‘The Strain’ S2E1
It’s back! Last night brought us the premiere of FX’s, The Strain‘s, second season with “BK, NY”, and as expected, it did not disappoint (despite a flaw here and there). The episode starts with a prologue (directed by Del Toro) giving us our first glimpse at Setrakian as a young boy in Romania (with a surprisingly American accent) with his grandma as she tells him a tale of a man, Sardu, afflicted with gigantism and a beautiful, silver sword cane (!!!). What follows is a glimpse into the beginnings of The Master and it is pretty damn awesome, and far from over. Those first 10 minutes felt like a true horror story and of course, you could spot Del Toro’s impeccable style from a mile away!
Hoping that that sequence would set the tone for the rest of the episode, we’re immediately thrown back right where the finale of season 1 left off after Setrakian’s (David Bradley) big fight with The Master, which has left the creature with a pretty shitty sunburn and revenge on his mind. On a mission to finish what he started with his giant set of brass balls, Setrakian runs into Vaun (Stephen McHattie), one of my favorites of the series, and his group of stealth fighter vampires. After being dragged into a meeting with the Ancients (and Gus (Miguel Gomez) as some sort of random, human helper tag-a-long?), Setrakian is told that they, too, want to destroy the Master. Are we smelling an alliance happening? Yes, yes we are. Or it could be all the leftover blood from the Ancients’ feeding time (which we get to see, and holy crap, is it messed up and badass).
In less exciting news, we see Eph (Corey Stoll), with a much better hairpiece this season and a renewed drinking problem, and Nora (Mia Maestro) as they are trying to find a cure and generally lacking any good storyline for the time being. My darling Vasiliy (Kevin Durand) is mostly kept busy vampire-proofing their safe house while Velders (Ruta Gedmintas) does whatever it is that she does. There was a recasting of Zach (now played by Max Charles), Eph’s son, this season and I didn’t think it was possible to actually hate this kid more than I did the OG Zach. Let’s chalk it up to this being his first episode, and he still has time to improve but so far he’s about an 8 on the “Carl Grimes Level of Shithead Scale”.
Eichorst (Richard Sammel) and Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) are back and working together to secure real estate that must have working drains that can handle large amounts of liquid waste…did I mention that there’s also a busload of blind children involved? This doesn’t spell out good news for them as Eichorst brings us back to Kelly Goodweather (Natalie Brown) whose plans from the Master involve motherhood of a new kind…uh oh!
In addition to the kickass prologue, there was another great action-packed sequence when the group is led by Setrakian to a storage unit he says is filled with supplies and weapons (silver-filled grenades, anyone?) Of course, it wouldn’t be The Strain without hungry vampires trying to attack them in the storage facility which results in a pretty awesome shoot-out- proving once again that the action scenes are where the real meat and potatoes of the show lies.
The story is captivating and the creature effects are pretty impressive. That’s not to say there still aren’t kinks that desperately need to be worked out, especially in regards to the dialogue and the staleness of some of the characters. The saving grace really is the action and a couple of the main cast but in order to be successful for years to come, they’re going to need to step their game up. At the end of the day, The Strain‘s premiere was satisfactory in kicking off what I’m sure is going to be an exciting season.