The Strain Post-Mortem: Co-Creator Talks Flashbacks, Eyeworms & Clumsy Vamp Feeding

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Have you recovered from The Strain Season 1 Episode 10 yet? I know I haven’t.

Lots of gory goodness came from the hour, including a close look at Kelly’s journey of being infected via flashbacks that included the awesomely disgusting worm wiggling its way into her eyeball. Also, Dutch and Fet escaped death... thanks to Fitzwilliams taking things into his own hands.

And, of course, there were also some tough emotional scenes for Eph as he figured out what probably happened to his estranged wife as well as their young son, Zach, who would never see his mother again - at least not in the way he remembers her.

(Make sure you check out our review for more details about the whole episode)

So, since we only have three more episodes to go in The Strain Season 1, I checked in with co-creator/executive producer Chuck Hogan to talk about what we saw in this week’s stellar episode (written by Gennifer Hutchison and directed by John Dahl), along with what’s to come next week in an installment Hogan co-wrote with Justin Britt-Gibson...

Trio on The Strain

TV Fanatic: I made the mistake of eating during the show again but, that aside, it was a really great episode.

Chuck Hogan: I have to say now that I have some distance I’ve started picking favorites, which I probably shouldn’t do, but I think it’s probably my second favorite episode because it’s just a little different and it’s really dramatic.

TVF: Tell me about it because it was a different episode in that there was a lot of the flashbacking to Kelly’s story. Can you talk about the choice to do that in this particular episode?

CH: Yeah, one of the things that was really effective early on this season was following some of the passengers from the plane as they became sick and here is a character who we’ve been with, we know her and she obviously has a very close relationship to our main character. It was just a really great opportunity story wise to do something really, dramatic really kind of a wrenching and do it in an interesting way in terms of flashing back.

TVF: The worm going into her eyeball has got to be one of my favorite moments now in the show because I was just kind of giggling and freaking out at the same time.

CH: That was exactly the response! It was so weird and gross but yeah, it’s a big moment.

TVF: The worm that goes into her eye is really long which I’ve seen different worms on the show and sometimes they’re not as long so was it just for the gross out factor of it?

CH: No. I mean, it is kind of a choice. These worms are not like a box of spaghetti where you open it up and they’re all exactly the same length. There can be a little difference so it’s partly just that and probably we have this great special effects company called Mister X and Guillermo oversees it so I’m sure a part of it was to go for maximum, but no, it’s not out of the ordinary. There’s a lot of worms that are different lengths.

TVF: And another thing I noticed was when we saw Kelly feed on her friend and her friend’s son, the appendage went right to the center of their throats instead of the side. Was there significance to that?

CH: One thing is that it’s the sort of thing that we find it sick but it’s a question of how much time do you spend on it and how interesting it is but when you’re first turned it’s a clear progression between when you’re first turned and then weeks later when you’re maybe a turned vampire who is moving around. We try to make those first feedings kind of clumsy…she’s learning that she’s got this new appendage in her throat and she’s not sure how it works so you try to kind of slip that down the middle where it’s a little bit clumsy and she doesn’t quite do it right.

TVF: The last we see of her is with the Master but will Kelly still pop up in the next episodes?

CH: You will definitely see more of her, but not so much on the next episode. I mean, there’s more to be done in terms of where is she by the terms of her long journey. You don’t see her right away, but absolutely.

One of the early things I feel from the viewers is a little bit of frustration like in the early episodes are ‘why are they showing this family drama? All we care about is vampires.’ Which I get but certainly as we get into these last four episodes all that stuff is starting to pay off and I think you will understand you really have to set up this family unit to do what we are doing in the dramatic last three episodes.

TVF: Talk to me about Dutch and Fet because I’ve loved their little journey and I loved the connection that you feel kind of forming and I don’t know if it’s necessarily romantic since we haven’t established if she’s gay or bisexual but it’s a really nice development. Is there more coming with them?

