Tonight’s taut and thrilling installment of The Strain is markedly different from those which preceded it – “Creatures of the Night” is probably as close to a bottle episode as we’ll ever see from this show, and it benefits tremendously from that tightened focus.
Picking up immediately after the conclusion of “For Services Rendered,” this hour finds Setrakian, Eph, Jim and Nora attempting to survive the night in a city that is teetering on the edge of anarchy. Many of us had wondered how the writers would naturally bring that group of protagonists into contact with fearless exterminator Vasiliy Fet (by far the show’s coolest character), and the way in which this episode does that is a little (forgive the pun) strained, but it’s easy to look past that given all the badass lines exchanged in the process.
As it turns out, Eph and the rest had the same idea as Vasiliy – attempt to replicate sunlight, which burns the strigoi, using UV lights. “Say something so I know you’re not one of them,” Vasiliy growls when he runs into them whilst looting a convenience store, and then we’re off to the races.
Such is the power of the strigoi‘s ancient Master that he can see through the eyes of all his subjects, says Setrakian. And he evidently didn’t take too kindly to Eph nailing Eichorst in the leg with a silver bullet (it’s been a long time since the vamp has felt such pain, Setrakian assures the group), given that he compels a group of recently turned strigoi to assault the convenience store. Intriguingly, the creatures only really want Setrakian, Eph, Nora and Jim – one woman stranded in the store with them makes a break for it and, to everyone’s astonishment, actually gets away. Sure, they’ll sink a stinger into someone if they’re nearby, but the targets are those involved in shooting Eichorst.
There are a few things about the set-up of “Creatures of the Night” that require some pretty massive suspension of disbelief, like that Dutch Velders (the Stoneheart-employed hacker responsible for crashing the Internet and cell phone lines) is on hand in the store to provide a recap of her involvement in Eldritch and Eichorst’s plot. But then again, this is The Strain, in which an elderly man with a sword is the world’s best line of defense against bloodthirsty vampires. Realism isn’t exactly on its agenda.