Welcome back to The Strain-ger Talk, where each week we breakdown and discuss this week’s new episode of FX’s The Strain. We will be going over major plot points, the game plan from both sides of the upcoming war, best action moments, new types of vampires, and of course the Tongue-Punch of the Week! If you missed last season’s talk then CLICK HERE for the season finale! This week is the season 3 premiere! Now a lot happened this week that we need to cover, so without further ado, lets talk some Strainge!
*MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU DO NOT WANT THIS EPISODE SPOILED THEN STOP READING*
Its been a long summer as the season premiere of The Strain was pushed back until the 28th of August, but all is right as the drama, action, and plot-blocking that the show is famous for is back! It has been twenty three days since the infamous plane incident that lead to the rise of The Master and his Strigori army. New York has been reshaped as the Strigori plague spreads out of its closed borders. The premiere opens with a narration from our favorite Strigori hunter Abraham Setrakian updating us on what has been happening, with an emphasis on the fact that the government is starting to smarten up on what is happening in New York, especially since Strigori outbreaks are happening in other major cities. The montage of the world falling apart cut to see a group of Navy Seals strategically taking out a nest of Strigori led by none other than fan favorite Vasiliy Fet!
As the Navy Seals take out the Strigori like an Adderall fueled Call of Duty bender, we see the rat catcher Fet giving orders from the surface. At least, that is what it looks like as Fet reveals later to Justine Feraldo that he is merely helping them acting as a “translator” for them. Fet is merely there to give them intel on both the city and how the Strigori operate. It is definitely strange seeing Fet on the sidelines giving instructions as the team clears out the tunnels. Fet is a natural leader in the battlefield, but he leads from the front of the pack, not behind a headset and live feed. Its obvious that while he understands the importance of his new role, he is anxious to join the fight and rebard the shit out of some Strigori. Fet’s new role leaves him restrained leading to him lashing out when he later meets with Abraham and Quinlan, but you really see the toll his new role is taking when he talks with Feraldo.
When Fet meets with Feraldo he comes off discouraged by what his current situation. He knows that with support from the US Military they could make solid progress with fighting the Strigori menance. Through Fet’s interactions with Feraldo and the leader of the Seals it is revealed that the government doesn’t have much faith in New York City anymore. Feraldo is struggling to keep her efforts of pushing and taking back the city, even though the media is reporting her as winning the battle. Fet is merely an accomplice in the goals of the Seal’s plan. He can’t give orders and reveals that the small group of soldiers is all the government is sparing at the time. Towards the end of the episode the Seals leader reveals that if they don’t find their “King Rat” then they are pulling out of New York in two days. This is when both the Seals and Fet become reckless, chasing after Eichorst right into a trap with leaving few survivors. This is a particularly hard blow for Fet after telling Quinlan and Abraham that him and his Seals were going to take out The Master.
Abraham and Quinlan are hard at work in translating The Lumen, searching for a way to destroy The Master once and for all. Quinlan believes the book only has clues and that the answers are elsewhere where as Abraham believes the answers are in the book itself. Fet meets with Abraham, if only to see his friend once again to center himself. This is interrupted by Quinlan coming into the room throwing Fet into an anti-Strigori speech. This speech is fueled by his new role as he feels helpless behind the monitors for the Seals. A man of action set to the sidelines with no outlet for his anger and a loss of purpose. He is a man who fight in the trenches and because this is taken away he is lashing out. He talks a big game about his work with the Navy Seals, but really he is an emasculated man looking to prove himself once again. Fet, for some pretty justified reasons, dislikes Quinlan the half breed Strigori. Though Quinlan has only proven to be an asset to their efforts, he still has no allegiance and this worries Fet. He doesn’t want to trust someone who is one of the enemy, even if they have a similar goals, their intentions couldn’t be more different. This is proven when Quinlan goes to talk with The Ancients.
The Ancients have the same capacity to be subtle with their intentions as they do with staying still. The forever twitching mostly catatonic beings dwell within their chamber, far from the battles happening through out the world. Quinlan visits them once again to see speak with them. They keep asking what him and Abraham have been able to learn from The Lumen, always in fear that it will reveal how to destroy them. Quinlan reveals that they haven’t learned much all the while making it clear that he has no allegiance, only a goal, to destroy The Master. But no new information is revealed here, just another excuse for Quinlan to say something badass and The Ancients twitch their asses off. As great as it is to see Quinlan be a snarky asshole to The Ancients, this scene just repeats information we already knew. This is a major issue with this episode as information and plot/character arcs are repeated and not expanded on. Quinlan still has no real allegiance and The Ancients still want the book. That is the main problem with the season premiere, there is too much plot-blocking going on, especially when it comes to Eph but we’ll get there in a bit.
