Book Vs Television: The Strain S1:E4 It's Not for Everyone

I’ll give it to del Toro and Hogan this week. Opening episode four “It’s Not for Everyone” with the dissection of the plane captain was disgusting, fascinating, and an expository change of pace. The show’s “monster” aspects – and their obvious del Toro signatures – keep me coming back each week. The attention to detail of what we learn during the dissection, and to the stinger especially, is impressive.

On that same note, I’m really appreciating the different phases of vampirism being rendered unto the audience. The Salem’s Lot-esque transformation, the infectious worms beneath the skin, all the very biological details that made the books push so compellingly beyond the eye-roll premise of another vampire story … all of it. The efforts they’ve put in here have not gone unnoticed by me – they definitely enrich the show’s world.

Ansel and Ann-Marie, on the other hand, bring out the cynic in me. I have a hard time believing that if I saw my husband drinking hemoglobin from a defrosted steak that I wouldn’t have knocked him upside the head immediately with the fridge door, let alone just locking him in the shed myself. (ASIDE: We did actually discuss our who-kills-whom Apocalypse Emergency Protocol during the episode, so kudos on a show that encourages the important conversations.) Good job on getting the children out of the house, Ann-Marie, buuuuut if your husband’s teeth are bleeding and he looks like he dug himself out of a grave, you’re asking for it if you’re dumb enough to come back home. +100 Domestication Points for burying the family dog after your husband sucked its life force out, and +500 for feeding your intolerably passive-aggressive, first-world-to-death skidmark of a neighbor to your vampire pet/husband. True love.

While I’m on the “knocking characters” train, I’m also not feeling Sean Astin as Jim. It’s hard to see him as anyone besides Samwise Gamgee or Rudy, and it only heightens the ineffectiveness of his grappling with his own ethics. It makes him seem superficial and vapid. Perhaps it’s all just a foil for Nora and Eph’s character development, but if so, it’s a mighty annoying one.

I hope we can all agree, though, that the episode’s highlight was its cutscene (har har), Abraham abruptly entering the frame and slicing off the Arnots’ heads in their own home. “FINALLY,” I shrieked to myself. “Something is happening!” Abraham will continue being the show’s ace in the hole when the action really heats up.

To close on a note of excitement, it looked like episode five might give us a glimpse into Abraham and Eichorst’s meeting in World War II. If that’s true, there’s a lot to look forward to. (The part of me that doubts how much historical context will be permitted is the same part that’s still reeling from how little 17th-century Salem managed to make it into Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem last year.) The flashbacks throughout the trilogy were some of its most wretched and worthwhile moments.

The way this week went, who knows? We might actually get more of what we want … before the finale!

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This week we discuss alchemy, camera technology, a first time guest host joins the show, and we review "As Above, So Below".  

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