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The Strain Review: Shedding Parts

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This week's installment was written by Chuck Hogan (co-author of the book trilogy), making The Strain Season 1 Episode 3 easily my favorite episode so far. Don't you agree?

How about that opening sequence? Brilliant stuff. FX and del Toro have spared no expense when it comes to the visual effects on this show.

We now know Eichhorst's big secret. He's actually no different from the others. No matter how you slice it or dice it, a missing nose (like with Lord Voldemort) is just chilling and creepy.

Still, unlike the recently turned, Eichhorst remains highly functional and intelligent. Perhaps he's lived so long he no longer hungers for blood? Whereas the newly turned creatures are all about feeding and spreading the virus.

When the vampire sat in front of the mirror I had no clue who it was. Then as he starts reconstructing his human face one piece at a time, you realize it's none other than Eichhorst. I'm assuming once the metamorphosis is complete, the vamps all look relatively similar. The opera music was a nice touch as well.

Soon no more charade.

Eichhorst

Back at the CDC, Everett informs Eph, Nora and Jim that all the bodies in the morgue (plus the medical examiner) are gone. Instead of finding this just a tad bit fishy, the guy assumes it's the military. Nora tells him there's no sign of carbon monoxide poisoning aboard the plane but he just wants to pass the buck. He reminds Eph this is no longer about disease control but damage control.

Jim is totally freaking out. When he says "Jesus what did I do?" we realize he's being manipulated by the Stoneheart Group. Poor Jim, it was great to learn more about what's motivating his poor decisions this episode.

We've spent time now with Bolivar, Luss and even Redfern. It was good to check in witih Ansel Barbour and see some of his story. He's got a wife, two kids and a dog named Gertie. When Ansel's wife mentions Gertie came home hurt and she chained her in the shed you just know it's mentioned for a reason. That pooch is either vamp chow or something major is going to take place in that shed. What do you think?

Gertie growling at the man and him drinking the blood from the raw steak is also not a good sign. Did the wife see Ansel's stinger? I would've run the hell out of there like yesterday.

Vasiliy Fet arrives at the offices of the Department of Health and realizes he has a week's worth of rat calls in one day. Something's definitely not kosher. The pretty receptionist is watching Regis Air CEO defend himself on the news. Did you notice how she stares at him dreamily? A sure sign she won't be around for long right?

Vasiliy is sent to a Wall Street bigshot's place because the man's daughter was bitten by a rat. What an a-hole that guy was, where are the vamps when you need them? He didn't even offer our friendly exterminator a Cohiba, that jerk. Anyway, I'm not sure what to make of the info-dump about the building being built over a cigar factory.

The real take-away from this scene is the rats scurrying out of the sewers. Will Vasiliy go down there next week?

Eph and Nora were working to save Captain Redfern's life but it's safe to say we all realized these survivors weren't going to make it. At least Nora remembers Setrakian, probably the only person that understands what's going on.

Jim had a nasty encounter with Eichhorst and we learn his gig was simply to let the cargo out of the airport. He had no idea of its contents or that it was carrying a highly infectious disease. When he questions Eichhorst about the corpses, the man mentions his wife. The Stoneheart Group has the power to reverse a decision to admit his wife, Silvia, to a special cancer trial. It's a tough choice, what would you do? That reminds me of the closing voice over in The Strain Season 1 Episode 1, “love is our grace, love is our downfall."

You have two bosses now Jim Kent. The ones you report to at the CDC and me.

Eichhorst

How glad were you to see Setrakian finally released with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. I love it when he plays the weak old dude. In this scene we learn a few important details though. Abraham arrived in the states after World War II, when the camps were freed. He's a widower, with no children or grandchildren.

His life's work has been to stop The Master, at all costs. Wasn't it great to hear him tell Nora he knew where the bodies were going? Yet his ominous words about The Master failed to spook her...

A thing of enormous power and terrible will. The will to devour the world and swallow the light.

