'The Strain' Season 1, Episode 8 Recap: Insert Boxcutter, Remove Worm
Every television show in existence must do a bottle episode- it is written in the great cosmic TV code. Whether bound by a low budget (a "bottle episode" being an episode of a TV show that's filmed almost entirely in a single location) or just a sense of "hey, wouldn't it be cool if the whole cast was stuck in a walk-in freezer for a full hour?" the bottle episode must come.
"The Strain" is no different. Once "Creatures of the Night" gets going, it never leaves the confines of a lonely gas station convenience store (well, technically some people leave, but there's a 50% survival rate for those who do, so it's not advised).
And it was marvelous.
First things first- one of our two major gripes with Guillermo Del Toro's vampire-novel-turned-vampire-series has been forever solved. Vasiliy Fet, who up until this point had been a weird anomaly, existing week in and week out but never actually having anything to do with the other characters, is now officially part of the team.
He's also something the team desperately needed- someone who will actually listen to what Setrakian has to say. Seriously, Setrakian is an encyclopedia of vampire-hunting experience, and he's right about every single thing they've encountered so far, and yet Eph and Nora still doubt him at every turn. It's clearly starting to piss Setrakian off.
Fet, on the other hand, straight-up asks for the rules on how to kill a vampire. It cannot be overstated how unbelievable that is.
The common sense on this guy, to see Setrakian dispatch a couple vamps, and immediately reply "hey old man, you clearly understand what these things are and how to kill them. I, too, would benefit from that knowledge."
Fet's like the guy who's watching the horror movie and knows all the logical steps that they don't- only he's actually in there with them.
Case in point: while everyone else is arguing over whether or not to kill Jim, even if Jim is obviously infected past the point of no return and is also practically begging for death, Fet just steps in and KA-BLAMs Jim into a peaceful, vampire-free afterlife.
It's a sudden, shocking moment. And that's unbelievably impressive on "The Strain's" part, considering we all knew Jim was a goner for at least fifteen minutes before it happened.
A. Flawed secondary characters that betray the hero but then recover their inner good-guy are not the ones that make it to the end of the story.
B. As soon as Jim got nicked, he was toast.
Here's how we know: if the super-secret vampire SWAT team (who, sadly, did not appear in "Creatures of the Night") have a zero-tolerance policy on any nicks or scrapes, then a nick or a scrape is the bitter end.
Let's just assume the people who are vampires (at least, as far as anyone knows.... they are vampires, right?) know every in and out of how vampirism spreads, and wouldn't have shot an innocent woman to death last week if they could have just cut her open and yanked the worms away.
Jim's extremely gross, impromptu box cutter wormectomy may have been a hell of a scene (admit it, every single person reading this: you winced when those tweezers clamped onto the worm and pulled), but it was so very futile. Weren't we all watching the scenes afterward with a sense of "that couldn't have really worked... could it?"
But at least "The Strain" knows when its surprise has been compromised, and plans in advance. And that's why we got two out-of-nowhere "gotcha" moments- Jim's back, absolutely riddled with worms, and Fet shooting Jim dead while everyone else just stood around and screamed. Both paid off quite well.