The Strain – “Gone Smooth”

Season One, Episode Three


Grade: B-

I haven’t completely gotten used to The Strain yet. The characters are still one-dimensional with very poorly written dialogue. There are cliches left and right. The pace of the show is being stretch so thin that it’s really not worth 100 percent of my attention. But I must admit that the third episode is the best of the series thus far, so I guess that’s a good thing.

There is a balance that The Strain is trying to keep level between its mythology, its characters, the mystery involved with the vampires and keeping it in the horror genre. That being said, the sequence towards the end of “Gone Smooth” with Eph taking down a patient-turned-vampire was very thrilling. Though I found it strange that Eph, Nora, and Jim seems more freaked out that they killed the patient rather that it turned into a vampire who was trying to kill them. But that’s just something I have to get used to in the world of The Strain. Character actions and reactions aren’t normal.

At least Eph is finally beginning to understand there is some sort of dark magic going on with the plane incident. And Nora was able to track down Setrakian, but isn’t completely sold at what he’s telling her about the infected. Maybe after being attacked by one she’ll follow Setrakian instead of Eph. This makes Nora a much better character than Eph already, especially since we don’t have to struggle through any type of family drama that she might have (but definitely won’t because this is obviously a male-centered world. Have you ever seen a sexier biochemist than Nora?). While this isn’t great news for the show, since Eph is supposed to be carrying the show like most main characters do, I’m at least invested in Nora and Setrakian, which is two more characters than I was invested in after the pilot.

I’m wondering why Setrakian isn’t telling Nora more of what he knows. He says that she isn’t ready, but she did track him down to learn more information so she’s obviously intrigued and somewhat believes he’s a credible source. He says they should’ve burned and destroyed the bodies, but doesn’t say why. Maybe he’s just old, but no one is going to follow instructions from a man carrying around a blade in his cane without good reason. Come on Setrakian, get with it!

As for the plane’s survivors, we see Ansel who has a bunch of reporters outside of his house looking for an interview. He’s going through the transformation and even drinks the excess blood from the steak lying in the fridge. Wouldn’t that be some kind of sign that there’s something seriously wrong with Ansel? Yes, his wife was scared but come on now, he even looks like a vampire! If those red eyes, pale skin, and sharpened teeth didn’t convince her enough yet, then drinking blood like it’s juice sure should! Meanwhile, Gabriel is still living like a rock star even though his hair is falling out and his penis falls off. Yes, the title of “Gone Smooth” hits it right on the nose here. But Gabriel barely gives it any thought. He better be completely turned by now because if he isn’t, then where was his WTF?! reaction to his dick falling off?

I get that The Strain isn’t trying to present itself as a highly intelligent, horror-thriller like I expected. It’s a campy and fun vampire tale bringing back the screams instead of the sex like in Twilight. But there has to be a line drawn that improves on the amount of cheesiness throughout every episode. And please, just minimize the stupid moments as much as possible and The Strain will become more than just bearable. This includes eliminating the family drama with Eph’s family entirely. If only.


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