The Strain weekly recap: The will to live has not ‘Disappeared’

the strain weekly recap episode 9 109 00112 hires1
“You mustn’t fail life.”

Those four words, above all else, are the most important words in Abraham Setrakian’s arsenal. More powerful than any knowledge he brings to bear upon the vampire outbreak plaguing New York City. Deadlier than his silver-forged cane sword, or the silver bullets loaded into his nail gun. It’s Abraham’s burning desire to stay alive — and to make sure that others stay alive — that keeps him in the fight after all these years.

Abraham hopes to pass this wisdom along to a new generation forced to deal with the Strigoi crisis. He compliments rat exterminator (and Jim Kent exterminator) Vasiliy Fet for his “unsentimental and precise” approach to the epidemic, his ability to not be ruled by his emotions. When Fet claims to care about others, Abraham scoffs. “Leave the feeling to others.”


In The Strain, we’re beginning to see a world where in order to survive, and ensure the survival of others, one must detach. Love, quite literally, gets you killed. Unflinching, inflexible loyalty can do you in, as well.

Without Fet stepping in to plug Kent at the food mart in “Creatures of the Night,” he could have turned and assaulted friends Ephraim Goodweather and Nora Martinez. It takes the willingness of a person like Fet to cut down the infected and keep the infection from spreading, no matter who the infected is. Also among the willing is Augustin Elizalde, who capped his own pal Felix when it was clear Felix was no longer Felix.

STRAIN_109_00194_hires1For their part, Eph and Nora aren’t ready to fail life, either. But they’re not ready to let the state of New York freeze their hearts entirely. After escaping certain doom in the convenience store, Eph’s group drives to his estranged wife Kelly’s home in Queens, and Eph arrives just in time to save his son Zach from Matt, Kelly’s new boyfriend, now one of … them. Eph bashes and burns Matt’s body with almost a little too much glee, but his late friend Jim Kent is never far from his mind.

“When he lifted up his shirt — when I saw his back … that was the worst moment of my life,” Eph confesses to Nora, equally rattled by the loss of their good friend. Eph and Nora are so thrown by recent events, in fact, that they lay down their arms and fall into each other on the floor of Eph’s wife’s home, right in the middle of an apocalyptic event, because rational thinking need not apply in that moment; what they need then and there is a reminder that they’re still feeling, breathing beings with wants and needs, with people to protect, with people to live for. They need to remember that they’re alive.

Eph’s romanticism isn’t likely to set off fireworks for Abraham. Nor is his defiance when it comes to his ex. Kelly is nowhere to be found in her house, and no one has been able to reach her, her own best friend included.

Given the world that’s falling all around him, and everything he’s seen, Eph must know that the odds are not good for his wife. But he refuses to believe she’s dead and/or gone. He refuses to let his young son grow up without a mother.  “I will find her,” he tells Zach through gritted teeth. “She’s a survivor.”

Abraham could tell Eph a thing or two about being a survivor. He lived through the Holocaust and faced its innumerable horrors — not the least of which was the blood-sucking Master, who stalked and feasted on Abraham’s fellow prisoners at night. Even then, so many moons before the current events of The Strain, young Abraham was ready and willing to face the Strigoi, even at his own detriment.


Indeed, challenging the Master results in nothing more than broken fingers and a quick trip to a mass grave. If not for the intervention of allied forces, Abraham would be at the bottom of that ditch, and not on the run with his fellow prisoners.

But “calling it quits” is not in the Abraham Setrakian playbook.

“There is no one to help you,” the Master hissed at him during their confrontation in 1944 Poland, and those words seemingly struck a nerve. Perhaps the Master is right. Perhaps there is no one who can help Abraham. But that does not mean Abraham can’t be the guardian angel for others. It does not mean that he can’t save the world now.

There is no acceptable reality where Abraham gives up on his personhood and takes a knee before the Master; that path is for broken cowards like Thomas Eichhorst, who surrendered his humanity in service of his vampire overlord. No, for Abraham, it’s a simple matter of living or dying in service to a different master: Life. He cannot fail. He mustn’t. Life insists.

Movies & TV

Netflix recruits Steve Carell for the Trump-inspired comedy ‘Space Force’

Steve Carell, Netflix, and The Office showrunner Greg Daniels are teaming up for Space Force, a workplace comedy poking fun at the Trump White House's plans to establish a sixth branch of the U.S. military.

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.

Get extra life with our tips and tricks for 'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe'

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a much more difficult game than you'd believe based on its adorable art style and 2D perspective. Here's how you can master the game's toughest challenges.
Movies & TV

Here's everything we know about 'John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum'

John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum, the third installment of the wildly successful action series that stars Keanu Reeves as a deadly assassin forced out of retirement, hits theaters in May 2019. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Movies & TV

From premiere date to footage: Here's all we have on 'Game of Thrones' season 8

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Movies & TV

The ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’ trailer has finally arrived

Lionsgate has released the first, full-length trailer for John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, the third installment of the action franchise that casts Keanu Reeves as the world's greatest assassin.
Movies & TV

New trailer for 'The Punisher' season 2 teases a bloody showdown

The Punisher is getting a second season on Netflix, with Jon Bernthal returning to play Marvel Comics' gun-toting antihero Frank Castle. Here's everything we know about season 2 of The Punisher so far.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (February 2019)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in January and February, from new original series to classic films.

For Netflix, ‘Fortnite’ on YouTube is a bigger threat than HBO

In a letter to shareholders, Netflix explained that it views the video game Fortnite as bigger competition than HBO, with YouTube videos of the game drawing viewers away from the streaming platform.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.

New Spider-Man, Old Ghostbusters, John Wick, and 'Glass'

This week on Between the Streams, we'll be talking about the Netflix price rise, the first trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home, a new (and possibly very old) Ghostbusters movie, the latest from Netflix and Steve Carell, Glass, and more.
Movies & TV

From ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to ‘Episode IX’: The most anticipated movies of 2019

This year is shaping up to be one of the biggest in a long time for Hollywood fare, with everying from Avengers: Endgame to Star Wars: Episode IX hitting theaters over the next 12 months. To make planning your theater calendar a little…
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Spider-Man,’ ‘John Wick,’ Ghostbusters,’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's the first trailers for Spider-Man: Far From Home and John Wick: Chapter 3.