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'The Strain' recap: Is Zack worse than Carl Grimes at staying in the house?

Season 1 | Episode 11 | “The Third Rail” | Aired Sept 21, 2014

This week, FX’s The Strain steps up its game after two lackluster episodes in a row. “The Third Rail” brings back the suspense and action-packed drama audiences raved about a few episode ago in “Creatures of the Night.” In the 11th episode, we finally see the people of New York realistically responding to the pending vampire apocalypse with chaos and mayhem. Plus, getting to see the whole gang together on a life-or-death mission to take down the Master didn’t hurt either.

We’re hoping this is the path The Strain stays on, and we get a solid finish to the first season. Without further ado, let’s get to the dirty deets. Here’s everything you need to know about what went down on this week’s episode of The Strain.

Mama, I’m home: Gus heads home, frantic to find his mother and brother. When he gets to the apartment, he sees his druggie brother infected (he had already gone full-Joan) and staring at the TV screen. Gus is forced to brutally kill him, and the hits just keep on coming. Gus walks into one of the rooms of the apartment and sees his mother, infected and barely able to move. Gus, being the mama’s boy he is, has a breakdown, and it was completely heartwrenching. Who doesn’t have a soft spot for a thug with a heart of gold … and a six-pack? Everything Gus did was to help feed his family and keep his mother from getting deported. Now he has nothing.

Gus leaves the apartment building, grabbing an axe on his way out. Signature vampire-slaying weapon, say what? We can’t wait to see the season 2 promotional photos of Gus. Picture it: Gus standing on the streets of New York, abandoned cars and buildings surrounding him, strigoi faded in the background, his axe slung over his shoulder with one hand, throwing up the middle finger with the other, clad in a faux leather jacket he stole from a T.J.Maxx. It will be glorious. You’re welcome, FX.










Nicotine addictions, Alzheimer’s, and vampire apocalypses don’t mix: It’s time to take down the Master, and Eph makes the tough decision of leaving Zack alone at the Batcave with Nora’s mother, Mariela. She should be the one looking after Zack, but really it’s the other way around. As we know, Mariela is suffering from Alzheimer’s, and she also has a nasty nicotine habit. After the Scooby Gang take off for the day to find the Master’s nest, Zack finds Mariela banging on the gate of the pawnshop out front, asking people to let her out. Not wanting her to attract attention to their Batcave, Zack tells her that if he goes to get her cigarettes, she has to promise to go back to the basement. Deal! Zack takes off down the street (full of looters and panicking nutjobs, mind you) to steal some cigs. We’re (not) sorry, but we have to say this: “Stay in the house, Carl!”











Come on, you know you were all thinking it. Once inside a local store, Zack has to hide from a couple of looters and ends up getting stuck in a storage area with a vampire. Long story short, he gets away (cigs in tow), but the looting couple get eaten by the vampire. Ready for the awesome part? Gus walks into the store—axe in hand—makes eye contact with Zack and tells him to scram. How frustrating was that? We were literally screaming at Gus to go with Zack so that the Scooby Gang could be complete. Their brief passing in the store felt like a Stan Lee cameo in a Marvel movie, or Wolverine’s badass cameo in X-Men: First Class.








Oh, and when Carl Zack gets back to the Batcave, he starts playing around with some of Abe’s weapons. Necessary, or a disaster waiting to happen?

Screenshot 2014-09-20 13.31.26Mission “Take Down the Master” is a go: Here’s where things get crazy. Eph, Nora, Abe, and Vasiliy head to the sewers in search of the Master’s lair—which is near ground zero, as the Master feeds on ultimate human pain and suffering. Abe has shared with the team that if they kill the Master, all of his spawn will die as well. Their plan is to bring a flash bomb rigged by Vasiliy and explode it at just the right moment to injure the Master enough to slice his head off (at least, that’s the conclusion we came to). They have UV lights for protection, as well as nail guns and knives. Vasiliy serves as the guide through the sewers, since he knows them inside and out from his tenure as a rat exterminator and being an architectural über-genius. (Remember when his dad brought up how he turned down a scholarship for a master’s degree? We knew that’d come in handy!)

The gang comes upon a group of the Master’s minions sleeping, because it’s daytime and they’re exhausted. According to Abe, turning into a zompire takes a toll on your body. We guess it would be a little exhausting if you were growing a five-foot python-tongue in your throat. Anything growing inside you is going to require an extra nap or two. Are we right, ladies?









The group sneaks past the sleeping zompires quickly, and they come to a tunnel that’s been dug through the wall: a backdoor escape, just as Vasiliy predicted. Eph is the first to enter, and he comes to a room that houses the Master’s box. The rest of the gang quickly try to move through the tunnel and catch up, knowing more zompires are coming for them. Eph starts to hear Kelly’s voice calling for him. That jerkface Master is toying with him! The Master not only has WiFi through his minions, but he’s a skilled ventriloquist as well (as if he wasn’t creepy enough already). Eph immediately falls for the trick and starts searching for “Kelly.” Abe realizes what the Master is doing and calls out to Eph to tell him not to believe it’s really her. Eph, of course, ignores this.










The whole gang finally gets through the tunnel, and they catch up to Eph—who the Master has by the throat. The Master is shooting nasty threats at him about how he’ll take his whole family from him, just like he did to Abe so many years ago. His proboscis starts to shoot out, but not before Vasiliy sets off the bomb. Don’t get too excited—it only slightly works. It kills the group of vamps surrounding them, but the Master manages to get away. Abe doesn’t want to waste any time and continues the search, but he only leads them to the main nest where hundreds—possibly thousands—of vampires are congregated. Eph and Vasiliy know this is a dead end and have to leave, much to Abe’s disappointment.

Here’s where we stand: Our Scooby Gang has found the Master and his nest, but we have no idea how they can kill him with an army of zompires behind him. We have other lingering questions too:

  • Gus: When will he finally join team Save the World? You’re killing us over here, Guillermo!
  • Dutch: What is she up to now that she’s all alone? Is she trying to bring the WiFi and cell service back up?
  • Hooded vampires: Um, where are they? We’ve only been teased with their presence, and we want more. We’re guessing they’ll show up just in the nick of time to stop the Master from taking over the world … or join him? Who knows! (Remember, we haven’t read the books!)

Sound off with your thoughts and predictions below! And here’s a little GIF to keep you going until next week:










Until next time … #FangsOut!


The Strain airs Sundays at 10/9C on FX.


TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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