The FX horror series, The Strain, reminds viewers that the selfishness and fear in human hearts is far more lethal than blood-thirsty creatures of the night. This is a sentiment driven home by Abraham’s (David Bradley) composed musing, “This is not for everyone,” delivered just after he decapitated a child-vampire.
Abraham, The Strain’s resident Van Helsing, may appear to be a callous brute, but he selflessly puts aside his emotions to do what is necessary for the greater good. He takes no pleasure in his act, but he recognizes the detriment of letting his heart guide his decisions.
Tonight’s episode begins with an autopsy of Redfern. This chilling sequence reveals the evolution of the vampire virus. Vampires are efficient survivors; instinct drives the virus, not emotion- another potential advantage. There’s no denying the superior special effects The Strain produces, but there is a much greater reason for Redfern’s graphic autopsy than showcasing horrific prosthetics.
Ansel’s wife comes home to a mutilated dog and a husband who, thankfully, had the wherewithal to chain himself in his shed. Ansel is now a vampire, but somehow held on to enough humanity to protect his family. Instead of running for the hills, his wife buries the family’s beloved pet behind the shed and seems on the edge of insanity as she mutters to herself. This suspicion is confirmed when she feeds a caustic neighbor to her husband.
The neighbor threatened to call the police when he heard what he thought was a dog growling in the shed. Rather than have her husband’s sorted state discovered, Ansel’s wife sends her neighbor to his gruesome death. She is motivated by fear and anger to do the unthinkable.
Jim Kent (Sean Astin), too, is motivated by selfish reasons. Fear and grief betrayed his duty to protect the public from harm. Kent accumulates tremendous financial debt trying to keep his sick wife alive. Again, a character is motivated by fear and dread that ultimately compromises everyone else in the world. It does not matter his intention or awareness, Kent unleashed the Master on the world because of his personal heartache.
Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) is also motivated by fear. Confronted with his mortality, Palmer aligns himself with Thomas Eichorst (Richard Sammel)- the Master’s right-hand man. Rather than accept his inevitable end, Palmer sacrifices all of humanity. Palmer, with his wealth and status, is at the helm of the crisis. One man’s grief and selfishness cost many their lives.
Perhaps it is not vampires people should fear. Emotions seem to deteriorate the host more slowly and painfully than vampire parasites. The human characters of The Strain wreaked far more havoc on humanity than any of the vampires, so which is the real monster?