The Strain Season 2 – First Born

Okay, this is my last review for a couple of episodes because I’m going to be reviewing other stuff. It doesn’t  matter too much as the show, even though its season has been shortened by a couple of episodes, still insists on meandering its way towards the plot. I think I can skip at least a couple of episodes, as nothing important is likely to happen. I don’t dislike this season  exactly, but everything that was most annoying about the last season, is pretty much still happening, only with slightly quicker editing.

I was really hoping, with it’s emphasis on Quinlan and Gus that I wouldn’t need to look at either Zach or Kelly during this episode, but the show decided to torture me anyway by opening with a completely unnecessary scene of Zach and Kelly hanging out.

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In the last episode, I noped out before the scene where The Master infected Zach with a single worm.The writers seemed to consider that some sort of cliffhanger (not realizing we don’t give a shit what happens to Zach) and left that scene until now, where we find that Zach is fine. Well, at least we got the two of them out of the way. We don’t see them for the rest of the episode.

Setrakian finds the Occido Lumen has been stolen. Fet’s conclusion, jumped into with both feet and a yahooo, is that Quinlan did it. Well he’s not wrong. Quinlan and Eph did it, so that Eph could trade Zach for the Lumen. And this is yet another reason why the writers need several good punches to their necks. Eph clearly  and succinctly outlines to Quinlan, why giving the Lumen to the Master, is a bad idea.  He could be dooming the entire human race if he does so, but decides to go along with his plan anyway because he’s a parent, he loves his boy, blah, blah, blah. Honestly, if Eph isn’t the most irritating white male protagonist I’ve ever seen in a show, I don’t know who is. I’m guessing he’s meant to be unlikable.

Quin gets some backstory outlining how he was found by an old witch woman and given civilized behavior, in an effort to fulfill the prophecy that he would one day kill the Master. The Master, discovering his existence, traps Quin and the old woman in a cave. She feeds herself to Quin before he can starve, and become too weak to fight the Master, when he returns.

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Its nice to see Eph and Quinlan bonding like this (NOT!). Quin has no patience for Eph’s general foolery. Yeah, Quin doesn’t like Eph very much either. I quite understand.

Plot is  still dawdling along despite having only 7 episodes left.

We go to Gus’ circumstances as he and Angel try to hide his mother from the local security patrols who are going from building to building looking for vampires, I guess. I’d have more to say about this but I was distracted by all the garbage strewn throughout the halls of Gus’ apartment building. I kept wondering if it looked like that before the apocalypse, and if not, when did the apartment dwellers find time to leave all this loose trash all over the building. Its just a tiny thing, but it strikes me as some white middle-class set designer’s idea of extreme poverty. Lots of trash everywhere.

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Gus is successful at letting his mother get away, but he and Angel get conscripted by the local police to do patrols. Actually, that isn’t a bad idea. The guy who conscripts them says it doesn’t make any sense to have able-bodied men just sitting in jail, when they could be out fighting the plague. Its heartless, but sensible.

Eph makes a deal to exchange the Lumen for Zach at a neutral meeting place. Eph is so dumb that he takes the real book with him trusting that the Master is going to live up to his end of the bargain. Setrakian and Fet track the book to the meeting place.

Glowing red eyeballs on the vampires still make me laugh, tho’!

All these forces converge at the meeting, and the show keeps teasing us with  wonderful ideas, like an infected SEAL Team, that we will never get a show about. Naturally, the Master betrays Eph. That was to be expected. (Just not by Eph.) All the vampires get poisoned when Setrakian, bad-ass that he is, sets off several silver grenades. He even manages to poison the Master enough to slow him down long enough for Quin to chop off his head. So the master appears to be dead, but since its only the third episode and I did read the books, I’m pretty sure he’s not, as most of his worms got away. And we’ve seen him switch bodies before, so…

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So really, it was just an okay episode. Not bad, but nothing really great.I liked all the Quinlan stuff because that’s always cool. Ephraim Goodweather is an annoying idiot that needs a good face-punching. Setrakian continues to be OG, while Fet, Gus, and Angel are his smaller, less intelligent, backup gangstas. Zach needs to be burned in effigy, thereby exorcising him from the show. And no Palmer, Eichorst or Dutch, so that’s in the plus column. I hope this episode isn’t as good as the show gets though.

 

The Strain Season 3: NY Strong

So, I watched the first episode of season three and I can’t say I was impressed. I didnt hate it, but it wasn’t exactly memorable either. The show picks up very close to where it left off in the season two finale, when Eph’s vampirized wife, Kelly, finally kidnapped her son, Zach, and killed Nora. Setrakian finally managed to gain The Occido Lumen, and we had no idea where Gus went.

Eph is, predictably, getting drunk and waiting at his home for Kelly and Zach to drop by. We know this because he has a nightmare that Zach has been turned into a vampire and he has to shoot him. Its a very harrowing dream and this is one of the few times I actually felt for Eph. I want to snark about how it’ll be the last time I have feelings for Eph, beyond wanting to punch him in the throat, but I’m gonna let it go because he’s discovered snark and  actually made me laugh during the following scene.

Setrakian has a voice-over about the sitrep in NY. Its been 23 days, the plague has spread to other cities, and we get some shots of people running about, some fires, and military vehicles, and personnel. Its good that the military has gotten involved but they have their own agenda which doesn’t seem to involve wiping out the vampires, but only containing them.

The Navy Seals are working with Fet, who is their guide around the underground places of NY. I think that’s an excellent use for him, and he is still one of my favorite characters, but he doesn’t work-work with them. He’s  in contact with the Seals by radio, so you know they’re expendable. Like a lot of military personnel in movies they are overconfident. They do make a point of stating that they should be careful not to get any fluids on them, as the fluids from the vampires contain the worm infection, but none of them are wearing contamination gear, even though there’s fluid flying all over the place, when they shoot the vampires.

So, its especially eye-rolling watching Eph get into a fistfight with one of the vampires later in the episode. If you’re trying not to get infected with the worms, fist-fighting the vampires is not the way to stay uninfected. (Yet, Eph does remain so.) Eph fighting in an abandoned parking garage, while trying to steal gas, is one of the better action scenes in this episode, though. He spends a lot of time running around alone as if he were daring the vampires to attack him. Anyway between running about gathering up supplies, and drinking, he works on his bio-weapon against the vampires, a bio-weapon which is beginning to be less effective as the vampires evolve into something else.

