[This is a review for the season 2 premiere of The Strain. There will be SPOILERS.]
If you were to study popular genre trends in entertainment media, one might think that vampires were in their prime back in 2008 when True Blood and Twilight were making their respective companies gallons of blood soaked money. So, The Strain missed the boat by 6 years, right?
Don't tell that to the talented creative team led by Guillermo Del Tor (Pacific Rim) and Carlton Cruse (Lost). For them, it's still 2008 and they are reveling in the horrific world they have created. With a talented group of actors and a B-movie like repertoire of dialogue and action set pieces, The Strain should be on the top of your must see list for the summer.
Del Toro did a fantastic job directing the prologue portion of this week's episode, simply titled 'BK, NY.' The origin story of The Master was an unexpected, but welcomed way to begin this new chapter. For those of us who have yet to read the popular books series, one has to wonder if the writers are trying to show us that there is still good in the creature? It doesn't seem likely though, due to his fast transition from children lover, to children kidnapper, but hopefully this will not be the last flashback we see. Either way, del Toro proves his mastery of storytelling in this early portion of the episode.
While The Strain can be a fun source of high-octane vampire action-adventure, there are times when the show falls into the "who cares" category, especially when it comes to Eph and his son. In case you were wondering, Zach Goodweather has been recast with Max Charles (American Sniper). Even with a new actor, the character still feels irrelevant to the overall plot. Even their interactions seem forced and awkward. It's in these "quiet moments" where this series struggles, but fortunately for all of us, the vampire-filled stories and action sequences are worth a few hiccups along the way.
While Eph and Nora delve deeper in the scientific realm of trying to discover a cure, Abraham Setrakian goes straight for The Master, as his searches for him in New York City's lower depths. It's good to finally learn more about the vampire militia in this episode, as we see them serving three ancients in an undisclosed area. The monsters are terrifying as they slowly devour their pray in front of Abraham and Miguel.
A sort of truce has now been struck between Abraham and The Ancients, but who really knows how long that will last. For now, they have a common foe in The Master, who apparently can mask where he is and what he is thinking. These very old vampires can communicate even when they are sleeping, but the seventh of their kind remains elusive.
Ephraim's ex, Kelly Goodweather is another dangerous player in this game. The Master has plans for her and now she can control her thoughts and retain her voice. She is also given a small army of children, which was nothing short of freaky. While this world does not bode well for happy endings, this reviewer is hoping that Eph can saver her somehow. Only time well tell.
As expected, The Strain season 2 premiere delivered in every way imaginable, even when it falters in some of its quieter moments. So, what did you think of the premiere? Will this trump last year's outing, or is the series destined for a sophomore slump? Stay tuned to see what happens next.
The Strain continues with 'By Any Means' next Sunday @10/9c on FX. Check out a preview below: