The Strain “Collaborators” Review (Season 3 Episode 7)

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On the latest episode of “The Strain,” Fet and Abe went in search of silver to line a coffin intended for the Master, while Eph, Dutch and Quinlan went in search of the Black Box from the ill-fated flight that began this whole mess and Palmer tried to figure out what was so important about that ship that Eichorst was so keen on arriving safely in New York, in the aptly-titled “Collaborators.”

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the episode was that we finally got a sizable amount of back-story from perhaps the show’s most enigmatic character that still lacked one: Vasiliy Fet (Kevin Durand). Think about it- all we really know about him is that he used to be an exterminator before the strain broke out.

Well, that and the fact that he had a strained (no pun intended) relationship with his father, who he tried to warn to get out of town before the infection spread to his neck of the woods. On the latest episode, we found out plenty- perhaps even why Fet became what he did, in a sense.

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It seems that his grandfather, Sergei (Mike Dopud, “Dark Matter”) was a Ukrainian soldier in WWII that was captured, along with his good friend Alexei (Costa Ronin, “The Americans”), by the Germans. Forced to work in a chain gang-type situation, Sergei jumped at the opportunity for advancement in the ranks, in exchange for better living conditions, food, etc.

The catch- and there always is one with the Nazis- is that Sergei had to take responsibility for his companion, who was in much worse shape than he was. If he failed at the job, than Sergei would be held responsible. The bigger problem was the nature of the job- killing Jews who had “outgrown their usefulness” to the Nazis.

Alexei found himself unable to do it, and, at first, so did Sergei, understandably. But when Eichorst himself threatened to kill Alexei, he somehow mustered up the will to do it. Unfortunately, Eichorst being Eichorst, even then, he killed Alexei anyway, ostensibly because of Sergei’s hesitation.

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Apparently, Sergei kept on doing this sort of thing, becoming a “Holocaust collaborator” that killed Jews to save his own skin. Eventually, the toll of it became too much for him and Sergei killed himself. His son considered it the great shame of the family, and it was a big reason he had such a tumultuous relationship with his own son, with his chosen profession of being a pest exterminator a bit too close to the mark for his liking.

Fet only found out through his mother, and when he last talked to his father, some six years ago, they fought over it and he didn’t speak to him again until he went to warn him about the infection- a warning that his father didn’t take heed of. As Abe pointed out, it was often the intellectuals that were the last to believe the hard-to-accept, and Fet’s dad, wanting to distance himself from his own father and his deeds, had been an academic, just as Abe himself was.

Alas, when Fet and Abe went by Fet’s father’s place, he found both his father and mother dead. Both were infected, and his father had first killed his mother, than himself, to spare one another what was coming next. Fet was upset, but Abe said he must forgive him for taking the “soldier’s way” out: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that prisoner is you.” Heady stuff, and well-acted all around by Durand and company.

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Later on, Abe and Fet broke into one of Abe’s chief rivals in the pawn-broking game, looking for silver to line the coffin of one intended for the Master, should they successfully capture him. Though the “good stuff” was locked up tight in a safe room, Fet naturally blew open the door with explosives and gained access into it.

Once inside, Abe absconded with all the silver he needed and melted it down for the task at hand. After that, he and Fet met up once again with Palmer, who wanted to trade info for a dose of the White, as he was too frail to get anything really done in his state. Abe reluctantly agreed, but only for one dose, not wanting Palmer to try and reverse-engineer it and no longer need them.

The info turned out to be the arrival of the ship, the Aurora Cutlass, that had come in from Egypt. When Palmer went down to the docks to investigate, he was turned away by a guard, who informed him that the Captain of the ship had told him that no one was to enter- not even Palmer himself, whose name was on the manifest- despite the fact that he never signed it.

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Not taking no for an answer, Palmer had his right-hand man assemble some men and raid the ship, only to discover that everyone was dead- and the cargo hold was mysteriously empty. What had been inside? Well, as I predicted in a previous review, Abe seems to think that it was one of the remaining Ancients, and that the Master had brought it in to “finish the job” of taking over New York, and one assumes, the rest of the States, eventually.

