The Strain Review: “The Disappeared” (Season 1, Episode 9)

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After last week’s incredible “Creatures Of The Night,” perhaps The Strain‘s most gripping installment to date, “The Disappeared” feels like a bit of a comedown. That’s not to say that it’s without its merits, but this week’s episode seems more like filler than past hours, not delivering many great action sequences or particularly enjoyable scares.

Of course, with the great cast of characters established on this show, that doesn’t mean “The Disappeared” isn’t still an occasionally entertaining watch. We get to see Eph finally get back at his ex-wife’s new boyfriend Matt – by hacking his infected head off (in front of his obviously traumatized son, natch). The show’s first sex scene, between Eph and Nora on Kelly’s bed, is rather hilariously shoe-horned in. And intriguing flashbacks to the Treblinka concentration camp reveal both how Setrakian first met the Master and how Eichorst wound up as a servant to the ancient evil.

The disparate nature of the highlights above are a good indication of just how messy “The Disappeared” really is. There’s no way that the writers are running out of story this early on, but this week’s installment definitely feels like they’re dragging their feet, biding time until the season is closer to its finale.

The main problem with the episode can be neatly summed up by some words of wisdom from Kelly’s friend Diane (sporting a thick Queens accent), after she catches Eph and Nora doing the dirty: “In all your concerned state, you still find time to screw on the rug?!”

Pacing is something that The Strain has had a few issues with thus far, but “The Disappeared” is by far its worst offense yet, slowing down last week’s thrill-a-minute tempo to an almost soporific slog. That Eph and Nora, grieving their best friend’s death and looking for Eph’s ex-wife in the midst of a frightening vampire epidemic, would drop their kits and bump uglies in Kelly’s bed is extremely hard to accept – and this is a show that thrives on suspension of disbelief.