Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Strain, Season 1, Episode 10: Loved Ones

Time for a family episode! Because with the world ending and all I’m sure we really care about Ephraim, his son and his missing wife Kelly. So Ephraim’s off to look for her while everyone else plans on how to save the world.

The news also reports that Dutch’s magical net hacking has almost collapsed the world’s financial systems. So, the internet is broken yet Zach can still use it to track phones because PLOT CONVENIENCE. Dutch and Vasiliy hope to fix that little problem if Dutch can get into Eldritch Palmer’s building

Ephraim tracks down Kelly’s car via a homeless person with her phone.

Do you know what would be even less interesting than watching Ephraim track down Kelly? Going back 32 hours so we can see what Kelly has been doing in the last few days – because I’m sure someone cares about this. Someone. Somewhere. Maybe.

Anyway Matt did come home to Kelly (and I love how she hectors him for not talking to her while he’s in the bathroom despite the very clear sounds of him being very ill inside). At school where she works half the school is missing because illness and she realises that maybe she shouldn’t have ignored her husband, the CDC doctor, when he warned her about an epidemic. Because he’s a CDC doctor. And ignoring CDC doctors when they talk about “epidemics” is like… is like… actually, I honestly have zero comparisons because I don’t think there is something out there as foolish as ignoring a CDC doctor when they talk about epidemics. At home she fights off Matt and gets a worm in the eye. There, she’s infected, can we not worry about her now?

Infected Kelly wanders around slowly transforming before dropping in on her sassy friend and eating her along with her child. Nom nom nom. The Master speaks in her head, calling her to his side.

Ephraim follows the trail until her finds and kills infected sassy friend – and realises she has Kelly’s necklace. He cries as he realises Kelly is definitely infected.

In storylines that might actually matter, Dutch and Vasiliy head off to Palmer’s building claiming to be pest inspectors which Vasiliy is… but Palmer is way too important for such things, also is there a reason why neither of them realise Dutch would be recognised? They’re caught and taken to see Fitzwilliam (Palmer’s chief lacky) who takes Dutch to an interview with Palmer (because taunting people is Evil Genius 101). She rants, he taunts and expositions (nothing we don’t already know). She smacks him and Fitzwilliam takes her away. He doesn’t kill Dutch and Vasiliy though because he’s finally realised that the end of the world isn’t actually a very good idea and he’d rather it not happen and if they could stop it he’d be quite happy about that (not that he’s going to help or anything).

Everyone goes back to the Pawnshop and Ephraim snarls around because he has Manpain and drives Dutch off because he’s Ephraim and something needs to eat him. Also apparently because Dutch is super-duper sensitive and an arsehole can easily drive her off into the night

End with some filler angst from Zach. Because missing mum is sad, y’know.

Aaaargh The Strain – you took far too many episodes to actually get going to spend this much time on Ephraim’s family! It just feels like a huge freaking distraction from the developing dystopia and trying to save the world. And it’s not like Kelly is developed in any way as a person in her own right – she isn’t, she’s an extension of Ephraim. The only reason she “matters” in this world is because she gives Ephraim the Sad Pandas. And, annoyingly, he already has Nora who exists to also give him the Sad Pandas with occasional anecdotes about dictatorship in Argentina as a brief attempt to actually characterise her. With all the world ending we have spent a ludicrous amount of time polishing Ephraim’s manpain.

These characters are not developed enough and not important enough to be worth this much time in a show that already drags itself along like a manatee through molasses. While that’s happening we do get little hints that New York is falling apart which is kind of like taunting is with the story we should be seeing.

I have to say again the guy is called “Eldritch Palmer”, even Dickens was more subtle naming his villains. I’m amazed that in all the years he’s been introducing himself someone hasn’t just shot him  on handshake.

But that brings us to the plot line that was technically on topic – Vasiliy and Dutch achieving nothing with zero plan and only actually surviving because Fitzwilliam – who has been on board the whole vampire plan and harvesting random poor people for spare organs for a long time now – has a sudden, conveniently timed attack of conscience. But limited conscience. I mean despite his obvious access and resources he’s not actually going to DO anything to help, he’s just going to hope these random strangers are capable of achieving something.

Well this episode has advanced exactly nothing.