In The Strain: Loved Ones, Eph is tracking down his estranged wife and Zach helps at the beginning of the episode by hunting for his mother’s iPhone. Despite the WiFi signal being weak and slow, the boy finds out that Kelly Goodweather’s smartphone is moving. Things are strained between Nora and Eph since his proclamation of love for his wife last week when the two of them were caught having sex by Kelly’s best friend.
When Goodweather goes to tell Nora that his wife may still be alive, her response is not too overwhelming. Zach asks his dad if he can come along and Eph says no. Meanwhile, Vassily Fet works with Abraham and Nora to figure out a plan of attack. In the exterminator’s mind, the vampires are like big rats and he recognises certain similarities in their behavioural pattern.
While discussing a potential strategy, the blonde computer hacker from the convenience store/gas station informs Fet that she pretty much closed down the internet that he was just complaining about. Setrakian backs up her story by revealing that she did this at the orders of Eldritch Palmer. Eph tracks down Kelly’s phone to a homeless woman who won’t tell him where she got it from initially thinking he was law enforcement. When he asks about the iPhone, she says, “Show me your badge Po-Po.”
Once Goodweather explains that he is a doctor, she shows him an infected burn that he then treats. Afterward, the woman takes Eph to where she found the phone. It was lying in the gutter just outside her unlocked car. The Strain: Loved Ones then goes back to show what transpired with Kelly and Matt 32 hours earlier. An infected Matt locked himself in the bathroom and Kelly goes to work at the school.
After learning that half the kids and most of the staff are off “sick” she finally believes Eph’s warning and after telling a coworker about it goes home. She has decided to collect Zach and get out of town. When she gets into the kitchen Matt attacks her. Kelly fights him off, wounding him in the process. This allows parasites to land on her face and in the most cringeworthy scene of the The Strain in this season the worms enter her bloodstream through her eyes.
Kelly, now infected, gets back in her car and eventually passes out. She wakes after dark and disoriented heads to the school to get Zach. She then learns that her friend Diane got the boy and she leaves the school. Once she is outside she observes another vampire feeding, the same one which seemed to recognise her moments before.
Vassily and Dutch Velders, the computer hacker, go to confront Palmer and the two talk on the way. Fet reveals that Setrakian is a vampire killer the two appear to be bonding. When they reach the Stoneheart Group building the exterminator talks the receptionist into letting him and Velders in to inspect the dining area.
When they reach the correct floor the duo are met by Palmer’s security force and taken into see head man Fitzwilliam. The two have their guns taken away and Fitzwilliam asks if they use them to catch rats. Fet replies, “Only really big ones.” Dutch is taken in to see Palmer leaving Vassily with the security team.
Eph goes back to his house to look for Kelly. Cue another “flashback” where Diane is visited by vampire Kelly who attacks both the woman and her son. Palmer’s head of security questions Velders about why she has returned and warns her that he will kill her if she attempts to harm his boss. Despite this warning, Dutch attacks the old man and punches him in the face. Fitzwilliam grabs her and while Palmer holds his bleeding mouth tells him to take care of the hacker and asks that she not be seen again.
The Master calls to Kelly and she meets him in his lair where the head vampire tells her to “rejoice.” Fitzwilliam reveals that he does not agree with his boss’s actions and let’s Vassily and Velders go. Eph goes to Diane’s house and finds both her and her child infected and he has to kill them.
He also finds Kelly’s necklace and breaks down in tears. Returning to the pawn shop he makes it in just before Vassily and Dutch return. Eph insults the computer hacker and she storms out of the shop, when Fet goes to confront Goodweather about his behaviour, Zach comes in and asks about his mother.
Eph explains that he did not find Kelly, but that he did find her phone. Zach asks his father, “What does that mean?” Goodweather promises his son that he will not give up looking and the boy goes into another room to watch a video of himself and Kelly from before. The Strain: Loved Ones continues to put on the pressure and this episode should win an award for containing the most difficult scene to watch thus far.
By Michael Smith