FX’s resident vampire epic is back and arguably more entertaining. Skipping out on the drawn-out storylines of the previous season, “The Strain” opened with a different tone for 2016, by introducing more action and less predictability. Therefore, this season picks up the slack that the previous’ ones left out. Since “The Strain: New York Strong” Season 3 Episode 1, viewers have been updated on how the Strigoi outbreak has decimated the lives of the inhabitants of the Big Apple, in just 23 days. Viewers also caught up on the whereabouts, emotional states, and impact this war has caused on the divided main characters, as the enemy becomes stronger. Season 3 Episode 1, “The Strain: Gone But Not Forgotten,” brings in an emotional element to the season as it slows down in story momentum from the previous weeks.
The Master was severely wounded during “First Born,” therefore, his Strigoi lackeys were momentarily free to move without their puppetmaster, however, they were disorganized. With the overbearing parent away, the first victim on the list was the ever-disappointing Zach. Sensing that the young boy was locked away, the monster made its way into his room for an easy meal. However, Zach’s mother came to his rescue. It is unfortunate because Zach is the character the majority of viewers would not be too heartbroken to see killed off the show.
With the Strigoi mindless and ravenous, Eichorst takes it upon himself to seize the control he so longed for. Bringing together a few Strigoi that could pass as human, he devises a plan to strike back at Justine’s command centers. It a strange moment of art imitating life, Eichorst plants C4 on the human-esque Strigoi and leads them to self-sacrifice at each major center of the city. Considering that Chelsea recently underwent an ISIS-related incident, the suicide bombing was as suspenseful as it was eerie.
Easily the most interesting part of “The Strain: Gone But Not Forgotten,” was the exploding Strigoi infecting the majority of the inhabitants of the facilities. It was a suspenseful moment for the cast, as Justine was almost infected herself. Thankfully, Fet was there to burn away a worm with a UV light as it made its way into her eye. Bringing in the good Dr. Eph to confirm that Justine was infection-free, the city’s leading defense against the Strigoi, finally took it upon herself to organize a chain gang.
Like a North Koran leader, Justine decided to shut down any negative press. Taking her task force to the office of a reporter that embarrassed her in the beginning of “Gone But Not Forgotten,” Justine placed the reporter in custody and shut down her entire operation. This scene is significant in the fact that it shows Justine has finally crossed the line of morality over to self-gratification. Considering that she narrowly escaped death and is the only survivor of a worm-to-eye attack, Justine’s complexity reached a new level. Still believing that she is doing the right thing for her team and the dwindling number of citizens of the dying city, her motivations continue to spiral downward as absolute power is corrupted.
Catching up with other characters, the gang slowly seemed to be making their way back together. “The Strain: Gone But Not Forgotten” saw the reunion of Vasily, Dutch, and Fet. Since Dutch’s lover is confirmed dead, the lone hacker made her way back to their old headquarters in Brooklyn, to reunite with the closest thing she had to a family. Coming across Eph, their reunion was coupled with a mild drunk flirtation and a looting spree. The two come across a Strigoi that later became possessed by the Master and confirmed the obvious that he is still alive.
As far as the other characters on “The Strain,” Angel and Gus are still members of the city chain gang. It seems that their character’s motivations have not changed much in Season 3.
The resident hunter in “The Strain” is, by far, the most interesting character. Quinlan and Setrakian took a visit to the domain of the Ancients to figure out why he was still alive and confirm their suspicions about the Master’s demise. The Ancients are none too pleased with their efforts. The forever twitching and all-powerful beings let the two heroes know that the crimson snake that plopped out of the Master’s decapitated neck was still at large and just as powerful as before. Similar to viewers, this angered Quinlan but finally gave him the courage to severe ties with the unhelpful group.
All in all, “The Strain: Gone But Not Forgotten” seemed to be more of a filler episode than a plot driver. It served its purpose in bringing the gang moderately back together. It confirmed the obvious suspicions of the viewers about the Master and set up Justine to be a little more ruthless. However, that is about it. One thing that “The Strain” has grasped over the seasons, is the art of subtlety in its delivery of action and horror. However, over the course of a season, waiting until the season finale to deliver a grand episode with little build up has contributed to the brand’s heavy decrease in viewership. The most current episode was no expiation for lackluster.
Opinion by Tyler Cole
Edited by Jeanette Smith
FX Network: The Strain
TV: Gone But Not Forgotten Review
IGN: Gone But Not Forgotten Review
Images Courtesy of FX Networks, Inc. – Used With Permission