Bad blood runs deep.
In 1944, in a concentration camp in Poland, an everlasting evil hungers for and feasts on the weak. It lords over lesser individuals with all the power and poise of a God, eliminating complete strangers with mundane movements of the jaw, or a twitch of a finger. It prepares for global domination. It thirsts for destruction.
It’s not a vampire. Not yet, at least. It’s Thomas Eichorst, the Nazi-in-charge who puts bullets into foreheads for no reason other than he can, and it’s an effective motivation tactic. The Eichorst of 1944 is much the same as the Eichorst of 2014, with some key differences in physiology and appetites. In “For Services Rendered,” we spend equal amounts of time with both versions of Eichorst, and both of them are tormenting Abraham Setrakian, another man who remains consistent across the decades, albeit with some physical differences. Both Eichorsts and both Abrahams have two things in common: (1) An unflinching personal code of conduct and ethics, and (2) An unflinching hatred of the other man.
The deep-rooted blood feud between Eichorst and Setrakian spills out into the modern day, as their dealings in the past have great impact on the present. For instance, the coffin containing The Master aboard Regis Air Flight 753 was built by Abraham so many decades ago, at the behest of Eichorst. Even then, the dapper Nazi smiled and admired the tenacity of his prisoner, Mr. 8230385, as he slaved away at carving a perfectly crafted mystery box. Nowadays, Setrakian will do anything necessary to stop the evils contained within that coffin — but more and more, it’s looking like he lacks the physical chops to make it happen.
Besides, there’s bad blood to deal with beyond Mr. Eichorst. Joan Luss, one of the four survivors of Regis 753, has gone full vamp, killing her husband (does Cylon blood taste different from human blood?) and going after her own children as well. They’re saved by the bell — and by bell, I mean silver arrows to the dome piece — when a small army of heavily-armed, body-armor-wearing vampires come to the Luss residence and wipe out all primitive vamps in sight. The Strain‘s answer to Blade, these vampire-hunting vampire hunters seem to be saviors at first, until they turn their weapons on the Luss children’s babysitter’s only daughter, who was infected by one of Joan’s worms. They justify their decision to kill the girl: “She’s corrupted.” Interesting words coming from this guy.
Indeed, the vampire conspiracy only grows and grows and grows with each passing day. The creatures of the night are many now, with multiple vamps spotted inside and outside of Joan’s residence. In prison, Gus’ friend Felix is slowly turning into one of them, infected with a worm from the medical examiner Gus killed during the eclipse. No one will listen to Gus’ story about his monstrous encounter; the police are more interested in what’s between Gus’ butt cheeks than what’s inside his head.
Things are only getting worse in the world of The Strain. Even Jim Kent, the CDC mole who helped usher the coffin into Manhattan, turns back toward the side of the angels, but far too late. He helps Abraham, Ephraim Goodweather, and Nora Martinez spring a trap to catch Eichorst and track down the Master, but it’s a failure. In fact, Eichorst tells Kent that he should consider his wife a dead woman now. As we saw from Eichorst’s time with the Third Reich, this is a man who makes good on his promises. After all, bad blood runs deep.