The Strain, Season 2, Episode 11, “Dead End”
Written by Regina Corrado and Carlton Cuse
Directed by Phil Abraham
Airs Sundays at 10pm (ET) on FX
Eichorst is a monster. This has been made very clear. He’s a former Nazi. He serves an ancient evil who wants to transform the world into his brood. He’s a strigoi, making him a literal monster. The captivity of Dutch provides a brief character study of The Master’s right-hand man while also raising a few new questions. Particularly, a question that’s been previously addressed in this season’s reviews: What is the nature of strigoi?
Eichorst is one of the few strigoi who have the ability to act on their own—almost. As a refresher, this means that although he may act as an individual, all strigoi derived from The Master are part of The Master. There is individuality in how he chooses to conduct himself, but there is no independence from The Master’s own sentience. As has been demonstrated with Kelly’s attachment to Zach and Mr. McGeever’s (one half of the couple who volunteers their bodies to research for a cure) return to the hospital where he spent significant time as a human, the humanity of the person leaves an imprint of sorts that determines how one will behave as a strigoi. In that line of thought, former SS Officer Eichorst has retained a few things from his human days.
“Dead End” reveals his life before joining the Nazi Party: a man fumbling through his career easily swept up by the promises of purpose at an impromptu rally for officers at a bar. Thankfully, a look into Eichorst’s past does not go about encouraging anybody to empathize with him, as he was an anti-Semite (except for the German Jews) prior to joining the ranks. Why reveal his past now? In previous episodes, revelations of Abraham’s past often paralleled current goals; his search for new information on the Lumen is intercut with his past attempts to find the book. Is the episode implying a connection between Eichorst’s failed attempt at romancing Helga and his treatment of Dutch?
The Lumen is so close to finally being in Abraham’s grasp that it’s difficult to not feel frustrated on his behalf. However, there are a few things about this storyline that don’t quite feel right. First, the fact that the one who’s had the book all this time is the same boy that young(er) Abe rescued from a European convent. The details Abe revealed to him are things that only they could have known. The Lumen’s owner is also now a resident of New York City—something worthy of an eyebrow raise—but the story can’t be faulted for convenience. In spite of Abe offering to pay more than what the former altar boy is being offered for the Lumen and detailing events from the past that only he could know of, the book ends up in the wrong hands at the end of the episode.
There’s not much heartache to be had for Gus and Aanya’s separation. The two had just barely met and what they bonded over (aside from the feelings of impending doom) is not clear. He’s not going to be alone in his training, either, with Angel joining him. While Abraham and company have all had their struggles, Gus’ experiences, from the instability of his home to falling in with the wrong crowd and being recruited by not one, but two rogue strigoi who want to kill The Master, have made him the underdog of the story.
Lest We Forget…
- Heaps of praise for the costuming and interiors in Eichorst’s flashbacks! The home decor is decade-appropriate (and actual vintage, judging from the general dinginess of a lot of the pieces). Shelves are covered with the floral paper that was popular at the time.
- The costuming is amazing—kitten bows, a-line skirts, Marcel waves worn longer than they were in the previous decade—and the makeup. Helga’s pink lipstick was very much en vogue in the 1930s.
- On the subject of makeup, Dutch’s foundation actually looks the way that somebody who’s been sweating an awful lot while wearing a full face of makeup should look.
- Why is it that so many male villains need to demonstrate how evil they are by threatening sexual violence? Eichorst is a Nazi and he had Dutch chained to some sort of terrifying torture device. The extra layer is not necessary to understanding what little regard he has for others.