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I would prefer that he worked out some kind of inoculation against the infection, instead. That seems like it would be easier to accomplish than killing the vampires one by one, or making them sick. Perhaps a combination of both, so that when they bite people, the people don’t become infected, and make the vampire sick too, but I’m not writing this show, so that idea is gonna die in its infancy.

The show is still taking a pretty casual attitude towards the apocalypse, even though the season has been shortened to just ten episodes. On the other hand, this particular episode was fairly tight, there wasn’t a lot of filler, and we didn’t have to spend any time on Dutch’s boring-ass social problems. We’re introduced to the characters again, find out where they are and get some idea of the problems that will beset them at some point during the season. The trailers for the rest of the season look great, but I have it on good authority that the next two episodes are just as casual in their approach as usual.

We got to see Kelly and Zach interacting. Yes, Zach is still awful, so there’s some consistency there. Now that’s he’s with his Mom, he’s begun whining about his Dad, but at least there’s less of him. Eventually, Eph does get a visit from Kelly, who tries to bargain with him for The Occido Lumen in exchange for their son. There’s a brief appearance by Eichorst baiting a Navy Seals team into following him into an abandoned church, which I could see was a trap as soon as Fet mentioned that it was an abandoned church.

Setrakian and Quinlan teamed up at the end of season two and we get some scenes of Setrakian reading The Lumen and talking about how we aren’t going to get any action scenes out of him this season because he’s got reading to do, while Quinlan looks on impatiently. Quinlan goes to visit the vampire authorities in order to have something to do in this episode. I still think its hilarious how everyone else is deathly afraid of the authorities, but Quin acts like he’s having a friendly conversation with his uncles, or something. He’s totally not scared of them.

The councilwoman, Ferraldo is as spunky as ever. She seems to care deeply about her city and is trying really hard to convince people outside of it, that it needs to be saved. If only politicians acted like her in the real world.  I could’ve done without some of the jingoistic dialogue and cheer-leading by the citizens of NY yelling “NY Strong!” at each other. That was deeply cheesy and they sounded like NY cavemen.

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A lot of information is imparted during the episode, while almost none of it is shown. Its mostly characters talking about how bad things are. This plague is supposed to be a countrywide thing but the show only seems to have enough budget to show snippets of the carnage, and I wish we could get a better overview of what was going on in other cities. We see some fires in the distance and there are lots of sirens. So basically, a louder, smokier version of present day NY city.

One way the show conveyed how dire things have become is when Eph goes to trade medicine for food on the streets. The quarantine of NY mostly just caused a supply shortage, so the citizens have set up a brisk trade market of supplies.

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Gus is back home and trying desperately to save his  mother from her vampiric condition. Even going so far as to give her his own blood. He can’t save her and he knows it, but he tries anyway. He’s as devastated by his loss as Eph and I wished the writers had shown more of that last season. As it stands, Eph barely mentions the death of Nora.

Well, with a shorter season, the plot will have to move forward, and we won’t have much time to watch Gus trying to feed his mom for five episodes, or Setrakian reading until episode nine.

So, while not a bad episode, the show really has not changed too much from the rather casual management of the apocalypse of last season either. The action scenes are always well done, when we can get them, but once again, the acting and dialogue need some help. At least there’s a lot less Zach, and that is a blessing.

The Strain: Night Train

I sort of stopped watching this show for a while. I wanted to give my outraged sensibilities a chance to calm down, having been presented with a subpar show that I really wanted to like. I mean it’s a f***ing VAMPOCALYPSE! And this show has done everything in its power not to give us an ounce of excitement. It’s a show that desperately tries to be The Walking Dead with vampires but is too cheap to show us vampires, action, or even be consistently written.

It presents some great ideas and then doesn’t follow through on most of them. The main characters are either deeply uninteresting or deeply stupid, sometimes  (incredibly) both. Even the villains are kinda dumb. I’m not religious but watching Carl, er Chad, or whatever the Hell his name is, trying to emote will make a person pray for death. Of that child!

Okay, well tonight’s the last episode of the season, and we’ll see if anything has been accomplished. All season long, Setrakian has been chasing the McGuff..I mean, the Occido Lumen. Gus has been sort of just wandering around. Fet’s been blowing up stuff. Eph has been trying to solve the problem between hangovers. Nora has only  looked worried. Dutch has has been…I don’t know what the Hell she’s been doing. She’s a totally unnecessary character. The only character that committed to some kind of action all season was The Master,who switched bodies. If we’re very lucky, something might happen in the finale.

Maybe.

Okay, things happened in the finale, that have been trying to happen all season.

Setrakian got his book, in the least exciting sales auction I have ever witnessed, with only Eichorst and Setrakian present, and the auction conducted through a banking version of the game 21, where whoever has the most money wins. Setrakian who was backed up by the Ancients didn’t and Eichorst won, only to have his money get pulled because Palmer got pissy because he wasn’t invited, even though its his money.

So, 12 episodes to retrieve a book, that could have been done in three, on a better show

KellyvampMom finally gets a hold of her spawn and takes him out of the picture. Yippee! I’ve been encouraging this all season because Zack is quite possibly the dumbest child that has ever been written for TV. But before that ,we spent some of the most gawdawful moments watching Nora and Eph blubber about how much they care for each other, after having not paid any attention to each other all season. Plus they have all the heat of a pair of titmice. So, no.

Then we spent I don’t know how long waiting for Nora and Eph’s train to leave the station so Zack could be taken to Georgia, only to have the train derail because vampires are on the tracks. So naturally, the thing to do is for everyone to get off the train and be attacked by Feelers and run through the dark tunnels. Well, Nora and Zack run off and Nora does a pretty good job of protecting Zack’s life, but  Zack is one of the most hard headed and obtuse children on TV, and once again, as in a previous episode where his Mom showed up, he just stands there looking at her.

Nora gets bitten and by  the time Eph gets to her, she’s already infected and she kills herself, rather than become a vampire.She managed to go out in style, which is I suppose, the best we can hope for, for the Latina to die, while protecting some guy’s snotty larva. It’s okay everybody!. Not to fret! Gus has joined Setrakian’s team, so our PoC Highlander rule is still in play.

