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Last week on The Strain, evil was tightening the noose on our intrepid band of would-be vampire hunters. All the while, Eph Goodweather was navigating the rough waters of love and responsibility. With his son safe, but Kelly missing and Matt turned, Eph had to settle for the "two out of three" special. This week, he learns just what's happened to Kelly, which leads us to one of the harshest moments of this season.
”Zach? Sweetheart, where are you?”
While Eph doesn't receive a hint until the end of the episode, we learn that Kelly has officially gone full vampire. While killing Matt, she accidentally gets infected, and we get to see the progress of infection through Kelly's timeline. She becomes disoriented, looks worse for the wear, and even makes a friend with another vampire as she slowly searches for Zach, her dear one. By time she get to her (annoying) best friend Diane's house, she turns fully. Which leads to tonight's MVP moment: she not only feasts on Diane, but on her son as well!
Taking a cue from the Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem school of caring for child characters, The Strain actually shows us a child being vamped! Now, this show hasn't shrugged off any unpleasantness in its first season, but this was a pretty damned cold moment, and it only furthers the attitude that no one is safe. We've seen others at the moment of the turn, but we've never seen as full of a representation as we have this week, seeing Kelly go through the various stages of subhuman transformation.
”If we're going to his building just to borrow his WiFi, you're wasting my time.”
The second big arc of the week belonged to Fet and Dutch, as they tried to infiltrate Eldritch Palmer's lair. To a degree they were successful, as Fet's ladykilling charms put in some overtime this week, winning over not only a receptionist but also Dutch herself. Of course, the big bad millionaire was on his guard and knew a threat when he saw one. While both were detained, Dutch was the one that Palmer chose to give a monologue to on how he sees vampirism as the ultimate hack to human DNA. Surprisingly enough, Mr. Fitzwilliam isn't on board with the whole world domination thing, and lets our two captives go unharmed. Fet and Dutch get to live to fight (and flirt) another day.
That is, if Dutch ends up coming back, since she and Eph had that verbal sparring match resulting in her departure. While his attitude wasn't the best, you can see where the man was coming from. By the end of the day we see probably the most emotionally resonant ending to an episode of The Strain that we've ever witnessed. We see Zach retreat to his room and watch a video of what we can assume is his last birthday. The Goodweathers are determined to be a family again, but that's never going to happen. All that's left now is to see who breaks through to that fact first.
Next week, the tunnels of New York City are about to get even more unfriendly! Come back to us next week, dear loved ones, as we recap The Strain episode 11, “The Third Rail”!
Nitpicks*Kelly's transformation isn't confirmed until the end of book 1.
*This week was another week of off-book adventure, and is especially disruptive of Fet's original romantic trajectory.
Notes*We got to see VAMPIRE VISION this week!
*Watching Kelly's progress from infection victim to Master's lackey is something that actually improves on the thematic arc depicted throughout all three books. It feels like The Master sees that Eph is the weak spot in the group, and he's taking full advantage of it.
*Fans of the original marketing materials for The Strain must have loved how Kelly's infection reflects that same image.
Nods*This isn't the last time we'll be seeing Kelly Goodweather. She's in the rest of the series, working for The Master.
*If this show isn't squeamish about showing children becoming vampires, then we're probably going to see that whole busload of blind children that get turned during The Fall