'The Strain' Recap: The Infection Spreads
'The Strain' Recap: The Infection Spreads
M.K. Costigan
M.K. Costigan
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Previously on The Strain, Eph and Nora got a dose of reality thanks to Setrakian and his cane of doom. "Runaways" chronicles the aftermath of the revelation that they're living in a city rapidly filling with undead monsters. Eph continues to handle this calmly, though I guess when you make a living dealing with Ebola and the like, it takes a lot to faze you. He's still in the French family's house, where Setrakian is serving up eggs with a side of backstory. Setrakian explains that the Master is intelligent as well as evil, and an expert at creating the best circumstances for spreading his infection. The V-word is finally used, but it seems the show is going to stick with the Romanian equivalent -- strigoi -- instead. Using foreign words always adds gravity.

Two More Down

Eph and Setrakian head over to Ansel's house, since he is the next person on the flight list. When they get there, they find that Annie has hung herself. I haven't read the book this show is based on and thus have no idea what's going to happen, so I'll admit that this surprised me. I assumed we would get some info on whatever debilitating personal issues she clearly has, but it is not meant to be. Her death is mainly important because it gives Setrakian a chance to explain that the reflections of infected people vibrate, so a mirror test can be done.

Eph wants to get video footage of Ansel so that he'll have proof of the infection and what it does. Though he is a young and able-bodied man, he lets the octogenarian enter the shed first. Luckily, Ansel is still chained to the wall, making it easy to decapitate him. They also find the rude neighbor huddled in the corner, infected. Setrakian makes quick work of him as well.

Poland, 1944

Setrakian and Eph part ways because each must play a different role in stopping the outbreak: Eph is going to take the footage to his boss and try to have a quarantine instated, while Setrakian is going to keep on cutting people's heads off. He supports Eph's decision to leave, since he will still be helping. "Inaction is the greatest evil," he says.

And he would know, as we see firsthand in his flashback. The Strain takes us back to Poland, 1944, where a young Setrakian, his brother, and his grandmother are en route to a concentration camp. He seems improbably old in this flashback, since it would make him about 90 in the present day. Perhaps hunting down unholy demons puts a spring in one's step. In any case, the brothers are separated from their grandmother when they arrive at the camps, and their nightmare begins.

Eichorst is the director of this camp, which means that his Master can't be far behind. The Master has taken advantage of the situation (or perhaps engineered it to suit his needs) and is feeding on prisoners. It's actually pretty ingenious, horrifying though it may be; the deaths can easily be dismissed as related to the camp conditions, and none of the prisoners are in a position to make a fuss about it. Setrakian actually sees the Master and tries to rally his brother, but his brother just wants to keep his head down and survive. This does not work out, as the Master kills him one night while Setrakian watches. 

Worst Boss Ever

Eph goes to the CDC and gives a passionate speech to his boss detailing everything that's happening and everything that needs to be done. The boss listens and watches the video of Ansel, but ultimately doesn't care. Whether he thinks the entire thing is too bizarre to be believed or whether he is just terminally inept, we cannot say. What we can say is that there is video footage of Eph dragging Doyle's body, and the CDC is more interested in a neat murder charge than a wide-spread quarantine. Jim, at least, believes Eph. He helps Eph escape before he can be arrested, apologizing all the while. Eph isn't interested in his apologies, though, and instead tells Jim to work on getting a quarantine in place. 

The Other Two

There are now only two survivors remaining of the original four. Gabe has fully transitioned, though this has not prevented him from wearing his hideous wig. His management sends a neurologist to deal with his obvious medical issues, but he is beyond help. He kills her, and his manager walks in on him using his tentacle projectile to drain her blood. Rather than calling the police, the CDC, Oprah or anyone else who could be of some help, the manager calls someone to hide the evidence of Gabe's crime. Is he really that famous? Sure, he had a few groupies at the airport, but the guy appears to live above a club and can't even afford a decent lace front. I'm not sure he warrants this level of protection.

The body disposal specialist arrives and is unconcerned with the fact that Gabe is, at minimum, a homicidal psychopath. Gabe naturally attacks him, and the specialist shoots him. But his bullets are not made of silver, and Gabe quickly recovers and kills him. Nothing of value was lost.

We also revisit Joan the lawyer. Her time away has not made her any less unpleasant. Her infection is progressing less rapidly than the other survivors, so as of yet she still has her hair and genitalia. Her children's nanny, Eva, realizes that something is seriously wrong. When she sees that Joan has developed a second pair of eyelids, she proves to be one of the few people with any sense in this genre and immediately takes the kids and gets the hell out of dodge. I don't know if we'll ever see Eva again, but I salute her.

And the Rest

This show and its choppy pacing manage to fit a few more storylines into the episode. Palmer makes a brief post-op appearance to once again express his inability to accept human mortality. Fet continues to be obsessed with rats. He's determined that something must be driving them out of their nests, so he goes into the sewers to investigate. Everything is covered in ultraviolet nastiness. Even worse, though, Fet finds an entire hoard of strigoi hiding away from daylight. He barely escapes back into the sun, and now we know that the infection has already spread well beyond the survivors and their families.

Nora too learns this lesson. She goes to visit her mother in an assisted care facility. Her mother has some form of advanced dementia and keeps asking to go home. Dementia hasn't diminished her mothering skills, though, and she realizes that something is deeply troubling Nora. Nora explains that she doesn't know if she can do what needs to be done and her mother gives her a sweet pep talk. There is clearly a very loving relationship between these two, which makes it all the more heartbreaking that Nora isn't able to care for her mother on her own. But she will soon have to, because a strigoi breaks into the facility and begins attacking people. Nora takes her mother and runs into the night. Hopefully, there aren't any more waiting outside.

The Strain airs Sundays at 10pm on FX.

(Image courtesy of FX)