Having lost the book to Setrakian, Eichorst tries to ambush him on the way home, and Gus and his fugitives from prison show up just in time to have a stand off with the vampires that are attacking Fet and Set. Quinn and Eichorst face off and its very exciting, but the writers don’t want us getting too worked up, so their fight only lasts a few seconds. The show doesn’t want us to break out the smelling salts, with too much excitement. But at least we got a one second shot of a Mexican wrestler twisting a vampires neck, before having to go take a nap.

Eichorst, pissed that Palmer was acting like a beeyotch,  costing him the Lumen, confronts Palmer, who makes demands of both him and The Master, who actually deigned to show up and give him some attention. Coco, who has suddenly been rewritten to behave like the femme fatale of the local mob boss, backs Palmer’s play, and in the highlight of the entire evening,The Master himself who bites her as punishment for Palmer being so cocky. This results in some delicious Palmer tears.

I’m not even surprised. I saw Coco’s fridging weeks ago.

I stood and I applauded!

Then I had to go take my blood pressure medication after getting all het up like that.

Set and Fet escape their ambush by, what else, blowing shit up and escaping through the sewers, but they are accosted by Gus, whose been hired to procure the Lumen for the Ancients. Instead, Gus and Quin team up with Set’s crew to take out the Master first.Its about the only thing that’s made sense and it took all season long to do this, with most of that time watching people sort of wander around getting into romances and shit.

Seriously writers! It should not take 13 episodes to get two or three things done. Are the writers just drinking their way through the script? And where the Hell did Coco’s new personality come from? And why was it so annoying? So that we could cheer for her death?

All I can say now is thank Jeebus the season is over, and thank her once again, that the show doesn’t last for 26 episodes.

The Strain: Identity

It’s official. The Strain  is now the Best/Worst apocalypse show on television. I thought Z nation took that vote but that’s a show that’s being bad on purpose. The Strain doesn’t seem to know any better or the writers are just punking us. I really wish the writers would just commit to being a bad show, though. I would like the show a lot more, then.

Hopefully tonight, the writers will stay on point and move the plot forward. I really don’t want to be subjected to anymore of Palmer/Coco (Pacoco; Palmoco; Idk!) What I’d like to see is some Mexican wrestling and vampires, Bolivar, and more ninja-vamps.

Also, since Kellyvampmom is making a cameo this week , if we’re really, really lucky, we’ll get to see Zack eaten by some vampires and finally become useful to the plot ,as he gets fridged to serve Ephraim’s emotional storyline. If the writers really loved us, they would  fridge Coco, too. (Gob, what a stupid name! Coco Marchand sounds like the name of a poodle, which is understandable, because she has all of a poodle’s brain power.)

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An old homeless man witnesses the arrival of Quinlan: The Vampire Slayer, to New York City, smuggled in via shrimp truck. Its broad daylight, but not sunny, so I guess vampires can go out when the sky is just overcast, although everyone in the show keeps saying the vampires only come out at night. I do think its a strong possibility that the reason why the vampires only come out at night is because they sleep all day, from having been up all night eating people, either that or Quinlan just has skills.

Also, Quinlan is a bad ass ninja-vamp, who can do whatever the Hell he pleases.

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Eph visits his friend Rob in DC. Rob has connections to the military and other medical people who can get Eph’s bioweapon some major play.Rob is a drunkard, too, as the first we see of him, he’s throwing up outside, in front of his car. He then proceeds  to walk up to Eph and give him a hug, directly afterward, which really squicks me out. I guess Eph must be used to this kind of behavior as he’s a hardcore drinker too.

We learn from Rob that there’s very little news coming out of NYC and Congress is trying to impeach the President because NY is under quarantine. I don’t know what kind of world  these people live in but how the Hell does that work? You can’t impeach the president because there’s an epidemic in one city! Hell AIDS was all over the country, thousands of people died, and no one started impeachment procedures against Bush or Reagan, back in the day, even though they didn’t do shit. So really what I gathered from Rob’s news is that thisi s a seriously fucked up ‘verse.

I guess if the internet is broken, this must mean the phones don’t work either? Wha?!!! The writers of this show are exceptionally vague as to exactly who knows, what, where and when. I guess this is supposed to give us the idea that this world has been thrown into a state of confusion, but really only succeeds in confusing the viewer. How far does Palmer’s corruption reach? Just how much information is out there? Are there vampires in other places? After all, infected people did travel before the city was quarantined.

We meet Rob’s blond lady friend, from the medical establishment whose name I never bothered to learn because hey!, Eph is going to be leaving DC by the end of the episode, so she means nothing.

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Fitzwilliam meets Fet, Dutch and Nora, for the first time and Fet throws some shade, until Fitz sets him straight .Zach does the same thing but he’s a baby,so Fitz, correctly, ignores the rude little snot, who is apparently a free-range rude, and can be a snot no matter where he is or who is present.I know the show keeps trying to create these tender moments between Zack and Nora but nobody cares because Zack is so unlikable and Nora deserves a better class of kid. Everybody likes Nora. She can get anybody to smile. She’s like butter.

Gus has been harassing Angel, in the diner,  and flirting with the serving girl, whose name I don’t care about because ,at some point, I’m sure she will be killed to further Gus’ story, and according to the Highlander Rule, there’s already one too many Hispanic women, in this show. Angel and Gus get their chance to work together when Gus offers to escort the diner waitress on a food delivery, and Angel objects and acts as their chaperon. He has nothing but contempt for Gus, who he thinks is bad news. Gus eventually confesses his shady past to the cute little diner girl, just before they are attacked by vampires. Angel is really crappy towards Gus because of his own shame, I think. He probably had the opportunity to save a life somewhere, couldn’t do it because of his bad leg, and refuses to ever mention he was The Silver Angel, since that event.

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Now, I’ve never been to NYC, but I’m pretty sure that deliveries of diner food generally do not cost about 150 dollars, for just the one woman we saw ordering. But then again, it is NY and I wouldn’t be surprised, if it did.

