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: 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.