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The Strain #108 - Creatures of the Night Review

3

Ephraim, Abraham, and the others are trapped in a gas station.

Warning: Massive spoilers and sad moments revealed within this review. You've been warned.

Ya'll got Funyuns?
Ya'll got Funyuns?

While The Strain has been focusing on many different people within each episode, "Creatures of the Night" spends the vast majority of the time focusing on the main group of hunters and Vasiliy. While this approach to the episode is a pretty big change, does it actually work out for the better?

Here's what happened this week. Vasiliy Fet joins with the Strigoi hunters after meeting them at a medical warehouse. The team gathers UV lights in order to protect themselves. Across the street, they find a gas station where they stop off to grab some supplies, food, and other things. Strigoi quickly surround the station and the team is trapped.

In an encounter with the Strigoi, Jim finds he was cut. In the cut, is a worm and Ephraim removes it in a makeshift surgery session. The team discusses a plan to escape but they soon figure out Jim is infected with many worms. After a long discussion about Jim coming back to hunt them, Vasiliy shoots Jim in the head and kills him.

At first glimpse, this episode felt like filler and nothing more. However, this episode does provide some more info about the Strigoi, though some expositions dialogue and some action moments. We now have learned that in a sense the Strigoi have a type of hive mind where they can work together for a common goal, under the guidance of The Master. However, The Master does not have to be present for this, so it's a bit more like a psychic link between him and his "children."

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Fans of the books or graphic novels will be excited to know that this is the episode where Vasiliy finally joins up with the rest of the group. He's been hunting Strigoi on his own, so he brings a new dimension to the group and even a little bit of knowledge. His scene with Abraham discussing how to kill the infected feels a bit redundant, but it was a scene that came off as enjoyable and helped establish trust, since Vasiliy really is a one-man army.

The idea of a group of people being stuck somewhere feels like a very overused trope in television and while it did provide a good deal of excitement, the overall episode doesn't move much of the story along. They're trapped physically in this gas station, but they're also trapped in so many other ways. They fear the Strigoi, but the greatest fear for them is not their lives right now, but their lives in the future if this infestation continues. Vasiliy joins the team, the hacker joins the team, and Jim dies. This is a pretty big disappointment considering it followed up such an amazing episode in the week prior.

The choices the characters make within this episode, at times, can feel frustrating, but it works for the situation they're in. They're panicked and have very little options, so when reactions seem harsh and made hastily, well, they are but it fits the scenario, and that's one thing that really stands out here. All-in-all, their decisions are what get them out of this pickle and back onto the road.

Overall, "Creatures of the Night" is a fun ride but doesn't really offer the viewer much progression in the way of story. Sure, there's some major moments here that are real game changers, but the issue feels like filler. The series is still very strong and one of the highlights of the week, but this episode fell a tad short.