Eph thinks he’s having some success in having his voice heard in DC, but you and I both know nothing will ever come of it, because if he does, the show would quickly be over.He also gets his ashes hauled by the blond chick, which erases that pinched look on his face since season one. At least we weren’t forced to watch it in slow-motion.

Fitzwilliam outlines a tiny part of Palmer’s plans to Setrakian and the group, while Nora and Zach visit Ferraldo, at her headquarters. Zach is still a snot but we see him smile for the first time. At least we know he can do it.On their way home, they get attacked by The Feelers and Kellyvamp. We get to see the Feelers in action and yeah, they’re pretty hardcore. I’m impressed. I would love to see Quinlan and the Feelers throw-down. They corner Nora and Zach in a church and Nora calls Setrakian for help. Naturally, I was rooting for Kellyvamp. During the rescue, Fitzwilliam gets infected and Setrakian has to put him down.(Highalnder Rule #2)image

Quinlan meets withTthe Ancients and assures them he will hunt down and kill Sardu, for his own reasons.

Palmer confronts Eichorst about meeting with the Master, but The Master has much bigger plans than meeting with Palmer, who still thinks he’s going to be The Master’s partner. Eichorst asks him if he has any other booby traps in his office, right before Palmer has the gall to threaten The Master. Eichorst tells him that was a bad idea, so he’ll pretend he didn’t hear that. Palmer is definitely pushing his luck, methinks.

After Eph gets confirmation that the government will go ahead with his idea, an assassin is sent after him. Rob and Eph’s side piece both get killed. Eph finds the assassin was sent by Palmer or someone on his payroll.

Bolivar and Eichorst witness The Master’s transfer to a new body. Boy! is Eichorst surprised when he is completely overlooked in favor of Bolivar (which is what I had hoped for because I actually respect Bolivar) So now Bolivar is the new Master. Apparently personality can be transferred through worm vomit, which is a very disgusting idea, but is I guess, a good bookend to how the episode. began.

The Strain : Quick and Painless

Okay, this episode was slightly more on point this week. There was no Gus and no Ancients, but it neatly picks up where last episode left off, and there was some character movement with Ephraim, Fet and a couple others. Also, a new character was introduced that I was greatly looking forward to.

Under Councilwoman Faraldo, the police go from door to door looking for vampires and the sick. They do not, unfortunately, know about the Feelers, and we finally get to see those, in real action, when they attack some cops. They’re fast and lethal and they ramp the Vampocalypse up a notch. These ones in the apartment building must be on holiday from Kellyvamp. I know I don’t trust her around them, anymore, as I keep thinking she’s going to twist another one of their heads off.

Eph visits a niteclub, which I guess are still open for business, to get fake IDs, so he can go to DC. The forger recognizes him and urges him to change his physical appearance, too.

Setrakian visits a fence, I guess, (I’m not up on my underworld terminology here, despite whatever stereotypes exist about PoC), to procure the Occido Lumen for him. The roughs  try to rough him up but his cane sword changes their mind about that. Have I mentioned  how totally badass Setrakian is? And that it is not a good idea to underestimate him?

Eph makes plans with Nora to go to DC , with Zack. Zack is still a first-class, self involved, navel gazing, self pitying snot, so at least there’s some  consistency.  Nora throws cold water on Eph again, but actually does it in style, this time, as she makes a great argument for Zack staying behind with her. Eph needs to be fast and loose, like a  cheetah, and she and Zack will only slow him down.

Dutch stomps into this touching moment, to inform them all, that Fet has been arrested. Nora thinks she should go along, to keep Dutch out of jail, and puts her foot down about Zack. Good for her. I like it when she shows some backbone even though, sometimes, the writers forget she has one.

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Eph decides to baldify himself and Corey Stoll looks so much better without that roofrack perching on his head. Oddly, he looks a much more interesting character. I guess the actor must have been getting tired of wearing that raccoon, too. I like it. Zack is impressed and grudgingly hugs his father goodbye. Zack is a big poopyhead.

I guess Zack has to take the place of the “Killjoy Wife” trope that’s always present in these types of things. Her job is to nag the hero for never being home, leaving her alone, losing their kid, working too much, etc. as it provides some easy drama, for a plot often centered around something else entirely. This is Zack’s  job.

Hero trying to save the world,  (and it’s always a man), chastise him for never being at home!

Faraldo is trying to reassure the public that they are winning  back their neighborhoods. Nora and Dutch show up and tell them how to do this correctly. The officials know about vampires but apparently had disregarded (or never knew about) using UV lamps to detect if someone is infected. Fet tells the cops about his silver grenades and Dutch’s silver sword. Once again Fet gets the best lines in the show. The writers must really like him because they give all the shit lines to Nora. The  cops, in turn, inform Fet about “the spider kids”. The Feelers. They’re down two men and DuFet volunteers to help.

Eph manages to get on the train, while posing as a member of the CDC.

Dutch/Fet and the police go back to the apartment complex to finish off the vampires there. It’s  one of  the more  exciting parts of the show, especially when Fet drops a silver grenade into a pack of vamps, in an elevator shaft, and Dutch kicks some vampire ass with that very nice saber she’s been wearing, and yeah, I want it. I’d just wave it at  any people (patrons, co-workers), who walk up to my desk, to ask me questions, at work. If they are persistent, their questions shall be answered!

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Eph spends most of his time running back and forth, on the train,  trying not to be recognized by some guy he knows.

Nora shows Faraldo  how to determine if  someone is infected, using the UV lamp. The  councilwoman’s nephew shows as being infected and Nora has to explain, that by the time you can see the worms, the body is probably riddled with them, in places the UV lamp can’t expose. This is one of the most horrifying thing the show has ever presented because of what it implies. The medical officials know nothing. They’ve been kept in the dark about everything. And the sad thing is that they would have had the answers if Eph hadn’t been railroaded. But I guess that was the point of it all.

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Faraldo makes the decision to kill her nephew, rather than let him turn, but is unable to do the deed herself. Nora does it for her. They both really sell it and it’s touching and emphasizes the real toll of  The Master’s “Try to Take Over The World”, endgame.

Fitzwilliam decides to join Setrakian’s team. Hopefully, he’s not a plant of some kind because, otherwise, I wonder who got fridged to change his mind?

