Martin Carr reviews the eighth episode of The Strain season 3…
Slowly strands are beginning to intertwine as flashbacks become more familiar, interactions more fraught and family ties are severed in a search for closure. The Strain has become what few thought possible, morphing as it has into an allegorical testament to some of our most heinous historical acts of genocide. Whether it’s the rise and eradication of slavery so deeply rooted in Deep Southern culture. Or a throwback to an Aryan rise as orchestrated by a ‘Master’ manipulator ever present yet rarely seen. These are the foundations of a series which throws up a lot of questions whilst engaging, entertaining and hopefully enlightening those who choose to watch.
‘White Light’ then acts on multiple levels beyond the obvious inference of a sudden epiphany or more literal explosion creating the aforementioned blinding flash. This episode opens your eyes to the atrocities which will be metered out should this so-called superior race ever get a firm grip on humanity. Eichorst is less the puppet more a lieutenant in an army needing guidance, mediating as he does between his human charges and a leaderless clan of ravenous underlings. Sammell never veers towards caricature lacing his creation with the merest hint of a beating heart beneath that icy exterior. Even in the presence of the mechanised monstrosity which is purpose built for harvesting Eichorst is no pantomime villain, rather just cold bloodedly efficient and business like in light of the process being streamlined.
Elsewhere the nuance continues as Goodweather and Dutch bond over a black box recorder, while Setrakian and Fet cross paths with a rejuvenated Palmer. Quinlan and his involvement within this triangle of old rivalry and betrayals writ large seems somehow diminished. Penry Jones remains formidable in his interpretation of the character, but those final few minutes although flashy and action packed seem convenient story telling. To divulge more would be foolish as the sequence would lose something in the translation, but to my mind it seems too tidy and clean in terms of bringing characters together. What did and does ring true though are those flashbacks which bring everything full circle.
They act as the catalyst which allows closure for at least one character whilst making that person stronger in the meantime. That these flash backs also provide essential back story merely clarifies the importance of this moment. There are layers beyond that rather simplistic explanation concerning this particular relationship, but again those discoveries should be individual ones. Suffice to say that The Strain offers up another slice of fried gold for consumption hot or cold in a time when consistent entertainment is hard to come by.