FX’s resident vampire horror series, The Strain, made its triumphant return to television stations with a well set-up season premiere. The two-hour long second season premiere gave viewers just enough of action, suspense, backstory, and character development, while still leaving fans intrigued into what the rest of the season has in store. The Strain: Bk, NY was one of this episodes that set the bar rather high for the season and breathed some fresh into the groundbreaking series that may have fizzled somewhere in the first season.
The Strain: Bk, NY begins right where any show that respects its viewers should, by giving the backstory to current events. Fans finally got a chance to understand the history behind the behemoth of a master and why he was so much larger and mobile than the other Strigori ancients. It appears that the master decided to jump ship to a larger, handicapped, kid-friendly Austrian jolly giant in older days. The large man ventured out with his brother and companions to find the blood a mythical wolf that would help cure him of his condition, but what they found was something is a little less hairy and a lot more hostile-the Master.
The creature was different centuries ago and his appearance resembled more of the frail, pale, and hairless body type of the other ancients. Once the jolly giant came across the creature, who was eating away at his brother and comrades like a full course buffet, he tried to subdue the monster with the same cane/sword that Setrakian uses. The creature saw the large figure and an opportunity to inhabit a new vessel. How exactly the vamp ended up transferring his worm essence into the goliath? Simply by vomiting all his wormy-insides into the man’s face. The only question that later remains is how exactly the older vampire hunter came across the same cane.
After a brief back-story of the master, it was time to catch up with the rest of the living The Strain gang during the vampire apocalypse. Interestingly enough, the group set up shop in the same location that they confronted the master in the end of season one. The apartment was being fortified to sustain anymore vampire attacks, but the city still seemed to still function normally. There were sirens going off in the background and minimal smoke clouds, but, as a whole, the city seemed relatively unscathed. It seemed a little strange, considering how quickly the creatures spread in the last season.
The Strain‘s resident vampire-hunter Setrakian set out to find out where exactly the master had run off to, so he ventured off into the sewers alone. Instead of coming across the weakened creature, Setrakian ended up coming across the vampire swat force that was introduced in the latter of last season. The task force brought Setrakian to the other ancients to strike a deal. With the resident crook with a good-heart, but bad alliances Gus (Miguel Gomez) still working with the task force, they offered to work together to help bring down the master. It seems that there are seven ancients and the master is the only one with the power to block his thoughts from the hive mind. Once he was weakened, the others were able to find out where he was and what he was planning.
This scene of The Strain also gave viewers the first glimpse of exactly the ancients fed. It appears that the ancients prefer their meals of young, built, hairless, and terrified males as they awoke and choreographically fed on the chained-down bystander. This let viewers know that although these creatures are bent on stopping the master and his siege of New York City, they are still monsters who mercilessly feed on mankind.
Meanwhile, doctors Eph Goodweather and Mara Martinez licked their wounds and went back to the drawing boards on what to do about the Strigori. This is where the books and show begin to differ as the two decided to come up with a way to combat the ‘disease’ rather than just survive the oncoming battle. This was an interesting spin on the take of the show and setup more groundwork for future episodes as the two characters have new motivation. The scenes with Eph were also becoming more entertaining to watch as he continued to get drunk. This new Eph was a little bit more cynical and, dar say it, fun to watch than in previous episodes.
Though The Strain’s new Eph had a pessimistic look on the situation, he was still a forerunner for worst dad of the year. Neglecting his son, who clearly has been through enough trauma to leave him mentally scarred, Eph remembered that he was a father and tried to talk to his son-Zach (now played by Max Charles). Zach was clearly angry at his father for abandoning his mother in her changed state and just being an all-around jerk. Considering that Zach idolized his father last season, this was a well-welcomed contrast and departure from last season.
It seems that Eph’s family may still be the focal point of The Strain. In one scene, viewers got to see that the master was, in fact, mortally wounded by the attack. His body was dying and he sought revenge against the band of heroes. Enter Eph’s newly undead wife-Kelly. Her tie with Eph and the Master’s curiosity for her son make her the next chosen foot-soldier. Giving her back her freewill, only to still subjugate her to further do his bidding, Eph’s wife will lead group of blind, kid Strigori to seek out revenge.
The Strain: Bk, NY may have been a two hour premiere, but did not feel like it. Concise with enough action, dialogue, and character development to give more insight into characters this season but not bore the audience. The Strain has seem to have found its niche this season and hopefully continues the same momentum throughout.
Opinion by Tyler Cole
Collider.com: THE STRAIN Recap: “BK, NY”