Eph confronts one of the government officials who sold him out first season, but I don’t trust that man, and apparently, neither does Eph, who beats the shit out of him, and then throws him off the train. Yay!  This will probably bite Eph in the ass later, though.

The officious prick, who tried to snitch on him, tries to make the argument that Eph is on the wrong side, failing to realize that there is no right side. If the Master has his way, nobody gets out of any of this alive. (Everyone will be vampires and under his thumb, except for the independent vampires who will, in all likelihood go to war against the Master. I’d love to see that movie, btw.)

Palmer and his secretary Coco, go to dinner. I’m noping the fuck out of this whole scene! It’s too disgusting to watch. I hate this character, , I hate Coco the Dummy, (who is  attracted to Palmer’s power), and there’s shit  on fire, in plain view of his condominium windows, while the two of them dance. Ugh! Talk about fiddling while Rome burns. I can’t help but think that’s the reason the writers put that scene in here.

Eph’s murder of the official does come back to haunt him. As he tries to make his escape, he sees people are looking for his victim. There was blood. Now, there will be repercussions.

A new character is introduced from the books. Quinlan. He’s like Vaun but younger (he’s not as deformed) and, I hope, just as bad ass. In the book he had very specific ties to the Master. The only other black woman I’ve seen, since season one, is his driver.

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This show has developed a troubling trend of showing black people  as only servants or criminals.  Fitzwilliam was Palmer’s manservant, there was a black maid earlier, and Regina King (of all people!) played an assistant to Bolivar, in season one. And then there are the criminals that Setrakian had dealings with tonight. The show needs to cut that shit out.

Yeah okay, I think the Mayor is black. But he’s in collusion with Palmer,  so that does not speak well of him. Oh, well! I guess I should be grateful that a Hispanic woman is one of the heroes.

As far as this being a casual apocalypse…it still is, but I’m actually not very bothered by that. In any calamity the people who have the most money, are going to be the people least affected by what’s going on, so when we see Palmer going to work and dinner, that makes sense to me. I suspect that the vast majority of the infected come from the poor and working class, so that all or most, of the people shown on the show would notice, is that a lot of their workers didn’t come into work that day.

If some kind of apocalypse started in some poor or working class neighborhood, somewhere in America, most of the surrounding areas wouldn’t know about it, unless and until, it directly hit them. Imagine if the media tried to tell you vampires were running around. Would you believe it? Some people would. I suspect, most people wouldn’t, though and just do what they usually do. Go to work, hang out with friends at the club, etc.

Theres no real communication going on since Dutch broke the Interwebs (WTF!), so information is sporadic, since the corrupt officials are controlling what the media gets told. For all anybody knows, there’s people attacking and rioting in the streets because there’s  an infection going around, rather those people being the source of the infection.

Some people know the truth. Some people suspect it, but don’t care , as it hasn’t impacted them yet, and some hear it of it, but are willfully denying it.

For example, for decades, black people have been trying to tell whoever would listen about police brutality and have pretty much gotten the above reactions from the rest of America. So it’s not outside the realm of possibility for an entire contingent of the country to be experiencing one version of the world, while dismissing experiences that are not theirs.

The Vampire Apocalypse!

Motto: Not that different from everyday life.

The Strain: The Silver Angel.

Okay, I might have to stop watching this series, if it doesn’t improve. The past week I haven’t been able to remember the name of a single casual acquaintance and I blame this show for destroying those memories. If this keeps up, by the end of the season, I will have the brain of a bowl of chocolate pudding. Likable but nutritionally useless.

We’re  only four episodes into the new season,  but I have noticed a distinct downturn in the quality of the series, since the first one. I don’t like to hate-watch a show, but I may have to, as a warning to others. (Once I’m a human pudding you guys can donate to my medical care.)

Well anyway I hope to get some answers to some of the questions presented last week, if the writers remember what they wrote.

An old overweight wrestler, Angel, is watching one of his old movies during his work break, at a family owned diner.I wonder if this is a new player in the fight against the vampires? If so, then this show has already jumped the shark by adding Mexican wrestlers, and hasn’t even hit fifty episodes yet.

Fet, Eph and Nora are  delivering their infected  vamp to the streets. But instead of running off to the subway, the vamp decides to do a little sightseeing. Actually, its just going off to a place it used to know. While tracking the vampire they are all attacked by some  free-range vamps, who do not know its almost morning.  Why are the vampires in the asylum asleep already, while others are still running around? Are the loose vamps cleaning up for the night? Running late? And why do the trio have to follow the vampire around on foot? Why didn’t they  tag it with a radio collar or something so they can track where it goes? That way they don’t have to run around trying to find it later.

There are more background sirens as Gus strolls through the neighborhood. Apparently, he just left the Spec Ops vamps to die and is just wandering around. What’s he going to do now? Eat, I guess. He stops in at Angel’s diner.

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Setrakian is studying, when Dutch comes to see him, about Palmer. She suggests they go see Fitzwilliam,  Palmer’s former assistant, now on Staten Island, with his brother.

Setrakian goes into flashback mode to the first time he met Palmer and Fitzwilliam. Palmer meets Eichorst for the first time, in this flashback, while searching a monastery,  for the Occido Lumen. The monastery is attacked by vampires and Setrakian is kicking ass with his sword came. Why do vampires spend time  hissing instead of biting? Eichorst suborns Palmer, who stops hunting for the book and throws his lot in with him.

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Gus goes back to his mother’s apartment. She is still there because he didn’t kill her when he first found her body, and he doesn’t want to kill her now. The Master speaks to him, through her, and apparently, felt it was necessary to  taunt Gus into joining his other enemies.  Sardu, like Palmer, is an arrogant tool.

This show is about forty minutes long, We are halfway through this episode and no questions have been answered from last week. On the other hand, there’s no Kellyvampmom.

Yet.

Best line of the evening, uttered by Vasiliy : Fet need food!

Where’s Zack, while everyone is out running around outide, and leaving him all alone, so he can run off and find his Mom, like he did in last week’s episode, but the writers have apparently forgotten all about that, too?

Oh, there he is! Jeebus , but  I despise this child and his hostile, accusatory interrogation of his father, every time Eph wanders into his orbit!. No hiya doing, Dad, or nothing. The two of them go out to a batting range, so Eph can pretend to be a Dad and Zack can be sullen. They couldn’t do that indoors, I guess.

