This week, with his team in tow, Eph saves his son from being infected, and with this, their fear and determinacy only increases, while the flashbacks finally reveal a first look at the Master’s face.
Warning: Spoilers follow!
In episode 9, ‘’The Disappeared’’, we see Matt (Drew Nelson) infected and trying to attack Eph’s oblivious son, Zach (Ben Hyland). The boy handles seeing Matt’s head cut off very well, and this is slightly unconvincing. However, Zach could become part of the team in the future with Abe teaching him all there is to know about the strain.
Characters definitely develop, as the storyline takes a turn from the gory shock factor of the effects of the virus, and more towards each character’s fears for the future (or in some cases, lack of).
Eph worries about his missing ex, Kelly (Natalie Brown), and this brings a certain air of mystery hiding behind the main storyline – she is not found, and as there are no clues to her whereabouts, Eph is unable to know if she has become infected herself.
As we see for the first time, Eph and Nora’s relationship becomes more intimate; there’s an inkling that they’ll become an unconventional couple. I don’t think they really understand their own feelings, and the awkward (and truthful) dialogue of Kelly’s friend Diane says it all – they are on the brink of the vampire apocalypse and the only way they deal with the shock of it all is to have sex in Eph’s bed.
This week, I particularly enjoyed the further development of the complicated character Abe, as he becomes almost a sentimental grandpa figure to Zach. He gives him stories to read and shows an unexpected kind nature. Of course, there’s still some of that tough guy exterior when he frankly tells Zach about burning Matt’s body (which is slightly humorous), but this boy is tougher than he looks, taking such imagery weirdly well for a child.
The flashbacks are a highlight of the show at the moment, bringing the rich history of Eichorst and Abe to light. A young Abe tries to kill the Master and although he fails, he is released, but could it be because Eichorst has asked for him to be spared? It seems human Eichorst takes a shining interest in Abe, and is almost quite kind to him, which is completely unlike him in the current storyline.
However Eichorst’s actions become clear at the end of the episode, showing the Master mixing blood with Eichorst in the latter’s rebirth, shaping him into the Master’s vampire right hand. In this flashback, Eichorst is vulnerable when he cries in the bunker (although he eventually picks Abe to be shot). This is a huge contrast to now when he is brutal and heartless, highlighting how the strain really does take away all existing humanity.
Finally, the revelation of the Master is a monumental occasion in “The Disappeared” and in The Strain more widely, though is nonetheless somewhat disappointed. There is a usual admiration for the makeup and costumes of this show because the artistry enables a dark and unsettling atmosphere for the villains to bask in. However the Master’s pointed ears and quite unusual face fails to fright, giving him the look of a caricature more so than a terrifying antagonist. This dissatisfaction could be due to the highly built up question of what/who is the Master, and as we learn more, opinions may change.
Click here for more TV Reviews
Catch The Strain on Watch, Wednesdays at 10pm.
Get in touch with us on Facebook & Twitter, or leave a comment below.