Review! ‘The Strain,’ Episodes 2 & 3: Gone Smooth [Spoilers]


Over Eph’s strenuous objections, his cowardly CDC boss and the head of the Department of Health and Human Services release the four survivors. Ugh! I hate politicians. Eventually, they’ll probably be turned into vampires – and it will be an improvement.

The bodies of the “dead” passengers have begun to rise. Unseen, some begin to return home.  How they escape is unclear.  Emma, a young child who was on the flight, returns to her father’s doorstep looking rather peaked.  The father calls Eph directly to thank him for releasing her.  Releasing her body? Eph asks.  No. She’s home and alive.  Eph can’t believe it.

As much as her father wants Emma to be normal, she won’t eat, drink or speak.  As he begins to give her a bath, her eyes open wide, her mouth splays open like an angry flower. Emma fires a baseball bat sized worm from her mouth which attaches itself to her father’s neck.  She drains him dead. The worm withdraws back inside her mouth.

This is an interesting take on vampires “sucking blood”.  While they have sharp teeth, this version of the vampiric infection is more worm/parasite than magic.  The infected grow a muscle in their throats which can be attached to their victims allowing for blood transfer.

Beginning episode 3, the vampire Eichorst is shown before he “puts on his face” (← my mom’s term).  He is bald with no nose and bone white skin.  He’s dresses by adding a prosthetic nose, a wig and makeup. “Soon, no more hiding” he says.  Yeah, that’s not creepy at all.

Meanwhile, Russian health inspector Vasily Fet notices rats running across a street in broad daylight.  Later on, Fet notes that this normally indicates the presence of danger or a predator.

Eph heads over to Emma’s home and finds no one around.  He finds some blood and shed hair in the bathtub.  Meanwhile, Setrakian pays a hacker for a list of the infected airline passengers and Emma’s house is the first on the list.

Two of the four survivors, Gabe the Goth musician and Redfern the pilot, display signs of infection.

In Gabe’s case, he complains of a buzzing in his ears, his hair falls out in clumps and his male parts begin to wither on the vine.  In a scene that has to be seen to be believed, they fall off and he flushes them down a toilet. He turns to show the camera his newly asexual look.  GET ME BRAIN BLEACH!

The Strain Gabe

“I’m half the man I used to be…”

Continuing to feel sick, Captain Redfern returned to Eph and team.  The team notes Redfern’s eyes have gone red and under UV light, they see blood worms under his skin.  Later, Redfern disappears from his hospital room and Jim Kent finds him drinking blood samples in the basement.  Kent calls for Eph and Nora before Redfern attacks. He shoots the worm-muscle at Eph a few times missing wildly before Nora, Eph and Jim bash him to “death” with a fire extinguisher, ending the third episode.

Holy crap.  Just…wow.  The third episode is titled “Gone Smooth” and you will NEVER forget Gabe’s scene from which the title is clearly drawn.  It’s an all-time kind of scene.

9/10 – Make it a 10/10 if you like your vampires violent and bloody. The Strain is outstanding with excellent characters, memorable and disturbing moments, a compelling plot and terrific pacing.  With True Blood ending soon, FX has the horror genre all to itself for a while and they are NOT messing around.  This isn’t a water-cooler type show but it should be.  It’s great. 

– Vrin


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