Here's a recap of The Strain Season 1 Episode 5, 'Runaways.' Goth teens and/or my younger self: turns out being a vampire is not even a little bit glamorous. Plus: flashbacks!
RECAP: The Strain Season 1 Episode 5, 'Runaways'
August 10, 2014


Make no mistake: the star of this episode is the CGI face worm. Should I say snake, or worm? It’s what Eph referred to as the ‘stinger’, or what you might also might call the disgusting, prehensile appendage that shoots out of the mouth of the infected when they’re feeding. It makes numerous appearances in this episode but again, I managed to eat tacos while I watched, and they were almost still delicious.

Disgusting moments from this week’s episode:

1. Bolivar is looking slightly more legit and less like a frat boy in a Nathan Explosion wig. He is now past the point of caring about girl-on-girl-on-girl lingerie orgies (having ‘gone smooth’ the last time we knew about him) and seems to have the singular desire of all those in possession of face worms—the desire for blood. He opens the episode by attacking the urologist sent to help him with that whole sickness where his penis fell off. (Any scene that references the scene where that happened is just disgusting by association.) Anyway, who needs a penis when you have a glistening, rippling, kind of pornographic looking face worm? His manager witnesses the attack and somehow has cell service long enough to call a cleaner on her way out the door. Why she isn’t in a taxi and then far, far away from Bolivar is confusing, but fine, I’ll go ahead and try to believe that poseur shock rock dipshit managers are this dedicated. The cleaner comes but sadly also meets Bolivar’s new third leg. Man, that thing is really gross looking.

2. Setrakian and Goodweather are frying up some eggs post vampire killing, which seems like the perfect opportunity for Setrakian to get into his entire history with the vampires, complete with several flashbacks. It seems he first came into contact with ‘The Master’ in 1944 Poland (Setrakian is here at least in his late teens, and I’m not so good at math, but by my calculations that makes him old as hell) where he, his brother and his grandmother are in an internment camp. Our old friend Herr Eichorst is there too, not looking a day over median vampire age. The Master is at he camp, making his liquidy CGI way around the bunkroom where Setrakian and his brother sleep, randomly choosing victims to drain and snapping their necks. Of course, one of the victims is Setrakian’s brother.

3. In Bronxville, Joan Luss—you’ll remember her as the bitchy lawyer among the four survivors—still isn’t feeling very well and tea definitely is not helping. Her children seem very nice. Joan seems to be considering ripping their throats out on a couple of occasions, but ultimately decides not to; like Ansel, she has some degree of impulse control. Two perplexing things about Joan Luss: for one, her face worm isn’t yet running the show—she is coherent, and still herself. Second, she’s exhibiting that same reptilian flicker we saw in Herr Eichorst, as if she’s grown a second set of eyelids. Does this have anything to do with her being a lawyer?

4. At Ansel’s house, his lovely wife has committed suicide. I was wondering how she was going to live with herself after having essentially murdered her neighbor in the last episode. Ansel and the neighbor in the shed meet the same fate as the Arnauds, courtesy Eph and Setrakian, who film all the proceedings. Heads are rolling in Queens.

5. Nora’s visiting her mother in a nursing home when suddenly, face worms are unleashed in polite company, right out in the open, with people attacking each other in the hallway of the home. It does seem like perhaps that declaration Nora made about preferring to die from face worms might benefit from another little thinky-think. It takes Nora about five consecutive minutes of deliberation before she decides that maybe she can behead people and set them on fire after all, especially if her life, her mother’s life, and oh hell everybody else’s life is on the line. We knew you could do it, Nora.

6. Vasiliy Fet gets to the bottom of the rat problem. Theorizing that the rats fleeing the subway are escaping “a larger predator,” he goes down in the tunnels to investigate and comes across vampiric mole people who steam in the sun like proper vampires. It is interesting that the “virus” seems to perform differently in some than others.

7. Eph's got the law on him when he tries to convince the CDC that New York City is in the midst of a terrible outbreak of repulsive, burrowing eyeball worms that lead to disgusting, bloodsucking face worms. They have photos of him disposing of Captain Redfern's body, or something like that. Handy how they don't have any photos of the captain's face worm. Sean Astin helps Eph escape the building without being apprehended. Nice work, Samwell. I mean, Samwise.

These vampires don’t sparkle, do they? See you next week

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