Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"The Strain" Review and Recap: Episode Three "Gone Smooth"

The most recent episode of "The Strain" was on Sunday. I had a lot going on Monday, so this review and recap is a little bit late...

The episode begins with a mysterious figure getting dressed. We see a being that looks remarkably like Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter movies applying makeup, fake ears, etc. until we have the Eichhorst we all know and loathe. See this here for a comparison. He says the time for charades is over soon and victory is near. We'll see about that, you glorified tick. :)

Meanwhile, while Eph and Nora's CDC boss is being less than helpful as usual, survivor Ansel (the nerdy-looking one who I thought was a bit creepy) is at home with the wife and kids and getting sicker. Bloodshot eyes, ringing in the ears. He won't go to the doctor. And Jim Kent disappears from the CDC to get answers at the Stoneheart Group HQ. There he encounters Eichhorst and is brought back into line when the Nazi vampire offers to ensure his cancer-stricken wife Sylvia is admitted to a drug trial. "You have two bosses now," he warns. Uh oh.

And Sertrakian goes before a judge who cannot pronounce his name properly. Nora, who earlier told Eph Sertrakian knew things, comes in to watch the proceeding. Sertrakian plays the Holocaust-survivor card and the bereaved-widower card. The judge calls him out on the silver sword-cane, which he claims is an illegal concealed weapon. Sertrakian BSes him by promising to have it melted down and replaced with a normal cane. The judge lets him off. Nora tries to speak to him afterward, but when she balks at the idea of killing anyone who has been in contact with the dead passengers and survivors of the plane, he blows her off. Tsk, tsk.

Meanwhile, Eph is at a family court hearing. The judge asks Zach what sort of custodial arrangement he'd like. After himming and hawwing about how he knows his parents want what's best for him, he said he'd rather Eph visit him a few weekends a month. This way, he's not stressed out on top of his stressful job like joint custody would supposedly do. Eph is upset and tries to say that Zach really meant "joint custody" and the judge shoots him down. After the hearing, Eph is really upset. Kelly (his wife) tells him that regardless of what the judge rules, he can visit Zach any time he wants if he just gives her the heads-up first. When Eph insists Zach is the most important thing in his world, Kelly says he should show that with "little things" rather than just saying it. Although there's this stereotype of vindictive ex-wives trying to excise fathers from their children's lives, Kelly is coming off as far more sympathetic and reasonable than the grouchy Eph. Many bloggers have complained about this bit of family drama, but it was actually helpful in humanizing Kelly and painting Eph with some major shades of gray.

Cut to Gabriel Bolivar (who I kept referring to in my notes as "Marilyn Manson"). He's sick. Meanwhile, Eph visits the Frenchman's house and finds a tub full of blood and hair. Something is stalking him. Nora calls him away and we see a vampiric form (probably the daughter) watching him.

Meanwhile, Vasily Fet is making a house call on some influential yuppie whose daughter was bitten by a rat. He catches the rat and exhorts the daughter not to eat in bed (since rats are attracted by the smell of food). While smoking outside the yuppie's building, he sees many rats on the streets. He follows to find them swarming out of a pipe. Something's down there...

Next we see Jim coming home and meeting his wife Sylvia, who's bald from chemotherapy and wearing a head-scarf. She got into the trial. The devil is holding up his end of the bargain so far. Back at the nerdy survivor's house, he's still sick and now his dog is barking at him. He goes into the kitchen and sees a thawing steak--and drinks the blood from it. In front of his horrified wife. Uh oh. And I'm not the only one who noticed something unusual about his tongue...

Bolivar is having a house call from a doctor. He describes ringing in his ears and a voice calling his name. The doctor offers him various prescriptions. Then Bolivar gets up and opens his robe. We don't see what the doctor sees, but said doctor immediately advises him to go to the hospital. Bolivar doesn't want the paparazzi troubles, so the doctor instead offers to get him in touch with a "discreet" urologist who makes house calls.

Back at the pawn shop, Sertrakian hangs up the cane he'd promised to destroy and gets the passenger manifest for the airplane from this hacker girl. He's going to "visit their families" and "pay his respects." Uh oh.

And back at the hospital, Captain Redfern really isn't doing well. Under UV light, his body is alive with the worms. He announces, "He is here."

Back at Eph's former home, Zach is reading about his father's CDC exploits on an iPad. He hears a noise downstairs. It's Kelly, reading through a photo album from happier times. Much sadness and cuddling.

Late at night at Regis Air's headquarters, Eichhorst pays the CEO a visit and kills him, making it look like a suicide. It looks like the "it was carbon monoxide poisoning" charade is going to go on for a little while longer.

And Bolivar isn't looking too good. His eyes are bleeding and even without his Goth makeup, he's looking pale and veiny. Then he goes to urinate and his member falls off. He flushes it down the toilet without a care and then does that creepy eye-blink thing the fully-infected do. And then he turns around and we see full frontal no-genitalia vampire. According to an interview from Del Toro, under that robe he's developed a full-blown cloaca to excrete as he feeds like a tick, so certain parts are rather superfluous now.

The episode ends with Redfern disappearing from the hospital just before they're going to open him up to see what's going on with him. Jim finds him in the basement feeding on blood samples. Redfern attacks him, but the Voice of Evil recognizes him as "Jim" and Redfern backs down. Nora and Eph arrive and Redfern attacks them, revealing the mouth stinger for the first time. Eph beats him down with a fire extinguisher but he gets up to try again--until Eph proceeds to totally destroy his head with the fire extinguisher in the same way the Master did with the man he killed at the airport.

The Verdict: Good episode. Awaiting the next one.

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