While this week was a step up from the stupfiyingly weak “The Disappeared,” The Strain 1.10 “Loved Ones” still had some issues. On the plus side, when it was good, it was really good. Unfortunately it also meandered around, wasted a lot of time, and fell back on a couple of what are becoming standardized Strain clichés. Basically we have three storylines this week. One where Eph (Corey Stoll) goes out looking for Kelly (Natalie Brown); In the second, we flashback to see what Kelly’s been up to for the last 32 hours; and in the third, Vasiliy (Kevin Durand) and Dutch (Ruta Gedmintas) concoct a ridiculous plan to get into the offices of the richest, most powerful man in New York, Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde). Once again, we don’t get any Gus (Miguel Gómez) and I’d almost forgotten about Bolivar (Jack Kesy)! No movement on his storyline either. And Nora (Mía Maestro) and her mom (Anne Betancourt) may as well not even be in the show at this point. This show could also use a healthy dose of Stephen McHattie right about now. Let’s start from the bottom, so we go out on a good note, shall we? For a moment or two, I thought we may have had some sort of justification for inventing Dutch’s character and adding her to the mix. She’s a computer hacker and her hacker collective brought down the internet in a misguided attempt at social justice. Instead she’s actually helped doom humanity to living lives of cattle. But wait! If she can get back into Palmer’s office she can reverse her hack? That literally makes no sense whatsoever. In fact, it may be one of the stupidest ideas I’ve seen on TV in years. And I almost made it through the first season of Sleepy Hollow. But hey, it lets us watch the sexy blonde chick act tough and banter with the sexy ratcatcher, who so far is not living up to the potential of the character. Was her character added just to add some sexual/romantic tension for Fet? If so, they’re dropping the ball there. Maybe she was added so we could have another woman in the cast who was actually proactive? Whoops. Missed out on that one, too. Dutch has added nothing to The Strain’s narrative so far besides giving us another character to pay attention to and Bogart time from other, more interesting characters. Where’s Gus? What’s happening with our Rock and Roll Vampire? It’s been days (in-story) since we’ve seen or heard anything about him. Hell’s Bells! Where’s the Vampire Hunter, Quinlan? The only thing that the Dutch and Fet storyline did this week was force Palmer’s No. 1 Henchman, Fitzwilliams (Roger Cross) to show his hand. He may not agree with the horrific things (VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE!!!) his boss has done, but he’s not going to do anything to stop it. He also won’t kill the people who are trying to stop it. So basically, he’s another character that does nothing and adds nothing to the story. And if this is going to become an important plot point later, giving away his lack of dedication to the cause at this point really undermines any sort of dramatic tension and surprise later. This isn’t foreshadowing. This is showing your hand. Moving on to the only moderately pointless part of the show, Zach (Ben Hyland) is able to use one of Abraham’s (David Bradley) pawn shop laptops to get online long enough to access a web site that will track cell phones and tell you exactly where they are. So once again, the internet and technologies are working just fine when needed to forward the plot, but then fail once they are no longer necessary. This is getting very annoying. Anyway, Zach is able to track his mom’s cell phone, which is apparently moving around during the daytime, so there’s some hope that maybe she’s okay. Eph then goes out on a solo mission to track her down. Unfortunately all he finds is a homeless woman who found Kelly’s phone, and Kelly’s first victims. And when Eph exterminates them, we get an emotional moment where he expresses his sorrow for the fate of his wife — not necessarily for the people he’s just killed. But hey, they weren’t his favorite people to begin with. And when he gets back to the pawn shop and tells Zach that the search was a bust, what should be a powerful dramatic scene, turns into Eph being melodramatic and Zach just walking off without a word, leaving his dad behind. Honestly, it’s what every character should be doing whenever Eph starts emoting. Just sigh and walk off, bored with his self-obsessed bullshit. But who were Kelly’s victims, you ask? For that, let’s move on to the best part of the episode. As all this other wheel-spinning and time wasting is going on, we jump back 32 hours to when Vampire Matt (Drew Nelson) came home and still had a semblance of himself in his vampiric shell. He gets home while Kelly is still sleeping, so things look grim, but then he locks himself in the bathroom until she gets up and goes to work. Because of course you’re going to still go to work when the news is all about mass murders, stock market crashes, and any number of horrible things that happened overnight when vampires started roaming the streets. Oh wait! That’s not what you do, especially when your CDC husband warned you earlier of a PLAGUE SWEEPING THROUGH THE FUCKING CITY. Since barely anybody else showed up for school (Kelly’s a teacher) — students or teachers — that’s when she realizes that something’s not right. When school is therefore cancelled, she, instead of going to pick up Zach, goes straight home where she is, of course, attacked by Matt and infected. But not before she busts up his face. She then, apparently passes out in her car somewhere and doesn’t wake up until dusk — because now that the show’s really rolling, we can’t waste time with an incubation period like we had when everything began. This means she missed picking Zach up, which is why her friend Diane (Inga Cadranel) was bringing Zach home last week. We then get some good work by Natalie Brown, as she stumbles through the city in mid-transformation, still not sure what’s wrong. She tries to pick up Zach, but he’s long gone, so she heads over to Diane’s looking for her boy. Instead she finds Diane, sleeping/passed out on the couch with an open bottle of wine in front of her. When Diane lets her in, concerned because she looks like hell, things get vampire freaky. Diane’s nameless son comes downstairs to see what’s what and Kelly drinks him. Then when Diane tries to stop her, she gets juiceboxed too. Then, Kelly staggers along to a subway station (during which we get a “cool” shot of her new Vampire Vision), hearing the siren call of The Master. Looks like he’s got plans for her. So yeah. That’s why Eph wasn’t all that tore up about Kelly’s victims, since they kind of hated each other anyway. Her nameless kid was just collateral damage. He doesn’t like killing the kid, but it’s not like he was a real character anyway. Sorry. I said we’d go out on a positive. Um, it looks like Kelly will get to stay pretty, even when she turns? Maybe? The Strain 1.10 "Loved Ones"3.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Dignan Well put…more illogical actions by the characters. At its best the show is an entertaining distraction, but it ain’t no Walking Dead. Which comes back in just a few weeks!