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The Strain – “Occultation” Review

Vasiliy gets more than he bargained for back at the office.
Vasiliy gets more than he bargained for back at the office.
Photo courtesy of ©2014 FX Networks. All Rights Reserved.

The Strain, S1 Ep 6 – “Occultation”

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The Strain, Season 1, Episode 6
Air date: Sunday, August 17, 2014 at 10PM on FX

“Occultation” is an intense and freakishly nail-biting television experience. I appreciate the brief moments of reprieve from the tongue gouging infected people lurking in dark corners, like Nora’s (Mia Maestro) mother Mariela (Anne Betancourt) vacuuming. But the infected people—or strigoi creatures as they’re known—aren’t all underground anymore; they’re coming topside. There isn’t enough of a food source in the sewers. As an aside, the opening of “Occultation” sent chills down my spine. Eichorst (Richard Sammel) is terrifying.

One of the things about “Occultation” I appreciate is the elaboration of how the strigoi creatures are affected by sunlight. Vasiliy (Kevin Durand) gets an unexpected surprise when he returns to the office and gives us a grotesque view of the effects of sunlight on the strigoi. This episode also highlights the strengths of some of the strigoi, in particular, Eichorst. His impromptu meeting with a very reluctant Gus (Miguel Gomez) proves eye opening not only for Gus, but his friend Felix (Pedro Miguel Arce) and me, as well. Eichorst exhibits his incredible strength, which makes me wonder whether all the newly infected strigoi creatures are also that powerful.

“Occultation” expands on the story line regarding Eph (Corey Stoll) and his being wanted for questioning in the death of Regis airline pilot Captain Redfern (Jonathan Potts). We all know Captain Redfern was infected and tried to attack Eph, Nora, and Jim (Sean Astin), and his subsequent death was a result of self-defense. What boggles my mind is how the CDC ignores the evidence Eph presents. Eph shows video proof of the metamorphosis of the infected people and yet everyone is turning a blind eye. I appreciate the added insolence of government agencies as it provides more of the frustration needed in a good drama of this ilk. Makes you want to yell at your television.

During “Occultation,” those who know something is seriously wrong are going to warn their loved ones—like Eph and Vasiliy do with their families. It’s human nature to doubt warnings of such magnitude. Remember Y2K? Remember the Mayan calendar 2012 apocalypse incident? Of course, we heed alerts about major hurricanes and other weather related warnings because we have scientific proof to back them up. When someone informs you of an outbreak of some kind, until the government releases an official statement, no one takes it seriously. What kills me is Eph is a doctor and head of the CDC in the NY office. He’s pretty damn official if you ask me, but his wife Kelly (Natalie Brown) hesitates when he tells her to take Zach (Ben Hyland) and “run.” I could say I would have packed a bag and drove like bat out hell but you don’t know what you’ll do in a situation like that until it presents itself.

There are plenty of suspenseful and intense moments in “Ocultation,” especially a scene involving Abraham (David Bradley) going into the basement of one of the missing passengers from the Regis flight. I was holding my breath throughout this nail-biting scene. I just hope Abraham’s old heart can handle the pressures of the job at hand.

Overall
“Occultation” is a pulse-pounding episode that leaves you with the heebie jeebies and an appetite for more of The Strain’s offerings. Abraham has a new plan and with both Eph and Nora fighting by his side, I’m anxious to find out what the plan is and whether it works. What will Eph do when he learns Jim is still helping the enemy?

What did you think of “Occultation?” I’d love to hear from you. Tweet me @judybopp or leave a comment below.

Tune into The Strain, Sundays at 10PM only on FX.