Reviewing: The Strain Episode Three “Gone Smooth”

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Title: The Strain
Network: FX
Airtime: Sunday 10 PM
Starring: Corey Stoll, Mia Maestro, David Bradley, Sean AstinAbout Episode “Gone Smooth”: The third installment has our intrepid scientists, Goodweather and Martinez, slowly grasping the truth behind the plane incident. Indeed the final scene, as riveting as it was, reveals to the scientists, including Jim, that the nature of the plane “virus” is something beyond anything they have experience or understand. A forked, flicker tongue darting out of a man’s mouth has that effect, I would think.

What We Think: The episode begins with the show’s strength: gory details. Eichorst, as we suspect, isn’t really human. It was fun and gory stuff to watch him “prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.” The series thus far works very well when it concentrates on the gore and unpleasantries associated with being infected by “the strain” and what it does to its hapless victims. For example, what happens to one of the plane’s survivors, the promiscuous rock star “Gabriel,” was chilling and a little funny, too. The rapid decrepitude Gabriel undergoes is both shocking and fascinating.  This show certainly does not view vampires in the same super sexy way that say True Blood does. They are a nasty, evil looking bunch not interested in getting laid.

Our Grade: B– The problem with the series and this episode is the same: while de Toro and Hogan’s story works well when conveying the metamorphosis of the victims and amping up the tension between the infected with those who are not–everything else falls flat. The story between Goodweather and his son is silly; it seems designed to ramp up the emotional stakes (I bet to pay off later) but not really an attempt to “humanize” Goodweather. Further, the stupidity of the Mayor’s office overruling the CDC’s quarantine seems implausible, especially since vicious worms were found on the plane and the four “survivors” were still ill-looking as they were “released.” Additionally, when Martinez tracks down Walder Frey, err, I mean Setrakain, to seek his input, he simply blows her off. If, as the show suggests thus far, that he really understands what’s at stake, why wouldn’t he enlist her help, even if she does not believe? None of that makes any sense. But if you like gruesome and startling shows, turn off the logical part of your brain and enjoy the schlock.

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