The Strain: "Creatures of the Night"
September 1, 2014 1:31 PM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

The slowly forming League of Disease Fighters scavenge for supplies and weapons, and find themselves cornered in an unlikely spot with unlikely people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
It's a bottle episode!


I don't know how much I care for the show (although it has become fairly entertaining the last few episodes), but that's not what's important about it for me.

This kind of challenge would make for an amazing horror game à la Left 4 Dead.
posted by Strass at 1:54 PM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


I liked the episode and have been really enjoying the pacing of the series in general. It's an interesting look at what would happen if vampires actually existed and decided to rise up, so to speech. A lot of people can't hack this new reality and just freak out or shut down.

There were lots of little feints that keep this episode interesting. I thought they'd get out by the car. I thought the girl would who left the gas station would get eaten. I thought Jim would commit a noble sacrifice in the final bread truck run. I thought the vampires would just do a straight on attack. Plus OldGuy and Ratman make a great team. Still not sure what Eph is still doing around. But at least he's starting to accept the reality of things, hence the shooting, not helping, of the delivery guy. Eph's Female Sidekick is still pretty bland. Hackergirl at least has a personality.

BOO on not seeing the vampire commandos, but just know there out there is soothing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:15 PM on September 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


I actually sat down and made notes during the episode this week, because I am just that sad. In more or less chronological order:

Still no cops after someone has FIRED A GUN IN GRAND CENTRAL STATION. Also, no one on that subway train reported the guy in a suit clinging to the side?

Who's watching Nora's mother right now?

"The subway tunnels are the perfect environment for them...so let's stand around and exposit for a minute, then take the subway to our next destination."

Hah! They get the smart taxi driver this week--"Later, zompire bait!".

They just happen to wander into the one store where Bargain Basement Girl With a Dragon Tattoo is shopping? I guess it's the plot convenience store.

Fet's rebar-to-the-skull method seems to work pretty well as far as killing zompires goes, but on the down side it seems like a spectacular way to get worm-infested blood all over yourself.

Speaking of Fet, his "I need the rules" to Setrakian wins him the Smartest Character of the Week award.

Bread Guy died as he lived: with a mullet.

"[The Master] sees through every eye? *scoff scoff*" Eph, you're pretty fucking skeptical for someone who's seen as much weird shit as you have over the last week or two. Don't be a Scully.

You're just now thinking of moving the wheels over to the car with an engine? Even if they actually fit, you are terrible at plans.

Why didn't you have the UV lights pointed at the door and windows constantly? Power wasn't a problem until the transformer blew.

Setrakian just told you you've got like twenty minutes of life left, Girl Who's a Drag on the Plot. Why are you wasting time sitting down and drinking instead of emptying those bottles for Molotovs like a boss? For a hacker, your time management is terrible.

"Kill me!" "No, we're not going to kill you!" "Kill him before he turns and kills you!" "Kill me!" "No!" "Kill him before the others break in and kill us all!" "Kill me!" "No!" "*BLAM*" ...Fet, you are a problem-solving motherfucker. RIP, Rudy Gamgee.

As amusing as "I'M WAITING FOR AUTHORIZATION" was...I thought credit card machines weren't working.

...so, yeah. An okay episode, but I would not be disappointed at all if Eph and Nora got wormed and this became the Setrakian and Fet Show, with special recurring guest stars the Crossbow Squad from last week.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:55 PM on September 1, 2014 [7 favorites]


I enjoyed reading through the nitpicks. And agreed with most of them. Isn't FanFare THE place for nitpicking TV shows?

The past few episodes were great. But I didn't enjoy this one at all. The only interesting bits were Eichorst in pain, Vasily being smart, and the Samwise infection drama. The rest of it just kinda bored me.
posted by MsVader at 3:43 PM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Still no cops after someone has FIRED A GUN IN GRAND CENTRAL STATION. Also, no one on that subway train reported the guy in a suit clinging to the side?

Cops are busy with all sorts of things, it took the cops a while. I'm sure someone tried to report the guy, but again, the cops are busy and communications are down.

Who's watching Nora's mother right now?

