Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain is now in its second season. To keep up with what’s happening with the show each week, Drew Dietsch and Andrew Hawkins will be putting their words together to cover only the most important of events from each episode. Strap in and enjoy as we recap, analyze and occasionally riff The Strain.
Warning: Major Spoilers Ahead
So to begin our recap of this week’s episode I’d like to address some recent news. Drew, what are your thoughts on the exciting announcement that The Strain has been greenlit for a third season?
Ecstatic! I don’t foresee this show going on too long (there’s only three books in the series, right?), so if this next season is the last, I’m okay with that. The Strain doesn’t feel like something that needs an indefinite shelf life like the ever-mutating monstrosity that is The Walking Dead, so knowing that we’ve got at least one more go-around in this world makes me happy. With your foreknowledge of the books, does one more seem like it could finish this whole tale?
Hawkins: The Strain will eventually come to a definitive end, and honestly I would be fine if the story comes to a close after a third or fourth season. I think where we are now is perfect for the overall pacing of the narrative. The show doesn’t feel rushed at this point and we are still given plenty of time to focus on our individual characters without any of the distractions of fast paced action and drama. I like how the show is moving along right now.
Let’s get into the fact that at no point in this episode were our main characters together at all. Setrakian is on his own completely until the end. Fet only sees Nora before getting wrapped up in Ferraldo’s goon squad with Dutch by his side, and Eph just straight up abandons everyone to make it out of the city. Our group is completely divided now. Do you think that at this point we will ever get the chance to see the gang back together again before the end of this season? I mean for god’s sake, Eph even ditched his hair!
Drew: It feels like the group is figuring out that they all have different agendas, and although I’d rather have them all together fighting for a single cause, it’s a lot more telling and appropriate for their characters that they have become more disparate. Dutch and Fet just wanna exterminate some munchers (and they continue to be awesome at it), Abraham is still hellbent in his personal quest against The Master, Nora wants to try and help people as best as she can, and Eph is committed to neutralizing the virus the only way he knows how. I hope circumstances will bring the group back together before season’s end, but if it doesn’t happen, I can understand why.
More importantly, I hope everyone unceremoniously ditching Zach means that Kelly will be reunited with her son even sooner. I’m so ready for that kid to get strigoi-ed.
Hawkins: That soft lullaby Kelly hummed near the end of this was just unnerving and I am on edge to see her close in on Zach. Y’know if I had to call it, I’d say that Fet and Dutch are the ones I’m following the closest right now, but Eph’s trip to Washington had me completely absorbed. I was reeling due to the decisions Eph was making on that train and I couldn’t be happier to finally see some resolution with Barnes. That whole section of this episode worked incredibly well and had me fully invested.
I want to see Abraham Setrakian, vampire hunter make his way closer to The Master again. I am glad that Eldritch’s former right-hand man Reggie Fitzwilliam is fully on board and committed to the cause. We’ll see how things develop as both Abraham and Eldritch continue their quest towards finding the Occido Lumen and who will eventually tip the scales of fate in their favor. As for Nora and Feraldo, I’m glad that we haven’t gone full-on martial law, corrupt police state with the work being done to reclaim Red Hook. I’m glad that Samantha Mathis is bringing some genuine compassion to the table and making her character multidimensional.
Drew: Lullabies have become inherently creepy to me thanks to their appropriation in things like The Strain. Eph’s story this week was particularly well done, and seeing how definitively he dealt with Barnes, I’m still rooting for functional alcoholic Eph. I like seeing a lot of unflinching determination in these characters. That might be why Fet and Dutch are so great to watch. They never feel too wavy with what they want to accomplish, and they pull it off with equal parts snark and heart.
I will say that Abraham’s story has felt somewhat sidelined so far. When the season opens with a fantastic piece of lore relating to The Master and a face-to-face with The Ancients, it feels unfair to have very little else doled out to us on this level. I’m hoping that joining Fitzwilliam to the cause will result in some strong headway in this department. Thankfully, David Bradley is possibly the baddest of asses when it comes to geriatric protagonists. Every time he whips out that sword, I smile.
And yes, Samantha Mathis pleasantly surprised me this week by turning into a real character. I thought she was going to either end up as a gateway to resources/soldiers for our team or an unintentional antagonist, but this week made her feel like a part of the crew. Too bad I can’t say the same for Eldritch, who has been the least compelling character so far this season. Although, taking part in a romantic dance while a building burns in the background was a nice bit of evil flair. You know where Eldritch is headed, so are you more on board with his somewhat slow-going plot?
Hawkins: For me, where Eldritch is in the overall story is right where he needs to be. I will say though that i am very eagerly awaiting more focus on some of the characters haven’t seen much of lately. Bolivar should have been babysitting Eldritch this episode. I think we missed a fantastic opportunity for some awkward humor if Bolivar had been rolling his eyes during the “New York is burning so let’s have a drink” scene. What’s going on behind the scenes with The Master is what I want to see next and I know we’ll eventually get there. I think that’s why I enjoyed this episode’s tacked on ending so much. There’s a new hunter in town and that makes me happy.
Drew: Since it looks like we’ve lost Vaun and the vamp strong force, I too am eager to see who this new hunter is. He has some kind of bone sword? Sold.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Next week: Episode 6 – Identity