The Strain Season 1 Review “The Third Rail”

The Strain Episode 11 The Third Rail (1)

On the latest episode of “The Strain,” it was time to take the battle to the Master, but was the team ready? We found out in “The Third Rail,” and the answer was not very promising, at least in the long term. Sure, they might have all emerged unscathed this time around, but just barely, and what little advantage they had in the element of surprise is clearly gone, so the next time around might well be the last time around, at least for some of them, if not all.

On the plus side, Fet rigged up a nifty UV light “bomb” that basically saved all of their collective butts in the big showdown with the Master, though Setrakian didn’t exactly see it that way. I’m sure destroying the coffin he worked so long and hard on back in the day, not realizing what it was going to be used for helped assuage his disapproval somewhat. At least he can take comfort in the fact that the Master won’t be using that again.

After the somewhat lackluster last episode, this was definitely a step in the right direction, regaining some of the intensity lost in last week’s episode and then some. Between the team creepy travails in the subway tunnels and beyond, Gus’ run-in with his brother and mom, and Zach’s not-so-great adventure, there was a lot of cringe-inducing scenarios going on, to be sure. Though I once again questioned the show’s logic on occasion- this time in Dr. G. leaving the keys to the pawn shop in the hands of his son- not to mention leaving him with that crazy woman, who nearly got him killed, however unintentionally. Yes, I suppose if the Dr. hadn’t made it back, Zach would have needed them eventually, but still, it was questionable.

There was also good decent dialogue here and there, particularly in regards to Fet and Dr.G. I especially got a kick out of the scene early on when Dr. G. suggested applying a strobe effect to the UV light bomb so it wouldn’t short out as quickly, and Fet said, wryly: “I could rig up a fog machine, you know, crank some tunes, really get ‘em dancing, just boom boom boom.” Great line delivery on Kevin Durand’s part all around, I thought. I also loved the touch that the seemingly know-it-all exterminator was dead wrong about the subway tunnels under the World Trade Center location not being used anymore, which nearly got them all killed. Watch out for that third rail!

There were also some sweet kills, including the wormpire getting fried on the aforementioned rail, Gus taking a bat to his infected brother and then an axe to his former landlord, lopping off his head and bouncing it down the stairs with a satisfying splat right into the camera! Yes, it was pretty gross, but if that sort of thing bothers you, boy are you watching the wrong show.

On the other hand, the gore-free scenes with the team in the small tunnel and Zach crawling down a chute and right into the lair of a wormpire and out again were scarier than anything in the recent “As Above, So Below,” so never let it be said the show couldn’t thrill sans gore as well. For a hot minute, I thought they might even take out Fet, which would have been a shame. Thankfully, they didn’t go there…yet.

On the negative side, the Master’s look remains dubious to me, which is not a good thing seeing as he’s supposed to be the main heavy. Honestly, Eichorst scares me more than he does, though I wouldn’t want to meet either in a dark alley, obviously. I do understand Abe’s frustration with the way things played out, though he seems hellfire determined on getting them all killed. Granted, Dr. G. almost managed that himself by falling for the whole wormpire-imitating-his-wife gambit. You know, that old chestnut, lol.

All in all, though, a uniformly solid episode, I thought. I laughed, I grimaced, I cringed and I nearly even jumped a few times- though not quite, I’m afraid. I’ve just seen way too many of these movies/shows to fall for the obvious too easily. It takes a lot to completely unnerve me, but I definitely enjoyed the episode, nonetheless. Be that as it may, I’m still enjoying the series as a whole, I have to say. Del Toro and company have nothing to be ashamed of here, despite the occasional dubious plot point. Hey, it happens, least of all in horror movies/shows.

What did you think of this episode of “The Strain”? Did you jump? Did you get grossed out by the FX? What was your most cringe-worthy moment? Who do you think will bite it first? Who will be the last one standing? Will they defeat the Master before the end of the season? (Probably not, or there wouldn’t be another one.) What are your predictions for the last few episodes? Sound off below and remember- watch out for that third rail!