The Strain Recap: 1.3: Gone Smooth

The title for this week’s episode of The Strain is both my favourite title for an episode (from any TV show ever) and one of the most horrifying things I have ever had the joy to come across. Welcome to episode three of season one of The Strain called Gone Smooth.

If you haven’t guessed what this title is referring to, don’t worry, you’ll have it by the end of the episode, I promise.

Warning this post contains spoilers for The Strain

If you’re like me and want to go spoiler free, than I suggest you stop reading here and go watch the show. Come back when you’re finished to join the discussion!

Gone Smooth Brief Episode Summary

Eph and Nora fight to save Captain Redfern’s life. Meanwhile, Abraham is released from jail and gets the passenger manifest, while Jim meets with Eichorst and discovers the price he has to pay for his wife Sylvia’s health. [x]

Vampires Love Classical Music

I really love how this episode started. You hear classical music and someone humming, it’s clearly a vampire. I originally thought it was going to be the Master, since we haven’t had a good look at him yet. The camera pans out and we see Eichorst putting on makeup and fake ears. Thank you The Strain for answering my question why Eichorst looks so human.

So far Eichorst is the best antagonist of the series. He’s menacing, he’s unpredictable and the actor clearly is having the time of his life playing bad.

Eph and His Family, Exactly What You’d Expect

To the surprise of everyone involved (except for Zack), Eph manages to make the custody hearing.

Zack is the one who shines in this scene, he tells the lawyer that he understands that his Dad has a highly stressful and important job. He wants to live with his Mother to be out of Eph’s way but wants to spend time with his Dad when Eph has time. He comes across as mature and unbiased towards his parents. Eph doesn’t like it.

There is a great conversation between Eph and Kelly where she points out that Eph that Zack wants to do what is best for his father, even if that goes against what he wants. The conversation (to no ones surprise) dissolves into a useless argument where Eph storms off.

Our Hero Doesn’t Believe In Vampires

Eph decides to go and visit Mr. Arnot’s house after the weird phone call in the previous episode. What follows is Eph wandering through a house where something clearly awful happened while he’s on the phone with Nora. He wanders into the bathroom and finds a bathtub full of blood and hair, he proceeds to act like this is completely normal, going as far as to stick his hand in the water.

The scene is shot really well. As you watch Eph wander through the house, ever once in a while you get a point of view shot from what the audience knows is the little girl vampire who is watching him from the shadows.

Eph is one stupid decision away from becoming vampire food. After he leaves the house the audience finally gets their payoff and you get to see the child vampire.

Setrakian Doesn’t Have Time For This

Nora goes to watch Setrakian’s trial in hopes that she can speak to him after. Even if Eph refuses to accept that the old man knows what’s going on, Nora’s down to follow any lead.

Setrakian plays feeble for the court, using the Judge and jury’s prejudices against them. You get the idea that this isn’t the first time that he’s had to do this. As he leaves the court house he goes from feeble old man to his regular stature. The scene is played for laughs, but you also feel sorry for the old vampire hunter. He’s clearly used to not being taken seriously.

When Nora finally has a chance to speak with him she’s not pleased by his answer. Setrakian tells her the only way to contain the plague is to destroy not only the bodies of those form the plane, but to round up their loved ones and kill them as well. Nora is horrified. Clearly it’s not the answer that she was looking for. Not to mention Setrakian implies that he’s going to start rounding these people up himself. For all she knows Eph is right and this man is crazy and possibly a serial killer.

Catching Some Rats

Vasily Fet is so far the best character on this show. He’s clever, he’s charismatic and he’s down to earth.

Upon arriving at work he gets sent to the Mayor’s house to deal with a rat. Fet argues at first. On his list of places he needs to be there is a hospital and a school but he is being sent where? He grudgingly goes to the Mayor’s office and has a cute scene with the Mayor’s daughter. Fet clearly has a problem with corrupt authority figures and gives the Mayor a hard time for using his job to get his house looked at.

As Fet leaves the office he sees a mass exodus of rats fleeing the island of Manhattan. I expect this is going to be the event that gets Fet to start digging into what’s going on in the city. He’s far braver than I. If hundreds of rats fleeing isn’t a sign to get as far away from New York, then I don’t know what is.

