The Strain S1E5, “Runaways”

Strain Poster 2

I hate to keep harping on the same points over and over again, but they give me no choice.  Outside of Abraham Setrakian, there are no other characters with decent stories.  This show drags when it is driven by character drama.  I liked seeing Setrakian’s history with The Master and Eichorst, but the rest of the drama doesn’t do anything for me.  I don’t care enough about Nora to care that her mother has Alzheimer’s (that’s not knock on Alzheimer’s; it’s a horrible disease that I don’t wish on anybody).  I don’t care enough about Vasiliy Fet to be interested in his flirty relationship with his Rat Queen.  They’re trying to get us to care about these characters, but it’s just not working.  (As a reminder, I have read the books, and I loved some of the characters, but their small screen counterparts aren’t doing it for me yet.)

Setrakian is great.  He has a sword and a nail gun, and his plan is to use those to kill vampires.  That’s pretty much his only plan, and it’s as beautiful as it is simple.
At the end of the last season of The Walking Dead, our heroes(?) found themselves locked in a train car in a camp full of cannibals.  Rick – their fearless leader – turned to the group and appeared to have a plan in place.  His cohorts gathered around, waiting for his brilliant plan.  “He’s going to tell us the plan.  We’re going to win.  We won’t be eaten.”  Instead, he said, “They’re screwing with the wrong people.”
When Setrakian heard about that nonsense, he laughed and put a silver nail into Rick’s leg as a form of motivation.

We got some fun with Boliver, and we found out that Larry Fessenden is the man to call when you need to get rid of a messily dispatched urologist.  Just don’t call him to kill a vampire.  The man is useless without a pit.

There were some creepy scenes, and I like how Eph is all-in on Setrakian’s bonkers plan to eradicate the vampires.  But, overall, this episode just felt like a drag.  There are too many disconnected storylines.  The sooner they all start connecting, the better off the show will be.  The best scenes in this episode were Setrakian and Eph talking through how they’ll fight back “the infection”.  The worst scenes were pretty much anything besides those that didn’t actively involve vampires.


1. I don’t like that this bothered me, but it did.  How was it that Setrakian was the only person in his bunk to notice The Master?  It’s not like it was a quiet affair; all fast movement and loud robes.  And yet Setrakian was the only person who heard it.  How is that possible?

2.  Nursing Home Vampire came out of nowhere, and it was an extremely short scene.  It seemed like it was thrown in as a panic move.  “We need to get Nora and her mother together.  But how do we get her out of the nursing home?  Vampire shows up out of nowhere!  HIGH FIVE!”

3.  Eph returning to his genius-level milk drinking.  If I had just seen a couple vampires beheaded and spewing white blood infested with worms, the last thing I would want to drink would be milk.  I assume they cut out a scene of Eph watching the blood flow from a vampire’s neck then say, “Mmmm.  That looks good.  I’ll have that.”


1. Bolivar dragging his victim into a dark corner while growling, “Mine!  Mine!”  It was a good way to kick off the episode.
His assistant mentioned that his upcoming concert was titled “Serenade for an Eclipse.”  In the book, the eclipse was a big deal, but I don’t remember them mentioning it in the show except in passing.  Am I wrong, or did I just miss all the eclipse talk?

2.  Setrakian dropping eggs of wisdom.  Some of my favorite lines:
“They are no longer people and to think of them as such is extremely dangerous.”
“I will not hesitate to release you.”
“So you’re romantic and impractical.”
“Inaction is the greatest evil.  We both have work to do.”

3.  Larry Fessenden’s character’s name was Jack Noon.  JACK NOON!  As near as I can tell, that makes him an 80s action/porn star who mainly does Western themed films.  I bet Jack Noon parties are insane.  That Jack Noon is always looking for the magic.
On the Del Toro scale of names, Jack Noon ranks right up there with Stacker Pentecost and Hercules Hansen.

4.  The camera zoom on Setrakian’s face as he stood outside the shed containing Vampire Ansel.  It’s moments like that that lead me to believe they’re very much going for a b-movie vibe.

5.  They’re doing a good job of setting up the rules for this world.  “One worm is all it takes to infect you.”  “A vampire’s reflection will shake in a silver mirror.”  They’re being very clear, and I love that.  I hate a world with hazy rules that are easy to backtrack on.

6.  Vasily Fet wandering the sewers – based on the premise that rats are running from a larger predator – and coming across a horde of vampires.  Really creepy scene.