The Strain Review: It’s Not for Everyone

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So my worries about the last 2 episodes of The Strain are gone now. It's clear they were taking their time to set things up before letting shit hit the fan. There are still some parts where I'm not sure where they're going but after this episode I'm certain those things will come together as well. I think this episode was the best since the pilot mainly because it was more focused than previous episodes. The last two episodes have been trying to introduce us to characters and potential plot points as well as wasting time with Eph's family. It's made it hard to focus. While this episode still does jump around to other characters in scenes that don't seem to have anything to do with the plot, the meat of it follows a handful of characters and the main plot. Oh and none of Eph's family which is always welcomed.

White People do the Darndest Things

Jim:  "I am sooooo gonna put this on Youtube"

Jim: "I am sooooo gonna put this on Youtube"

That's what this episode should have been called. Seriously, I love white folks in horror shows/movies. They're the whole reason the genre exists. Remember in episode 2 when Gus was investigating the box in the van and when it started moving and making noises he got his ass as far away from it as possible? That was the most "When Keeping It Real Goes Right" moment I've seen in a TV Show in a long time. In this episode though, it's the complete opposite. In this episode you see the curiosity and naivety of white folks....and I loved it. Curious White Man is my next favorite genre after Impossible White Man. I think I love it because it's as if they think white privilege will protect them from being incredibly stupid. In the case of this episode of The Strain, instead of immediately calling the police, rest of the CDC, FBI, the President and anyone else of importance that they were just attacked by some creature with a giant proboscis that used to be a human plane pilot...Eph, Nora & Jim decide that an immediate autopsy is in order. That's incredible to me and goes against any form of logic I would have if I was in that situation and I'm grateful for that because it makes for great TV.  Seriously, only white folks would be attacked and think to perform an immediate autopsy "for science."  They even got Jim to record it on his phone.  They did it for the Vine.  I love white people.

We got to see some of the science behind what happens to the body when it "transforms" into a vampire. This was one of the things I enjoyed so much about the first episode. Putting some science behind this show and treating vampirism like a disease really adds to the horror element of the show. It takes something(vampires) that's become silly and so fantastical that it's become a joke. Now with this "grounded" approach with the CDC and an "infectious" disease, it brings the fear element back. Matter of fact, this episode ends with Nora & Eph talking about these creatures as if they're patients that they're trying to cure. I think this was one of the smartest decisions they've made with this.

Most Loyal (stupid) Wife Ever

"For the last time I'M NOT RECORDING THE VIEW FOR YOU"

"For the last time I'M NOT RECORDING THE VIEW FOR YOU"

Okay Marie Barbour definitely has some kind of mental health issues. I picked up that vibe last episode when she was talking to Ansel and she seemed pretty dependent on him. Last episode she saw him drinking blood out of the steak pan (not sure if she saw the proboscis in his mouth or not, I'm going with she didn't) and this episode she has the audacity to ask him if she should take the kids to her mother's house. Luckily, Ansel seems to realize his wife doesn't make the greatest decisions and he plans for that. Not only did he tell her to take the kids to her mother's, but he knew she would come back and he chained himself in the shed. Now that's a good husband. And as naive as she is, Marie's a good wife. She fed that douchebag of a neighbor, Trip Taylor to her husband. Can't lie, not only was that the smartest thing Marie's ever done but Trip was....tripping. I think we've all had that moment when a neighbor, boss or stranger oversteps boundaries and you just want to punch them in the face. Well, Trip had it coming. What a douchebag. Marie clearly is one of those people who still writes angry letters to Mike Vick.

Oh and a moment of silence for the dog. Poor dog wasn't trying to stay at the house and wanted to go with Marie and the kids. The dog knew it was going to be food for Ansel if she stayed.

Being a Criminal Doesn't Pay

$400 for a brand new Mercedes? Is that was stealing a car brings these days? Granted Gus ended up getting $800, but still...that's a lot of risk for a really small pay off. Gus's story is one that I'm not really sure where it's going right now. It was kinda out of place this episode but I have a feeling he's going to end up hooking up with Abraham to kill some vampire creatures. You can see what they're trying to do with the character by giving him this criminal side but also some sense of trying to do right and turn it around. They're not being very subtle with it but I'm willing to wait to see what happens. Right now though the character is just dead weight.

Eldritch Palmer Treated Like a Side Chick

The Master isn't returning Eldritch Palmer's calls like a dude who replaced his sidechick and put her on a 'Do not answer' list. I found it hilarious. Everyone was so happy that that Palmer got a kidney....everyone except Palmer. I am curious as to why he thinks "they" need him so much. From what I can tell he's running some interference when it comes to the government and shutting down communications but it seems like he should have "asked for the money up front". He made the rookie mistake of doing all this work up front (and he's still doing it) based off of promises that have yet to be kept.

Eph and Nora Are the Most Unlikable Characters on the Show

I'll be honest, I'm rooting for them to die even though I know they probably won't (well at least Eph)

I'll be honest, I'm rooting for them to die even though I know they probably won't (well at least Eph)

I've reached an interesting point where I think I've come to terms with the fact that I'm never really going to like Eph (or Nora) as characters. Don't get me wrong, this is NOT a negative. I think these characters are written to not be likeable and Corey Stoll and Mia Maestro are doing a good job of selling these roles. I believe characters can be unlikable but still good characters. Take The Walking Dead. I hated...HATED Lori Grimes and Andrea but they were GOOD characters because the actresses who played them acted their asses off and made me hate them. Same thing with Eph and Nora, I can't stand them. When Jim came clean about letting the box through, I thought both Eph & Nora's moral high ground stances were pathetic. Just last episode Eph was acting like a child because his son decided to be more open and honest than he ever was. Eph lost his wife and his son because he put his career over his family and never put them first. Then this episode he has the nerve to get on Jim because Jim did what any good husband would do to try to save his wife. And Nora, the woman who had an affair with Jim, had the nerve to judge Jim too. Yeah...fuck both Eph and Nora.

Remember...she's just a little girl.....with the thinning hair of an old woman and someone else's blood drying on her chin

Remember...she's just a little girl.....with the thinning hair of an old woman and someone else's blood drying on her chin

And shoutout to Abraham for the save at the end. His Old Man Fuck'it gene is all the way turned up. He has a mission and he's not going to stray from it. I was a bit confused by Nora's behavior at the end. She watched Eph smash the head in of the Captain after he turned and then helped Eph perform an autopsy. But when Abraham cut off the head Gary & his daughter (after they turned) she all the sudden "couldn't do it any more". Another reason I don't like her character. She's a hypocrite. It's okay if she does it (or Eph) but as soon as it's someone else, she becomes judgmental and hypocritical. Abraham didn't give a fuck though. Like he said, "it's not for everyone."

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This was a great episode and business definitely picked up. As I mentioned above, I actually like the fact that I'm not a fan of the main character. He's an unlikable but that's because he's even unlikable to other characters on the show. What made this episode good was that it was more focused than the previous episodes because it wasn't burdened by trying to set up other characters or plot points. I'm hoping the rest of the season continues this trend.

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Charles (Kriss)

3 comments

  1. Avatar
    Cameron Booker 6 August, 2014 at 20:59 Reply

    Great review man. I am with you in not knowing where they are going with Gus but I think he will be killing vampires pretty soon. And though Eph is unlikeable I like him more than Nora cause I think Abraham and him have a similar mindset but his Old man fuck it gene isn’t turned up to the max. At least not now… but when his family is dead maybe….

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    Scott 8 August, 2014 at 08:13 Reply

    I too loved this episode, and I am also curious as to what they are going to do with Gus and how he will play into the main storyline. Great review!

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