More Survivors and Meat Juice

In this episode we’re introduced to Ansel Barbour, another survivor from the flight. Ansel, as we’ve come to expect is not having a great time. Matters are made worse by his agoraphobic wife Lisa Marie who is panicking about his illness

Throughout the episode we watch Ansel undergo his vampire transformation. Everything builds up to a scene in the kitchen where he finds a steak marinating in the fridge. At first it looks like he’s going to eat the meat raw (weird but not super weird for a horror story), instead he happily begins drinking the bloody marinade (or meat juice as I like to call it).

It’s Ansel’s wife watching and says nothing about her husband’s transformation that brings this scene from mildly uncomfortable to horrifying.

And if you thought that was weird…

Gone Smooth

The vampire anatomy is something that the show hasn’t really gone over in full. If you’ve read the books or the graphic novel you know there are some pretty grizzly details. My personal favourite being that as a vampire feeds it also voids it’s bowels. I’m just waiting to see that on TV.

Then there is the nice little bit of transformation that this episode drew its name from.

Bolivar refuses to sing during the dress rehersal for his upcoming show. He complains of having a sore throat and a constant ringing in his ears. His personal assistant sends for a Doctor.

As Bolivar watches the Doctor lists off a bunch of medications that he can put Bolivar on. Bolivar listens quietly and when the Doctor asks if he has any questions Bolivar opens his robe to show the Doctor. The Doctor informs him that there is nothing he can do for that and will have to send him to a specialist.

Bolivar’s transformation is protrayed differently from all the others we have seen up till this point. He’s a a goth shock rocker and is constantly dressed for the part. You cannot tell where the white makeup ends and the vampiric transformation begins.

We find Bolivar in the bathroom washing off his makeup and removing his wig. He uses the toilet when all of a sudden there is a splash. Bolivar looks down and flushes. He turns to face the camera. He’s a ken doll.

Seriously???  And you flushed it? If one of my limbs fell off, I wouldn’t just apathetically get rid of it. Does turning into a vampire make you stop caring about loss of limb? Or is he just high on the blender of pills that the Doctor gave him?

I’m so concerned.

This scene had such a lasting impression on Chelsey and myself that we included it in our Top 15 WTF Moments on the Strain Season One. You can watch the video here.

The Poor Pilot

Chelsey raised a great point that Captain Redfern is an allusion to Renfield from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Other than the similar names, they serve as a warning for the coming of their Master.

I love all the little throwbacks to Dracula (episode one was full of them) and I love how they’re not over the top. If you’re not familiar with Dracula and any of his adaptations it takes nothing away from this show.

Redfern willingly gave himself over to Eph and Nora to serve as a patient. He blames himself for what happened on the plane, not to mention he doesn’t feel right. He is put into quarantine, but nothing that Eph and Nora do seems to help him in any way.

Our heroes leave him alone for a while and when they finally return he is gone. Redfern is tracked down to the basement of the hospital where they find him happily munching away on the blood bag supply. Eph tries to convince Redfern to go with them back to his room and the encounter turns nasty.

Our heroes have to protect themselves from their first real vampire attack. Redfern’s aim starts out a little shaky but he’s a quick learner.

Eph manages to get in a good shot at Redfern and murders their former patient. The episode ends with them standing around Redfern’s corpse in shock.

In Conclusion

In all honesty if the humans keep making stupid decisions, than the vampire apocalypse is eminent. When characters actions are clearly just to drag out the plot or create tension it becomes distracting.

Other than that, the episode was fun. You begin to see just how deep the vampire invasion goes. You learn that Eph’s right hand man Jim has made a deal with the devil (Eichorst), which we all know will come back and bite them in the ass later. We learned more about the anatomy of a vampire and the process of transformation and we learned it’s not pretty.

Hopefully our heroes will come together soon and get on stopping the vampire apocalypse. I for one am not ready to accept my worm ridden vampire overlords, thanks.

See you all next week for our coverage of episode four: It’s Not For Everyone

Written by
Alexandra is always looking for the next book she can devour. She has a love hate relationship with teen fiction specifically when it comes to fantasy, post apocalyptic and failed shakespeare adaptations.

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