The councilwoman is on TV promising to save NY by instituting marshal law.

THE STRAIN --
THE STRAIN — “The Silver Angel” — Episode 204 (Airs August 2, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Jack Kesy as Bolivar. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

Palmer  has orchestrated a meeting with some bankers,  and the bankers are eaten by vampires on their way out of the building, also orchestrated by Palmer and Bolivar. I have mixed feelings about the whole event. Palmer’s ambition is the most terrifying thing in the entire episode. Just how far is he trying to go with this deal? What’s frightening is  this is only his first salvo, in the destruction of the country, not just NY.

On the other hand, YAY! Bankers getting eaten! That was  one of the funniest events this season.

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The Fitzwilliams meet with Setrakian, who tries to talk him into joining their team. He should reconsider, because when Palmer remembers how he walked out on him, he’s going to make a play to take him out. Yep! One of the Fitzwilliams is gonna die to further the other one’s story and get that one into the game. That is, if the writers remember they are in the show. I certainly hope the writers have some kind of endgame for all these plot threads they keep introducing.

Gus visits the diner again. Flirting with the serving girl, he is confronted by Angel. He figures out that Angel is the Silver Angel from the movies. What does this plot line have to do with the rest of the show, if Angel doesn’t join in to save NY? We are getting resolutions and callbacks from season one,  so I expect all my questions will be answered next season, maybe.

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Eph and Nora go check on their experiment, and they really should have tagged that vamp with a transmitter or something, because running around in the dark, trying to find the vampires who were infected, is just plain stupid and Fet, correctly, nopes the fuck out of that whole scenario and goes off to blow up the subway, which was his original plan before he got sidetracked by Dutch-angst and sex. What are the chances we can get a show with just Fet, Setrakian, Fitzwilliam and that one councilwoman, kicking vampire ass in NY?

And this is where Eph and Nora should’ve taken into account that whole ‘the Master can see and hear through his host bodies’ thing,  as Sardu quarantines the infected vampires, by making the host bodies kill themselves. This does make the two of them happy because The Master realizes the infection is an actual threat. They do need an infection that works fast enough, that he can’t simply quarantine the infection, by separating out the infected vampires. Yet doesn’t work so fast that it kills the infected vampires before they can pass it on.( I didn’t learn this from this show, though. I learned it playing Plague Inc, where I successfully destroyed the entire population of the world, with the Black Plague.)

Fet attempts to blow up the subway.Where did he get dynamite? The same place everyone picked up those swords, they’re all waving around? I know people think swords are not readily available in American society but that’s not true. You can walk into any of those little Asian bodegas, in the ‘hood, and buy a fake one, along with some very real  ninja throwing stars.

Fet gets attacked by …cops? Militiamen? Hell if I know. They have walkies but no badges.  He does successfully blow up the underground vampire route into the neighborhood before getting arrested. Fet is on point tonight. His scenes are hilarious and the  most entertaining part of the show. He’s also the only one who knows what type of show he’s in, it seems. I think Corey Stoll thinks he’s in some kind of Lifetime Channel tearjerker, though.

Eph  and Nora discuss going to DC because of some connections Eph has. Why hasn’t he ever mentioned or tried to use them before? I deeply suspect its because the writers are just making up his story as they go. Nora poo poos his idea, because that’s her purpose on the show, to throw cold water on people.

Yep! Zack  has shitty  taste in music too.  I should have guessed.

Kelly and The  Feelers  put in an appearance at the last minute, staking out the batting range where Eph and Zack got subjected to some flashbacks, earlier. I can see that the writers are really trying to get us to care about the relationship between Zack and Eph, but these two are so unlikable, that it’s impossible. Since the writers are trying so hard to get us to care about them I can only assume that Kellyvamp is successful in grabbing  her boy, and turning him into a vampire, which will be the impetus Eph will need to stop drinking, and fully commit himself to stopping the vampire menace.

<Sigh> Yeah, alright then.

The Strain: Fort Defiance

Oh good, this weeks episode is slightly better, and just as whacky as  last weeks episode, although there is still too much Zack in it for me. Along with Setrakian acting shady, I definitely got a bad feeling about this “drop”.

Setrakian is putzing around on the pier, hunting vampires so he can steal their worms, and turn them into sauce. And for reasons known only to God, the Devil, and Bob, the rock star vampire, named Bolivar, is wandering through alleyways toting a bag of dirt for the Mahster.

Set gets his vamp using some sword cane -fu, and engages in some SCIENCE back at the house. Bolivar gets stopped by the police, who, in keeping with the asshole behavior of NY cops, lately, decide to arrest him for…being outside? Walking while white? I mean he is alarmingly pale. One of them decides he must touch The Masters dirt and gets infected with worms, which becomes pointless anyway because Bolivar’s vampire entourage kills both of them.

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Its kind of a neat scene, because it’s a direct reenactment of the swarms of pale vampires from Blade 2. I wonder, though,  why is Bolivar different from them? Why are some of the vampires ravening zombies and others appear to be fully capable, like Bolivar and Eichorse? Or I would ask these questions,  if I thought they’d have a chance of being answered, and not just another one of the many plot points this show establishes just for funsies.

Gus is in training by the Spec Ops Ninjavamps. They are planning a mission to take out Palmer. Watching Gus kick vampire ass is the most exciting moment, in the show, because Gus is awesome!

On a side note, why does everyone have one syllable names? Eph,  Fet, Gus, Vaun, Dutch. While Nora and Setrakian have an excess of them?

Gus
Gus

Anyway back at the bBatcave,  Fet makes plans to blow up the subway, Setrakian injects his eyeballs full with distilled worm juice, and Zack has run off to join the circus. No, really he ran off to go find his Mum or something, forcing everyone to endanger their lives looking for him.( Of course,he does.)  During this pointless scene, we get another pointless scene, of Dutch finding a flyer about a missing friend. For some reason, she wants to contact the person who put it up. All of this comes to nothing, except to prove to us that Zack is a first class snot, which we already knew, and Dutch believes in subjecting herself to needless misery.

