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The Strain “The Disappeared” 

Photo Credit: FX
Photo Credit: FX

Last week’s episode was hands-down the most action-packed, fast-paced of the season thus far.  There was not a single dull moment in the entire sixty minutes and when it was over, I was so bummed that we were going to have to wait an entire week to see what was next for Abraham’s newly-upgraded, but unlikely group of misfit soldiers. Wow times 100. With an episode of that caliber, it stands to reason that this week we would take it down a notch and concentrate more on the characters. In “The Disappeared,” this is exactly what we got, with lots of great stuff on a new character, some on an old character and a lot on the character who is the worst but who is also the absolute best, Thomas Eichhorst (Richard Sammel).

Let’s Talk About Dutch Velders

I have to be honest here. Even though Dutch Velders (Ruta Gedmintas) is a character that was created specially for the television series, I really did not see her sticking around for long. I knew she would get the job that she was hired for done, but after that I thought Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) would just have her killed in order to cover his tracks. I am happy to report that I am so glad that I was wrong because she is turning out to be one of the most interesting characters, and one of the few with an ounce of integrity.

Tonight, we learn that while Dutch may be a genius when it comes to computers, she has a lot to learn with respect to people. The girl, Nikki, she was with in the convenience store appears to be one of her few friends and from the way things look, it doesn’t appear like she is a real friend at all. The girl completely takes off, along with all of Dutch’s money as well as her laptop. Some friend. And if you’re a detail freak like me, you probably picked up on Dutch’s comment, “She was more than a roommate. We were really close.” So…were Dutch and Nikki more than just friends, as in girlfriends? Yeah, I’m getting that vibe and if Dutch is a lesbian, that puts a serious dent in the theory that there may be something between the software guru and our hunky exterminator, Vasily Fet (Kevin Durand).

Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FX
Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FX

But regardless of her sexual preference, I am starting to think that she is one of the few in the group with a conscience and moral compass at all. Dutch is smart as a whip and is quick to see that she had a big hand in creating this hell-on-earth they are in now. And instead of keeping it all a secret and protecting her status in the group, she is straight-up with Setrakian (David Bradley) about it, which won major points with me:

I thought it was about corporate bullshit and greed, about making him more money —Dutch

What did you do? — Setrakian

I worked my ass off to shut the Internet down — Dutch

You disrupted communications on behalf of Eldritch Palmer? — Setrakian

Me and my hacker group, yeah. I had malware in the city’s top four fiber-optic centers.. — Dutch

Well, I appreciate your honesty — Setrakian

I appreciate it too, Dutch and for the first time, this does offer a glimmer of hope even if only a small one. Assuming she can reverse the damage she did, at least cell phones and the Internet will be back up and that’s something. Perhaps I’m somewhat biased because I’m a software geek myself, but I can see Dutch Velders quickly becoming one of my favorite characters. Great character development here and can’t wait to learn more.

Let’s Talk About Dr. Goodweather

For those who have read my past reviews, you’ll know that I’m not the biggest fan of Eph (Corey Stoll). Except for the warmth and the care he showed Jim (Sean Astin) in last week’s episode, there’s very little good that I’ve seen of this man. And just when I thought I could not feel more disdain for our supposed “hero,” along comes tonight’s episode, which managed to kick this character down yet a few more notches, basically hitting rock bottom.

The one thing that I can give Dr. Goodweather credit for is how much he loves his son, Zach (Ben Hyland) and the lengths he will go to in order to protect him. I don’t doubt for a second that he would lay down his life in order to save Zach’s. But, he has absolutely no respect for anyone else and has total disregard for their feelings.

Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FX
Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FX

So, now let’s cut to the chase: THE sex scene. When I first saw the Eph and Nora (Mia Maestro) sex scene, I was totally WTF? You’ve got to be kidding me! You just killed Matt (Drew Nelson) in the living room, your ex-wife is missing, your son may be in danger and *now* you decide to bang your girlfriend — and in Kelly’s house!! After blurting a whole bunch more of curse words, it finally dawned on me. This really isn’t shocking. And why? Because this is exactly who Ephraim Goodweather is and it’s exactly what the character would do. Aside from Zach, the only person who Eph cares about is himself. And this point is made perfectly clear with his comments when Kelly’s friend Diane barges in on them:

      I love my wife. She’s the mother of my son. I will do anything to find her — Dr. Goodweather to Diane

Oh. My. God. Did you catch the look on Nora’s face? Ouch. I definitely think that was a wake-up call for her, you know the moment when she realized she’s nothing more than a piece of ass. Hopefully, she’ll move on and find someone who is deserving. Nora can be dingy and annoying sometimes, but she has a good heart and she needs to find someone who can appreciate that.