Setrakian

Of course, it's one thing to kill creatures that were supposedly already dead and another to kill anyone they've been in contact with. Setrakian will destroy without Mercy or checking whether a family member is infected or not. She's obviously not ready to believe his insane story and do what must be done. Come on Nora, what will it take?

Though I understand Eph's separation and the custody hearing are an important part of his character development, the scenes feel like a distraction. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather he get to work either finding a cure or killing these damn things. The fact little Zack is fine with dad visiting one or two weekends a month tells us he's a momma's boy.

The kid resents Eph's absence in his life. Kelly tried to be kind by offering visitation any time but she still comes across as the bad guy. I mean, Eph's our hero right? Therefore, anyone that hurts him is just not cool. I like Kelly though and I'm hoping the writing team develops her further.

Bolivar is hiding his transformation well thanks to the heavy goth makeup and contacts. He tells his manager, Ruby, her cash machine has a cold. It's not likely we'll ever get to see this concert they had planned. I think that would have been interesting. Wasn't his doctor's expression priceless when Gabe flashed his nads? Little Gabe must've looked pretty cringe worthy since it drops off a little later on. Ouch! So these vamps shed their genitals. Makes sense since they're no longer required to reproduce. I'm sure I wasn't the only guy watching that went... awwww no freakin' way!

Setrakian is visited by a young hacker who hands him the Regis Air flight manifest. He now has what he needs to hunt down the vamps (and their families).

Under the UV lights, Eph and Nora see hundreds of tiny blood worms wriggling beneath Redfern's skin. I'm sure they realized he's a total goner.

He's here.

Captain Redfern

Eichhorst visits the Regis Air CEO and asks "would you like to leave a note?" The Stoneheart Group now has their scapegoat. Pretty efficient plan overall no? So far the baddies are proving way smarter than our heroes. They deserve to win Ha!

Jim let's Eph and Nora know his wife's been accepted into the special cancer trial. The happy moment is short-lived as they realize Redfern's gone missing. Jim locates him in the hospital's basement drinking from blood bags. The fully transformed creature attacks and this is the first time our team sees the stinger and realizes what they're dealing with. Tell me that stinger shooting out didn't look amazing? Eph bashes Redfern's head in.

What did you think of "Gone Smooth"? If you weren't on board before did this episode convince you The Strain is must-see TV? Hit the comments and share some of your theories with me. Keep in mind if you've read the books, let's stick to episode 3 to avoid spoiling the show for others. Thanks.

The Strain is a show with so many intricate plot points I highly recommend re-watching each episode to pick up details you might have missed. Click here to >>> Watch The Strain online via TV Fanatic at any time.

Can Setrakian hunt down and kill all the passengers and their loved ones by himself?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (18 Votes)

Henry A. Otero is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Sp-mckenna

What's the difference between the passengers that were all dead/came back and the four that woke up first? Are they different types of vampires? Or does it have to do with carrying the worms, something else, etc.? Did I miss that explanation (if there is one) or has it not been explained yet? Either way, I'm hooked on this show. And it kills me every time when the credits start rolling because I just want to keep watching!

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Hanko9
@ Sean McKenna

It hasn't been explained yet but yeah there's a big difference between newborns and someone like Eichhorst. Don't want to say more and spoil anything ;) I know exactly what you mean about watching the next episode, wish this was Netflix haha

Sp-mckenna
@ Henry A. Otero

Ok cool. I kept thinking I missed something. But yeah, is it Sunday yet?!

Hanko9
@ Sean McKenna

The Strain is my new Walking Dead. They lost me last season, I plan to watch the new 8 episodes during the winter break. I figure binge-watching might not feel as draggy. You're going to love The Strain Sean, it gets so interesting.

Chris-larrondo

Yup also felt like Kelly was the bad guy. I think she may have meant well but her timing and delivery were just horrible. Abraham seems like a badass but truth be told he is an old guy. he certainly won't be able to make a dent on his own. He will definitely need a supporting cast to help with his dispatch. A little surprising that Redfern wasn't on 24/7 observation but I can let that slide. Nice kill shot by Eph.

