The Strain Watch: Gone Smooth - Moving Towards Darkness
”Soon, no more charade. To victory.” Last week, The Strain took time off from playing it by the book to diverge from the source material. Thankfully, its gamble paid off, and we were treated to some meatier moments than expected. This week, the show remembered to bring the meat, but it also slurped up the blood at the bottom of the pan. Some of the smaller touches from the book have made it into this week's episode as well, as this week's episode proves that can adapt the smallest details from the text, while at the same time going its own way for the sake of a more theatrical experience.
”You have two bosses, Mr. Kent. Your bosses at the CDC and me.”
Herr Eichorst plays a huge role in tonight's episode, as he's shown as a major player on the side of the bloodsuckers. The episode opens with something we never saw in the books, the totally awesome look into Eichorst putting his face on (literally), and reciting his daily affirmation of world conquest. He also shows a firm hand with Jim Kent, who flat out confronts him with a case of conscience involving his role in smuggling the coffin out of the airport.
Eichorst continues uses that trademark Nazi charm we all know and fear with the head of Regis Air, as he engineers a suicide to continue selling the faulty airplane theory. The Master is not fooling around with his plans, and he's made some mid-level moves to secure his future – all thanks to the cold and calculating force that is known as Herr Eichorst.
”I want what's best for my dad. That's all.”
Turning back to Eph and the Canary team, the bureaucracy around them is beginning to look like it's either in on the conspiracy of darkness or it's run by the descendants of the Keystone Cops. Director Barnes doesn't give two shits about investigating the disappearance of the corpses from Flight 753, and he's not exactly jumping at the chance to investigate the supposed outbreak that's slowly but surely growing.
As if this wasn't frustrating enough, Eph has his final custody hearing, and it doesn't go the way he'd hoped it would. When asked what he feels the best arrangement would be, Zach suggests “once or twice a month” visits for his father – because he doesn't want him to worry about his job getting in the way. Eph, feeling upset and betrayed, walks out convinced that Kelly and Matt have influenced the son he loves so much.
”Your cash machine has a cold.”
Unfortunately, Eph is right to be upset as the Flight 753 “survivors” aren't feeling so hot. In the case of Gabriel Bolivar, he's feeling so miserable that he can't even perform on stage (despite his reputation skyrocketing after his little fan orgy mishap last week.) We soon see how horrific Bolivar's condition is, as well as that of Ansel Barbour – the nerdy programmer who needed to get home to his wife. We see why he was so adamant, as she's a total worry wart.
Of course, her worrying isn't going to get any better after seeing an appendage protruding from her husband's mouth to drain the blood from a marinating steak... but he's not a vampire! Gabriel gets the shorter end of the stick this week though, as he loses his own “stick” and becomes as endowed as a Ken doll. His transformation into a vampire is complete, and it's all downhill from here.
“I'm going to visit their families. To pay my respects.”
Our hunters, Abraham Setrakian and Vasily Fet, are both starting their own expeditions to exterminate the vermin that threaten the city. In Setrakian's case, he's been released from custody and is beginning to track down the Regis Air corpses. His mission: to make sure that the dead stay just that way. Fet, on the other hand, is investigating something strange with the city's rat population. They're all fleeing from the sewers and into the world above the streets - much like the teaser from last December.
Fet continues to be a comedic relief, as he puts a stock broker in his place and monologues about rats and cigars; while Setrakian gives us a fun little moment where he pretends to be old and feeble minded. Soon the act will drop and he'll have to hunt the likes of Doyle Redfern, who also finished his transformation and became a child of the night. Unfortunately for him, Eph took him out with a fire extinguisher to the face. One survivor down, three to go as we end this week's episode. We're about three episodes out from the eclipse, but you can get your fix of Nitpicks, Notes, and Nods on the next page! PAGE 2
NitpicksJim never had a wife in the books. He had a girlfriend, but never a wife. Also, Jim never visited the Stoneheart Group, and by this point he's “infected.” This week really changed Jim's character. Here's hoping it's for the better.
Setrakian never had a plucky little hacker friend, nor was he released from jail after a court hearing. Eph posed as his son in order to spring him from jail. Last week's episode took that scene and turned it into the exemplary showdown between the old man and Eichorst.
A correction from the first week's recap: THIS was Eph's last custody hearing... and he still made the appointment, instead of missing it due to his work. Apparently, TV Eph is punctual.
NotesSeeing Eichorst put on his face was never in the book.. and it's an awesome addition! His evil is quite badassed, and I have to say that he's a great case of how adding new characters to the material adds something extra to a filmed adaptation.
We FINALLY have Eph's Canary team mentioned by name! They're named the Canary team because they're supposed to be the early warning team that picks up on deadly viral outbreaks before they go full blown. The canary in the coal mine, so to speak.
BSG Cast Member Sighting! The asshole stock broker whose daughter got bit was played by Matthew Bennett (aka Aaron Doral.) Spoiler Alert: Aaron Douglas (Chief Tyrol) is going to be in Episode 7.
“Gone Smooth” can be taken in two ways: it can refer to the fact that Eichorst and The Master's big plans are going smoothly, or it can refer to Bolivar's nether regions after his species reassignment procedure.
This show loves crushing skulls. Anyone else think this is a kind of cool substitute to wooden stakes?
Missed the previous week's episode? Don't fear! FX has you night owls covered, as they seem to show last week's episode at midnight, before replaying this week's episode at 1 am. (Times are Eastern Standard Time.)
NodsKelly's love for her son is going to manifest in some interesting ways in the future, considering she's Zach's “dear one” by the end of The Strain novel. The metaphor of a “custody battle” can be applied to Zach v. Kelly and Humanity v. Vampires throughout the series of books. It's going to get worse before it gets better, kids.
Reading Assignment: p. 159 – 181 Join us next week for Episode 5 - It's Not For Everyone!
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