Last season on The Strain, life as we know it became a thing of the past the moment that Regis Air International Flight 753 touched down in New York's JFK airport. While Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather and his team of experts at the CDC were lead to believe that pathogen had caused all but four passengers to die mid flight, it turned out to be something much more insidious. A vampiric plague broke out, and with the help of exterminator Vasily Fet and vampire hunter/pawn broker Professor Abraham Setrakian, the root cause of this outbreak was traced.
Alas, it was too late to stop it by that point, and with the team losing more than they gained by the end of Season 1, they were primed to fight back against the darkness threatening to envelop New York City. Which brings us to “BK,NY”: the premiere of The Strain Season 2! There's a lot in store for the future of humanity, but before any of that gets started, we're treated to a long awaited history lesson.
”Evil lurks in the world, Abraham. In many forms, some familiar, some not. You must stop it... we all must.”
We begin Season 2 of The Strain with some background information involving The Master, as well as the vampire SWAT team from Season 1. As it turns out, the vampire race has seven elders that sort of run things. At least, they did until the seventh went rogue and became The Master. With a thirst for power, The Master has taken various human forms until they wither and die. Which means, we get to see his current form's origin during a young Setrakian flashback. A fairy tale tells us of the ritual that transfers The Master's essence from one body to another, and only two sources have such information: Setrakian's grandmother, and the sacred text known as the “Occido Lumen.” After Season 1 left him singed and worse for the wear, The Master and Eichorst aren't playing around anymore. Vengeance, and a new body, are The Master's new priorities, but don't be mistaken. He has some really effective lackeys doing his dirty work on other fronts.
”We must prepare for my revenge... and my succession.”
Eldritch Palmer is in a significantly better position than he was in Season 1, with most of his health restored by The Master's blood. With his physical state allowing him to be up and about once more, he's back in business in the literal sense. Not only has The Stoneheart Group bought up some mysterious sounding properties, complete with functioning drains that can dispose of human waste, they're also getting into the business of charity. Specifically, they're sponsoring the evacuation of a school of blind children, as well as giving the city of New York an unlimited line of credit! Of course, the catch is that those children have now been turned into bloodsucking radar detectors known as “Feelers,” and who else is leading the pack but former mother herself Kelly Goodweather. Meanwhile, while Setrakian is brokering a deal between his lot and the ancients, and The Master is shoring up his hold on the world at large, Eph and Nora are doing what they were trained to do.
”Well seeing as how as a vampire hunter I'm a total shit, I'm gonna go back to being a doctor.”
The good doctors are preparing to fight the vampiric scourge on a biological level, and thanks to the hairy scenario at the storage unit, they have two viable specimens to experiment on. Nora's certainly changed, as she's no longer flinching from the conflict ahead. Eph, on the other hand, looks like he is going to become obsessive with trying to reverse this epidemic. With his son upset, and the world going to shit, Eph has only his work and his liquor to keep him together. We'll see which one breaks him first, as this isn't a viable lifestyle for any recovering addict, especially during a vampire apocalypse.
So Season 2 of The Strain is underway! The series that became a runaway hit last year hasn't missed a beat, and while it's mostly doing its own thing in this first episode, there's a lot of bread crumbs for the future. You'll see what we're talking about on page 2 in the Nitpicks, Notes, and Nods section, but if you're not making the jump with the rest of us we'll see you back here for next week's installment. Evil is scheming and Good is doing its homework. The only thing that unites both sides is that they'll try to achieve their aims “By Any Means.”
NitpicksThe young Setrakian flashback was actually taken from the beginning of The Strain's first book.
Ms. Marchand is a new character that was not featured in the books, so her romance with Eldrich Palmer never happened.
Mr. Quinlan is not the head of the Vampire SWAT team, as we'd previously thought in Season 1.
The recasting of Zack kinda regresses the character a bit. The original incarnation seemed more capable and intelligent, while the new incarnation seems a little younger and a bit whinier than before.
NotesIt looks like that couple that got infected in the storage unit will be one of the vamps we saw restrained in the lab in the Season 2 trailer. If I didn't know any better, I'd say there's some moral quandaries ahoy.
Eph hitting the sauce in the books didn't seem to give him a sense of humor, but the show seems to be going in that direction. Which is great, because it feels like Corey Stoll is being given a little more room in his character than he was in Season 1.
Going back to the young Setrakian flashback, two noteworthy bits about that: first, we've seen the first of the sequences Guillermo Del Toro directed for Season 2! We're not getting a full episode this year, but we'll be seeing his fingerprints in moments like this, as well as a black and white Mexican B-Movie that was shot for a character we'll meet this season.
Second noteworthy bit about the Setrakian flashback is that while it opened the first book, it looks like it works much better at the beginning of Season 2. Children and their parents are shaping up to be an even more important theme if this premiere is any indication.
The Storage Unit sequence is some of the best action we've had since Season 1's “Creatures Of The Night”. That sequence is definitely a top 10 contender for best Season 2 moments.
NodsIf I were the mayor of New York City, I'd be extremely wary of that unlimited line of credit offered by the Stoneheart Group. I'd also be looking into those real estate purchases Eldritch Palmer has been making, but then again this is probably why I'm not the mayor of New York City.
The Palmer/Marchand connection is either going to be a really interesting way to replace Mr. Fitzwilliam, or it's going to be a possible complication that makes him regret his ways for the briefest of moments. Either way, it's well played so far, as Jonathan Hyde's natural charm shines through.
Stocks for Wilson's Bread Company must be soaring right about now, considering vampires start to disappear whenever a certain bread truck shows up.