Monday, July 21, 2014

"The Strain" Recap and Review: "The Box"

Just got done watching the second episode of FX's vampire series "The Strain." It's called "The Box" and, surprise surprise, has to do with the big scary box found aboard the aircraft in the first episode.

The episode starts off with Eph, Nora, and Jim checking out the body of the man the Master killed soon after his arrival in New York City. Jim isn't taking seeing a corpse with its head mashed in very well. Our heroes soon find out that the four survivors have been released from quarantine. Eph and Nora keep them from leaving, but lawyer Joan soon has the secretary of health and human services on the phone. Apparently it was carbon monoxide that caused the incident on the plane and it's no longer the Centers for Disease Control's concern. Eph and Nora protest (Eph a bit too much so, grabbing his supervisor by the lapels) and get an involuntary vacation.

We next meet Vasily Fet, a zealous exterminator who praises his cat for bringing him a rat and then shuts down the fancy restaurant where Joan and Marilyn Manson clone Gabriel Bolivar (another survivor released from quarantine) are plotting to sue the airline after discovering a rat in the kitchen. Joan's eyes aren't looking good and she sees blood in her wine glass, so she decides to go home to her husband and kids. Meanwhile, Thomas Eichhorst--studiously staying out of the sunlight--confers with sickly billionaire Eldritch Palmer and then leaves to see "an old friend."

Meanwhile, Gus drops off the coffin in the warehouse like he's supposed to, but nobody is there to get it. It starts to rattle and he does the smart thing--he takes off and runs. Back home to his mother and brother Crispin, who was one of the thugs who tried to rob Sertrakian's pawn shop. He plays nice until Mom leaves for Mass, then beats the hell out of his brother for bringing stolen property home (a clock he and his thug friend stole after Sertrakian took said friend's gun). Crispin berates him for their mother crying every night while he was in prison and asks him how long until he goes back. Gus, meanwhile, wants to return the clock to Sertrakian, which seems to me to be setting up their eventual meeting.

Meanwhile (I really need to stop saying this), Abraham Sertrakian has a visitor in jail--Eichhorst. How he managed to get there without the sunlight doing a number on him is beyond me. He repeatedly refers to Sertrakian by the concentration-camp tattoo on his arm and claims that he's taken Sertrakian's name away from him. He ghoulishly promises that Sertrakian will remain alive to see the world fall and that the Master will be the last thing he sees, all while gloating about the previous owner of the worm-infested heart Sertrakian keeps in his home. Sertrakian asks him why an old friend of his isn't there to share in his glory and then answers his own question by telling him said friend was cut into pieces and is now at the bottom of the North Sea. Eichhorst will be joining him soon.

Even though they're not supposed to be involved in the case anymore, Eph and Nora are examining one of the vampiric worms taken from the airport. They end up seeking out Captain Redfern (the pilot of the plane), who when they tell him something from the cargo is missing immediately guesses it's the box. The box was loaded onto the plane at the last minute by official-looking people he didn't dare question. Redfern isn't feeling well and Eph persuades him to check into the hospital and see a particular doctor. There, his condition takes a turn for the worse, with Eph disbelieving the changes his illness is making to his body until under ultraviolent light he sees the worms under the captain's skin. Uh oh...

Bolivar, claiming the need to get his "pipes cleaned," has an orgy with three groupies. Or he tries at least--one of them pulls out some of his hair and then he bites down on them. It's not a love bite. He orders the three out and then starts licking up the blood, first from his mouth and then from the floor. Uh oh...

The episode is slow and one reason for it being slow is Eph's personal life. He visits his house to find his estranged wife's boyfriend and his son Zach turning his former office into a game room. Eph and Matt are surprisingly civil to one another and Matt even hugs Eph in a surprisingly odd and awkward moment. Eph then goes to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting where he confesses to having been sober for just over a year and managing to overcome the temptation to drink after visiting his house where his wife is sleeping with another man. From what I know of the books Eph's familial situation is a major driver of things, but seeing it kind of dragged.

And Palmer finally meets the Master. We don't see too terribly much of the vampire overlord beyond his bald white head and his clawed hands, but we do hear him speak. He's rather difficult to understand, which is unfortunate. He's got a deep evil voice (of course), but his words all bleed together.

On the way to the morgue after visiting Captain Redfern, Eph gets a call from the French father whose supposedly-dead daughter returned at the end of the last episode. The father thanks Eph for sending his daughter home, much to Eph's surprise given how the girl was dead. He and Nora go to the morgue to investigate while we see firsthhand just why the daughter has returned--she's now a vampire and when her father tries to retrieve her from her bath for dinner, he gets drained. Soon after, Eph and Nora arrive at the morgue to find it a mess and all the bodies gone. Uh oh...

The verdict: It continues the storyline, but unlike the first episode it's really rather slow. Let's hope the next one is better.

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