Review! The Strain, Ep. 1.9: ‘The Disappeared’

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We open at night with Eph’s son Zach being dropped by Kelly’s friend Diane. Zach enters to find signs of a struggle.  A mid-transformation Matt appears and attacks Zach but the stinger misses the boy. Following last week’s gas-and-go battle, Eph and the crew arrive at the house a minute after Diane leaves.  Happystance!   

Eph enters just as Matt attacks Zach again and decapitates his ex-wife’s boyfriend with a shovel.  I imagine that was satisfying.  Zach seems remarkably unmoved by the circumstances. Maybe he plays violent video games? Setrakian and Fet search but find no one else home.  Eph and Nora stay behind to burn Matt’s body while the rest agree to drop off Dutch and take Zach back to Setrakian’s shop.  

Felix is still turning in the prison bullpen alongside a healthy Gus. The nearest doctor is on Riker’s Island where they’re being transferred along with several other prisoners.  Felix finally turns during the trip and stings both guards. Gus takes one of the guards’ guns, kills his friend and flees. 

In a flashback, Young Abraham Setrakian retrieves the silver dagger he’d stolen.  Later, he uses it to weakly confront the Master who breaks Setrakian’s hands in response.  Finally, seeing Setrakian’s broken hands, Nazi Eichorst orders him shot but the liberating army arrives just in time.  Both Setrakian and Eichorst flee into the polish forest 

The crew returns to Dutch’s apartment. Fet and Dutch go up together as the hacker finds her laptop, the backup and her money stolen – presumably by her girlfriend who fled the gas-and-go. Hey, she’s got a Gabriel Bolivar poster. Coincidence? I don’t believe in it.  A neighbor enters Dutch’s apartment – he’s turned and attacks Dutch but Fet “releases” him with a claw hammer. The four of them return to Setrakian’s shop, finding an unhappy Mariela, Nora’s mother, manning the front desk.  Setrakian describes vampirism to Zach during a few through-the-looking-glass versions of grandfather / grandson chats. He tries but the old man is bad at this. 

Fet speculates that humans must be helping the Master. Dutch visibly pales when Setrakian answers with “some humans looking to leave a mark, to be elevated…”  Setrakian complements Fet’s emotionless killing of Kent and recruits him into the cause.  Promising to return, Fet leaves to get a few things from home. Later, Dutch confesses to Setrakian that Eldritch Palmer and his German “friend” paid her to disable communications. 

The Strain 1.9.1

“Oh, you killed Matt and burned his body? That’s cool. Can I have some Cheerios?”

Noting the marks on Matt’s face, Eph and Nora discuss Kelly’s absence while they burn his body. Eph says When he lifted his back and I saw the worms was the worst moment of my life”.  I suspect this won’t even be a “worst moment” footnote soon.   Hey look, there’s Gabriel Bolivar on the cover of the New York Post! That’s twice… 

Finishing cleanup, Eph and Nora resume their affair.  Vampire killing is horny work, I guess.  Diane walks in on the aftermath and Eph warns her to flee. She scoffs at him. Disbelief has consequences, DianeJust ask SebastianeOr Roger. 

The pair returns safely to Setrakian’s shop. Zach:  Did you burn Matt’s body?  Eph: Yes.  Zach: No response.  Forget Fet, this kid is ICE COLD! 

Eichorst removes the silver bullet from his leg and we get a flashback for him – the day he’s turned by the Master.  This is the first time we see the Master’s full face.  He turns Eichorst, closing the show.  

The Strain 1.9.2

“Bastard Child of Bat-Boy, Dark Lord revealed!”

CONCLUSION
The story catches its breath after last week’s intense showdown. They gave Dutch a reason to stay with the team and resolved Matt’s plotline but not much else.  Vampires run rampant.  I’d have liked to see what else was happening across NYC. Also, I thought the Master looked pretty bad. 

BACKLOG PRIORITY 
This episode:  7/10 – The clean-up episode just couldn’t match last week’s intensity. 

The Strain 10/10 – this episode notwithstanding, this is the best new show on TV.

– Vrin

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