While the others are out wrangling Zack, Nora finds Setrakian dead in his makeshift lab. After resuscitating him, she makes him come clean about what he’s been doing. At first he’s reluctant, but after I threaten to bitch slap his wrinkled old ass through my TV screen, he changes his mind, the big fat liar, and confesses he does to stay healthy.Okay, I guess. I was kind of worried that he was too old to be doing this shit. So was Fet, I think. He looks like he’s about a hundred. (Close enough. He’s 94.)

But honestly, these are some of the dumbest apocalypse survivors, ever.

Palmer’s former assistant, that black guy that walked out on him in the first season, is shown going to Staten Island. His name is Fitzwilliam. He’s got a brother named Curtis and there better be some repercussion from this later, since they’re wasting our time with this introduction. Although, I feel pretty certain that one of them is going to get fridged, to further the other’s story, because you cannot have more than one black man in a show. It upheaves the laws of physics or something.

Ms. Marchand - Palmer's New Assistant
Ms. Marchand – Palmer’s New Assistant and a Dummy

Palmer is being his usual jackass self, when Eichorse shows up for his daily dose of threatening. He brings Bolivar and sets him to be Palmers guardvamp, which is another waste because we don’t get to see him guard Palmer when the Spec Ops Ninjavampires show up with Gus. He would’ve been useless anyway because Palmer, forewarned,  has this sweet little UV setup, that he was planning to threaten Eichorse with, and uses it to  take out the  Ninjavamps, instead, while Gus, who ain’t havin none of this, runs away.

initially, I was very upset about the deaths of the Ninjavamps, but I have heard the rumor that there will be more of them, in the future. The actor playing Vaun got called elsewhere, so I think he’s going to be replaced. But keep in mind, this is just hearsay. They’re the most fascinating characters in the show and I’d watch the hell out of a whole show that’s just about them.

On Staten Island, the councilwoman we saw last episode, claims to have rid the island of all vampires. Now I’m confused. On the one hand, that vampires are chomping on the citizenry seems to be common knowledge, but outside of a handful of people, most people act like nothing’s happening. For example, even though the creatures live in the subway system, people are still riding the subway and not even trying to leave the city.

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This is, possibly, the most casual apocalypse ever shown on television. Even if Dutch broke the Internet, people communicate using other means. Phones, letters, postcards, smoke signals, morse code? I could see if the vampires weren’t common knowledge but when the councilwoman, named Ferraldo, reveals some decapped  vampires during a press conference, (that is some hardcore shit ,right there. I love this woman! She’s so gonna die!) no one bats an eye. So are they common knowledge or not? Or is this one of those situations where some people witness it and tell people but no one believes them? I don’t know. You’d think people outside of NY would be asking questions, when their family members all go missing or that the vampires would be caught on film at some point.

And why are all the vampires white people? They can’t find any Extras of Color in NY. Really? Didn’t we have this same problem with the show Friends?

So the mayor talks Ferraldo into taking her show on the road to the mainland and she reluctantly agrees. I think I was yelling at my TV for her to not do it, but people on TV just refuse to do what I tell them. If they just obeyed me, they wouldn’t get into so much trouble (and the show would last about fifteen minutes.)

In an effort to reach out to Zack, Eph takes him to the lab and tries to show him what he and Nora are working on ,but Zack, who is a snot of the first order, just looks dumbly hostile during his father’s speech.(Lord save us from this child, heah!) And minutes later,Zack trashes the lab, which sets Eph off. He grabs him and sticks his face into the quarantine unit holding one of the vampires, like he’s punishing a dog, for taking a shit on the carpet.

I stood up and I applauded! Wow!

Dutch finds the woman who put up the flyers after Fet calls off the subway Op because people refuse to keep their asses at home, even though vampires are, literally,  running through the streets at night. She meets her friends Mom who castigates her for her daughters death, after which Dutch goes out to the car and makes out with Fet.

Thats it!

I am officially sick of Fetutch. Or DuhFet, if you prefer.

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This week’s episode was better than last week’s but not by much. It’s like Hannibal in that I have no idea what anyone on the show is thinking, but I can’t stop watching it. I’m addicted. Both shows are like those videos of people shooting fruit in slow motion. I have to watch The Strain because… Hey!Vampires!

But in Hannibal, I don’t understand whats going on because the characters are way smarter than me, whereas in The Strain ,they’re just way dumber. I don’t usually hate-watch a show, but this show is also Hella-fun, because…vampires!

I would settle for some kind of comfortable middle ground. Dumb down Hannibal just a tiny bit and smarten up The Strain.

A lot.

The Strain Season Two: BK, NY

This is a short  primer for those who haven’t watched the first season, which can be watched on Hulu:

An old European vampire named Sardu, and his henchman Eichorn, begin their conquest of NY, aided by a dying corporate wannabe, named Palmer, who thinks  he will gain immortality, if he does the Masters bidding.

Ephraim Goodweather, (one of those smart, dumb people you just want to smack), Nora Martinez,( another dumb smart person, who mostly looks worried and was having an affair with Ephraim),  Abraham Setrakian,(who has met The Master before, in an encampment, during the war), and Vasiliy Fet, (who is one of my favorite characters, because he seems smarter than both Nora and Ephraim put together and has useful skills), are the only people who feel they can stop the plague from spreading, by stopping the master vampire and destroying the ones he created. Ephraims ex wife, now a vampire favorite of the master, is after their son, Zack.

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Unknown to them, is group of vampires, headed by Vaun, who work for a coalition of Elder vampires, and have recruited a human slayer, Augustin Elizalde, to take down the wayward vampire, who has disrupted their covenant.

That is the much simplified version of season one and coincides mostly with the first book in the trilogy.

Okay, this is going to be a long one because the show lasted about 60 to 70 minutes

Let’s ride.

Abraham Setrakian is having the flashbacks. He steps wayback to his childhood, with his Grandmaw, telling him the story of how Sardu became a vampire. He was a giant of a man, who loved children, (this is something that plays out later), and got violated by having a vampire vomit some worms into his mouth, while out hunting a Black wolf to cure his gigantism. Yep! All the worms, it looks like. After which he fed on children and no one ever saw him in the daytime, of course.

Then  Abe flashbacks to the more recent past to when he and Ephraim cornered the Master on a rooftop, last season, and the vampire was able to withstand daylight long enough to get away.