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Hanko9
@ Chris Larrondo

So far my biggest complaint is the ladies on the show. We need more depth to both Nora and Kelly. I'm sure that's coming up though, so I'm not worried. Episode 4 has some cool moments but "Gone Smooth" is definitely my favorite. Of course that might change as the season moves forward. Wonder how many episodes Chuck Hogan wrote? Will have to check.

Chris-larrondo

Kind of amazes me at how close are thoughts are with our reviews. Lord Voldermort ftw :)

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Hanko9
@ Chris Larrondo

Haha true! You know what they say... great minds ;)

Joe-desiderio

I may need to go back and read the books again after this season is over. There are certain things I can't remember even though I read the first book three times.
Anyways, the show is awesome so far and seems to be getting better every week. Henry, have you read the books? I know they said they were going to change what happens with certain characters and I'm curious to see if Kelly's one of them. I'll be a bit disappointed if things are different for her on the show. I don't want to give away too much for people who haven't read the books so I'll stop there. I'm not going to go into my theories because they'll be based off of the books, which are some of my favorite of all time by the way. I'm just going to enjoy the ride and see where the paths diverge. Fet was my favorite character in the books and the part on the show is being played brilliantly. Is the ending of season 1 going to coincide with the ending of the first book? If so, I'm curious to see how this plays out over the next ten episodes.

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Hanko9
@ Joe Desiderio

Things are a bit different Joe, I've heard both del Toro and Hogan say that in interviews. Season 1 covers the first book, but they've added a ton of stuff so the story plays out better over 13 episodes. I have read the first two (held off reading the last when I heard the show was coming). Kelly's story is NOT changing don't worry and at Comic-Con del Toro told the press that Mr. Quinlan is coming this season. He doesn't show up until book 2 but he's too important a character not to be introduced earlier. If you want to talk about the books (and spoilers), hit me up at Google+. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the show. It's not going to disappoint us, trust me.

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@ Henry A. Otero

Mr Quinlan is coming this season? :-D Wooohoooo, totally looking forward to that!

Hanko9
@ San

Yep and he actually appears briefly in one of the teasers. It's a bit spoilery but del Toro/Hogan spoke about the actor playing Mr.Q at Comic-con.

Yama1291

I agree with most of what you wrote. The episode was my favorite as well. Eichhorst might just have more control over his urges then his younger siblings. I don't think he is free of them. Oh and how great is it to have a German actor playing a German? Having the language and accent not butchered on American TV is a nice touch. Vasiliys info dump about the building had two purposes:
1) Sticking it to the jerk. Vasiliy told him to the face that the smart deal he made on the place was actually him getting duped because the previous owners knew about the rat problem.
2) To make the follow up scene more dramatic. The rats are fleeing from something... either from the general vampire presence or a more immediate vampire threat. Maybe there is one in the building. Bolivar.. Bolivar.. Bolivar.... how awesome was that reveal! I kind of hoped he would transform on stage or something alike but this was cool too. What is interesting is how he seems to accept the changes, consciously.
The only bad thing I take away from this is the sound I now have tied to genitals popping off in my head..

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Hanko9
@ yama1291

Richard Sammel is brilliant as Eichhorst, love him! Believe it or not the character only gets more interesting when we flashback to his past. Ok I get the point of the cigar factory better now. It's possible I'm having a tough time understanding Kevin Durand's accent as Vasiliy. I'm sure The Master's convincing the survivors through that humming sound that they're evolving. Bolivar didn't seem bothered by his junk dropping off because by now he's probably aware he won't need it. Thanks again for your feedback, love reading your thoughts on the show!

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@ yama1291

Totally agree - the rats' love of cigar smoke makes a building which has been built right over a cigar factory their dream house. So it must be a really great threat that drives them away from it. Especially in daylight!

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