TV Review: The Strain, Season 1, Episode 10

Episode 10: Loved Ones

SUMMARY: Ephraim (Corey Stoll) searches for his estranged wife, who we learn is now part of the Strigoi. Meanwhile, Setrakian (David Bradley), Vasily (Kevin Durand), Nora (Mia Maestro) and Dutch (Ruta Gedmintas) form a plan to get the city network back online.

REVIEW: Last week's episode of THE STRAIN was probably the most frustrating installment so far in that it was a relentlessly mediocre episode that just happened to follow the best episode in the show's run so far. That's the problem with THE STRAIN, in that you'll get a great episode, or flashes of brilliance with plenty of filler and the occasional bit of bad writing threatening to drown it out. I've said it once and I'll say it again, THE STRAIN would be amazing if it was more focused, say eight to ten episodes a season rather than a bloated thirteen.

Speaking of filler, pretty much all of Kelly Goodweather's back story which takes up much of this episode and shows how she got infected could have been excised without much of an effect. Maybe this bit would have meant something if we were invested in her as a character, but she's been so two-dimensional so far this all comes off as unnecessary rather than tragic. We do, however, get the big money shot where the worm goes into Kelly's eye that was the basis for the already infamous teaser posters.

On the other hand, the stuff with Vasily and Dutch infiltrating the Stoneheart group was compelling. While I initially didn't know what to make of Kevin Durand's Vasily, he's quickly turning into my favorite character after David Bradley's Setrakian, who mostly sits this episode out. After many episodes off-screen, Jonathan Hyde's Eldritch Palmer finally reappears, although I'm still not completely sold on his motives for helping the Strigoi, in that he wants to achieve immortality. Clearly things will not work out for him. I did like the twist where Palmer's men let Dutch and Vasily go, which is a nice touch.

In the end, this episode of THE STRAIN is better than last week's installment, but still relatively disposable, although the ending does set up a nice dilemma for Eph, with him forced to kill not only his former neighbor, but also her now transformed son. He'll also have to contend with his wife, which should finally give Stoll something really juicy to work with – and it has to be said, he nailed the last bit of the episode.



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