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The Strain “Loved Ones” 

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

Well, we knew that after Matt was found fully turned last week that things probably weren’t going to play out very well for Kelly (Natalie Brown). But I also believe it didn’t end like we thought it would with Eph (Corey Stoll) having to off his ex-wife. Instead, I have a feeling we may be seeing the Kelly Goodweather character for a good while longer. In the meantime, Dutch and Vasily (Kevin Durand) hatch a plot to retaliate against Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) but with unexpected results.

With the addition of Dutch Velders, we have a supposed computer genius in the house, but I now know that if I have any technical issues, I should go to Zach Goodweather(Ben Hyland) instead. After all, he’s the one who comes up with the idea of tracking his Mom’s cell phone via the Internet. After scouring through Setrakian’s (David Bradley) assortment of laptops in his pawn shop, Zach finally finds one that can hold an Internet connection, even if only a faint one. He is barely able to connect but it’s enough to obtain the location of his mother’s cell phone — and the phone is moving. Armed with this new information, Eph heads out to find Kelly knowing full-well that it’s probably not going to have a happy ending.

However, before Eph is even able to find her phone, the audience is clued in to Kelly’s fate through a series of nicely-played flashbacks, starting all the way back to after Kelly and Matt had their big early-morning kitchen brawl. I particularly liked this aspect of the episode since it made it interesting, allowing the viewers to walk in Eph’s footsteps while at the same time watching it all play out from Kelly’s perspective.

In the first flashback, we learn that Matt returns home and judging from the clicking noises in his throat, he’s already fully-turned. He has the chance to turn Kelly right then and there while she’s asleep in bed, but the man shows that he does have some compassion because instead, he locks himself in the bathroom. Of course, Kelly is clueless and storms off to work very angry, thinking Matt is still steamed from their fight the day prior.

When Kelly returns home a few hours later, Matt is still there. Except now, he hasn’t fed in hours, he’s hungry and this time, he attacks. She puts up a pretty good fight and is able to dodge Matt and his stinger for the most part, but not without splashing some infected blood on her face, making way for hands-down the biggest gross-out moment of the season thus far.

Photo Credit: FX
Photo Credit: FX

You know, I was beginning to wonder why in the hell the show’s marketing team went through the trouble of posting that controversial worm-in-the-eye billboard if there wasn’t even a scene in the series that depicted that. Hehe, well, we got that scene tonight with a single bloodworm making its way into Kelly’s left eye. Ewww!!! She is able to get out of the house and away from Matt, but by the time she makes it to her car, the worm has already replicated and we see numerous new ones crawling along her hands and arms. Yes, Kelly has officially been infected.

Like any newly-turned strigoi, her first order of business is to find her loved ones, which in this case is her son Zach. Fortunately, she blacked out after her initial infection, making her late in picking up Zach at school and thus, prompting her friend Diane (Inga Cadranel) to pick him up instead and take him home. This is very fortunate for Zach but not so much for Diane. Kelly heads straight to Diane’s house and even though she doesn’t find her son, just like Matt she needs to feed and Diane and her son happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Not too long after, Eph is finally able to retrace all of Kelly’s steps and finds Diane and her turned son in the basement of their home. Very, very painful scene to watch. I’m sure putting down Diane was no big deal since he didn’t like the woman to begin with, but he also had the chore of doing the same for her son. That’s rough, as I’m sure it reminded him of Zach and what he might eventually have to do to his own son. But, the real moment of truth comes with what he finds clutched in Diane’s hand — Kelly’s necklace and with the chain broken as if there had been a struggle. At this point, Eph knows and we know that he knows. It’s the first time we’ve seen Eph cry — and it will probably be the only time — and even though I don’t like the guy, I truly felt sorry for him.

In the meantime, Dutch and Vasily concoct what I see as a stupid-ass plan of reversing the damage she did to the communications systems and at the same time, attempting to take out Palmer. Of course, they are caught as expected, with Palmer gloating in his success and ordering their immediate executions. The only surprising thing that comes out of all of this is Mr. Fitzwilliams’ (Roger Cross) decision to defy his boss’ orders and let them go. Yes, Mr. Fitzwilliams may be a loyal employee, but even that loyalty has limits, as he admits how “misguided” his employer’s actions are. I do actually like this guy and I really hope this betrayal won’t end up getting him killed.