What does that have to do with anything?! She's back at OldGuy's bunker, safe.

"The subway tunnels are the perfect environment for them...so let's stand around and exposit for a minute, then take the subway to our next destination."

I'm glad you'd handle the existence of vampires in a much more clearheaded fashion.

Fet's rebar-to-the-skull method seems to work pretty well as far as killing zompires goes, but on the down side it seems like a spectacular way to get worm-infested blood all over yourself.

Hasn't been a problem, so...yeah.

Speaking of Fet, his "I need the rules" to Setrakian wins him the Smartest Character of the Week award.

True, that was great moment.

"[The Master] sees through every eye? *scoff scoff*" Eph, you're pretty fucking skeptical for someone who's seen as much weird shit as you have over the last week or two. Don't be a Scully.

Yes, it's completely unheard of for a anyone to cling to what they know in the face of the new data/situations. Especially a control freak dick like Eph.

You're just now thinking of moving the wheels over to the car with an engine? Even if they actually fit, you are terrible at plans.

Terrible plans happen a lot in a war zone.

Why didn't you have the UV lights pointed at the door and windows constantly? Power wasn't a problem until the transformer blew.

There was a problem with the lights blowing, I think.

Setrakian just told you you've got like twenty minutes of life left, Girl Who's a Drag on the Plot. Why are you wasting time sitting down and drinking instead of emptying those bottles for Molotovs like a boss? For a hacker, your time management is terrible.

Guilt is a powerful derailer of human logic.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:56 PM on September 1, 2014


This episode was lots of fun. Sure, the zombies took waaaaay too long to mass and Nora's mom was missing but nobody seemed to care and Bargain Basement Girl with a Dragon Tattoo (thank you, Mr. Bad Example) was boring and shouldn't have bumped into the gang so easily, but, otherwise, this ep worked for me.

I thought they'd get rescued by the (good?) monsters but they had to get themselves out. Hacker's friend actually made it. They killed off Jim after a really, really convincing operation. Setrakian and Vasiliy bond. There was a good flow of tension over most of the episode. The humor worked well ("who votes to stay here and die"). And let's not forget that Gus and his random storyline was nowhere in evidence. It was a good ep.

As for the cops? Vasiliy mentioned that the cops had their own problems. It's night. NY is a open buffet. I would have been surprised if the cops had showed.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 4:13 PM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm so much happier with this show now that it's turned into a full throttle vampire zombie fighting concern, but with vampire zombies who appear to have better problem solving skills than the uninfected. Let's just make it the Abe/Vasily Vampire Zombie Hunting Fun Time Hour.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:18 PM on September 1, 2014


I enjoyed reading through the nitpicks. And agreed with most of them. Isn't FanFare THE place for nitpicking TV shows?

The past few episodes were great. But I didn't enjoy this one at all. The only interesting bits were Eichorst in pain, Vasily being smart, and the Samwise infection drama. The rest of it just kinda bored me.


And I agree with you agreeing with the nitpicks and also that this episode did not have the same spark as we'd been seeing lately.

[The Master] sees through every eye?

Ugh. Every time I hear "The Master" I think of Manos.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:42 PM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Now it's all I can think of. I'm never again going to be able to watch Eichorst limping around without hearing this.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:09 AM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Two episodes ago, my husband the Esteemed and Exceedingly Annoying TV Snob was in the room when this was on and he said, "is this one of those shows that's based on people making stupid decisions all the time?" and for once I have to admit his criticism is spot-on. As time goes by I keep hoping they will stop using inexplicable stupidity again and again to move the plot along but it shows no sign of going away. That bread guy and the hacker wanting to go outside with the vampires instead of staying in the nice locked convenience store with healthy people who seemed to have a pretty good idea of what was going on? No. The store employee staying in his locked cubicle rather than leaving with them once it became completely clear the vamps were going to crash through the ceiling any second? No. They could be telling this story just as well without having people behave like idiots for no reason. It's really distracting me a lot. The only one who seems to have his head on completely straight is Vasily.
posted by something something at 11:57 AM on September 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


Rudy Gamgee LOL

I'm pretty sure this show is actually decreasing my IQ by a point or two every episode, but it's fun so [shrug].

