The Strain Review: Beheading Time

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Del Toro certainly likes his head bashing, doesn't he? I'm sure this isn't the last crushed cranium we'll see.

In essence, The Strain Season 1 Episode 4 was all about the secret autopsy. Though this installment wasn't as strong as last week's, there were several important developments.

By the way, is it me or did that corpse look like a big rubber doll?

Jim had some of the best lines this week like "What if he gets up?" "Run" Eph replies. I really appreciate these lighter moments because they allow the audience to decompress a bit. Sure The Strain is a dark show, but you have to find the humor in what's going on as well.

Despite everything that Jim's done, we still feel for him. That's what makes Astin a great casting choice, he's Rudy and Samwise Gamgee. Del Toro's mentioned that he thought it would be fun to "have the most famous sidekick of all times be a betrayer." Well, perfect choice because we not only sympathize with Jim, but we want to see him do the right thing. Sadly, it's safe to say once he does his part he's probably vamp chow.

Personally, I hope Jim goes out fighting and saves one of our main characters before his demise. Do you think his days are numbered? Place your bets in the comments below folks.

Speaking of numbered days, survivor Ansel Barbour was lookin' pretty ragged at the start of the episode. When his wife asks if she should lock Gertie in the shed. Ansel replies "no she can keep me company." Tell me you didn't know the dog was about to become a Gertie-burger?

I think the more surprising thing about the Barbour story arc is actually Ann-Marie. We see her taking some kind of anti-anxiety medication, so you know she's an emotional wreck. She comes across as fairly unstable. I bet Ansel is her rock, the one person that balances her out. Too bad he's busy munchin' on the family dog.

For a religious person, she sure had no problem feeding the obnoxious neighbor to her newly turned husband. I bet that weighs heavily on her moving forward but a vamp's got to eat right? Wasn't it interesting that Ansel warned her The Master wanted him to rip her throat open and drink? He must love Ann-Marie immensely to resist The Master's command.

Felix (Gus' pal) is a memorable character in the books and I was happy to see him introduced this week. We learn that he's not the best influence on Gus and that stealing cars is what got our guy locked up. I like that Gus adores his mamí, that's been clear since day one. Felix checked in with her while Gus was away. There was a lot of love in that kitchen. Which character bites it first you think?

Bottom line, Gus is obviously a badass hero in the making though he continues to make questionable choices. C'mon bruh, get it together.

The scene where he returns the clock to Setrakian was an important moment. Those two are destined to fight side by side in the future. I'm looking forward to all our heroes coming together.

At Stoneheart, we're introduced to Dutch Velders (Ruta Gedmintas). The genius hacker hired to take down the websites of New York's largest corporations.

I'm the only one that can slow the internet down to worse than dial up.


Good thing this character was introduced, because let's be honest cell phone reception is not that bad in real life. Now we've got someone to pin all the electronic glitches on. Sure she's a trouble-maker but will Dutch come around and join our heroes?

During the autopsy, we learn the purpose of the odd folds in the creature's neck is to release heat. It's also explained that much like a bird or reptile the urine and feces leave the body through the same opening. Jim calls it "adorable" but Eph counters with "efficient." Though the look on Eph's face was priceless when he realized Redfern was now a Ken-doll, he seemed impressed with the transformation.

The lungs and heart had shriveled up. Nora calls it a new circulatory system.

A whole new set of organs has generated to propel this stinger.


What a frakkin' long stinger it was too. Didn't it kind of remind you of a that old magic trick where a magician pulls a seemingly endless stream of handkerchiefs from his mouth? I know that's a weird comparison, but it's what popped into my head. When the thing is finally removed, there's a nasty discharge of ammonia. Our team makes the connection with the biological waste on the plane and near Bishop's dead body.

The details del Toro and Hogan have come up with to explain the way the virus re-writes human DNA is just plain cool. We understand that the vamps sole purpose is to feed and reproduce.

Eph finally realizes he should have listened to the old man. As he goes on and on about the disease spreading through New York, Jim confesses his participation. We learn he was paid to waive the van through. It made sense that he was targeted at a medical convention by Stoneheart. They knew all about his mounting debt and his wife's cancer. He did them a favor but the favors kept getting bigger.

Are you saying this epidemic was intentional? That somebody planned this?


Jim tells Eph and Nora all about Eichhorst, but Eph knocks him on his ass. Poor Samwise, even though he's made terrible choices we can understand how desperate he was to save his dying wife. He had no idea he was releasing a virus into the world. I'm glad we learned the details.

Anyway, our team needs another body to run more tests and Eph remembers Mr. Arnot. At the Arnot house they come across a transformed Emma. How creepy did that little girl look? Eeek! I love the little growling noises the creatures make too. Luckily Setrakian arrived to expertly behead both Emma and her father. Such a badass at 72 years old. Eph probably should have slapped Arnot back first Ha!

Nora freaks out. Seriously, after everything she's seen she thinks these things can be saved? I'm totally with Setrakian, off with their heads!

Nora: What have you done?
Setrakian: Among other things, I just saved your life.
Nora: We have resources, protocols.
Setrakian: Not for this. There's no other way.

Naturally, Eph attempts to reason with her explaining these creatures are now hunting us. Arnot's face was full of blood, who knows how many people he infected. Yes Nora, Setrakian plans to murder everyone on the flight manifest. For a scientist, she's pretty dense.

I was surprised Nora decided to leave. Especially since she was the one person that believed Setrakian's crazy story to some extent. Where will she go though? Will we meet her family next week? This is probably a case of tearing the characters apart so their reunion is that much sweeter.

Nora's departure is the reason for the title "It’s Not For Everyone." What did you think of this week's episode? Love it, hate it? Hit the comments and share your thoughts with me. As always if you've read the books, please stick to episode 4 to avoid spoiling the show for others. Thanks.

Need to catch up or want to re-watch an episode? Well you can Watch The Strain online right here at TV Fanatic.

Was Nora's decision to leave merely a plot device at the character's expense?

It's Not for Everyone Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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