Last Sunday’s episode of The Strain left us on a shocking note with the infection and death of Jim Kent. Can this night’s episode, “The Disappeared,” up the emotional stakes even more? Well, Eph does have a family, right? Tonight the Master strikes straight for his heart.
The episode picks up with Zack being dropped off at Kelly’s house by Kelly’s friend Diane, who is worried because she hasn’t been able to get in touch with Kelly. The house is dark, the streets are deserted, and there are strong hints that something is wrong, but Zack is allowed to go in on his own anyway. Bad decisions are the bread and butter of horror.
Inside the house is trashed, but fortunately Matt is home. Unfortunately, Matt is infected, and tries to hit Zack with his stinger. Zack, who I will remind you is a young boy, easily dodges it, again showing that stingers are deadly and accurate except when required not to be by the plot.
Fortunately Eph and the vampire squad pull up outside the house at this moment in the bread truck they escaped the exploding gas station in last episode. Zack gets lucky with avoiding two more stinger strikes and then Eph comes to the rescue. He stabs his ex-wife’s new boyfriend with a silver dagger and cuts his head off with a shovel.
Vasiliy and Setrakian want to search the house for Kelly, but Eph insists that if they do find her “nothing happens while my son’s here.” Dutch wants to search the house for booze, but alcoholic Eph just says “I don’t live here any more,” which might be a sign he’s gotten that demon under control long enough to fight the literal ones.
Eph explains the strigoi as just another infectious disease to his son. Kelly is not there, and Setrakian warns that if she is infected she’ll come straight for Zack.
Felix and Gus are still locked up and Felix is still slowly transforming in the cell. He was infected on the day of the occultation. Based on what Zack says earlier about Matt not coming home “last night,” the night of the day of the occultation, it’s been more than a full day since Felix was infected.
The cop guarding the cell says lots of guys are coming in sick, and they begin to transfer Felix to Riker’s Island where he is promised medical treatment.
Eph is spending some quality time with his son packing a bag and telling him about how he was wrongly accused, how he escaped from prison, and how a crazy old man gave him a silver dagger. He says he’s sending Zack to Setrakian’s pawnshop for safety. He says he’s staying behind to fix the place up so Kelly won’t freak out when she comes home, failing to mention that his cleanup will involve burning Matt’s body.
“I don’t know where your mom is but I’m going to find her,” Eph tells Zack. “Your mom’s a survivor.”
Nora is sad about the death of Jim and resents Vasiliy casually shooting him last episode. Vasiliy, however, is cheerfully eating bologna. Setrakian says “there is no hope” for those that are infected. Vasiliy says he did what needed to be done.
“If someone was going to help him die, it should have been one of us,” Nora says. “Someone who loved him.”
“But you weren’t ready to do it,” Vasiliy says, which causes Nora to say she can’t teach him how to be a human being and to “eat your bologna.” Vasiliy does, his conscience still obviously clear.
Dutch wants to go home. Setrakian wants to go to his shop to plan for their next battle.
We flashback to the concentration camp, which seems like it might be in its last days as Germans are burning papers and having the prisoners dig a suspiciously large hole in the frozen earth. Setrakian is digging, but he’s also watching Eichorst, who supervises nearby.
Nora and Eph are both staying to clean up the house as the rest of the group leaves with Zack. Vasiliy tries to introduce himself to the boy but Eph stands menacingly in his way. Dutch makes a point of saying she feels bad about the death of Jim, which, of course she should because it’s ultimately partly her fault as the hacker who caused the citywide communications slowdown that helped the strigoi.
Big hug between Zack and Eph before they head to the bread truck. You can understand how Eph might feel conflicted in this situation. Yes, the world is falling apart, but he’s finally getting to spend some quality time with his son.
Vasiliy drops Dutch off at her apartment, going up with her to make sure it is safe. Her lover Nikki, the girl who escaped the convenience store in the last episode, is not there. Nikki has also stolen Dutch’s money, laptop and backup. Dutch freaks out and destroy’s Nikki’s knicknack shelf in a rage.
In the bread truck Setrakian tries to comfort Zack by telling him that Matt turned into a vampire and came after him because he loved him. Yeah, his comforting skills seem a little rusty.
Zack points out that Eph didn’t use the word vampire, but Setrakian says “He will. Trust me, there’s power in naming things.”
Setrakian then essentially tells Zack that Matt had human rabies and had to be put down, and that he should get over it as soon as possible.
“Mourn Matt’s passing and move on. Life will insist. You mustn’t fail life,” Setrakian says.
We flash back to the concentration camp workshop where past Setrakian built the Master’s coffin. Setrakian finds the silver knife he stole in an earlier episode and straps it to his leg with tape, hiding it underneath his pant leg.
Eichorst enters looking for “8230385,” which is the only name he’ll allow Setrakian. Eichorst assumes Setrakian, an artist, is bereft after finishing his “superb project.” The camp is being shelled by allied forces, and Setrakian asks what will become of the inmates. It’s clear the Nazis intend to execute all of the prisoners.
Before Vasiliy can leave Dutch’s apartment, they get a visit from her stoner neighbor. He’s stoner strigoi now, and launches another ineffective stinger before Vasiliy brains him with what looks like a rock pick. The body is crawling with those little white worms. Vasiliy won’t let Dutch stay in an infected building, so he takes her with him and they all leave in the bread truck.
At the pawn shop Nora’s mom is mad about being left alone. They head into Setrakian’s creepy vault workshop, which Dutch says is like the “Batcave.” Setrakian gives Zack a giant old vampire book to read.
