Monday, September 8, 2014

Some Thoughts on "The Strain" Episode #9: "The Disappeared" (SPOILERS)

I just watched my recorded episode of the most recent episode of the first season of the television series The Strain. Here are some thoughts:

*Like I suspected, this episode ended the Holocaust arc. The young Sertrakian confronts the Master in a manner somewhat different from what I remember in the first book and escapes with crippled hands. In the book it was much clearer the Master spared him out of sadism--with his hands crippled, he wouldn't be of use to the Nazis anymore and they'd kill him. This lack of Evil Gloating has prompted at least one reviewer to accuse the Master of not being particularly Genre Savvy about sparing his enemies' lives. He's Genre Savvy enough to know that Sertrakian has been watching him though...

The next morning, the previously weirdly friendly Nazi Thomas Eichhorst discovers Sertrakian's crippled hands and sends him off to be killed. Fortunately an Allied air raid allows him and a bunch of other prisoners to escape. Eichhorst flees soon afterward, pursued by presumably Soviet troops or partisans with hunting dogs, and hides in a bunker in the woods where he's stashed the Master's coffin. He drinks and whines about how the Master has forsaken him when, well, the Master shows up. Here we see the Master with glowing eyes under his hood, which is cool, and then he pulls back his hood to reveal his horrible face.

Which isn't cool. He looks too much like Count Orlock from Nosferatu,complete with the pointed ears. And a double chin--apparently the vampire overlord needs some more cardio. Another reviewer compared him to some critter that failed an audition for a Lord of the Rings orc. Were I making this, I'd have left his face unrevealed for now, but still allowed the glimpse of the evil glowing eyes. And when the time for the reveal comes, here's a much better version of the Master. Oh well, too late now.

In any event, Eichhorst bows before the Master, who slits open the Nazi's arm with one of his talons. He then cuts open his own flesh to allow one of his parasitic worms to emerge. The Master allows the worm to slither into Eichhorst's open wound and now we know how one makes a sentient vampire with a personality as opposed to a zombie minion.

Am I the only one who got a distinctly blasphemous vibe off that? It came off to me like a parody of the sacrament of communion--this is my body and this is my blood, eat of my flesh and drink of my blood and have eternal life, etc. Between that and the whole "where is your God" exchange with Sertrakian, it seems the Master is kind of a jerk where religion is concerned.

On the other hand, there was that exchange in an earlier episode where Eichhorst claimed to have infected Sertrakian's wife and Sertrakian claimed to have killed a vampire buddy of his, so maybe we'll see more of the Tom and Abe show in the near future.

*We get a bit of back-story for Nora. She's apparently from Argentina and references the infamous disappearances when Ephraim's ex-wife Kelly's goes missing. I suspect that the vampirized Matt came after her first (the whole "dear ones" thing) and now she's on her way to becoming a monster. Next week's episode looks like it'll deal with that issue--there's a scene showing vampire-Matt attacking her, Eph tracking her cell phone, etc.

*I did like Eph's obliteration of vampire-Matt. Silver dagger and repeated blows with a shovel, followed by foot-aided decapitation. And I like how Zach (Kelly and Eph's son) was quick enough on his feet to fend off Matt with a shovel for a few minutes before Eph could come take care of business.

*And Eph and Nora go at it in Eph's house, avoiding sullying the marital bed by having sex on the floor. And then Kelly's friend, the one who referred to Nora as Eph's "spicy side dish" in a previous episode, just happens to come in. She'd dropped off Zach earlier and was apparently worried enough to come check on him. Awkward...

*I found Nora's Alzheimer's-afflicted mother's response to the vampire hunters returning to the pawn shop where they'd left her amusing.


  1. Spot on, the master looks like Nosferatu on a diet of Ravioli Chef Boyardee!