Just like with Dutch Velders, some great character development here. Eph is a jerk and I hate him, but that’s irrelevant here. Unlike the complaints I had about how the Jim and Sylvia Kent characters were handled, the writers have been consistent with Dr. Goodweather. He started out an ass, has continued to be an ass and I don’t think that will ever change.

Saving The Best For Last — Thomas Eichhorst

If the episode had ended here, it would have been average, mediocre at best. But just like past episodes, the Setrakian and Eichhorst flashbacks manage to pull the episode up into the “good” category, with some of the most powerful scenes of the series thus far.

From the scenes in the episode “For Services Rendered,” we had the suspicion that even though the pre-strigoi Eichhorst was a tyrant and would kill people needlessly and without mercy, there did seem to be a human side of the monster even if it were a small, faint one. For a very brief moment, he let a softer side shine through and hinted that he may have actually liked the young Setrakian. Well we got a few more scenes like that tonight. He is curious when Abraham returns to the old workshop where he made the Master’s coffin and comments that he understands the emptiness of completing a major project and doubting whether you can ever achieve that level of perfection again. But the biggest tell occurs when Eichhorst is leading the prisoners out of the camp after it comes under attack. Take a look at Eichhorst’s face when he discovers Abraham’s broken hands. He is genuinely saddened and heartbroken because he knows what he has to do and doesn’t want to do it. Abraham can no longer work and so he has no choice but to send him to be executed. Yes, Eichhorst the man, does live!

But not for long.  Shortly after that, the Third Reich falls and it cuts to a scene of Eichhorst in the woods and into the lair that he has specially created for the Master. Here is what we’ve all been waiting for, that moment when Eichhorst is turned by the Master (Robert Maillet) and becomes one of the few elite commanders of the New World order.

Why have you forsaken me? I’ve done everything you asked — Eichhorst

Yes, Eichhorst, you have — The Master

I’m ready — Eichhorst

Then, it is time — The Master

To a new order — Eichhorst

Photo Credit: FX
Photo Credit: FX

No contest here, this is one of Richard Sammel’s best performances. I’ve watched this scene at least a dozen times and it just keeps getting better and better. Eichhorst is the epitome of greed, power and pettiness. The Third Reich has fallen, he is a nobody now and he’ll do anything to get that feeling of power back, even if that means giving up his humanity and becoming just like this monster that stands before him.

Photo Credit: FX
Photo Credit: FX

My God, look at this creature. Who would actually want to be turned into one of these things? But Eichhorst not only wants it, he’s down on his knees begging the Master for it. Damn. Very powerful stuff. So this episode goes down as yet another one where Richard Sammel and the Thomas Eichhorst character totally steal the show.

Next week, it looks like the pace is going to kick back up again. Felix is dead, Gus (Miguel Gomez) is free now and probably heading home, but I worry about what he may find once he gets there. And while Vasily said he was dropping by his loft to get a few things, my gut says he is going to check on his parents and I have a feeling that’s not going to turn out well either. Of course, Kelly Goodweather (Natalie Brown) continues to be missing and while it hasn’t been confirmed yet, we all have a good idea what has happened to her and what her next move will be.

Episode 1.10 of The Strain is titled “Loved Ones” and airs next Sunday at 10/9c on FX.

Most memorable quotes and random thoughts

  • So, Eph and Vasily continue to clobber strigoi and splash around infected white blood.  Ever heard of gloves?
  • I can’t teach you how to be a human being.  Eat your bologna – Nora to Vasily
  • I’m coming up with you, to make sure it’s safe – Vasily
    Fine. No making out with you, though — Dutch
  • Whoa! My God, it’s like a bat cave – Dutch

And the quote of the night and probably one of the funniest scenes in the episode, goes to Momma Martinez (Anne Betancourt):

You think this is funny? Leaving me here. Who’s these people? Well, I’m not cooking for them! – Mrs. Martinez

Nora’s mother — Setrakian

Obviously — Vasily

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