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TV Review: The Strain 1.6 “Occultation”
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The Strain
Season 1 Episode 6: “Occultation”
Directed by Peter Weller
Written by Justin Britt-Gibson, Guillermo del Toro, and Chuck Hogan
Starring Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Mia Maestro, Sean Astin, Kevin Durand, Richard Sammel, Jonathan Hyde, Miguel Gomez, Natalie Brown, Jack Kesy, Ben Hyland, and Robin Atkin Downes
FX
Air Date: Sunday August 17, 2014, 10pm

Before my review of Episode 6 “Occultation” of The Strain, let’s recap Episode 5 “Runaways”….

Last week on The Strain (Stop right now if you haven’t watched! Spoiler alert!):

Bolivar’s (Jack Kesy) manager, Ruby (Regina King), brings over a urologist to address his manhood problem (that’s not a problem anymore!). Bolivar thought she brought over take-out. You know, the kind of take-out that screams, “Help! Don’t leave me!” as it’s dragged away and drained of blood from a giant tentacle. Ruby runs, twists an ankle, and limps out of there. She calls up The Strain‘s version of The Wolf to “make it go away” but he ends up as dessert.

Setrakian (David Bradley) tells Eph (Corey Stoll) that the Master (voiced by Robin Atkin Downes and physically played by Robert Maillet) is patient zero who infects the blood to make more like him. He speaks of his previous encounters with these strigoi, creatures his mother warned him about in her stories. He and his family were sent to a concentration camp in 1944 Poland, where Thomas Eichorst (Richard Sammel) was the leader. The Master would come in every night and kill another. He wanted to get some silver from the metal shop to kill it, but it was too late. He watched the Master kill his brother.

Next up is Ansel’s house, where they find an uninfected, but very dead wife hanging by the stairs, and a very undead vicious Ansel chained in the shed. Eph shoots him with a nail gun (silver nails) so Setrakian can slice his head off. The sacrificed neighbor is still in there and still human enough, but off with his head and burn down the shed! Eph recorded the whole thing. They part ways to go down two different paths towards the same goal, each thinking they are on the right one. My money’s on Setrakian. Eph takes his footage to the CDC. His boss pretends to be on his side but then calls for his capture. Jim Kent (Sean Astin) helps him escape.

And how are some of the other characters faring?

-“Survivor” Joan (Leslie Hope) is very sick and sniffing her children, so the housekeeper steals them away. Wouldn’t you?
-Vasiliy (Kevin Durand) goes into the sewer to find the cause of the rat disturbance and surprise! He found the missing dead passengers, who seemed to be auditioning for a slower version of the tunnel scene in 28 Days Later. Vasilly escapes into the sunlight and peers at them sizzle when the sun hits them.
-Nora (Mia Maestro) visits her dementia stricken mother who begs to go home. Nora repeatedly tells her she can’t, but then drags her out of there that evening as one of the turned walks into the home and starts sucking on people.

The scourge is officially out in the open, folks!

Episode 1.6 “Occultation” Preview: Peter Weller directs again in another fascinating episode. When you watch this, take a moment to savor the ominous opening 10 seconds. Set in space, you watch the upcoming eclipse, listen to familiar media voices discuss it, and know that the worst is yet to come. Eph is frantic to get his soon-to-be ex-wife and son away from everything and goes to warn them to get out of town. The FBI grabs him there, thanks to boyfriend Matt. Gus (Miguel Gomez) and Jim reluctantly reunite for yet another unsavory job for Eichorst. Vasiliy uses his little knowledge to fight more monsters. They are just larger “vermin.” It is thoroughly enjoyable to see Kevin Durand play a good guy as well as he usually plays a bad one. This episode seems to go by even quicker than previous ones as they go from scene to scene at the same frenzied pace as Eph trying to warn people. And when the sun is eclipsed by the moon, and the dead can come out during the day, the “fun” begins. What will happen to our budding heroes? The writing, direction, acting, and camera work has been excellent in this show thus far, but I have to commend the makeup/special effects team for making the vampires transform subtly and slowly at first, into juicy gory horror.

The Strain has been renewed for a second season, to the surprise of no one, and production is set to start in November.

The Strain: 1.6 “Occultation” trailer

Look! It’s the medical examiner turned strigoi!

The Strain 1.6 Occultation Strigoi

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