Review! The Strain, Ep. 5: ‘Runaways’ [Spoilers]



Gabriel Bolivar’s manager Ruby meets Dr. Evenston – the “emergency urologist” who is introduced to Gabe.  Is this examination still necessary given his recent “weight loss program”?  One wonders. Soon, Ruby hears the doctor screaming from above and investigates.  She finds Gabe drinking the doctor’s blood and flees, calling someone who offers to “fix” the situation.  Later,  Jack Noon, the fixer, is attacked by Gabe, who kicks Gabe’s ass and shoots Gabe twice!  As he approaches, Gabe’s “corpse” the fixer gets a stinger to the neck for his trouble.

The Strain 5.1

Strigoi: It’s Romanian for “vampire.”

Eph questions Setrakian over breakfast and says he’ll need video to show his CDC boss. Setrakian lays out the show’s premise:

  • Vampires are real but he calls them Strigoi;
  • Silver hurts them; Decapitation kills them;
  • A silver mirror will reveal infection by showing the blood worms;
  • The Master was patient zero and is a master manipulator bent on destroying humanity;
  • Everyone on the passenger list has to be killed and Ansel Barbour’s family is next;
  • If turned, those we hold dear come home to destroy us.

Eph and Setrakian arrive at the Barbour’s.  Unable to cope, Anne-Marie has hung herself. Eph turns on his video as they approach the locked shed. Entering, they find a chained but fully transformed Ansel who attacks but is out of range. Eph shoots Ansel with the nail gun, Setrakian shouts his badass Romanian phrase and decapitates him.  “Don’t touch the blood. One worm is all it takes”.  The jerk neighbor from last week is still alive but is infected.  Setrakian kills him too. 

The Strain 5.2Several flashbacks show a young Setrakian’s first encounter with the Master in a Nazi concentration camp run by Eichorst.  After witnessing the Master drain and kill someone, Setrakian tells a friend what he saw “Stop looking for monsters. We’re already surrounded by them.” The friend replies.  Indeed.

The final flashback shows the Master feeding on his friend.

Infected lawyer Joan Luss’s kids and nanny bring Joan breakfast in bed.  She tries the tea but it disagrees with her. “I wish you weren’t sick momAudrey says.  If she only knew…. Later that day Luss complains of something in her eye.  Neeva, the nanny, sees Joan close a second set of eyelids!  Freaking out, Neeva gathers the children’s things and rushes them out. Overcoming her bloodlust, Joan allows them to flee.

We find Nora walking down the street looking like she hasn’t slept. She gets a call from her memory impaired mother’s nursing home. Nora visits and tells her mother, Mariela, about “work problems” (YA THINK??!?!). Nora’s worried that she can’t do what needs to be done.  As they head back to her mother’s room, a vampire is shown draining someone in a hallway!  Everyone flees in panic, including Nora and her mother.  Incentive!

The Strain 5.3

Work problems.

Troubled by the rat behavior, Fet investigates the sewers and finds blood all over the walls.  A dozen newly turned vampires chase him.  He narrowly escapes the sewer as they’re unable to follow him into the sunlight!

Eph returns to CDC headquarters and confronts Dr. Everett Barnes, his weasel boss, and Jim Kent with Ansel’s video. He demands quarantine but the weasel boss isn’t budging.  “Everyone above me would be against this”. I hate this guy.  Kent tells Eph that they have video of Eph dragging Redfern’s body.  Fearing capture, Eph removes the sim card from his phone and escapes with Kent’s help.

Aaaand…exhale.  5 episodes in and vampires are already killing people out in the open!

It’s hard to say what my favorite part of this show is.  David Bradley’s Setrakian’s delivery which scorns every step, every breath taken that does not result in vampire death is just great.  Stoll’s Ephraim Goodweather makes a fine reluctant hero as well. I can’t wait to see Barnes die. It’s richly earned.

10/10 – Tight, tense and powerful writing, great characters and a compelling plot make The Strain my favorite show of the summer. Put it at the top of summer viewing Backlog.



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