The Strain S1E3, “Gone Smooth”

Strain Poster 2

I was hoping the “Smooth” referred to in the episode title had something to do with Eph’s hair finally getting the boot.  Sadly, it was referring to Bolivar’s Mechanical Animals moment.  Maybe they’ll soon discover that vampires are drawn to hair, and Eph will shed his locks.  Fingers crossed.

We’re now three episodes in, and I feel like The Strain is starting to pick up.  There are still a lot of unconnected storylines flying around and a lot of character drama I don’t particularly care for, but things are starting to happen and the show is more interesting for it.

You all see Pacific Rim?  (If your answer is “no”, then we probably can’t be friends.)  How about GodzillaPacific Rim was tremendous.  Godzilla was decent.  Neither of them had particularly compelling dialogue, so what made one so much better than the others?  Pacific Rim knew what it was and what the viewers wanted, so they just threw a ton of massive fight scenes at us.  Characters talking about something unimportant?  It’s okay, here’s a big fight to keep you interested.  Godzilla didn’t do that, and the characters weren’t good enough to hold my interest in the early going.
Which brings us back to The Strain.  Try as they might, I still can’t get myself to care too much about these characters…and that’s with me having read the books.  These episodes have found themselves being bogged down with drama involving characters that I don’t have any connection to.  It’s a slog to get through.
What made this episode better than the first two?  Distraction.  Things were happening outside the characters drama.  There were still some truly tedious moments in this episode (hello, Eph’s custody hearing!), but there were more distractions.  We got to see vampires, and the wives who don’t care if they drink blood.

This wasn’t a great episode by any means, but it was a step in the right direction.  Maybe they’re deliberately throwing bad acting and bad dialogue at us to set-up a B-movie vibe.  I’d be perfectly fine with that.  Just make sure you’re extremely liberal with your blood use.


1. One of the characters said, “They showed our house on the TV news.”  Who says “the TV news”?  Besides Fenton Mewly, that is.

2.  The custody battle storyline.  It’s a terrible storyline that they have spent entirely too much time on.  In a show with a ton of important characters and dozens of disconnected threads, it just seems like a waste to spend so much time on this.

3.  The scene with Eph visiting the house of the man that was killed at the end of the previous episode.  This isn’t a knock on the scene – it was a tense scene – but rather a knock on his thought process.  The guy called the night before saying that his daughter (his dead daughter) was at the house, very much alive.  All of the dead bodies from the morgue went missing.  And yet Eph decides to check out the house the next day all by himself?  What kind of sense does that make?  Good scene, terrible logic.

4.  Setrakian’s “you’re not ready for the truth,” speeches are getting really old already.  Nora had tracked him down to find out what was really going on, and he pulls that nonsense?  She recoils a bit when he says they need to track down families and kill them – a reaction any normal person would have – and he says, “You’re not ready.”  Why not explain the situation to her a little more?  She seems open to finding out the truth.  You can’t expect everyone to hear, “kill families” and respond with, “Okidoke!  Gimme a sharp sword.”  And, if you did meet someone like that, you probably wouldn’t want them on your side, because they’re just a likely to turn that sword on you.  Because they’re crazy.

5.  The decision making of pretty much every character.  You’re all terrible.


1. The opening scene with Eichorst putting on his face.  It was a terrific scene, and a great way to start an episode.
Fun fact: every time I type “Eichorst”, I think “Einhorn”, which finds me repeating “Finkle is Einhorn” for the next 30 minutes.

2.  Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet.  He had a bigger part in this episode and he made the most of it.  Funny guy.

3.  The look on Bolivar’s face when his penis dropped off.  Just an expressionless stare.  It was an odd scene and it made me chuckle.  Although I doubt you can flush a penis down a urinal without it getting clogged up.  (Please no one test this.)

4.  The head-smashing scene.  I love me a good head-smashing scene.  Smash ‘em up, Eph.  Smash ‘em up real good.

5.  No Gus this week.  Hooray!

6.  They’re making a good habit out of ending every episode on a high note.