This episode opens with a sense of urgency that has been lacking, as would seem entirely reasonable given bald, tentacle-shooting monsters roving in packs. However, whatever sense of urgency the cold open establishes is soon undermined by basic lapses in good writing, logic, and some unintentional humor. Namely, the worst tourism slogan out of all five boroughs. But I’ll save that for the end.
So, a run-down of major plot points include:
- Setrakian reveals to Nora he has been prolonging his life (he’s a spry 94-year-old, y’all) by boiling worms from freshly beheaded vampires, then using an eye-dropper to dose himself. After he explains how no on can simply ingest the worms, seeing him slurp spaghetti later is almost the best thing in this episode.
- Eldritch Palmer’s new hire has a troubled past because of course she does. You know what this show needs more of? Characters with troubled pasts.
- Eph and Zach begin to have a touching moment talking about the vampire plague, as the Father of the Year (FOTY) explains: “Last night we went through several iterations of the formula to make the neurotoxins less potent,” to which Zach replies, “Uh huh.”
Nora steps in for those who in the audience who suck at Scrabble: “The poison was too strong, so we lost our first vamp before it could spread the disease to all the others in their nests [sic].”
But this bothers Zach: “You mean the lady? Mrs. McGeever?”
“This is our version of the plague,” FOTY reassures his son, “but a good one. One for all the right reasons.” And I can’t wait to see how this Hallmark card of a plague mutates once it’s released into naïve vampire populations. Surely, nothing can go wrong.
Anyway, Eph starts talking about his heart-of-gold father who was a doctor that only had time for his patients, not his son. Times were good, in the olden days, when patients would leave his father various gifts around the holidays. Yes, FOTY’s trying to have a moment, but his attempt to connect with his traumatized son is really about himself.
So it’s no surprise when Eph abruptly leaves the laboratory filled with highly infections agents and a vampire to take a breather in the hallway. Nora follows him, because eff Zach (sorry). Perhaps, Eph then speaks for the audience when he tells Nora, “I don’t know where I was going with that,” before they hear glass shattering.
Zach is going to town (as much as he can after Eph stopped the bus Zach had snuck onto in an attempt to get to Queens because he thinks his mother misses him—more on this in a minute), knocking shit off counters. Others may call this a tantrum, and I know the disdain other have for Zach, but this is an entirely reasonable moment for someone so young.
After Eph stops his son, he yanks him over to the isolation tank holding the vampire that used to be Mr. McGeever, and explains what the vampire would do to him if the tank weren’t separating them.
Note: being perma-buzzed/drunk, especially with a history of alcoholism and lapsed sobriety, is probably not the best way to connect with your son.
A question to Eph: where the hell are you getting all those bottles of gin or vodka, like the one you empty as you dose up Mr. McGeever and stumble around? Seriously.
- Dutch sees a missing person flyer for her girlfriend, Nikki, whom we haven’t seen since S1.08. Nikki’s mother calls Dutch a vampire who stuck around long after it had drained her daughter dry, ending with: “When you violate someone’s heart that way, the universe remembers it. Life’s coming for your sweetheart. Count on it.” I can’t wait for this subtle foreshadowing to pay off sometime in the back half of Season 3.
Dutch loses it when she hops in Fet’s van and begins to accept that Nikki may be dead . “I never have been [innocent,” she responds to Fet’s question, “You think you’re such a horrible person?” Then she kisses Fet, says Nikki’s mother was right about her, and—I’m not making this up—goes down on him in the van parked in front of Nikki’s mother’s house. And there’s a brief sound effect after the clink of a belt buckle and rustle of pants that’s just eww.
- Gus and the Ninja Vamps attempt a raid on Eldritch Palmer’s penthouse. And it seems promising at first, with the Ninja Vamps ghost-riding under the elevator. But they arrive to an empty room. Palmer activates UV lights that corral the Ninja Vamps into the center of the room, where a circular trap door drops them into a UV easy-bake-oven. The lead Ninja Vamp tells Gus to leave, and somehow he’s supposed to get out of the building.
- Eph and Nora have, eureka, found a feasible version of their good plague. Honestly, it may as well have happened in a montage for how swiftly they go from failure to bioweapon to field testing. The episode ends with Eph saying they’re going to release their Typhoid McGeever that night.
Now, for the main bits of unintentional humor. When Fet returns but before Eph realizes that Zach has snuck out and is trying to get back to Queens via bus, there’s this scene with the door. The brilliant CDC scientists and the resourceful Sertrakian and Fet have a stronghold whose main door has several locks reinforced with a draw bar.
Here’s Eph checking to see who it is through a rather large sliding thingamajig:
Unfortunately, the door opens outward, thus negating the bar’s entire purpose. See this:
And here you can see Fet entering, his body between the open door and Eph:
As ridiculous as that is, our heroes’ HQ has nothing on Councilwoman Feraldo’s press conference. After she declares Staten Island to be plague free, she reveals several decapitated vampires strung up on a section of fencing, and says, “This is who we are. This is Staten Island.”
Just...no. And maybe it’s a post-camping-trip haze, so I apologize if this has already been established, but why aren’t the dead vampires sizzling in the daylight?
I keep waiting for the chaos of the S2 trailer to happen, and I hope it happens soon. This show’s premise has so much potential, and it’s just squandering it.
ETA: I wanted to get this up before Bricken posted his recap on iO9, but I went to a camp-out/rugby tournament this weekend, so between the overlapping hangovers from playing, getting severely sunburned, drinking, and traveling, I wasn’t able to watch this last night.