Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Strain, Season 1, Episode 9: The Disappeared

Alas, we’re back to Zack, yes Ephraim’s family. Oh no, The Strain you were finally starting to get moving after episodes of painful drag and we’re back to the kid again? Anyway, he was staying with Kelly’s awesome sassy friend drops off Zack who goes into the dark and disarrayed house (if you remember, Matt, Kelly’s new boyfriend, got all vampired a few episodes ago. I’d link back but that would require me to care enough to justify the mouse clicks). Thankfully, the vampires on The Strain have plot related abilities and Matt is super slow and clumsy. Even better, Ephraim coincidentally is returning home at just that moment.

Zack gets to watch Ephraim murder his mother’s new boyfriend with an axe. Somewhere a psychiatrist opened a new savings account. (Also “he was a vampire. Honest. Would be a really convenient excuse, I’m just saying). The rest of the gang arrive and find Kelly is missing –if Kelly has been vampired she’ll now be hunting Zack so Abraham thinks they need to run. Vasily and Abraham try to convince Nora that killing Jim had to be done – she finally accepts that but says she or Ephraim who cared for him, should have been the ones to do it. Personally, I think if I had to die I’d rather it not be my loved ones who are forced to do it, does that make me odd? Anyway, Vasiliy points out that neither Nora nor Ephraim were willing to do it. Nora isn’t running with that – and she also tells Abraham he doesn’t know everything – which is true, but he’s doing a pretty damn good job so far.

Dutch also tries to offer what sympathy she can and Ephraim is still all pouty to Vasiliy. He’s having Abraham babysit Zack and I think Abraham may be the most awesome babysitter ever. He explains the whole vampire thing to Zack and reassures him over Matt’s death.

They drop Dutch off on the way and she discovers that Vicki, who escaped from the store, has stolen all her cash, her laptop all her work. She screams in rage, tearing apart some of Vicki’s things before crying. Grief is interrupted by stoner vampire – one Vasiliy kill later and they decide to join Abraham instead (though Abraham does get a little snarky about Vasiliy not consulting him about adding Dutch to the team).

At the pawn shop they reunite with Nora’s mother (who is confused and not happy), Abraham sets Zack to reading vampire books and everyone’s impressed by Abraham’s secret lair. Abraham also makes a big speech about what humans would help the vampires – and Dutch gets the guilt-face – and praises Vasiliy for being so practical about killing. Vasiliy wanders home to fetch something and Dutch confesses all to Abraham – and reveals that Eldritch Palmer is the big bad (his name is ELDRITCH! Come on, the may as well have “The Master” or “Dr. Doom” written on his office door).

Nora and Ephraim stayed behind to clear up Matt’s body; Ephraim worries about Kelly and Nora brings more parallels and backstory with thinking of Argentina and the inherited dread she has of everything falling apart, people disappearing etc. Ephraim also shows his lack of class by only talking about Jim at Matt’s burning, and refusing to talk about Matt (a trifle childish their Ephraim).

They then decide to have sex (Nora pulling of layers and layers of clothing, Ephraim keeping his jumper on), because that’s one way of commemorating your ex-wife’s boyfriend’s death. Except they’re interrupted by Kelley’s friend Diana. We then have a bizarre moment where Diana seems all huffy about Ephraim shagging another woman (Kelly moved in a boyfriend, Diana, I think we’re past the point of monogamy) and Ephraim declaring how much he loves his wife with Nora RIGHT THERE. At least wait until she’s dressed, Ephraim!

To Augustin, because his plot line is so relevant at the moment. He’s still in prison with the rapidly vampiring Felix – whose transformation and eating of several guards gives Augustin chance to escape; but not before putting some bullets in Felix’s head.

We’ve had our run of flashbacks with Abraham in the concentration camp with the Master feeding on the prisoners. Abraham tries to stab him with a silver knife – and the Master casually stops him and crushes his hands; hands he used to carve the Master’s coffin with incredible skill.

With his hands ruined, he was selected for death by Eichorst – but the camp is attacked and the other inmates helped him escape. We also see the fleeing Eichorst meeting up with the Master (who we finally see without his hood – he doesn’t look even slightly menacing) and getting his special transformation into a special vampire.

So Dutch and Vicki (or possibly Nikki) – we have this:

Vasiliy: “This is why I don’t have room mates.”
Dutch:  “We were more than room mates.”
Vasiliy: “This is why I don’t have friends”

Was that supposed to be a “LOOK! LESBIAN/BISEXUAL!” moment? Maybe it is, and maybe with her emotional response I’d be willing to say they were more likely lovers than not. But I am so very very very tired of suggested inclusion or blink-and-you’ll-miss-it inclusion or implied inclusion or could-be-read-as inclusion or we-can-deny-it-if-people-get-upset inclusion.

I like that Nora does have these reminders and attempt to bring up her history and past, but at times it feels a little inserted simply because Nora generally does and says so little compared to many of the other characters.

This episode wasn’t exactly slow – there was content, but I don’t really put it into relevant content. Ephraim and Nora, Ephraim and Kelly, Zack –there was a lot of emotional stuff but I still have a voice in my head saying “hey, end of the world guys, your personal drama is irrelevant.”