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

The episode ends with one of the biggest surprises of the season (well, for those who have read the books, it is not a real surprise, but for all of The Strain virgins out there, I’m sure it is). Kelly isn’t killed by Eph like we thought she would be. Instead, it’s revealed that the Master has bigger plans for her. Using the strigoi’s telepathy, the Master leads her down an abandoned subway tunnel and directly to him. What exactly are the Master’s plans for this recently-divorced schoolteacher and mother of one? Only time will tell.

I absolutely loved this episode and I especially like the direction they seem to taking with the Kelly Goodweather character. Regardless of how I and the rest of the viewers feel about her character and how annoying she can be, I thought Natalie Brown did an exceptional job and I’m looking forward to seeing what she can do, as well as seeing her in full make-up and all vamped-out.

Next week, the fight is officially heading underground and into the subway tunnels. As we saw early in tonight’s episode, Vasily’s theory is the majority of the strigoi are nesting in decommissioned subway tunnels and it looks like Setrakian may believe his young protege because that’s exactly where they’re heading.

Episode 1.11 of The Strain is titled “The Third Rail” and airs next Sunday at 10/9c on FX.

Most memorable quotes and random observations

  • Okay, so where in the hell is Bolivar? It’s been four episodes since we’ve seen the guy and given his central role in the books, I think it’s about time he shows back up.
  • It’s also been a while since we’ve seen the mysterious hooded vigilante, Mr. Quinlan. Chuck Hogan said at SDCC that he should be returning in episode 11 (next week’s episode) and will be featured heavily in the final three episodes of the season. I sure hope so because I’m ready for Quinlan and his swat team to kick some serious strigoi butt!
  • So, how long do you think Dutch will last now that she’s out there on her own? Probably not long unless she decides to stop being a dumb-ass and comes back.
  • I could be your boss — Dutch
    Assistant — Vasily
    Boss — Dutch
    Details… — Vasily

  • I wouldn’t dream of wasting your time — Dutch to Vasily
  • I’m on the verge of the ultimate hack — cheating death — Palmer
  • Kelly, come to me. Rejoice and raise your glorious fate — the Master to Kelly

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  1. Tom Hagen

    I enjoy your reviews, thanks for posting!

    The trouble I had with this episode is that it reminded me of the last few seasons of lost – lots of filler material without really advancing the plot. After the Lost finale I promised myself I would never let myself get invested in another Carlton Cuse production ever again.

    The only hope I have for the future of this series is that there is an actual story that has already been written, so the plot is unlikely to become as lost as Lost’s did. From the beginning of that series we were promised that the showrunners knew where the show was going, but that obviously turned out not to be the case.

    I’m still enjoying the show very much, I’m just afraid that they will try to drag a story that could have been told in two seasons into five. If it keeps looking like that I’ll probably tune out until the finale and then watch the whole thing in a weekend marathon.

    1. Mary Powers

      Thank you so much for your comment! I have a confession to make here — I never was a fan of “Lost”. It just wasn’t my cup of tea, and so, I won’t be able to fully appreciate your comparison.

      However, I do get the spirit of what you are saying, and the only thing I can recommend at this point is to give the series a little more time. Have you read the books? You are right, there is a much bigger story that is being told, and it’s alot more than Carlton Cuse and his writers back there making it all up. “The Strain” is an excellent book trilogy, and I think the viewers are going to be pleasantly surprised once they are able to see the big picture (for example, when it is revealed what the Master’s grand plan is).

      As for last night’s episode, on the surface it did appear a little slow but it did actually move the plot forward quite a bit. The big reveal is the Master has some purpose for Kelly, just like he did for Eichhorst, but the viewers don’t know what it is yet (and probably won’t know until at least the season finale).

      And, as for five seasons and coming from someone who has read the books, I think one season per book might work better but you never know. I do know Carlton Cuse said initially the plan was 3-5 seasons, and so, I’m not sure even they have decided yet.

      Anyways, thank you again for your response, and like I said, I would recommend giving the series a little bit more time 🙂


  2. Tom Hagen

    Thank you Mary!

    I will certainly see it through for the last part of the season. I’m very fond of the show. I’m just a little concerned about how long it will be dragged out.

    As an aside, was it just me, or did it seem that the commercials came frequently and long throughout the showing? I don’t recall that from the earlier episodes, but could be mistaken. Is there any way to get the overall show length, not including commercials, for these shows. I know the pilot was longer, I mean other than that.

    Again, Thank you for your thoughtful recaps/reviews and for your response to me. I look forward to your next post!

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