Episode 7: “ For Services Rendered”
by Dan Tomasik
A look inside Abraham’s history with the German. Meanwhile, the plague spreads further & further out of control.
After last week’s disappointment across the board, “For Services Rendered” gets the series back on the track to excellence.
As has been stated previously, Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley) has an intense and unquestionable screen presence that makes all of his scenes extraordinary. This episode, however, belongs to another character. The suave, unsettling, German strigoi affectionately referred to in these reviews as “Blink”; his true identity finally revealed as former SS officer Thomas Eichhorst (Richard Sammel). The Eucharist has been both center stage and behind the scenes from the beginning, but there has always remained a certain “off” quality about him. Maybe he smiles too big, shows off too eager, or commits to being a servant of the undead too whole-heartedly. He has never felt like a real character, more a caricature of an evil mastermind that is just as scary as he is silly. This time, however, Eichhorst’s human side is revealed. The man within the monster.
It’s strange to imagine one’s humanity being revealed with flashbacks to nazi Germany, but such is the case. Eichhorst’s treatment towards Abraham is finally given some background. There’s something in the way he watches young Abraham, it’s not condescension, but genuine awe & respect he feels for the young Jew. A recognition that he holds a gift Eichhorst would kill to possess. But unlike in so many other depictions of the Third Reich, Eichhorst does not punish Abraham for his talent. Instead, his appreciation for the skill brings out a certain passion within himself. You can hear it in the almost musical way he refers to Abraham by his number. Who would have thought 8230385 could have a ring to it? One can feel the artistic quality Eichhorst seems to try and add to everything he does. It’s the one quality he still hasn’t been able to fully grasp, despite immortality.
The flashback scenes between the two are fantastic to watch. Above all, the way Eiichhorst almost treats Abraham as an equal, even while dangling death over him repeatedly. He’s such a lively character; multi-dimensional and passionate with regards to a variety of subjects. It’s clear to see where so many of his more perplexing qualities stems from. And strangely, it makes us miss the days when he was an SS officer. He may have fought for the worst side in human history, but he didn’t do it from blind obedience. He chose that path. A vampire hatched from the shell of such a person; now *that* is a villain.
Back in present day, Eph, Nora, Jim, and Abraham have a little chase with Eichhorst, leading to a duel between him and Abraham. Well, “duel” might be a strong word. Abraham swung his sword ferociously, Eichhorst watched him and moved out of the way as if the sword wasn’t even there. Next time, bring the nail gun, Abraham.
Last, but most certainly not least, is the chase in our final survivor’s home. It’s a wonderful setup, watching these people flee from the transformed version of the attorney woman through a house that’s half mirrors and filled with reflections of light. It makes each twist and turn interesting to watch. It’s like a fun house fused with a horror ride. Then there’s the ending, which brings the introduction of a whole new side to this conflict between man and strigoi. Who they are, what side they’re on, it’s impossible to tell. They are both immediately allies and immediately enemies, but their true allegiance remains a mystery. There has not been a better ending to an episode of any show this summer. Oddly enough, despite such a cliffhanger, it doesn’t leave one asking for more. Instead, it leaves one wanting to experience the episode again. The whole episode is so intriguing and captivating that it encourages multiple viewings.
A couple vampire attacks, blood all over things, a showdown reminiscent of Hellboy in a subway station. Then there’s the squad of strigoi commandos that shoot metal rods into the heads of the undead with expert proficiency.
Some interesting and exciting chase scenes. Great use of light and shadow to play around with menacing figures. The final scene is the best kind of thrill. At first it feels hopeless for the human characters, then a savior comes from out of nowhere. However, once the saviors are revealed to be strigoi, the fear level quickly shoots back up. Every single second of the encounter feels like it lasts an eternity. Are they friend? Foe? Will they kill us? Help us? Are they with the others? Are they separate? A million questions we still don’t have the answers to. That’s true suspense.
The Strigoi Commandos. A complete dark horse element that abruptly appears out of nowhere. Half the shock is when they reveal to be on our side. The other half is the ruthlessness with which they dispose of potential threats.
WIBTOVE (Why It’s Better Than Other Vampire Entertainment):
Strigoi Commandos that kick ass.