Cash Rules Everything Around Me
"The Box" opens with Eph and friends finding the body of the flight officer, head smashed to bits. While they're trying to process this trauma, they learn that the four survivors from the plane are being released instead of quarantined, as all good sense would indicate they should be. Though they all want to leave for various reasons (Gabe has to go be goth elsewhere, Joan the lawyer is just fundamentally unpleasant, the other guy is busy evaporating into irrelevance), they are also all pale as death and complaining of a humming noise no one else can hear.
Eph tries to use reason, but is deflected by Joan's lawyer skills and the fact that a paper was recently released detailing issues with carbon monoxide on the airline. Carbon monoxide poisoning is therefore the public reason for the mass death, since a quarantine would mean shutting down all trade out of New York and the loss of millions. So the survivors are released, despite being visibly ill, and Eph is suspended for being competent at his job.
This would be a very short season if that actually deterred Eph, so he and Nora have an unauthorized meeting with the newly-released Captain at a bar. He is the only survivor willing to acknowledge that something is seriously amiss, partially because he feels guilt for what happened. He does bear a bit of responsibility; he explains that the box was a last-minute cargo addition, but neither he nor anyone else questioned it because the guys who dropped it off looked official. This is a show filled with vampire worms, yet this is easily the most implausible detail we've encountered yet. Eph shows great restraint in not calling the Captain and the US government out at length for this stupidity, and leaves the Captain with the number of a doctor he should see.
It is at this point in the episode where we deviate from the action and dive into Eph's wealth of personal issues. Having just discovered that the worms like to eat blood, and kissing Nora in order to further complicate his life, Eph goes to visit his wife and son. He and Kelly are still civil with each other, and Eph even manages to extend an olive branch to her new boyfriend, Matt. He is mostly concerned with the custody hearing taking place the next day. He wants Zach to vouch for giving him joint custody, which Zach would be cool with if his dad were ever present in his life. Eph promises to be better about that from now on and Zach accepts, reminding his dad not to be late tomorrow. This is a sure sign that he will be late tomorrow.
Eph then heads over to an AA meeting, where he gets a full monologue about his emotional problems and the general crappiness of his life. I am not going to recount it because his issues are all self-evident, and there are still Nazi vampires coming up in this recap. Let's not delay that more than necessary.
Having addressed his personal failings, Eph gets back to work. The Captain is getting sicker and displaying totally unheard-of symptoms, including all of his bodily processes being rewritten to accommodate the virus. When they shine a UV light on him, they find that he has the same scar that the passengers on the airplane had and that there are ultraviolet worms crawling under his skin. There isn't enough Prozac in the world to unsee what has just been seen. From there, Eph and Nora head over to the morgue, since Dr. Bennett hasn't answered any of their calls. When they get there, they find that the place is a mess and there are no bodies to be found. Thus ends their storyline this week, and thus begins my psychological tailspin.
A Typical Day for Ozzy Osbourne
Now that we know what's becoming of the Captain, let's see how the other survivors are doing. The neurotic man is nowhere to be found, because even the script doesn't care about him. Joan and Gabe are around, though, having lunch with Gabe's manager, Ruby. They continue to deny that they are clearly sick, despite the facts that they are deathly pale and Joan is now spitting up blood.
As for Gabe, he does what any true rockstar would do after being unwisely released from quarantine and has an orgy. But it does not go well. Strands of his hair have started to fall out, and he goes into a fit of bloodlust and bites one of the girls in the neck. When they leave, justifiably terrified, he begins licking the trail of blood off the floor. If he'd only done this on stage, he could be really successful.
And the Rest
Anyone not already mentioned gets about two seconds of screen time in this episode. Gus gets a grand total of two scenes. In the first, he parks the coffin-filled van in a warehouse and tries to open it before realizing that this would be a horrible mistake. In the second, he goes home to find that his junkie brother, Crispin, is stealing and giving the goods to their mother. They fight about who is the worse son, and nothing is resolved.
Evil billionaire Palmer is still too egotistical to die. He has apparently been doing things like stealing organs to stay alive, which neither he nor his devoted assistant have any moral issue with. Having used his money to orchestrate the release of the survivors, he heads to the warehouse to meet with the vampire. Eichorst is there to give his boss an introduction, and when Palmer finally sees the face of the monster he weeps with joy.
Emma the little French girl and her father make another appearance. The father calls Eph to thank him for releasing his daughter, unaware that Eph examined her dead body and thinks the father must be blinded by grief. And he truly must be, because Emma is very clearly a reanimated corpse. She's completely blue-gray, has an extra set of eyelids and her hair is falling out. Paternal love trumps all this, though, so the father is unprepared when she unleashes a lamprey-like sucker from her mouth and bleeds him dry. Don't worry, he'll probably be up and at 'em in a few hours.
There is also a Ukrainian exterminator who has a cat and shuts down a restaurant. Presumably, he will be important at some point.
Finally, the vampire Nazis! Eichorst goes to visit Setrakian and refers to him as "Jew" and by his concentration camp number. Eichorst apparently worked in or for the camp, because he takes credit for giving Setrakian his number and is just hugely anti-Semitic. Through Eichorst's gloating, which seems to be his entire reason for visiting Setrakian, we learn that Setrakian's sword belongs to Eichorst's vampire master and that the heart in his secret room belonged to a woman he loved and was unable to save. Setrakian remains badass and resolute throughout this conversation, which is by far the most unsettling thing we've seen thus far on the show. And in a show filled with skin-burrowing parasites and frightening ineptitude, that is saying something.
The Strain airs Sundays at 10pm on FX.
(Image courtesy of FX)