Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Strain, Season 1, Episode 4: It's Not For Everyone

So, we pick up where we left off with Ephraim, Nora and Jim standing over Captain Redferne’s body after Ephraim brutally bludgeoned him to death after he grew a tongue tentacle and tried to eat them.

Jim panics, Nora thinks Abraham may not be wrong about the burning thing, but Ephraim needs closure – which means an autopsy. If he killed a man he wants to know why. They get him to a room and prepare – Ephraim offering Nora to step out if it’s too much for her and she needs time (gah, Jim is the one freaking out – Nora is handling it well). The autopsy reveals lots of odd elements – folds on the neck to rapidly cool the body, no genitals just a cloaca. Slicing inside (thank you images that will stay with me) they find the interior organs are nigh unrecognisable including a new circulatory system – and a long tentacle they call a stinger.  Pulling it causes the body to discharge ammonia – vampire guano. Ephraim concludes it’s a parasite, taking over a human to spread itself and then consume the host.

They incinerate it, per Abraham’s instructions, and reflect how right he was. Ephraim and Nora talk about having to save the city and Jim’s guilt gets the better of him and he confesses to letting the box through – while he’s focused on confession Ephraim latches onto the important element: someone planned this epidemic. Originally anyway, then he punches Jim and tells Jim he’s dead to him. Normally I’d call that statement melodramatic, but given the givens it works. Nora takes the phone with the recording of the autopsy and follows Ephraim.

Outside, Ephraim is pouty and Nora sympathetic – she understands Jim was in an impossible situation with his wife dying. Remembering what Abraham said about the new creatures returning to their loves ones, Ephraim remembers the dead French girl and the call from her father saying she had returned home

Ansel, one of the other ill, survivors, has wisely decided to have his wife Annie and kids go on a little trip – but leaving the dog behind to “keep him company”. Poor doggie.

Annie comes home later, still wracked with nerves, to find the house overheated and the dog missing. She spots the dog’s collar outside – stained with blood. She follows the blood trail to the dog’s body in the garden – and hears chains rattle inside the shed. She looks inside – and Ansel, very much on the way to transforming – has chained himself up. He lunges at her then begs her to run, while the second voice repeats the voice in his head talking about ripping out her throat and eating her.

Rather than call for help, Anne buries the dog and even tries to placate a nagging neighbour. He complains about her growling dog and apparently thinks animals should be hit – so she lets him go in to see Anselm. Dinner is served Anselm.

To Stoneheart where the evil people gather to talk to Dutch, a computer expert, who is also a wizard because they pay her money to slow the internet down. The internet. All of it.

To Gus and his happy home, his mother, his good friend who cooks and looked after his mother while he was in prison and his brother who is surly and possibly in withdrawal – and that good friend is trying to connect him to a guy who buys stolen cars. They also have fun intimidating the landlord to make sure he speaks to his mother respectfully.

He takes the clock his brother stole back to Abraham who is as crotchety as ever. Then joins his friend stealing a car. They take it to the friend’s contact  to sell it and we get a note of the internet and phones being down (Dutch’s work, I assume).

Back to Palmer who is still ill and evil who shows off his incredible high level contacts and tells someone called Maggie – referred to as “Madam Secretary” that the military removed the bodies from the plane because of a mistaken release of a biological agent. She promises to support him after he layers on some quality buttering up – then he collapses to be quickly taken care of by his staff. They also found his new liver – the one they murdered for. Palmer is more worried by Eichorst and his vampires not coming through with the immortality they promised.

Ephraim and Nora arrive at the Arneau residence, following the child’s music to the creepy children’s room in the basement – complete with very creepy child. Who turns to reveal a bloodstained mouth – and a stinger. She attacks them and they back off – until Abraham appears behind her and beheads her with his sword. The twitching head and body fall to the floor, along with several worms. Daddy shows up and Abraham is irritated by how slowly Ephraim and Abraham move as he kills the father as well. He warns them to avoid the bodies and the worms

Nora is more concerned that he killed people – she heads upstairs, unable to stay with the bodies. Ephraim has to talk to her and calm her down as she hyperventilates for air and talks about finding a cure. She can’t imagine curing a disease by slaughtering their patients – but he talks of it as a culling and points out that Arneau was killing and eating people. He tells her that they’re dead – their bodies are being puppeted.

Nora can’t face killing them, she’d rather die. When Abraham arrives she asks him if he’s going to kill everyone from the plane – he says yes. She can’t accept it and leaves, Abraham  fatalistically says some people can’t adapt.

Okkkkaaaaay, I don’t even know what to say about Anne. She doesn’t call for help and feeds her husband angry neighbours? Ok.

Gus’s story is taking way too long to actually become relevant to the plot – and it’s also attracting the vast majority of the POC in a great big stereotyped, criminal box (the only outliers are Fitzwilliam, a servant and Nora, a love interest).

I also rather wish Nora wasn’t the one who couldn’t face the brutal reality. I can understand some grief and shock but it’s also a lot of denial and kind of ignoring the fact the creatures are actively attacking people. She does have a point that they could try something else – but where is the else to try? That’s not a rhetorical question – she’s CDC, I’m assuming she does have an “else”. With the evidence of the 2 bodies can they not finally force the issue and have the military quarantine the vamps? It will be interesting if she does something when she leaves. I think I can handle her not accepting this solution if she goes out and uses her expertise to work on a cure, to arrange non-killing containment etc. Not if she goes home, hides under her kitchen table and wibbles.

Abraham remains a bright spot on the show

And the show has finally got going. It took a lot of preamble (nothing like the book though –the book takes an incredible amount of time to actually get to the point) but we’re finally into the action.