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You have to get, that while Abe is daydreaming about the past, he’s just wandering around in the streets of NY. He doesn’t actually appear to be looking for Sardu, but I guess he is because when he reaches the subway, he heads down into some untrafficked areas. That is a bad idea because he gets ‘napped by Vaun and the Special Ops Vampires, which is quite possibly the coolest shit ever put on TV, outside of Gullermo Del Toro’s Blade II, where that idea must have sprang from. I’d watch an entire show about these guys, alone.

Vaun takes him to visit Gus and The Elders,(which is a great name for a Rock band,) who explain far too much about themselves. There are only seven of them and they are a collective, like The Borg, but Sardu, used his Jedi Mind Tricks to break away from the group, and has gone rogue. They want to make a deal with Setrakian and Gus to hunt down Sardu and when they find him, alert them to his location.

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Abe agrees to this, but Hell, I would too, after they threatened to kill me for knowing too much about them, which makes no sense because they could have just kept their mouths shut and let Abe go on his merry, daydreaming way. I would definitely alert them to his location, but only after killing him. (Hey! Here’s the body of your boy!)

I  would certainly never voluntarily agree to meet with them again. Especially after the demonstration of their feeding techniques on some random naked guy in chains, which Abe takes great care to remind Gus what he’s watching. You know the story. Those who make deals with the devil usually end up on the  business end of his pitchfork.

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Fet and Dutch are trying to secure his residence against vampires. Actually it’s only Fet who knows what he’s doing. Dutch has no idea. She’s just doing whatever Fet asks her to do, while Eph gets drunk and Nora gives him the side eye. Fet says his plan is to eventually fortify the entire neighborhood against vampire incursions.

After a while, Eph goes upstairs and argues with Zack about his Mom. Can I just state how much I hate this child, and how much  I’d love for his mother to hurry up and find him and eat him quickly? I’m sure he’ll be a much less annoying character because he’ll be mute.

Fet gets worried about Abe and decides to go out and find him and Dutch gets one of the best lines of the episode when she describes Abe as a Samurai sword- wielding geriatric.

Abe comes back but doesn’t tell anyone about his meeting with Vaun and the Ancients.This is probably going to come back and bite someone in the ass later. Literally! He asks Fet and Eph to come with him to fetch something from an old storage locker.

Eichorn
Eichorn

In the meantime, Palmer and Eichorn are buying a building and giving press conferences.Palmer ,who has gotten his health, after being sickly his entire life, is getting cocky and talking smack to Eichorn, who just smiles gently, while trying to warn him that he should probably not show his ass. Palmer has forgotten the first rule of being a traitor. After the people you work for have accomplished their goals, and your usefulness is over, you will be the first one eaten, under the new regime. That’s what I would do. After all, if you’ll betray one group of people you might betray me, too, and that needs nipping.

Palmer also takes the time to flirt shamelessly with the real estate agent, who is maybe half his age and I’d just like to say, “EEEWWW! Palmer is a disgusting asshole and this little meet-cute between him and this young lady is so boring and trite, that even Eichorn couldn’t stand there and watch it. He just wanders off, while they eyeball each other.At any rate, I feel sure Eichorn has plans for the young lady. Guess whose going to be eaten by vampires next? Hopefully it’s soon, so she won’t be subjected to any more flirtation from Palmer.

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None of the press and officials seem especially perturbed that vampires are running about. In fact, most of them are being especially careful never to mention the term at all. Everyone keeps making vague reference to “the crisis”, but no one will say exactly what that crisis is. And the National Guard gets a mention once. I think the press and politicians are still trying to make the people of NY think these are still just riots.

This does seem to be a rather lazy apocalypse, though.  There seems to be no particular urgency to anyone’s behavior, including Fet, Nora and Eph. At least not yet. I sort of understand that the creators of the show are not trying to show a complete breakdown that happens in a few short hours, but a slow buildup to the crash, instead. I can get that but it does make for some slow watching.

For example, children are still taking classes. There’s a roomful of blind students who are being told they are about to evacuate out of the city, but their transport gets hijacked by Eichorn, who takes them to Sardu, to implement the next stage of his plan, because although he was only in  the sunlight for a few minutes, he was very badly burned and he’s dying.

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As soon as I saw the class full of blind children, I just knew that wasn’t going to end well. They all get turned into some new form of vampire. Eichorn goes to awaken Zack’s mother, gives her a little of her mind back, and sets her to babysit the these new, blind vampires.

Ephraim and Nora make plans to try to stop the Vampocalypse by studying vampire physiology. Maybe creating some kind of immunity for humans while destroying them as they feed.  It’s not a bad idea but their attitude still seems rather leisurely, to me. I think these characters really need to rub some funk on it and step up the pace. At least panic a little bit or something. This is the calmest apocalypse I’ve ever watched.

Eph and Nora get attacked in the lab and Nora takes out several with her new found vampire slaying skills. I like her now that she whines less than she did in the first season.Nora has definitely been born-again hard, since the death of her mother. Yeah, that’ll do it.

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Everyone gets ready for their run to the storage lockers, where Setrakian can’t remember the number of his locker, so they just break into random lockers. Or rather Fet does because he’s their tool-man.They discover an elderly couple in one of the lockers before they all get attacked by vampires. The elderly couple gets bitten but our group comes through clean, especially Nora who turns into a sword-swinging badass. I wonder where she picked up these new skills.

It’s really nice to see a Latina in a genre TV show because it’s so rare that that they get to star in such things and I hope she doesn’t die soon, so they can swap her out for another, because, of course, there can be only one!

I have to say I love the vampires on this show. They’re like a cross between zombies and vampires. The worms and the tentacles are truly disgusting, even though the show doesn’t actually depict the vampires from the books, completely. The ones in the books liked to piss plasma all over everything. I guess you can’t show that on TV.

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The show isn’t actually scary (its been a long while since anything on TV scared me), but it is suspenseful enough and the action scenes are very well done. It’s just the stuff that happens between the action scenes that gets tiresome.

The previews for the  rest of the season had a lot more action in them, so I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.

So Stay Tuned!

ETA:  Palmer’s arch-nemesis, throughout the episode, is actually named Eichorst not Eichorn. Not that that makes the slightest difference to the plot.