Channel Surfing: The Strain – Loved Ones

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So, yeah…  it was super difficult to review this episode – so much so that I almost reverted to an old college stand by, “I will argue that this episode sucked except when it didn’t…”

I think last week we covered how they had a great episode in Creatures of the Night and then followed it up with The Disappeared, an episode that went nowhere really; and then they did this – more of the same.  Nothing.  Nada.  Well, maybe that one thing – y’know the teaser/graphic for the show where the work is burrowing in through the eye?  Yeah, that finally happened.

I’m going to keep the summary short and maybe throw in some conjecture at the end – if you guys want to talk about this stuff, lets!

So after last week I’m pretty sure we all guessed that Eph would feel the need to go find his ex-wife, and that’s exactly what he does after Zach (apparent tech-wiz that he is) is able to get on-line intermittently and locate his mom’s phone.  (Sidenote: does it freak anybody else out that it seems to be so easy to find somebody’s location without entering any information?  Zach’s stalker level: expert.)  The episode is peppered with flashbacks going back 32 hours, during which we learn the fate of Kelly… and her friend…. and her friend’s son.  Yeah – it isn’t pretty.  Zeph finds Kelly’s locket in the hand of her friend after he has to dispatch her and the boy because they’ve been turned.  Meanwhile, Kelly has made her way to the subway system where she literally gets to meet her maker.  Fun stuff – probably the best part of the show this week, and something I’ll want to talk about later.

While all this is going on, the rest of the gang – the functional ones that want to survive – turn to Dutch to see if they can get the world communicating again.  Because they need to gain access to the internet or something they hatch this half-cocked scheme to go to Palmer’s Stoneheart HQ.  Because breaking into the building with the big bad is always a good idea – at least it gets us more time with Vasiliy and Dutch though.  And wait a minute!  Wasn’t the kid on the internet earlier?  Shouldn’t Ms. “I brought the world crashing down” be able to do better than a kid?!  Anyways. upon arrival they are almost immediately detained, and Dutch gets the call to go see Palmer.  While there she questions him, and like all super-villains he chatters far too much about how he’s going to “hack” life.  Great stuff really – let’s not play to stereotype or anything.  After that he sends her out, along with Vasiliy, to be executed by his goons.  But wait!  Here we learn that the hired guns aren’t entirely cool with their boss’ plan to alter/destroy humanity… they’re just not willing to participate in actively stopping it.  Why not?  Do they all have implants or something?!

The show ends with everybody back at old man Abraham’s again with Eph kind of but not really breaking the news about Kelly to Zach (Abraham tries to spare the boy’s feelings – but for once Eph actually tries to deal with reality), and Eph and Vasiliy get into a fight over whether or not Dutch should stay – because Eph thinks he’s in charge or something, he even invokes the CDC… the agency that is helping spearhead a manhunt for him.

It seemed to me that they tried a little too hard to make things happen on an interpersonal level this episode: they’re trying too hard to make Eph the alpha while not backing it up, they threw Vasiliy and Dutch together and I’m guessing something will come of that sooner or later, and Nora and her mom disappear almost entirely except when they’re discussing Nora’s feelings for Eph.  I’m hoping that as the season comes to a close the action picks up and the story moves forward – it seems like it’s remained relatively stationary for the last two weeks, minus a plot-line or two.  C’mon, guys – bring it next week!

Now, for some conjecture: what’s up with the vamps?  Really.  I’ve mentioned before that there seem to be several types, and that was further driven home this episode with Kelly: instead of taking days to turned, her evolution/transmogrification took less than a day-and-a-half.  So, we’ve got different rates of turning and different cognitive abilities – what else differs from vamp to vamp?  And why does it differ/what determines the difference?  Is it The Master?  Does he have so much control over each of his converts that he can determine how bad-ass they’re going to be?  Whether they’ll be Eichorst-like in intelligence or random idiot-vamp that’s going to get beheaded by an old man with a sword intelligent?  AND if he does have that much control – what was up with the special forces strigoi from a couple of episodes ago?  They certainly didn’t seem to be working for him, so where’s his control there?  Or is there another force at work here…  Must.  Know.  Soon.

So yeah, these are the things I think about while watching episodes that move at a glacial place.  What do you think?

Till next time.

The Strain is aired on FX, Sundays at 10pm

~ J.T. Riles ~

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