The question is, assuming it is one of the Ancients, is it still alive at the moment, or is it still incapacitated? While it was easy to think the Ancient could have been the one who killed the crew of the ship, if it had, why didn’t it also feed on them? It would have been hungry after the long journey, one assumes, as Abe points out.

That it didn’t means they still might have time to nip this thing in the bud before the Master takes true advantage of it. If not, then they might lose the battle once and for all. Obviously, the time to strike was sooner than later. Abe, satisfied, gave Palmer the White dose, which he promptly took back at his place, having such an extreme reaction to it at first that his nurse quit on the spot.

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But it seems to have done the deed, so count on Palmer being back to his usual tricks on the next episode, no doubt to Eichorst’s chagrin. Palmer also tweaked Eichorst about his lost hand earlier in the episode, which the latter had to cauterize by fire- I guess that hand won’t be growing back.

Palmer pointed out that the very fact that he wasn’t dead already was a sign that the Master still had plans for him, and that it must vex Eichorst what exactly those plans were, which it clearly did. My guess would be that the Master might just be planning to make Palmer the new home for his newly-arrived Ancient co-conspirator.

If so, Eichorst is right to be annoyed, as it would mean that he was passed up for a “promotion” yet again. I kind of love it that Eichorst is constantly demeaned by the Master, in spite of all he’s done to serve him- Lord knows, he deserves it, as nasty a person as he’s always been. I think it’s safe to say we all want to see him meet a grisly end- he’s the one character you love to hate arguably the most, perhaps even more so than the Master himself, which is saying something.

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Meanwhile, Eph and Dutch were able to figure out that they might be able to do some reverse-engineering of their own, so to speak, if they could get a hold of the Black Box from the flight that the Master flew in on. As you’ll recall, the Master essentially commandeered the plane and took it over, which means that, at some point, he must have spoken aloud to do so.

Figuring that there must be a recording of that occurrence on the Black Box, Eph thinks that, if they can get ahold of it, they can match it with the data they already have and figure out a way to not only shut off communication between the Master and his minions, but use it to track the signal back to the Master himself, and discover his current location.

However, first they had to get the Black Box, which was easier said than done, as it was beyond the “safe zone” of the city at JFK airport, which had deteriorated into lawlessness and “everyone for themselves” mentality. Or, as Quinlan puts it: “Civility is an illusion- savagery is the default state of humanity.” Great world-view there, Quincy!

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To that end, Dutch intervenes with a family under attack from some thugs, with a reluctant assist from Eph and Quinlan. To her shock, the family isn’t grateful, but scared by the intervention, albeit understandably, given the looks of this bunch, especially Quinlan, who can’t resist using his extended mouth to lick the blood off the blade after killing the thugs at hand.

After that, the threesome head to the airport, where they do indeed find the Black Box, which, as Dutch points out, is actually orange! Go figure. Wonder why they call it that, then. That accomplished, it’s time to get the hell out of Dodge. One assumes they likely make it, or we wouldn’t have a show, really, but we don’t see it, so assuming is all we can do. One wonders if they might not have a little trouble at the border, though.

That was about it for this episode, which couldn’t help but be a transitional one, after the events of last week. But that was fine, as last week’s episode was so strong and action-packed. I think it’s safe to say we all needed a breather after that one, to say nothing of that night’s stress-inducing debate! (What was up with Trump stalking Hillary like a predator? Yikes. Maybe HE’S infected by the Strain- it sure would explain a lot!)

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Anyway, a solid enough episode, and I like where all this is headed, though I assume that the good guys won’t be defeating the bad guys entirely by the end of the season, or we wouldn’t have another one coming. The question is: who will be left standing? Will the Master emerge victorious yet again? Or will he be defeated, only to be replaced by another, potentially even nastier Ancient? And what are the Master’s plans for Zach and Palmer, anyway? We shall see.

What did you think of the latest episode of “The Strain”? Any predictions for how the show will end the season? Do you think Abe and I are right about it being another Ancient on the ship? If so, how powerful is it? Who killed the men on that ship, if not the Ancient? Are the Strigoi working with humans again? If so, who? Make your predictions down below, and see you next week!