The Strain Review: “Loved Ones” (Season 1, Episode 10)

The Strain - Episode 1.10 - Loved Ones - Promotional Photo 2

Nothing for Nora, Setrakian or Gus this week, but Vasiliy and Dutch go on a little outing of their own, intent on breaking into Palmer’s offices to revise the hack that Dutch carried out. Their plan is ill-advised at best – Vasiliy will pretend to be doing an inspection, and Dutch will pose as his boss. Just crazy enough to work? Not quite. After smooth-talking their way past the front desk (“Confidence,” Vasiliy brags), the two are apprehended by security as soon as they step off the elevator.

Fitzwilliam, a lifelong servant of Palmer’s, brings Dutch before the old man, who proceeds to mock her, Bond villain style. Thanks to her help, a new age is dawning, and he’s poised to “rewrite the code,” as he puts it, of human biology. The Master has promised Palmer immortality, and he’s positively giddy with the prospect of collecting. Though intrigued, she loses her cool when he baits her by claiming that she helped him out of a desire not to feel “invisible” for once, managing to hit him once before Fitzwilliam drags her away.

In a rather fortunate turn of events, however, Fitzwilliam is sympathetic to Vasiliy and Dutch. He doesn’t agree with what Palmer is doing, though he lacks the backbone to stand up to his employer, and so instead of gunning the pair down, he instead tells them to run.

It’s a lucky break for the pair, who’ll probably think twice before attempting something so hare-brained again. (Honestly, the least believable part of this episode is that Setrakian wouldn’t have slapped them around and given the two a time-out after hearing their initial plan.) Luckily, they make it back unscathed, though the romantic heat building between Vasiliy and Dutch is extinguished by a brooding Eph, who insults Dutch enough that she storms off into the night.

All in all, “Loved Ones” is a middling, mostly disappointing episode of The Strain, which is frustrating with only three hours left on the season’s clock. Despite Stoll’s performance, nothing else is really up to scratch. Neither Kelly nor Zach are really appealing enough to hold the screen for prolonged periods of time, and what “Loved Ones” proves above all else is that The Strain is far better at blending action and horror than being emotionally resonant. That’s something that everyone involved with the show has to know by this point, so fingers crossed that next week’s installment will see a return to the type of thrills that have made episodes like “Occultation,” “For Services Rendered” and “Creatures of the Night” such a joy to watch.