So what happened to Gus’s army? At the end of last season we see him break out an army of prisoners to take on the Strigori threat. In the season premiere we see him feed his mother his blood in a dog bowl. Its an emotional and intense scene as Gus tries to give his mother his blood struggling to get close without getting tongue-punched. When his blood is thrown around the room because she wants more but he can’t give more without dying its truly heartbreaking, but it doesn’t progress the story and leaves too much unanswered. Hopefully they are able to move Gus’ story forward this season and do more with what they have already set up with his character. It seems that every time they move his character they take another step or two back. Gus is highly trained and has a small army of criminal soldiers to fight by his side. How is he not going on Strigori nest raids and helping to take back the city? Still not as bad as the plot-blocking from the world’s most functional alcoholic.
Eph continues to be the main focus of the show, though he is stuck in the spiral of not moving together. Just when I think Eph is about to evolve as a person or even as a warrior in the war he falls back on being a shitty person. This week we see him continue to drink and be mediocre. Eph is continuing him continuing to manufacture his bio-weapon, something that he could easily teach someone else to do, in an effort to avoid moving forward. He always is stuck in this cycle of drinking and putting himself in a position of being barely useful. Even Feraldo is getting sick of his bullshit and she is the only thing protecting from federal prison. Could he be working on producing the bio-weapon on a mass scale? yes, but he doesn’t. Could he be learning how to fight the Stirgori better through melee weapons and his gun? Yes, but then he would of more use. Instead he drinks, wallows, and keeps putting himself in stupid situations as an excuse to have a bad action scene for the sole purpose of plot-blocking. SPEAKING OF:
Eph is seen driving around New York in a cab through checkpoints not realizing he is almost out of gas. So he goes into a parking garage looking for cars that still have gas. I can understand the need to search for gas in dark parking lots because of gas availability by this point in the city shutdown, but this is a great example of plot-blocking that was perfected by The Walking Dead: putting a smart character in a dumb situation they didn’t need to be in for the sole purpose of filling time. Seriously, Eph is a fucking scientist! It has been proven that he is a pretty smart guy, so why is he putting himself in this situation? Also, why is he still shitty at dispensing Strigori? I am not expecting him to be a Strigori assassin, but by this point he shouldn’t be so helpless. He has worked and fought beside some of the best Strigori fighters out there. Surely some of their skills must have rubbed off on him. Anyways, during the fight Eph stabs a Strigori in the head with his knife without a glove on. Is he going to turn? Probably not. This would take out the main character of the show. Eventually Eph manages to go back to his house to eat soup, drink, and wait for Zach who has been with his mother since the season finale. Looks like like another night of Eph to drink and wallow when suddenly the front door opens.
If you read my recaps last season you know how much I disliked what they did with Zach’s character. To be honest, I don’t like what they have been doing with the Goodweathers since the end of the first season, with Kelly being the exception. Funny how the one member of the family who dies in the first season is the only one who has made any character development. Eph’s story this season begins with him having a dream of his only child returning as a Strigori and having to execute him. When we see Zach in real life he is with his mother and still human. I honestly like the dynamic they are playing with Zach in his mother in this episode. Its hard to tell if Kelly is using her son or is truly caring for him, but for Zach it doesn’t matter. To him his mother is sick and needs his help to get better. Granted, this was a point there tried so hard to drive across last season it was almost unbearable. Is that whole terrible plotline from last season finally paying off? Its too early to tell, but maybe it will. Kelly knows Eph will do whatever it takes to get Zach back and sets out to use that to get The Lumen. The Master wants the book and is using Eph’s family against him in order to achieve his goal. Sound familiar? Kind of like a major plot point that was over used last season? Yup, Eph needs a character overhaul. Either make him get his shit together and make him the badass scientist/Strigori warrior he should be or go the opposite and have him go full on rogue. Can’t be in this middle ground anymore, its giving me a hangover. So the episode end with Eph having a need found need to get The Lumen. Whether or not Eph has a good enough standing with Abraham is kind of up in the air at this point, especially since Quinlan would in Eph’s way with the book. The preview for next’s episode show Eph trying to get the book and Quinlan knocking him around. Hopefully Eph finds a reason to stop being such a piece of shit and stand up for himself and mankind.
Continue to the next page for Tongue-Punch and Best Action Scene of the Week, Final Thoughts, Next Week, and more shots from this week’s episode!