I wish I had had this episode title handy when I did my first review for The Strain, because it says it all — The Strain: It’s not for everyone. If there aren’t genitals falling off, there are heads being lopped off by septuagenarians. And yet, despite the painful dialogue, those creeps and the gore are really fun to watch each week. So taking it as it is, hit the jump. If you can’t handle it, it’s ok: “some brains just can’t adjust.”
In “It’s Not For Everyone,” Ephraim makes the decision with Nora and Jim to cut Doyle open right then and there, examining and video taping as they go along. The regular organs are all necrotic, but there are shiny new organs that help project “the stinger” (as Eph dubs it). Jim rightfully loses it over this deluge of information, talking about the six-foot python that shoots out from the body, the lack of a dick, and that the body seems to randomly shoot out something watery (and where are the worms?) Eph decides maybe the crazy old man wasn’t so crazy, and gets to burning.
Let’s break this down, though. First up, our old foe: logic. Eph immediately decides that the team is on their own, because no one would believe them or help them take down these creatures. Is he so sure? Maybe he should check. After all, the evidence is very clear, and that body happens to be in the middle of a hospital where a ton of doctors are surely wondering where their worm-filled patient wandered off to. Secondly, after Jim admits he was paid off to let the coffin full of dirt through security, Eph declares him dead to him. Again, the best reaction? Jim is the only connection to the bad guys who planned this epidemic. Might want to get some further info from him before you cut him off.
Nora, who was the only sensible one in the previous episode when she approached Abraham for help, has gone soft in the meantime. When a slimy, bloody creature without hair or genitalia projects a giant stinger towards you in the hopes of draining your blood and injecting you with worms, some might think, “I should probably attack it, and kill it if necessary.” Not Nora! She has compassion for these beasts, and thinks it was an awful shame that Emma, for instance, had her head chopped off by Abraham’s sword, and refuses to help them any further.
Abraham was right to not bother with these fools. For all of us who had been waiting for that legend to start removing heads with one fell swoop and some ancient incantation, “It’s Not for Everyone” was the time. It was, frankly, awesome.
The absolute best thing this hour gave us though was Ansel (Ansel … so hot right now). Taking precautions as his symptoms worsened, he gets his kids and his wife out of the house (but not the dog … she’s food). When his wife comes back to check on him, though, she finds him chained up in the shed (such a good husband). But instead of calling the police, or, well, anybody, she does her vampiric husband a solid, and catatonically feeds him their fussy neighbor. That is an interesting twist. It’s not just the hosts who are a worry, then.
Elsewhere though, while Eldritch’s hacker machinations (what?) and impending surgery fell flat as far as interest goes, Gus — whose story, like Vasiliy’s, has not yet connected back with the main one — and his car stealing was actually a decent diversion from the main vampire plot. Like Jim, he has a conflicted moral compass, but seems generally an ok guy (all things considered … and that’s a lot of slack to give someone who just stole a car with a baby seat and sold it for $800). Presumably, The Strain is giving him some background and context to build up to him joining the gang, to help fight the worm beasts (which is more than the show did for Eph — the custody battle just wasn’t an interesting way to introduce him).
Ultimately, perhaps some brains just can’t adjust to whatever it is The Strain is trying to put out there, and that might not be a bad thing. But it’s the scare-fest gross-out show of the week, and that has to count for something.
Episode Rating: B+
— If one more show tries to create a fictional version of Anonymous, and then calls in some badass-looking “hacker” person who is so magical that they can slow down the entire world’s internet to slower than dial up … just don’t.
— Honestly, The Strain would make for a great silent film, because any talking is definitely the show’s weakest part.
— “What’s that smell?” – Jim. Umm, look in front of you. What isn’t that smell?
— The discovery of Emma listening to her old children’s songs was a great creep-out moment. It also maybe showed a shred of humanity left? Or just a smart way to set a trap for people.
— I would be remiss not to mention the appearance of Marlo Stanfield (Jamie Hector) from The Wire!
— “We have research protocols!” – Nora. Girl, you need to wake up and get onboard with this. Cut off the heads, burn the bodies, fuck the protocols.