Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Strain, Season 1, Episode 3: Gone Smooth

We open with Eichorst’s true form – noseless, earless, wrinkled, grey skinned, hairless – and all the makeup and prosthetics he uses to make himself appear human. And you thought it took you a while to get ready every morning

Ephraim and Nora, last episode, discovered that all 200+ bodies have disappeared. They confront Everett about it and he doesn’t know what happened to them either – but he makes a wild guess on the military removing them to prevent them being autopsied (which Ephraim doesn’t buy because the military wouldn’t let the 4 survivors walk away). They also point out how utterly ridiculous “carbon monoxide poisoning” as an excuse for the deaths is – they saw the bodies. Everett doesn’t care so long as they’re not responsible. Everett is only concerned with the press and reputation of the CDC

Ansel, the every-day-man of the 4 survivors wakes up to find all is not good – bloodshot eyes and really sharp teeth. Yeah, that’s me on tequila. The press are also bombarding his home for fascinating interviews with a guy who is sick and his neighbours, I guess. His wife, Anne-Marie frets about the whole thing and the sick Ansel maybe having to go back in quarantine (which may be better for him because Anne-Marie’s frantic worrying is probably not good for any sick person).

Vasily the pest controller (who is still completely irrelevant to the plot if you haven’t read the books) picks up his jobs – a huge up-tick on rat problems (and a brief argument with his boss who insists he makes the mayor’s friend a top priority rather than the hospital or schools).

Ephraim and Nora have a whole team of doctors trying to help another survivor, Captain Redferne, who is not doing well. Ephraim promises him they’ll make him better which Nora takes issue with – c’mon Nora, it’s a white lie. Nora also wants to talk to Abraham because the old man certainly knew things even while they all decided to ignore him for REASONS.

Jim is angsting a little about his betrayal last episode and goes to the Stoneheart group to meet his contact – and instead gets Eichorst who offers him money and refuses to answer his questions. Jim decides to go to the police so Eichorst brings up plan B – Jim has cancer that will kill her unless she gets on a special, limited experimental drug scheme – which he has been denied. Stoneheart funds that research and can get her in. He takes the money and stays on board, Eichorst is his new boss. When he gets home, his wife tells him she’s been accepted into the drug trial.

Abraham is on trial for his little ruckus and plays “confused old man” to the judge which gets his case dismissed (no-one wants to prosecute and elderly, lonely holocaust survivor, even if he does carry a sword). Nora is waiting for him when he leaves and the confused act drops – and he knows she’s there because the bodies have disappeared. After much ominous vagueness he tells Nora she needs to find the bodies, destroy them and everyone they came into contact with. When she’s hesitant he storms off in disgust – she’s useless until she’s willing to do what needs to be done

It would, perhaps, help just a LITTLE if Abraham would explain why it needs to be done. Y’know rather than “I want you to have a big big big bonfire, possibly with living people on it, because I said so that’s why”.

Abraham has his own source for the names and addresses (a computer hacker).

Family court with Ephraim to decide the important matter of I-don’t-care and really-there’s-a-vampire-out-there-why-am-I-watching-this? Also Zach’s custody where he’s asked, in front of both parents, who he wants to stay with. Because… yeah. Even Zach doesn’t got for joint custody – but his dad visiting 1 or 2 weekends a month (preferably a month in the future AFTER Ephraim has worked out his angst. Or been eaten by a vampire). Oh gods can someone just eat them all now? Nom nom tasty boring plot line. Ephraim blames it all on Kelly and pouts like a big manchild about it.

Later Kelly gets all sad panda over a photo album of her, Ephraim and Zach as a family.

Bolivar, the musician survivor, isn’t feeling well either. He calls his doctor who is quite happy to throw all kinds of pills at him – but not able to do something about whatever is wrong with his penis – apparently bad enough to make the doctor flinch away and tell him to go to a hospital. Later, when Bolivar takes off his stage make up and wig he sees how bad he looks – blood shot eyes, losing his hair, grey skin tone.

And his penis falls off when he goes to the toilet.

Ephraim decides to visit the French man who got his vampy daughter back last episode – the house is still, the door open and the bath still full and more yucky than someone’s bath after 4 days at Glastonbury.  Nora calls him and he leaves so isn’t eaten by the baby vamps.

Vasily does his rat hunting thing (and is kind of awesome while doing so) and finds an absolute wave of rats fleeing the sewers. A river of them

That’s me, out of the country. Hell, off the continent. Antarctica here I come!

Ansel is still sick, his dog is not happy with him around and he drinks the blood from a bowl with raw meat in it. And he wonders why he’s sick! This does not reassure his highly stressed wife. Captain Redfern is even sicker – and he’s hearing the Master’s voice very loud and the white worms are crawling under his skin under UV light.

They step aside to talk to Jim about his news about the drug trial – and Captain Redferne manages to get up and disappear. They split up and look for him – and Jim finds him in the basement, looking very very vampiry and drinking blood. He attacks Jim with super strength and we see his fanged, tentacle tongue (now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d right) but Nora and Ephraim arrive before Jim can get eaten. After throwing Nora and Jim around he tries to attack Ephraim with his tentacle tongue. Ephraim has some good reflexes

We have vampire first contact! Ephraim and Nora subdue him with a pole and a fire extinguisher. And when he keeps moving, Ephraim beats his head into a thin paste. I think that may have been unnecessary.

To help the cover story of the passenger dying from carbon monoxide poisoning because of terrible safety standards, Eichorst visits the CEO of the company and forces him to shoot himself. Physically putting the gun in his hand and wrestling him into position and pulling the trigger. Not subtle but it gets the job done (well, unless the post mortem is too thorough).

I would like to see more direct corruption of Everett. I find it… dubious that the head of the CDC could be so blasé about a potential epidemic – he, of all people, must be aware of the consequences. And would he really be that concerned about press? It’s the CDC, it’s not like they need brand loyalty!

In fact, I’m dubious about the whole hostility the CDC has been receiving. From the survivors not wanting to stay in quarantine (yes it’s inconvenient – but DEAAAATH!) to the whole negativity of the idea of the CDC checking – how much influence can Stoneheart have?

The same goes for Him’s betrayal – unless they’re offering you $10 gazillion or are about to drop your mother in a woodchipper, how can you make deals with people trying to undermine the CDC of all things? I can see people being willing to screw over any organisation and not think it’s a big deal – but stopping countrywide plague? Yeaaaah. Yes his wife is sick – but that seemed to be something Eichorst revealed as plan B, not his initial motivation. Sure it’s also paying for her treatment – CDC employees don’t get health insurance?

As for the family storyline. Ok. I get it, realistically, people working for emergency services of any kind have lives. Lives don’t stop just because random shit is happening. But it’s duulllll and it’s not important because we know mass death is coming and it only serves to make Ephraim look even more of an arsehole. Which is another thing I’m tired of – I’m tired of shows (especially dystopian-esque shows) lead by some (inevitably straight, white) guy whose character is based entirely on his manpain, his sulks/tantrums, his need to be In Charge and generally treating other people like crap because of the above but it’s ok because he’s brilliant/special/whatever.