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: 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.