CH: Actually the next episode, no. The next episode after that, yes. I mean, it’s not a straight line. It’s not any sort of a romance conventional or non-conventional but they do kind of naturally pair off.

TVF: Fitzwilliams also took things into his own hands by letting Dutch and Fet live. Do we see that play out?

CH: There is definitely more to come with him by the end of the season because throughout he’s questioned everything. [He’s been of the] point of view of trying to protect Palmer but now they’re crossing lines, which he’s not ready to cross so there will definitely be some more tension between him and Palmer. We love the character, which is great because he’s so close to Palmer and he’s still somewhat mysterious. So he knows a lot but he doesn’t know everything and he’s in a great spot.

TVF: Are we seen Mr. Q – or Quinlan - again soon?

CH: You are definitely seeing him again soon. There’s a character in the book being Mr. Q [and]  Quinlan is actually slightly different without saying too much but he’s not quite the character in the book. He’s something like that, but yes, you will see him and his crew. That’s all I can say right now.

TVF: You were talking a little bit about some of the fan reaction to the show so what’s your take on some of the mixed reactions on The Master’s face? Because I know some diehards had an issue with it.

CH: I honestly haven’t heard. Really the only reaction that I get is via Twitter and most of it is overwhelmingly positive and then some people are like, ‘I kind of love the show but how much more divorce drama do we have to sit through?’ and I try to talk people off the ledge and say ‘look, we’re not spinning our wheels. There’s a reason for it.’ But I honestly haven’t heard any of that.

Myself, when I first saw the actor, Robert, in his makeup I was totally flipped out. I love it so I'm surprised. I mean, one thing that we do go up against, one thing with our show I think that’s usual and kind of terrific is that we’re not following the traditional vampire stuff. I don’t what people were expecting, but I really don’t have any thought on that. I love the way he looks in the end.

TVF: You mentioned the changes that you guys have made just from the book to this. Are the changes always because organically you get moved in a different direction or were there things that you thought ‘oh, I wish we’d done that in the first place and now we can?’

CH: That’s a good question. Both of those things. I mean, there are definitely some things, and this came up the first day we met right on season one and Guillermo came in and he and I were having a side conversation about things that we didn’t get to in the book.

One of them was a kind of a convenient store, sort of a siege situation, which we absolutely put it to the show in episode eight so there is certainly some of that. It’s fun to pick up some threads that maybe didn’t get pulled all the way out….some of [the characters] really were just popping in ways we didn’t expect or that we liked so we wanted to feed them more so that was happening a bit but it’s a good thing when the story starts to pull you in a different direction than you had planned.

TVF: What can you tease about next week’s episode?

CH: I co-wrote 11 with Justin Britt-Gibson, a writer of the show. I don’t want to say you’re going to see Kelly in this but there’s definitely something that goes on where Eph is going after her though his primary worry is his son Zach so he gets close to maybe finding her and that doesn’t turn out the way he expects it so it got a really creepy scene. I really like [episode] eleven. I think it’s a really, good episode and then the final two.

TVF: Going off the idea that the vampires go back to the ones they love, it would make sense she is eventually going to seek out Zach and Eph, right?

CH: Exactly. Absolutely. Her dear ones would be, of course, Eph and especially Zach so our whole thinking in general is that the story is really about sort of the ultimate custody battle where you’re fighting your ex-spouse for custody of your child.

The Strain airs Sundays at 10/9c on FX.

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of Follow him on Twitter.

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The Strain Season 1 Episode 10 Quotes

We need to look at all the decommissioned tunnels and lines near the World Trade Center.


Palmer: Human DNA decays as we age. Over time it frays and it fails and we follow suit. But it's a code that can be rewritten. Re-write the software and you control the hardware. The meat, muscle and tissue that is mankind.
Dutch: To what end?
Palmer: If hacking is about exploring the limits of what is possible, then I am on the verge of achieving what you would consider the ultimate hack. Cheating death.
Dutch: Immortality?
Palmer: Yes