The only truly intriguing part of Kelly’s arc in “Loved Ones” is its final result. After hearing whispered commands from the Master, she descends into the subway, walking as if in a Mina Harker-esque trance to find the ancient creature. “Rejoice and embrace your glorious fate,” he hisses to her as she stands before him, unable to move.
What does the Master have planned for her? Setrakian warned that shooting Eichorst would have consequences for all involved, so it’s a good guess that the Master enticing her has something to do with getting back at Eph. Less clear is whether or not he was about to give her the same worm transfusion treatment we saw Eichorst get (via flashback) last week. The idea that the Master would use a vampiric but still recognizable Kelly to directly taunt Eph is unspeakably cruel and also probably on the money.
“Loved Ones” also follows Eph as he tries to track down Kelly using a signal from her cell phone, which Zach (in an absolute cringer of a scene) located online. The worry is clear on his face throughout the episode as bad news keeps piling up, but when Eph finally finds his ex-wife’s necklace clenched in the hand of Diane (who got on the wrong side of Kelly’s stinger earlier on) the penny drops and he breaks down in tears.
Corey Stoll, weird hairpiece and all, is absolutely terrific to watch in the scene. Though he hasn’t had that much opportunity to stretch dramatically (as opposed to, say, Andrew Lincoln on The Walking Dead), Stoll proves in this episode that he can do great things with even the little that he’s given. Some sadistic part of me wants Eph’s family situation to keep getting worse, simply because Stoll is doing some of the best, most relatable acting on The Strain (and that relatability is deceptively crucial for a show like this). Curiously, Eph says little to Nora or Setrakian of what he found, then tells Zach, “I’m not giving up.” The look on his face, however, is that of someone who knows he’s just been broken.