“Quick and Painless” lives up to its title. The episode flew by with stakes as mild as your boring friend’s Taco Bell sauce selection. Shit needs to be done, and everyone (the ones that matter) are just too busy to get murdered by vampires.
It’s amusing how Corey Stoll’s shooting schedule for The Strain coincided with Ant-Man, where he had the thankless role of movie baddie-just-to-be-bad, Yellow Jacket. His bald head, which he sports in Ant-Man, has been cleverly waved away in The Strain as an attempt to conceal his identity as Eph makes his way to D.C.
But the physical similarity to Yellow Jacket is remarkably more than skin deep (I refuse to be sorry for puns). Barnes — the CDC director who unceremoniously dethroned Eph from his position — is met with the titular quick and painless fate: thrown off a train by Eph.
Eph has gone dark. He’s not full-blown evil and he’s still the one standing against the Strigoi, but throughout this season Eph has tapped into an ego he has repressed that’s come flooding back with shots of Jack. I hope Eph’s drinking doesn’t follow the typical path of most TV alcoholics and become some monster, like alcohol for him is a magic Jekyll & Hyde potion. But for now, Eph has committed murder (or assault, if Barnes unlikely survives) all for a greater good — showing the powers that be his and Martinez’s formula.
Are Martinez and Eph getting back together? I had totally forgotten that they were lovers, which the show has done a poor job of reminding everyone. Their work on the formula has felt professional, given the circumstances of living with each other 24/7 in a makeshift bunker in BK. I guess you could read some sexual tension between them, but I thought they were as dry as Fet’s wit. The Strain is bringing back that aspect of their relationship with brute force when they nearly kiss each other in a needless moment. Talking about Zack through it all wasn’t subtle either.
The rest of the Scooby Gang are gaining strength in numbers. Fet and Dutch teaming with Feraldo’s Stormtroopers have given them powerful allies. Sure, a badass old vampire hunter with a cane sword is invaluable, but having a few assault rifles held by trained soldiers isn’t a gift horse you want to look in the mouth.
Speaking of that badass old vampire hunter, while his search for the Occido Lumen reaches yet another dead end, Setrakian is approached by Fitzwilliam. My wish came true! Fitzwilliam is joining the crusade. It just happened without much build up, excitement, or anything else. It literally just happened. I need to remember to be careful what I wish for.
And, yeah, how about the introduction of Quinlan? I know there’s some hoopla between him and Vaun, and that Vaun was a TV-only character. For a hot second I thought it was the badass return of badass Vaun, the badass. But it’s Quinlan, evidenced by his bone (sword? rifle? Can you make rifles out of bones?) weapon strapped to his back. I know nothing of Quinlan, outside of his few lines said in next week’s preview. Will he seek revenge for Vaun? And will he be as badass as the badass Vaun, the badass? I hope so.