Ephraim (I refuse to call him Eph because dopiest nickname ever) needs to die ASAP, but I guess he's nominally the hero or some shit, so that's probably wishful thinking.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:03 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, after having read through all the previous Strain posts, I have to say that while this is definitely not the best show on TV, or even a marginally competent one most of the time, these are undoubtedly the best threads in FanFare. They almost make up for the many unrecoverable hours I have now pissed away and will continue to piss away on semi-enjoying this idiotic program.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:22 PM on September 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


Maybe every stupid choice that all of the dumb-dumbs have made so far is just an elaborate set-up to make Vasiliy an amazing bad-ass simply by virtue of being mildly competent.

I really liked this one, even with the amazing plot contrivance of having BBGWTDT being at the convenience store. It was especially great to see a few surprising funny moments, like the girl at the beginning actually successfully escaping, or Vasiliy shrugging and going for ultra-premium with Eph's credit card. Speaking of Eph... IT'S NOT A FUCKING VIRUS! IT'S CLEARLY A PARASITE!! Jeez-us, they should've spent less time training in small arms fire in CDC school and more time on basic biology.

It's also nice to have Rudy's character killed off. That arc felt like it was finished two episodes ago.

I have to feel bad for Hassan, who is now either zompire food, or burned alive in his convenience store. Even if it is mostly his own dumb fault.

Also, there were fire engine sirens at the end of the episode, right? So I guess that's at least one public service that's working? The ill-defined nature of the crisis is still bugging me, even if that might be more realistic. I'd rather have stuff either in chaos or not, but having some normal scenes and some overrun with infected scenes is jarring.
posted by codacorolla at 8:21 AM on September 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


I have to feel bad for Hassan, who is now either zompire food, or burned alive in his convenience store. Even if it is mostly his own dumb fault.

I have to agree with Brandon Blatcher that stuff like Hassan's denial-fueled shutdown is a not-outlandish deer-in-the-headlights response to extreme stress and shock. In fact, one of my persistent fears is that when the actual zompire/alien/superflu/ninja apocalypse arrives, I will find myself doing every fucking dumbass thing I mocked TV characters for doing, and know it, and be unable to stop.

But that don't change the fact that other people gonna fight or flee and can't afford to be sentimental about us doomed deer along the way.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:12 PM on September 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Why didn't you have the UV lights pointed at the door and windows constantly? Power wasn't a problem until the transformer blew.

They mentioned that the windows and door blocked UV light.
posted by Pendragon at 8:53 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hey everyone, it looks like my schedule is massively screwed up going forward, so I'd really like to pass the thread on to someone else. I also haven't watched the new episode yet due to a cable outage, and I'd prefer not to spoil myself to write the description. Thanks to anyone who can take up the reins, and also thanks to everyone who's been watching and commenting so far!
posted by codacorolla at 12:13 PM on September 8, 2014


So I missed this one last week but managed to snag the repeat -- SERIOUSLY FX, you only repeat the previous episode ONCE?

Two good episodes in a row: feels like the show's finally found its feet.

The holed-up-in-the-convenience-store thing owes a lot to The Mist.

A bit worried that this is going to devolve into Walking Dead style "what gruesome way to kill a zombie can we come up with THIS week" running-and-whacking stuff.

The "wait, really?" for me this week was the "we got the worm out so you're OK now" moment. Nobody stopped to think that there might be more than one in him?

I think they're positioning Fet as a younger, more energetic version of Setrakian: smart, open-minded, utterly pragmatic.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:10 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


They mentioned that the windows and door blocked UV light.

80% of it, I think? Although surely even the remaining 20% would at least make it uncomfortable for the zompires. (Is there a hard threshold below which they're OK and above which they burn?)

I liked that the zompires became gradually smarter: they start as a shambling mob but it becomes increasingly apparent that they're problem-solving. Setrakian partially explains it as that they're developing, maturing; but there's also the "they're here FOR US" that suggests they're directed -- controlled? -- by the Master.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:23 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


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