The Strain Season 1 Review “Occultation”

The Strain (FX) Episode 6 Occultation

On the latest episode of “The Strain,” things continued to go south quick, as the virus began to spread despite Dr. Goodweather’s best intentions, in “Occultation.” The title refers to an occurrence in which an object in the foreground blocks one in the background- in this case, a lunar eclipse. Of course, in a situation in which this occurs during the day, and you’ve got wormpires about…well, let’s just say that’s not exactly a positive, as it effectively renders humans vulnerable to attacks, what with wormpires only able to move about freely in darkness and all.

We started out the show with Dr. Goodweather on the run, after finding the FBI on his doorstep- or rather, his wife’s- looking for him in light of what happened in the previous episode. Ducking in after they left, Dr. G. warned her and his son to leave town, as things were going to get worse before they got better, but was naturally met with disbelief and antagonism, not in the least from his wife’s new beau, Matt, who promptly called the cops on him, leading directly to his being arrested.

This, in turn, led to his wife and Matt fighting, with things not looking good for the two, as, when we last leave Matt, he’s about to come face to face- or whatever you call what wormpires have- with some of them. Will they outright kill him, or turn him? If it’s the latter, you can rest assured he’ll be paying his girlfriend a visit soon, as is the creatures’ MO. Here’s hoping they have the good sense to leave town sooner than later. I mean, I can see her being a little skeptical under the circumstances, but if my significant other worked for the CDC and said get out of town while the getting’s good, I think I’d be leaving town ASAP, you know?

Eventually, Dr. G. managed to get two of the FBI agents that arrested him to listen to him, promising he could lead them to where the plane’s occupants were, aka the wormpires’ nest. Alas, they never made it, as the aforementioned eclipse went down, and all hell broke loose, with both agents falling prey to an attack by the ME from the lab that the plane victims were once located in. In the process, Dr. G. managed to get the keys from one of them and escape, which I am fully prepared to admit was a bit of a convenience.

I mean, of all the people to get involved in a wormpire attack, it’s these two random agents? Who just so happen to both get killed by the very ME that was infected by the plane wormpires? Definitely a little on the dubious side, but at the same time, we really needed Dr. G. to get freed somehow, so I guess this was the best the show (and/or the books) could come up with under the circumstances. So, I was willing to suspend my disbelief, while at the same time acknowledging that it was a bit ludicrous, plotting-wise. (Add to that the fact that Matt just so happened to be one of those who ended up cornered by the wormpires, BTW.)

Also a bit dubious was the fact that Vasiliy Fet’s office just so happened to be hit by the wormpires, setting the stage for him to encounter several of his office mates in wormpire form and forcing him to dispose of them via sunlight. But I didn’t mind this as much, as the sooner we get Fet involved in helping to eradicate the wormpire menace, the better. Obviously, this makes that happen sooner than later, so I’m all for it, even if, as with the above, it was quite the coincidence. But you just knew something was going to happen after his co-workers scoffed about his sighting of the wormpires.

Likewise headed in the direction of becoming a believer is Gus, who was essentially forced to do Eichorst’s bidding, along with Kent, which involved taking the corpse of a wormpire and dumping it in the river. Now, I’m not sure of how the virus works entirely, but I feel like Kent should have known better than to drop this thing in the water, as it almost certainly would contaminate the water supply in the process, right? I mean, I get that he would be intimidated by Eichorst- who wouldn’t be? A wormpire is bad enough on its own, but a Nazi wormpire? That’s double trouble.

But you’d think he would know better than to dump this thing in the water. They couldn’t have burned it? Or buried it? I’ve no doubt that Eichorst told them to do just what they did, but how would he know they hadn’t done it if they chose to dispose the body in a different way? At least not until much later, at which point, I should hope that Kent took his family and went far, far away, as would Gus. So, yeah, lots of dubious actions in this episode, but obviously they were all means to an end, the endgame no doubt being getting the ball rolling in earnest of the wormpire virus.

On the plus side, this episode accomplished just that, so it’s only a matter of time before things go from bad to worse. We’ve still got two survivors from the plane to contend with (Joan Luss and Gabe Bolivar), and the virus is clearly spreading, but not quite in an obvious way just yet- or at least obvious enough to draw mass attention to what’s going on and help clear Dr. G’s name in the process. That should be the case sooner than later though, what with the wormpire attacks getting bolder by the minute. That also means that the action should get going in earnest before too long as well, which I’m all for.

Not that I have any real complaints, dubious plot points notwithstanding. This is meant to be a fun summer show, and it is. I like the general plotline and I like most of the cast. The characters may be a bit ludicrous at times, in both their conception and actions, but I kind of love that too, in a so-bad-it’s-good sort of way. I mean, how can you not love a renegade rat exterminator? Or a Goth rock star-turned-vicious wormpire? It’s all so wonderfully silly, in the best of ways, the perfect definition of a guilty pleasure.

What did you think of “The Strain” this week? Are you still onboard with the show, or has it jumped the shark for you? (Sorry, couldn’t resist, what with it being the end of “shark week.”) What do you think will happen next? Are you hoping for Gus and Fet to join the wormpire assassination squad? Will Matt be killed or recruited? Will Dr. G’s wife and kid get out of harm’s way in time? Were you glad to hear the show got renewed for a second season? Let me know what you think in the comment section and I’ll see you next week!