The Strain: Occultation Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, August 18, 2014
Well, the good news is that the story has finally caught up to the series trailer. Sort of. The eclipse is beginning and all Hell is starting to break loose in Manhattan. I must admit that despite my ongoing confusion about whether or not I’m actually enjoying The Strain, “Occultation” was a pretty decent episode.
Directed by Peter Weller, the opening scene grabs our attention with Eichorst (Richard Sammel) again treating us to his true form while displaying some quality subdued evil. As the darkness descends, other infected are cutting loose in the city streets, but The Master is still nowhere to be seen.
There is also some delicious character development this week beginning with Kevin Durand’s Vasiliy Fet. At this point, we all know what he’s seen underground and we follow him from his now vampire ridden pest control office to the apartment of his estranged parents, whom he hasn’t seen in two years. In this heartfelt scene, Vasiliy begs them to leave the city and we learn that the badass rat catcher was once an honored architecture student who changed direction, ruining his relationship with his father. Despite the plea to his parents, it seems clear that Vasiliy has no intention of trying to make an escape. Perhaps his talent for architecture is a bit of foreshadowing?
Meanwhile, Eph (Corey Stoll) is finally captured by the FBI after being ratted out by Kelly (Natalie Brown)’s new boyfriend (Drew Nelson). Same deal, Eph begs them all to get out safely. Of course, no one listens and Kelly and Zach (Ben Hyland) prepare to watch the impending eclipse. Eph manages to escape custody only after both FBI agents are taken out by infected creatures in the streets. He heads for the pawn shop and finds Abraham (David Bradley) and Nora (Mia Maestro), who has brought her slightly senile mother (Anne Betancourt) there for safety. The “hero” team seems to be assembling.
Despite the quality material in this particular episode, I just keep waiting for my first “wow” moment of the series. I think for The Strain to be a television success, it had to grab people from the start and not let go. Instead, we’re all still waiting to be grabbed.
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Mania Grade: A-
Episode: Occultation (Season 1, Episode 6)
Starring: Corey Stoll, Mía Maestro, Sean Astin, Anne Betancourt
Written By: Guillermo del Toro (creator), Chuck Hogan (creator)
Directed By: Peter Weller