Episode Five of The Strain Was Quick but Not Painless

another promo image from the strain

Was Episode Five Quick and Painless?

The Strain is coming off a good episode (The Silver Angel) and it seemed to carry some of its momentum into “ Quick and Painless.”

I have to give credit to any series that recreates the opening scene of Dawn of the Dead. It was a spot-on recreation but with vampires and creepy vampire kids instead of zombies and it was pretty darn good. Go and watch the movie again if you don’t believe me. If you haven’t seen Dawn of the Dead go watch it now!

cop in the strain
Fires a whole clip, hits nothing. He must have trained at the Stormtrooper Academy.

However, George R. Romero knew what direction he wanted to take Dawn of the Dead. He also knew how to create a convincing story and keep it on track.

Until now it hasn’t been mentioned that Eph is still wanted by the law. It’s almost as if it was a forgotten plot element from last season. Last season it was a huge deal. This season when the showrunners needed to  move the limping storyline along they pulled the little factoid out of nowhere.

Perhaps, he can travel the streets unnoticed because the city is “falling apart.” However, we know it’s not falling apart because we see in every episode nothing has really changed in the big city.

The only question is “Why is he still a fugitive?” Eph is wanted by the law because he released information about the coming virus. Alright, he did break some laws to leak the information. However, it’s not like he killed anyone or committed treason. Now that the city knows about the plague why isn’t the government coming to him for help? When there’s an Ebola outbreak in Africa, nations tend to turn to the people who know the most about the virus- doctors and scientists.

The Strain wants to keep him an outlaw so they could do this:

bald main character from the strain
My name is 47.

It’s the only reason that makes any sense.

Now that he’s shaved his head maybe he can stop being an alcoholic. I know the one doesn’t have anything to do with the other, but Stoll doesn’t pull off the role of alcoholic and the writers don’t know how to write the character as an alcoholic. He did play a rather convincing one in House of Cards. It makes one wonder what happened between then and now?

Speaking of things going away, why does Nora’s accent come and go? She’s either a Latina or she’s not. Make up your mind, guys. She has an accent when she’s talking to Eph before he heads off to DC, but when she’s talking to Councilwoman Feraldo she has no accent. I’ve heard of drifting accents before, but her accent is never consistent in any episode.

It’s a good move in the story to finally have someone in the Goodweather camp fighting with the government. It’s a shame it’s local government and not the national government that would surely be called in when a plague locks down one of the most important cities in the United States. Whether or not Palmer, Eldritch, or the Master have one member of the CDC helping them the virus has gotten too big for even one person to control. If the nation, let alone New York, doesn’t know about the virus it’s not being handled very well.

However, we’re still not sure to what extent the city has been locked down. People are still moving around and travel has not been stopped. Let’s be honest,  if this virus was so bad an entire borough of New York City was closed off no one would be traveling out of the city except government officials.

However, Nora and Dutch still manage to get to Fet. The meet between the three of them and Feraldo was awkward (in a storytelling sense not in the way the actors created the scene). As ham fisted as the team up may have occurred it resulted in some pretty cool scenes like this one:

something is in the wall
Don’t question how an adult managed to move around the inside of a wall and enjoy the awesomeness of the kill.

Again, the Eph/Zach relationship and Eph himself are holding the series back. Luckily, the Eph and Zach scene was brief. Half of me wonders if the limited screen time for Zach has anything to do with the negative reviews Max Charles and the character have received.

annoying kid from the strain
“What can I say? My parents raised a douche bag.”

I blame the writers for trying to write a father/son relationship like the one in The Walking Dead. Rick and Carl went through some bumpy times before they become a solid team. However, the writing and acting are not present to create a natural progression from pissed off son to fellow soldier.

The other half of me knows that with Vampire Mother and the Creepy Kids ( Sorry, folks, that name has already been copywritten for the name of my new death metal band) looking for him it will only be a matter of time until there is a Zach heavy episode.

The Strain did leave us with a couple of questions:

Who, or what, got into the car at the end of the episode and what’s in store for Goodweather in DC?

The first question should be answered in next week’s episode. If the other question is handled well we should learn why the entire nation isn’t, or is, in a panic over the vampire virus.

By now it should be apparent to the showrunners the best episodes don’t have a lot of Goodweather, have lots of action, and they really need to amp up the effects of a city under siege by a disease with a high communicable rate.*

guy sitting a table with woman
What are the odds these two hook up before the end of the season?

* No, we didn’t forget about Palmer or Setrakian. The few minutes dedicated to them in the episode were simply too boring to go into detail about.