Coming off of the high that was “Creatures of the Night,” it was going to be difficult for The Strain to keep up that level of quality, I know. And “The Disappeared” gets off to a strong start, with Zach (Ben Hyland) immediately in danger from a horrifyingly turned Matt (Drew Nelson), which allows Eph (Corey Stoll) to step up and play hero while also bringing together another piece of the puzzle to our anti-vamp freedom fighters. Because that’s what they’re becoming now. And that’s kind of awesome. The last missing piece also gets touched upon this week, as we follow Gus (Miguel Gómez) and Felix (Pedro Miguel Arce), the latter of whom is not doing well at all. And thanks to the chaos outside — which is disappointingly haphazard and scattered, really only seeming to be relevant when it is convenient to the story — the only doctors available will be the Ryker’s docs who check on all the newly-admitted prisoners. So once the potential inmates are loaded into a van, it’s pretty clear what’s going to happen. And it plays out pretty much exactly as one might expect, up to and including Gus killing Felix and escaping alone into the night. Gus’ story is really suffering from clichés and stereotypes; not to mention the fact that he’s relegated to the background without really getting a chance to shine. The focus on Eph is really the part of this show that drags everything else down with it. The sooner we can shed his melodramatic egomania and shopworn soap opera antics, the better. You would think that with the Vampire Apocalypse picking up steam we’d be free of awkward sex scenes at inopportune times followed swiftly by the whole clichéd “getting caught in the act” contrition. Guess again. While we’ve gotten Eph to embrace the fact that vampires exist and to mostly stop second-guessing Setrakian (David Bradley), he’s still just a pompous dick and generally unpleasant to everybody else on his side. Honestly, I’m not sure what he even brings to the story other than providing an artificial source of friction. Hell, if this were Night of the Living Dead, Eph would be the douchbag from the basement. Meanwhile in 1944 Poland, the Nazis are losing the war and Eichhorst (Richard Sammel) is overseeing the digging of mass graves while Young Abe (Jim Watson) is plotting his own defense and hoping for an opportunity to escape. Unfortunately his plan to defend himself with a stolen knife should seem pretty stupid to anyone who’s been paying attention. I suppose it’s just desperation, but I have to agree with The Master when he asks if that’s the best he could do. Abe kind of earned those crushed hands with that move. But he’s still able to escape the collapsing concentration camp with the help of others, and while he’s fleeing in one direction, Eichhorst heads in another, making his way to a secret underground lair where he finally receives his payback for helping The Master get his coffin made and providing a free banquet. It’s just too bad that the big dramatic reveal of The Master (voice by Robin Atkin Downes, body by Robert Maillet) is undercut by the ridiculous, plastic-surgery-disasters design. The missing nose is an interesting stylistic choice, and we’ve already seen that on other vampires (I would have preferred a more snub, bat-like nose, but beggars can’t be choosers), but that mouth is a train wreck; especially when combined with the huge pointy ears and his big rubbery hands. All the fear that was building in our house as we watched, dissipated immediately into groans and chuckles. The Master just isn’t scary. And that’s the biggest failing of this episode. The Strain 1.09 “The Disappeared”2.5Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.