If only those time-bending rules of Saved By The Bell applied on The Strain. In the opening moments of this week’s episode, “Loved Ones,” young Zach Goodweather rummages through Abraham Setrakian’s pawnshop, stumbling upon a comically oversized cellular phone that looks like it once belonged to Zack Morris. Unfortunately, what Zach G. has in Zack M.’s possessions, he lacks in Zack M.’s mutant ability to manipulate time at convenient moments. If only — perhaps then he could travel back 32 hours earlier, to save his mother from a horrible fate.
Not for the first time, The Strain spent much of its runtime this week delving into the past — but not the distant past, as is the case with the glimpses back at the Holocaust, with young Abraham and human Eichorst’s first encounters with one another. In “Loved Ones,” we spent virtually all of our time with Kelly Goodweather, Eph’s missing ex and the mother of Zach. After wondering why she went missing and where she went, the horrible answers are now clear: Kelly Goodweather is one of them.
However, the exact definition of “them” remains open to interpretation. During an intense scuffle with her vamped-up boyfriend Matt, Kelly takes a worm directly to the eye, kick-starting the inevitable. Kelly’s transformation takes her from Woodside, Queens over to her best friend Diane’s house, where she proceeds to barf up a six-foot tongue and use it to suck the blood right out of Diane and Diane’s young son. Eventually, the wander-blood-lust takes Kelly down to Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood, where she wanders around just long enough, motivated by hunger and the voices in her head — a voice that leads her directly to The Master.
From there? Who knows. Kelly’s a vampire, but what kind of vampire is she? Is she a mindless, wandering vessel like the vast majority of vamps we’ve seen thus far, or will she become special, like Eichorst, thanks to The Master?
The question remains on the table for the viewers, and wide open for Eph and his vampire-killing companions. After all, Eph can only guess that things did not turn out well for Kelly, based on finding her abandoned cell phone outside her abandoned car, which contained an abandoned bloody rag, which ultimately led him back to Diane’s house where he fought and killed Diane and her child’s abandoned vampiric forms. Even if Eph can’t bring himself to verbalize it, he knows it in his heart: Kelly Goodweather is gone.
Meanwhile, computer hacker Dutch and rat hunter Fet decide to put their skills to good use, as they attempt to infiltrate the Stoneheart Group and restart the Internet. The plan, as much as there is one, fails horribly. Stoneheart security apprehends Dutch and Fet immediately, leading to old rich Eldritch Palmer’s mustache-twirling monologue about why he’s assisting in the vampire cause.
“I’m on the verge of achieving what you would consider the ultimate hack,” he tells Dutch. “Cheating death. Immortality.”
Except, no one really seems to want Eldritch to fulfill his great achievement. How else to explain the fact that The Master and Eichhorst haven’t converted the Stoneheart billionaire into one of them yet? Even more to the point, Palmer’s most trusted advisor, Mr. Fitzwilliam, no longer believes in the vampire cause. With turmoil bursting from without and within, how much more can ailing Eldritch take? Palmer, like everyone else on The Strain, is quickly running out of time. Where’s Zack Morris when you need him?