THE STRAIN Recap: “It’s Not For Everyone”

     August 3, 2014


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.”

the-strain-season-1-episode-4In “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-strain-104-its-not-for-everyoneThe 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+

the-strain-its-not-for-everyoneMusings and Miscellanea:

– 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.

  • appolox

    I don’t get how the dialogue is bad?

    • Frank

      I’ll just leave you with this gem from Ansel’s twitchy, psychotic wife: “Goddamn
      airplanes… like missiles, the way they rip through everything!””

      • appolox

        I still don’t get it.

      • RockNRollerER

        Then you should never become a screenwriter.

      • joeybot

        No, maybe he could…apparently tv has no problems hiring shitty writers. He could punch up the next Transformers movie too!

      • Christopher Sims

        Worst line of dialogue I have heard in a while. Like huh?

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  • Frank

    The bad dialogue, the obnoxious characters, and the “people making idiotic mistakes” logic that drives the plot… it’s just all too much. Even the horror elements are kind of wearing thin; they’ve used the “upbeat music during terrifying events” trick one time too many. I also had a bit of a laugh during a “scary moment” when that infected girl’s father popped-up behind Eph and Nora… he just kinda waltzes into frame like an extra that missed their mark.

    I still like the monsters, and the mythology seems intriguing, but unfortunately, until someone on the internet cuts these episodes into a 2 hour movie or something, I’ve had my fill of The Strain.

    • Connor

      maybe you should stop watching it then?

      • Connor

        Whoops, my bad… I didn’t see where you already mentioned that you aren’t watching it anymore. Boy is my face red!

      • joeybot

        Reading comprehesion is fun and easy!

    • Armond White is my master now

      Agree. The books were bad enough, but this show is getting worse with every passing week. And Corey Stoll and his wig… God, even Nicolas Cage has better wigs!

    • RockNRollerER

      This is what I thought after episode 1

    • Marlboroliteman

      Your talking about The Walking Dead right?

  • American Geode

    Did the gangster stealing the car, and trying to sell it, or returning the antique mantle clock to the pawn shop owner, and part-time vampire slayer, have anything to do with anything?

    • Thal Sinestro

      Yes, it will play out soon. The pawnbroker and the gangsta first meeting happens differently in the books though.

  • American Geode

    When Gus was in his mother’s apartment, and the other brother was there, why twice did they need to point out that he had an upset stomach? Did you catch that?

    • Grayden

      I thought withdrawals. He wanted the clock back to trade for drug money or drugs outright.

  • American Geode

    Where’s the fella from the dept of rodent control? Remember that sub-plot?

    • Cephus

      It will return very soon, Vasiliy becomes very, very important to the story.

  • Vandeline

    The dialogue is atrocious for sure, but my god, when they were performing that autopsy without any face or mouth protection. I get we need to see them talk and see their grossed-out expressions, but they could have at least put on those face visor masks that protect the face and also allow us to see the character.

    Someone mentioned this last week but I’m going to reiterate, this wants to be like Blade 2 but simultaneously is trying to avoid the comparison, especially because of the del Toro connection. Everything about Blade 2 is better, even the autopsy scene.

    Hopefully the show ups the gore and does away with all the silly talk. I mean Nora at the end and her ethical turn, I get that they are there to save people and it’s never good to chop off a little girls head, but come on, six feet pythons shooting out of the mouths of zombie-like reanimated corpses? I would hope that as a physician and the use of her sensory data, despite the abnormality, would inform this woman that they might be passed to point of saving people.

    • joeybot

      It does seem like they basically just redid the Blade vampires. The main problem is, at least to me…who cares about vampire houses and masters and all of that shit when there’s no Blade to kick their ass?

  • Adam Miller

    Awesome to see Marlo again. Such an underrated presence but a true scene stealer. Cute blond girl hacking the world, not so much. Obviously this is a step or two below the golden age of television that’s come around. But it’s all fun and gruesome. I’ll take it for what it is.

  • RockNRollerER

    I gave up last week. I check in to see if this show gets any better, but it looks like all the elements that exasperated me keep on trucking. The main problem is this: Del Toro and co. don’t REALLY care about the basics (plot, characters, dialogue, etc.). Sure, they might pretend to – even try to convince themselves they do – but really, the only reason this property exists is to provide “genius auteur” Del Toro with as many slimy, grisly creature images as he can wank off to. EVERYTHING else is simply a means to an end, and it’s all just going through the motions. This is nothing more than Del Toro’s very expensive, ambitious, audio-visual vampire-fetish fan fiction that we are being peddled. It isn’t even really about horror and suspense – if it were I’d like to think they’d be capable of creating better scares than the tired cliches they’ve trotted out so far. It’s all just about the slime shots. How they get there doesn’t really matter, because Del Toro’s horny for them.

  • fluxCAPS

    Dialogue & plot points for this episode weren’t as good as last weeks. Different writer for every episode? Fair enough. How about some QC Guillermo?

  • Polarboy

    Bad dialogue, stupid character decisions, gore for the sake of it. Aren’t all the previously mentioned major tropes from B movie horror. I for one like that sort of thing and its amusing to see it done with a relatively big budget, which admittedly sort of torpedo’s the B movie status and you know that fact that its a TV show.

    • junierizzle

      I agree. We know this isn’t trying to win Emmys.

  • Christopher Sims

    Nora’s outrage and stand against killing patients and not trying to treat them is ridiculous. The little girl was pronounced dead and seemed dead on the plane and is now reanimated shooting a python-like tentacle from her throat. But, ok, suspension of disbelief, maybe she is just sick? No. You just came from an autopsy where you found that an infected person had no working normal organs, they were all necrotic and replaced by new organs that support the python-like tentacle. How then, as a doctor, you think that person can be treated? What are you going to revive the dead organs? Inject an anti-virus that will kill the new organs and revive the old, dead organs?

    I think the worms converge and become the tentacle.

    • Polarboy

      I think what they were trying to say is that rationally, but in this case in the face of the actual evidence, was that in the face of hundreds of years of previously published scientific data what she was seeing wasn’t possible so her reactions weren’t the first and only thing being questioned if she went along with the killing.

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