'The Strain' Recap: Nightmare Symptoms and Bad Parenting
'The Strain' Recap: Nightmare Symptoms and Bad Parenting
M.K. Costigan
M.K. Costigan
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
In this week's episode of The Strain, "Gone Smooth," we quickly dispel any lingering doubt that this show is about sexy vampires, as so many others are. No, my friends, this is very much the opposite. Veteran vamp and Nazi extraordinaire Eichorst demonstrates this in the first scene, by revealing his true self to be a half-rotted corpse. It takes prosthetics and Oscar-worthy make-up to make him the fresh-faced war criminal we know and love. New York, behold your future.

Human Ken Doll

When we last left the four plane survivors, they were a bit worse for wear. Captain Doyle was in the hospital dealing with ultraviolet worms crawling through his body, Goth Gabe almost ripped out a groupie's artery with his teeth, and Joan the lawyer was crankier than usual. This week, Doyle's condition is worsening at a rapid pace, and neither Eph nor the doctors attending him have any idea why. They're also trying to figure out what happened to their medical examiner friend (eaten by reanimated corpses) and where all the bodies from the plane went (out in search of more people to eat). They are reminded once again that this is no longer the CDC's issue, and once again they don't care. 

At some point, government agencies will have to stop passing the buck, though, because things are getting progressively weirder. In addition to Doyle's baffling illness, Eph finds a bathtub full of bloody water at the French family's house, but no father or daughter in sight. Fet, the Ukrainian exterminator with an arguably unhealthy interest in his job, notices that rats are flooding the streets and sewers of New York in his 90 seconds of screen time. And though Eph doesn't know it yet, the other survivors are displaying more and more bizarre symptoms. 

Ansel finally gets some attention this week. He's now at home again with a wife who has clear attachment issues. We know things are going poorly because his dog now growls at him, the universal sign that evil is afoot. He also appears to be having some teeth issues and drinks the blood from a raw steak. But this is nothing compared to what's going on with Gabe. He can no longer sing, is still hearing voices and his hair is rapidly falling out. Other things he's losing? His genitalia. His penis falls off in the toilet, and rather than being concerned about this, he flushes it. As a woman, I cannot speak to what kind of response is adequate in this situation, but this seems like an under-reaction.  

The Cat's in the Cradle and the Silver Spoon

A variety of personal issues also crops up among this weirdness. First, Jim begins having doubts about releasing an unidentified, illegal piece of medical cargo out into New York. He meets with Eichorst to receive the second installment of his blood money and have a moral crisis. He's not a bad guy, though, because he only brought doom upon the world to fund his wife's cancer treatments. Faced with the disturbing things he's seen since taking the job, Jim is prepared to turn himself in anyway, but Eichorst ups the ante and gets his wife into a promising experimental treatment that could save her life. Thus, Jim keeps his secret for at least one more week.

It's also time for Eph's custody hearing. Amazingly, he actually makes it to the hearing on time, but it does not go well. Even though he coached Zach about what to do, Zach has not forgotten that his dad is obsessed with his work and that the most quality time he's had with him recently is watching an iPad video of him giving a CDC press conference. Zach says that he thinks it would be better for Eph to only have visitation so that he could focus on this one true love: work. Eph is understandably upset and takes it out on his ex, who continues to be nothing but kind to him. And that's that drama for the week.

Bad(ass) Grandpa

As things continue to get more perplexing, Nora decides to try and learn more from Setrakian. She meets him at his court hearing, where he plays the senile and holocaust cards to get out of the charges against him. After, he reiterates to her that she must destroy everyone who was on the plane and anyone those people have come in contact with since. She doesn't understand him, and he has no patience for her confusion and unwillingness to get messy. Instead, he hires a teen hacker and gets the flight manifest himself. I hope to be that much of a go-getter when I'm old.

Finally, the team goes back to the hospital to check on Doyle, only to find that he's escaped. Jim finds him in the basement, drinking blood transfusion bags. He appears to have fully transformed from human to vampire, and tries to kill Jim and Nora as soon as he sees them. Eph arrives to help, and Doyle launches the larynx-projectile-blood-sucking-monstrosity that all the creatures seem to have. Unable to stop him any other way, Eph smashes Doyle's head in with a fire hydrant, and he and the team are left confused and horrified by what has just happened.

The Strain airs Sundays at 10pm on FX.