Ephraim Goodweather, Abraham Setrakian and the whole vampire-killing gang returned last night in the Season 2 premiere of FX’s The Strain, which was 90-minutes long and packed with rubbery monsters galore. This season, the vampire apocalypse is in full swing, and if last night’s premiere was any indication, our Sunday nights are about to be injected with serious levels of entertainment.
While Ephraim and Nora spent most of the premiere episode devising a plan to either cure or eliminate the vampiric threat, Setrakian formed a partnership with an unlikely group of allies, and the team of Eichorst and Palmer resumed their plans for world domination. Meanwhile, a battle-damaged Master found himself in need of a new body, though he took the time to father an army of vampire children.
The Strain is at its best when it’s wacky and aiming for fun, and ‘BK, NY’ was all around an episode that represented the show at its absolute finest. Let’s shine the spotlight on the Season 2 premiere’s five coolest moments, shall we?
1) THE MASTER’S ORIGIN STORY
Last night’s episode kicked off with a 10-minute prologue that told the origin story of The Master, which was directed by none other than Guillermo del Toro – who of course co-wrote the trilogy of books that the series is based on. In the flashback sequence, grandma Setrakian told young Abraham a spooky story about Jusef Sardu, a gentle giant who was transformed into the monstrous Master.
In a nutshell, the origin story relayed that Sardu was brought on a hunting trip with his brother, who believed that the blood of the Great White Wolf would cure him of his gigantism. The hunting party, however, was brutally slaughtered by the original iteration of ‘The Master,’ who was so impressed by Sardu’s remarkable size that he spared his life, instead using his body as a new host.
The whole sequence was easily the coolest thing we’ve yet seen on The Strain, and it didn’t hurt that Guillermo del Toro brought in frequent collaborator Doug Jones to play the monster that infected Sardu. I never even considered that The Master was at one point human, so needless to say I was pleased to learn of his unexpected origins. The episode’s opening was pure del Toro, through and through.
2) MEET THE ANCIENTS
In the present day, Abraham Setrakian revisited the location where he and Goodweather almost killed The Master at the end of Season 1, and he found himself kidnapped by badass vampire Vaun. Flanked by new partner in crime Gus, Vaun introduced Setrakian to ‘The Ancients,’ a group of vampires who are only interested in feeding, rather than infecting human hosts.
As we learned last season, The Master is the seventh member of The Ancients, and after he went rogue in an attempt to destroy humanity, the other Ancients vowed to take him out. Vaun told Setrakian that they would spare his life if he promised to find The Master and let them know of his whereabouts, and Setrakian had no choice but to agree to the conditions.
At the end of the impromptu meeting, a shackled man was brought into the lair of The Ancients, where they systematically obliterated him and drank his body dry. In a genre landscape where most movie monsters are computer-generated, seeing actors in rubbery monster suits is truly awesome, and this standout scene last night personified everything that’s so much fun about The Strain.
3) YOU’VE BEEN CHOSEN
Ephraim Goodweather has started drinking again, in the wake of his wife Kelly being turned into a horrific monster, and he’s likely going to hit the bottle even harder once he realizes what The Master has in store for him next. In an incredibly cruel twist, we learned that The Master is restoring Kelly’s human qualities, essentially using her body to exact the ultimate revenge on Ephraim.
I’m not sure to what extent Kelly is going to be humanized, so to speak, but just hearing her call out her son’s name, in a very human voice, was pretty chilling. The Master sure does know how to get inside the heads of those who do him wrong, and I’ve got a feeling this sinister plan isn’t going to end well for the Goodweather family. A happy reunion, this certainly will not be.
4) STORAGE LOCKER MASSACRE
Towards the end of the episode, Setrakian brought Ephraim, Nora and Vasiliy to a storage locker facility, where he had stashed all sorts of weapons and research many years prior. The scene took a turn for the humorous when Setrakian couldn’t quite remember which storage locker was his, and then it quickly took a turn for the horrific when the facility was overrun by an endless assault of vampires.
One of the things I love about The Strain is that it knows it’s not The Walking Dead, and doesn’t take itself too seriously, but last night’s storage locker massacre very much felt like a scene from AMC’s zombie series. At one point the lights went out and the survivors were forced to blast their way through hordes of vampires in the darkness, the muzzle flashes of their guns providing the only illumination.
The scene was the episode’s scariest/goriest (decapitations aplenty), and it also provided an interesting glimpse of hope for the future. In one locker, the gang found an old couple hiding out, and after both were infected during the shootout, Goodweather decided to keep them alive for testing. It seems the couple will play a pivotal role in the creation of a potential “cure,” which should be interesting.
5) BEHOLD, THE FEELERS
The Strain‘s Season 2 premiere ended on a delightfully twisted note, when it was revealed that The Master turned an entire school bus full of blind children into pint-sized minions for Kelly Goodweather to control and weaponize. Writhing underneath a large pile of dirt, the vampire kids began to emerge at the end of the episode, and Eichorst dubbed them ‘The Feelers’ – also known as ‘the children of the night.’
Yea, the show totally went there. And you simply have to love it.
A good season premiere gets you excited to tune in for the rest of the season, and I honestly have never been more into The Strain than I am at this present moment. A good portion of Season 1 was spent on setting the stage, as the apocalypse hadn’t yet begun, but now that all hell is breaking loose and vampires are roaming free throughout the city, it looks like Season 2 is going to primarily focus on crazy vampire action.
And I’m already thirsty for more.
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