and more effective weapon against the strigoi. A late night chess session in the middle of the park yields good results after they capture a strigoi to bring back to the lab for experimentation.

The dissection finally reveals answers when Dutch tries to heat up some coffee and Eph notices that the mass of worms that control the infected brain of a strigoi go nuts whenever the microwave is turned on. Eph notes that when the strigoi are “turned on” aka communicating with the Master, they are focused and purposed with their attacks. In those brief moments where the Master was out of contact, the strigoi turned into mindless animals that just fed on instinct and no longer hunted with any purpose other than blind thirst.

So Dutch helped Eph realize that these microwaves may be disrupting the signal between the strigoi, which in turns means they could possibly shut down the communication with the master. It’s a good idea but one that requires a lot more experimentation.

Sadly, Feraldo’s patience is growing thing because she’s been taking a lot of losses in the city lately and she’s depending on Eph to deliver her a new weapon to take the strigoi down once and for all.

The final experiment involves Eph setting a strigoi loose in a cage while watching it problem solve a way out of there. Instead of instinctively going for a bowl of blood outside the cage, the strigoi starts tinkering with the lock that’s holding the cage closed and it’s clear that the creature is receiving input of some kind from the hive brain led by the Master.

When the white noise box created by Dutch is turned on, the signal stops and the strigoi suddenly goes dumb again and turns back into an instinctive and highly predictable animal. Unfortunately the results are short lived because a few seconds later, the white noise gets blocked out and the strigoi finishes picking the lock, which forces Eph to kill it dead.

Later that night, Eph and Dutch commiserate over a bottle of liquor while he admits that his mind works much better when it’s busy and things are going well. When disappointment sets in, Eph just travels back to the only thing that’s left to run through his mind — his missing son Zack and whether or not he’s still alive somewhere out there.

The Hunt

Following the attack on Feraldo’s headquarters, Fet decides to go on the attack to get to the root of the problem with the strigoi suddenly popping up all over the city again despite efforts to create safe zones where people can still live.

So Fet tags a couple of strigoi with trackers so he can follow them back to wherever they are nesting these days.

The investigation bears fruit when Fet follows his strigoi into an old music store, which then leads into a tunnel, which then leads down into an old catacomb. There Fet finds a couple of strigoi operating a huge digging machine and after killing them, he climbs through the hole where he finds out what’s been happening.

Feraldo managed to clean out all the tunnels in the cities from the sewers to the subways, but what she didn’t expect was for the strigoi to start digging their own tunnels underneath the city. When Fet finds the nesting pit, he’s just below Central Park and he finds thousands upon thousands of strigoi lining the walls and the bottom of this tunnel.

When he reports back to Feraldo, she has to learn the bad news that the strigoi are not only still multiplying but they are finding new and more creative ways to take over the city. She decides this is the time to make one final stand against the strigoi and send everything she’s got into that tunnel to hopefully destroy the gigantic nest once and for all.

Will she make it in time or is this a mission that will end in disaster as she sends the last of her troops into harm’s way against the biggest vampire army the world has ever known?

Man in the Box


Setrakian has teamed up with Quinlan in an effort to decipher the Occido Lumen to hopefully find an answer to not only defeat the Master, but bring his reign of terror to an end once and for all. Quinlan though he finished the Master when he lopped his head off a couple of weeks ago, but he didn’t know about “the crimson worm” — one final piece of the Master that carries his consciousness and that can always connect to a new body when the old one dies.

In the pages of the book, Setrakian and Quinlan find references to dozens of vampire hunters but one in particular catches their attention — an Egyptian that writes about a battle with a particularly powerful strigoi that he eventually defeated. Setrakian and Quinlan decides that the text is actually referring to the Egyptian hunter going after one of the Ancients — the powerful race that leads the strigoi all over the world and the same faction that created the Master before he went rogue.

Time and time again, Setrakian finds reference to this Egyptian hunter in the book, but nowhere does it explain how he defeated the member of the Ancients. Finally, Setrakian figures out that the people who wrote the Occido Lumen not only encased the book in silver to keep any strigoi from touching it, but there was an extra layer of protection added in the text.

Setrakian carries the book upstairs to the roof where he finds the hidden words that only appear when sunlight shines directly upon them. In those pages, Setrakian discovers that the Egyptian hunter not only defeated an Ancient, but he actually captured the creature in a sarcophagus made of silver and encased in lead.

This leads Setrakian back to 1972 in Amsterdam when he was peddling a fake copy of the Occido Lumen in hopes of tracking down his old friend Thomas Eichorst. When he finally brokers a deal for the man he believes is Eichorst, Setrakian is disappointed to instead run into Dr. Draverhaven — an old Nazi doctor who used to experiment on patients in the concentration camp. He first appeared last season as the antiquities dealer who had the wolf’s head cane that Setrakian eventually captured after the German ran away from their encounter.

Now years later, Setrakian finds him still working for Thomas Eichorst as one of his vampire couriers but he’s not giving up the location of his boss. After Setrakian finds a hidden basement filled with dead and dissected human bodies, he decides that just frying this particularly nasty strigoi with sunlight would be too good for him. So Setrakian operates on him — separating limb from limb and leaving Dr. Draverhaven as nothing more than a stump with a head.

He packs him in an old trunk, covers the box with silver chains and dumps it in the ocean where the creature will remain for the rest of time. Strigoi won’t die of starvation so Dr. Draverhaven will just suffer for all of eternity at the bottom of the ocean.

That’s when Setrakian realizes that he’s been going about his attack on the Master the wrong way. Instead of trying to kill him, Setrakian and Quinlan now know the way to defeat him is to contain him. If they can capture the beast and put him in a container lined with silver and lead, he won’t be able to escape and the lead will block him from communicating with his minions.

The only problem with this plan is after beheading the Master in his old body as Bolivar, they have no clue which new body he’s invaded. So Setrakian has to make a deal with the devil, so to speak, as he calls Eldritch Palmer and offers to strike a deal.

Palmer is still needed by the Master after he’s paid a visit by Eichorst and a new ally named Sanjay and they are particularly interested about a ship that’s coming to New York from Egypt. They won’t say what’s on board and after watching Palmer collapse as his body continues to fail without the Master’s white, Eichorst and his business partner just get up and leave.

It’s clear Palmer is still necessary to the Master’s plan but they are doing nothing to help keep him alive with the blood that will make him healthy again. So Palmer visits with Setrakian and makes an agreement — he will find out who the Master is now after they eliminated Bolivar and in exchange, Setrakian will give him a dose of the white mixture that he uses to stay alive far past his expiration date.

Palmer agrees and they shake hands for the first time since the two men met and teamed up in 1965. 50 years later they are back together again but will this deal end better or worse for Setrakian? Only time will tell.

‘The Strain’ returns next Sunday night at 10pm ET on FX

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