Vasiliy points out the obvious, that there must be humans helping the Master. Setrakian gives a speech about people seduced by the promise of power while the camera helpfully focuses on Dutch.
Setrakian and Vasiliy’s bromance is full-on at this point. Although Vasiliy protests that he “has feelings,” it’s his unsentimental nature that makes him Setrakian’s perfect apprentice.
“Leave the feeling to others,” Setrakian says.
Setrakian wants to find the Master’s nest, which will push the plot to its end-game. But perhaps remembering he still has feelings, Vasiliy wants to go home to check on a few things first.
Nora and Eph are wrapping Matt’s body in plastic so they can destroy it. They note that he has an injury on his face and hope that Kelly caused it and got away, but there’s a growing sense that Eph is in denial about her circumstances.
Nora says that in Argentina you inherit the dread of people simply disappearing, a reference to the suppression of political dissidents through kidnapping and murder in Argenina’s Dirty War and the reference that the title is drawn from. But that just makes Eph mad and he says his son isn’t growing up without a mother.
The pair burn Matt’s body, but they mourn Jim. Nora asks if they should say any words about Matt, but Eph just says “No” and walks away. Way to hold a grudge, dude.
At the pawn shop Setrakian is cooking and explaining Dutch’s part of the strigoi plan, the disruption of communications, to Dutch, unaware that she was involved. She finally breaks down and admits Eldritch Palmer hired her to shut down the grid. She’s still slightly proud of the horrible thing she’s done, but feeling sorry for herself for losing the money and trusting “that plastic-faced’ German dude, Eichorst. Setrakian asks her to try to undo what she’s done.
A flashback to he concentration camp barracks, the one the Master has been visiting for midnight snacks in previous episodes. This time Setrakian has the sliver knife. He cuts himself to make the master hungry and the master grabs him.
The Master, at least, is willing to call Setrakian Abraham. He crushes his hands and says he knows Setrakian has been watching him and mocks his plan to knife him. Setrakian prays for help from God, which leads to a “Where is your God?” villain moment from the Master. He horribly mutilates Setrakian’s talented hands and then lets him go.
“There is no one to help you, wood carver,” the Master says.
In the prison transport to Rikers, Felix is really sick. He finally turns and tries to stinger Gus, and of course misses. He tries to stinger the driver of the truck, a minor character, and expertly spears him through a small barred window.
The truck, with a dead guy driving it, crashes.
Nora is in Kelly’s bedroom apologizing to her mother over the phone for leaving her at the pawn shop, but the battery dies. Nora and Eph start making out, then Nora quickly rips her pants off and they start aggressively screwing.
The surviving prison guard enters the prison van and is speared by Felix. Gus takes his gun, dodges one more stinger strike, and reluctantly shoots his hermano in the head. There seems to be a bit of recognition in Felix’s eyes before he does, and he doesn’t try to fight back.
Gus grabs the guard’s key, uncuffs himself, throws the key to the other inmates, and runs out into the night.
There’s a quick scene with Setrakian trying to explain to Zack why it’s taking so long for Eph to come home without saying they are burning Matt’s body, which leads into another concentration camp flashback.
It’s the next morning and Setrakian’s hands are ruined. He asks another inmate to straighten them, saying the guard’s broke. Outside Eichorst inspects Setrakian’s hands and seems legitimately disappointed at the destruction of such a great artistic instrument. Eichorst is sorting groups of prisoners, one to be taken elsewhere and one for the death pit, and seeing Setrakian’s talent is ruined and the Master has no more use for him sends him to the death pit.
The prisoner’s are just about to be executed and dumped in the pit when Allied forces attack and all hell breaks loose, with soldiers shooting and planes flying overhead. They all run for it and climb the barbed wire. Some prisoners help Setrakian climb over and they run into the woods.
Epha and Nora are together in bed when Kelly’s friend Diane comes in and catches them. She’s looking for Kelly and she’s mad about the fooling around. She says Kelly has told her a lot about Nora, another implication that Nora was one element that led to the end of Eph and Kelly’s marriage. Eph is defiant and instead of apologizing asks her to call him if she sees Kelly.
“I love my wife. She’s the mother of my son. I’d do anything to find her,” Eph says.
They leave because Diane is calling the cops, and Nora tells Eph not to forget his dagger. It’s interesting how a dagger is becoming an important element in both Setrakian and Eph’s plotlines, and we’ll probably see it come back at some point.
Back at Setrakian’s pawnshop Zack and Eph are reunited. Zack has figured out that they burned Matt’s body and Eph admits to it, and says he hasn’t heard from Kelly. Eph and Zack snuggle on the couch to sleep and Zack says maybe he can help look for Kelly tomorrow.
“Of course. We’re a team,” Eph says.
Eichorst is removing the silver bullet Eph shot his with a few episodes back from his leg. It burns his fingers as he takes it out. He straightens his tie in the mirror and we have one last flashback, this is of Eichorst on the run in Poland during the war. He’s escaping from the allies through a snowy forest as dogs chase him.
He heads into an underground bunker, where the Master’s coffin has been stored away, gets drunk, and cries a bit. “Why have you forsaken me?” he asks, and the Master enters.
He tells the Master he has done everything he asked and the Master says it is time. The Master takes off his hood and we see his horrible inhuman face for the first time. He looks like somebody crossed Ron Perlman with a bat and then beat it with a stick for a while.
The Master transfers the gift that makes Eichorst one of his chosen, a process which involves a sort of blood brothers ritual where the master cuts Eichorst, cuts himself, then directly inserts a worm into Eichorst’s vein. The episode ends on the creepy image of them sharing this unholy bond.
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