After last week’s excellent Walking Dead-esque “Creatures of the Night,” things went back to normal in The Strain‘s “The Disappeared.” The gang continues to assemble, the virus spreads, more backstory about Abraham and Eichhorst and the Master is revealed, and we learned that even in times of apocalypse, there’s plenty of time for lovemakin’ (but only if you make it clear to the person immediately afterwards that it meant nothing to you). Also, that kids are really into fighting vampires, and are not afraid to burn some bodies along the way. Hit the jump for why “there’s power in naming things.”
After such an expansive first few episodes, The Strain has really narrowed its focus considerably. Because of the phone and internet outage, word isn’t spreading, but the virus is. And yet, people still don’t seem to be getting a clue. Where does Kelly’s friend Diane live that she hasn’t encountered a single vampire yet? Abraham and the gang can’t move without tripping over one. Are they all just hiding in the sewers? (The ones who aren’t hiding in their houses, anyway).
There’s still not a sense of scope on The Strain yet, but now that the hacker Dutch is with them, even Abraham looks optimistic of what’s going to happen moving forward. It doesn’t take much for her to spill the details of her recent employment: Eldritch Palmer told her shut down the internet, so she did — for a lot of cash that her roommate and friend/girlfriend Nikki stole from her after she escaped from the convenience store. Abraham’s interest only really piques though when she mentions a “waxen figure” (Eichhorst) working with Palmer. Now Abraham knows who to target, and possibly where. Meanwhile, Dutch says she can get the internet back to working, so that people can start to see what’s really going on, and hopefully organize.
Meanwhile, Abraham wants to organize his own gang, and his eye for talent immediately brings him to Vasiliy. Vasiliy seems on board without the need for too much convincing (he sees the writing on the wall as plain as anyone, and knows to trust Abraham), but has to go home to get some things first: his parents? or extermination equipment? Abraham also gets Zach in on the plan by showing him his ancient books, and telling him all about body burning, which Ephraim had hoped to spare him about. But Zach is entirely unfazed by anything regarding the vampires — including seeing a vampiric Matt slaughtered before his eyes — making him a lot more useful than Ephraim or Nora at the moment (although Ephraim’s killing of Matt was pretty badass).
There was a hint in Gus’ storyline that so many “sick” people are starting to get noticed, at least according to one of the correctional officers. But presumably by the time the transformations occur, there’s very little that can be done about it, since those around them are then transformed themselves. Gus helped Felix along as much as he could, until it became clear Felix was an Other (and thankfully, Gus had already seen an example of this so he didn’t — in Ephraim and Nora fashion — try to reason with him. He just shot him in the head). The Strain does at least try and insert a little humanity into the slaughter — these were and are, to some degree, still people — but something about it just doesn’t sit right with the show’s overall tone. Cut off heads, don’t take names!
On the other side of things, flashbacks revealed the genesis of Eichhorst’s transformation into vampire at the hands of The Master himself (who, interestingly, let Abraham go — why are Big Bads always doing that to their most tenacious foes?) The most impressive thing about “The Disappeared” was, of course, The Master’s reveal. Thank goodness there are still some people interested in practical monster effects. The freakishly tactile nature of The Master in all of his Voldemort-esque glory was awesome to behold, and a nice addition to an otherwise middling episode that mainly focused on positioning.
Episode Rating: B-
(The Master: A+)
Musings and Miscellanea:
– Diane letting Zach go into a dark house by himself without being able to get Kelly on the phone was a weird move. She should have gone in to check. Her surprising Ephraim and Nora though later was a great moment.
— Because Ephraim hasn’t been a huge asshole in the last few episodes, we had to be reminded of that when he told Diane loudly and in front of Nora before she even had her panties back on, that “of course” he still loved Kelly because she’s his wife and the mother of his child. Sorry, Nora.
— “This isn’t Argentina. She isn’t disappeared” – more caring moments from Eph.
— Another one; Nora: “This is he weirdest memorial ever. Should we say something about …” Ephraim: “Matt? No.”
— “Mourn his passing, then move on. Life will insist.” – Abe.
— I still want to know who the hooded dude was from two episodes ago who saved Neeva and the kids.