The Strain, Runaways Review

David Bradley as Setrakian next to his vampire heart in The Strain. Photo by 3 - © Copyright 2014, FX Networks. All rights reserved

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With the previous episodes in the series slacking in the amount of action to hold anyone’s interest due to the overwhelming amount of lackluster exposition, Runaways manages to make The Strain the exciting television show I wanted to see since the first couple of commercials. Story still plays a major factor in this episode, however, with some stellar sequences that had me on the edge of my seat, this is the best episode of the season so far, and by the looks of the teaser for next week the show is on the up and up.

The episode wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the definition but it was an improvement. Now that Eph and Abraham (Corey Stoll, David Bradley, respectively) have joined forces, they’re using their knowledge to try and stop the evil forces from spreading across NYC. Scared and by herself, Nora (Mía Maestro) is questioning her actions; is she right for turning her back against Eph and Abe (my new nickname for him. Okay, I’ll stop), is what they’re doing the right thing? A meeting with her mother (played by Anne Betancourt), whom resides in a nursing home, sets everything in motion, albeit at a slow pace. Bolivar’s (Jack Kesy) hunger for blood has gone rampant, killing the doctor scheduled to see him and the man to help him dispose of the body. Bolivar’s manager, played by Regina King, escapes without a scratch and her presence unknown.

We get to see what’s happening with the lawyer Joan (Leslie Hope); it’s nothing we really haven’t seen before with Ansel and Redfern (Nikolai Witschi, Jonathan Potts, respectively) before her. Throughout the episode we’re given flashback of 1944 Poland during the Second World War and Abraham’s involvement and connection with The Master. Not much was given just yet but it does set up something promising that is sure to deliver in the next few episodes.

Joan’s maid (Kim Roberts) quickly notices the changes in her and decides to take action immediately, something almost every other character hasn’t done, with the exception of Ansel. At least we get an explanation as to why Joan hasn’t transformed into a full-fledged monster like Redfern or Bolivar with an exchange of dialog between Eph and Abraham.

The two big surprises this episode were very much needed to push the show toward boring to entertaining: One, Vasiliy Fet’s (Kevin Durand) venture into the sewage tunnels and his discovery of the vampires set my adrenaline going; and two, Eph now has to run from the law because of the Redfern ‘murder.’

Him on the run adds another layer of tension to the story; we’ve all seen this before in other vampire films, but this feels much different. Could Eldritch (Jonathan Hyde) and Elchorst (Richard Sammel) be behind the workings of the CDC?

Vasiliy uncovering why the rats of New York are all scattering across the city was the most tension filled scene of the night. There is still much to be learned about Fet’s background but this mystery behind his character has me wanting to tune it even more. Plus, Kevin Durand is great in anything.

As we’re getting a bit deeper into the mythos of the vampire lore of The Strain, you can feel the show ramping up. First off, vampire’s reflections vibrate in the mirror, they can be killed by silver, and sunlight can do damage.

Overall, there were some filler pieces in this episode that I could have gone without or tightened up but it was a much needed step in the right direction.

Some Things to Consider:

•I hope Regina Hall comes back.

•If Elchorst is seen during the day in 1944 does that mean he wasn’t turned yet or does he possess the power of the ‘Daywalker?’

•I loved the flashbacks to Poland. Wish they were utilized more.

•An episode directed by RoboCop equals awesome.

•The religious wife of Ansel hanging herself was a bit surprising for me, considering how much of a badass she thought she was to her neighbor.

•Why does Bolivar continue to wear his wig? Does now wear a strap on to comfort he, too?

•Killing vampires continue to use the same conventional methods set forth by Bram Stoker.

•That small snippet of Sean Astin at the very end gives me hopes that we’ll be seeing a lot more of his heroics and none of the stupi