Episode 10 of ‘The Strain,’ “Loved Ones,” attempts to tug at viewer’s heartstrings with Kelley’s new nature, but the clunky flashbacks and predictable foiled schemes make for the most disappointing episode yet.
With the internet disabled to prevent mass communication, Kelley’s ex-husband and series protagonist, Ephraim, along with her son, Zack, conveniently secure just enough internet access to locate her phone signal. Low and behold, when Eph finally locates the signal source, its in the hands of a stranger. This begins the arbitrary series of flashbacks.
The flashbacks reveal Kelley is a vampire with at least two kills. She twitches through the city and the answers The Master’s beckon call. She stands fearlessly toe-to-toe with the hulking figure who affectionately tells her to, “embrace her destiny,” begging the question- is her transition part of The Master’s grand design? Could his ancient wisdom and patience help him devise a plan that would cripple his future enemies?
Vampire Kelley could reduce Setrakian’s vampire-hunting death squad by one- she may be Ephraim’s Achilles heal. Fet and Dutch’s foiled scheme to restore the internet prove Eph is Setrakian’s best shot of victory over the vamps. He may be the key to finding the cure for the vampire strain, but could The Master have known that before he landed in New York all that time ago?
The poor plot development continues when Palmer’s loyal henchmen, who just moments ago promise to kill Dutch, decide to simply set her and Fet free. This combined with gratuitous flashbacks and a serendipitous internet connection make for a frustratingly flat episode.
How are viewers supposed to care about Kelley when she is a stranger? Zack’s tearful trip down memory lane, watching a cellphone video of Kelley’s playful birthday antics, is an eleventh hour effort to help readers empathize with her current state and Eph’s inevitable tough decision. And how exactly are viewers supposed to care if Ephraim has to kill Kelley when he bedded Nora on his missing ex-wife’s sheets?
The show seems to keep viewers on the hook by dangling the question of the mysterious vampire vigilantes. It has been several episodes since the undead vampire hunting squad curiously appeared to save the day. Perhaps their sudden appearance is meant to foreshadow Kelley’s eventual role, or to highlight the fallibility of plans. Either way, it’s time the show delivers. Sure ‘The Strain’ has a few exciting and well structured episodes, but consistency is lacking.
What did you think of Episode 10? Where do you think the ‘Strain’ is leading viewers? Please post predictions and reflections in the comment section. ‘The Strain’ airs Sunday nights at 10:00 PM on FX.