The 5 Best Moments From The Strain, “Madness”

(Episode 3.05)

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The 5 Best Moments From <i>The Strain</i>, &#8220;Madness&#8221;

With the first four episodes of The Strain’s third season, it’s felt like one chapter of this show is coming to a conclusion, and a new one is getting ready to begin. “Madness” begins this second chapter, as we jump forward in time, new alliances are formed and dark histories are brought to light. This episode is very much a reset for this show, pushing our characters into strong positions that promises to make the next chapter very exciting.

Let’s take a look at the five best moments from The Strain’s fifth episode of the season, “Madness.”

1. Two Weeks

So far, The Strain’s three seasons have taken place in over less than a month. But in this time period, plenty has happened, from the original outbreak on a plane, to the almost complete annihilation of New York City. With the world crumbling around in just a matter of weeks, the choice for “Madness” to jump forward two whole weeks is a pretty big deal.

Opening with a montage narrated by Setrakian, we learn that, as expected, the world has continued to go to hell over these missing two weeks. What makes this jump so important and such a smart choice is that it allows everyone a soft reset over their position in this battle. Eph and Dutch are now working together to find a solid way to destroy the strigoi. Fet is on his loner mission to seek out hives of strigoi. Quinlan and Setrakian are making developments in their Lumen-information hunting. Perhaps most importantly, it shows us the weakened and desperate Eldritch Palmer, ready to potentially shift his alliances.


2. Experimentations

When The Strain began, Eph was seen as the troubled scientist who could potentially save mankind from the upcoming strigoi attack. The further this show has gone, the more he’s gotten stuck in the middle of petty disagreements and diversions, rather than—you know—saving the entire world. After this two-week jump, we see that Eph is finally back in the swing of things, experimenting and trying to solve the strigoi problem.

Instead of presenting Eph as nothing but a drunk, or a father desperately trying to find his son, “Madness” gives us an Eph who’s into seeking the strigoi weakness. While The Strain unfortunately treated Nora as little more than a glorified assistant, Eph’s new helper Dutch has proven that she won’t just sit on the sidelines while Eph does the work. When Justine Feraldo visits Eph’s lab, Dutch shows a positive outlook towards the future and a desire to do what needs to be done.

While it seems very much like The Strain is hinting at a future relationship with Eph, at least the show is presenting her as powerful and strong, in her own right.


3. Amsterdam 1972

As mediocre as the present-day stories of The Strain can be, it’s almost uniformly great with its flashbacks. We’ve gone everywhere from thousands of years into the past, to the Holocaust. When The Strain does utilize flashbacks, it’s often a way for us to see the backgrounds of those tight-lipped characters that don’t want to delve too much into their own histories. This is exactly what makes the flashback in “Madness” so great.

Taking us back to Amsterdam in 1972, we follow Setrakian continuing his hunt for Eichorst. Although his search for Eichorst turns up cold, it does lead him to a Dr. Dremerhaven. If he can’t find one Nazi strigoi, there’s no harm in taking his anger out on another Nazi strigoi.

We know that Setrakian has an understandable hatred of the strigoi, but “Madness” shows just how deep the hatred and anger is within him. Rather than just kill Dremerhaven, he brutally tortures him. Since the strigoi can regenerate if hurt slightly, Setrakian cuts off Dremerhaven’s limbs, then traps him in a box, which he dumps into the ocean. It’s brutal—even considering that he’s doing it to a Nazi strigoi doctor—and almost makes the audience rethink Setrakian’s quest. Is Setrakian as evil as the strigoi for these actions? Absolutely not. But is he capable of more evil than we originally gave him credit for? Absolutely.


4. Central Nest

“Madness” puts Eph back in a position where he can do what he does best, and it does the same for Fet. Searching the NYC tunnels that he knows so well, Fet is taking the strigoi hunt underground, where thousands are waiting to attack.

Recent episodes have made it seem like our heroes are getting the upper hand, but with Fet finding thousands of strigoi hiding underneath Central Park, it’s clear that this battle is far from over. Considering that these strigoi supposedly don’t have a leader, this army could unleash hell on New York City and easily destroy what little is left.

The Strain has also been surprisingly effective at making strigoi attacks scary again. I’ve talked about how Season Three has made one-on-one attacks exciting—as we saw in the season premiere—but this season has also been great at making these attacks feel claustrophobic. There’s no better example of this than “Madness” showing Fet barely crawling through the tunnels of Central Park, only to find a gigantic mass of strigoi as far as the eye can see.


5. A New Alliance

Since the strigoi are without a leader, and Setrakian is making leaps in his strigoi-info search, and Palmer is becoming increasingly weak without help of The Master, it’s time for new alliances to be made. “Madness” concluded with Setrakian and Palmer working together, with Setrakian promising to give Palmer a dose of the white that can make him healthy again.

It’s a vey intriguing alliance, considering Setrakian has the information and Palmer has the power and resources to potentially take down Eichorst and The Master, once and for all. It’s also clear that the strigoi side has to have something huge up their sleeves. Who could become the new Master—one that could rival these two working together? Two weeks is a hell of a lot of time in The Strain’ s universe, so there’s no way that this show will allow one side to become so overpowered. Clearly, the strigoi will be able to equally match, if not overpower this new alliance.

Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can find more of his writing here, and follow him on Twitter.