The FX thriller, The Strain, continues to bring remarkable special effects to network television as it questions the dangers of interpersonal relationships.
The four survivors morphed into blood-thirsty, asexual monsters. The most disturbing scene: Gothic rock star, Gabriel Bolivar, loses his genitalia while urinating. Moments earlier, he stared into his bloodshot, balding reflection before making his way to the toilet. There is a curious plop as he finishes. Bolivar, unfazed, flushes and the camera slowly pulls away from his face as he moves from the toilet, revealing his new Ken doll physique. Does this give the vampires an evolutionary advantage?
The weakness of characters who made dangerous agreements with the likes of Thomas Eichorst, the Master’s chief lieutenant , and Eldritch Palmer, Stoneheart Group’s owner, unleashed the Master, the infected bodies, and the four survivors on an unsuspecting city. The two men preyed on vulnerable family ties. Jim Kent, for instance, was the one man who could have kept the Master at the airport, but his love for his sick wife lead him down a slippery slope. Asexuality certainly eliminates those pesky interpersonal distractions.
This sentiment is paralleled by Ephraim Goodweather’s family problems. Ephraim struggled to balance family and his unyielding devotion to his CDC work. In a heartbreaking scene, his son makes the choice for him. During a joint-custody hearing, the boy tells the judge that his father should be able to visit him twice a month, which would allow his father to take care of his important work. Ephraim is floored, but he barely has a moment to process the loss. In the moments after he loses custody of his son, Ephraim faces the virus- and he’s battle ready.
Ephraim comes face to face with the true nature of the virus when Captain Redfern finishes his metamorphosis. Ephraim was called to the hospital when Redfern’s condition deteriorated. Before Redfern makes it to surgery, he disappears.
Jim Kent finds Redfern in the basement feasting on blood bags. When Redfern attacks the team, Ephraim saves the day- armed only with a fire extinguisher. Once more, the fruits of metamorphosis are revealed- Redfern’s flattened head marks Ephraim’s evolution. Unlike Bolivar, Ephraim is physically intact, but he shed a piece of humanity that Setrakian would argue only made him weak.
Setrakian, in the mean time, has accessed the fated flight’s passenger list. He is prepared to hunt down and destroy each person on the list and anyone they’ve been in contact with. Is the encounter with Redfern enough to push Nora and Ephraim to help Setrakian?
What would you do if you were in their shoes? You can share your reactions in the comment section.
The Strain airs Sunday evenings at 10:00 PM on FX.