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Jul 12 2015

The Strain Season Premiere – “BK, NY” Review. The Children of the Night.

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THE STRAIN -- Pictured: Key ArtSeason 2, Episode 1

Air date: Sunday, July 12, 2015 at 10PM E/P on FX

Rating:

 

“As you walk out in the daylight, never forget this.” – Abraham Setrakian

 

After a seemingly failed attempt to destroy The Master (Robert Maillet) in the season one finale, “The Master,” our intrepid vampire hunters led by the elderly but wise Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley) must figure out other ways to destroy these creatures, aka “Strigoi,” in order to stop The Master once and for all. As season two begins, the tone seems more desperate and angst ridden as CDC doctors Eph Goodweather (Corey Stoll) and Nora Martinez (Mia Maestro) try to use their skills to develop either a vaccine or cure for the disease plaguing New York. Meanwhile, our favorite Ukrainian exterminator, Vasiliy Fet (Kevin Durand), is ready to take his beloved city back, building by building if need be. In “BK, NY,” we get a history lesson, learning a great deal about how The Master came to be, and more about the mysterious group of Strigoi I refer to as the Strigoi SWAT team.

Nora and Eph go back to the CDC lab only to discover their colleagues have been turned into vampires.

Nora and Eph go back to the CDC lab only to discover their colleagues have been turned into vampires.

“BK, NY” isn’t a tidy little season premiere; it’s messy, gory, and bloody disgusting The way the show is written lends a sense of realism to what these survivors of a “vampire apocalypse” are going through. The lack of food and safe shelter, encountering the dangers of what lurks outside in the shadows, traveling by day and hiding out at night, as well as some of The Strain’s diabolical characters, give “BK, NY” an ominous feel, making it a very intriguing season premiere. I was so engrossed in this episode; I was surprised to see the credits rolling. I needed more of The Strain, immediately. Thankfully there were three screeners available. There are a few cringe worthy scenes, especially when you see how The Master becomes an all-powerful strigoi. Let’s just say I’m glad I watched “BK, NY” on a fairly empty stomach.

New characters are introduced this season, as well as returning ones. Eph’s ex-wife Kelly (Natalie Brown), who was turned into one of the creatures, returns. The Master has grand plans for her as she has been “chosen” for a purpose. When Kelly was turned into a vampire, she didn’t succumb to the baser needs as quickly as some of the others who had been turned. This differentiates her from the rest of the pack, making her quite unique. Fair warning, if you don’t like seeing children in scary movies, you may have a difficult time watching “BK, NY.” What The Master does in this episode is nothing short of despicable and wicked.

New this season is young Max Charles, who plays Eph’s son Zack. I was a bit disappointed that Ben Hyland doesn’t return in the role because his portrayal of Zack in season one embodied both an innocence and determination that seemed to strike the right balance for The Strain. Charles’ approach to playing Zack is the exact opposite from how Hyland portrayed the character last season. In season two, Zack is full of rebellious attitude and snark. I’m not sure how it will play out but for now, his reaction to everything seems befitting of the current situation at hand.

Coco Marchand (Lizzie Brocheré), another new character, is a real estate agent who helps the wealthy Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) to procure a building. Palmer’s flirtatious behavior surprised me. I’m used to seeing Palmer as the once frail, ailing billionaire so seeing Palmer so full of life, even toying with the idea of romance caught me off guard. I’m not sure how this story line will play out but my interest is definitely piqued.

Dutch and Vasiliy seem to have taken on new roles this season; Dutch is more a welder than hacker and Vasilily is looking after Abraham.

Dutch and Vasiliy seem to have taken on new roles this season; Dutch is more a welder/babysitter than brilliant hacker and Vasilily has taken on a caretaker role over Abraham (who doesn’t seem to like it).

Abraham continues his search for The Master, without the aid of his “merry band of vampire hunters.” What Abraham encounters in the dark, dank tunnels beneath the city ultimately changes the way he approaches hunting these creatures. The strigoi SWAT team makes Abraham anoffer he can’t refuse; cliché, I know but so fitting. Will this alliance with “the ancients,” a group of elder vampires, bear fruit or will it end in more innocent blood being spilled? The end game isn’t clear as of yet, but there is a rift between the ancients and The Master that needs repair. If they are truly of “a common mind,” that could prove even more deadly should The Master find a successor who is more aligned with the current mindset of the ancients. What do the ancients want? What is their ultimate goal with the human race? How have the strigoi who serve the ancients evolved to be so civilized and semi-normal in their day to day activities?

The city is being overrun with the vampire plague. The wealthy Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde), with a new lease on life thanks to The Master, continues to serve his own end. He wants immortality and is willing to pay the ultimate price to attain it. Hyde does an excellent job of toning down Palmer’s pompous arrogance while giving what appears to be a heartfelt speech to the public. Of course, we know what he’s really up to.

Eichorst isn't fond of Palmer and his so-called partnership with The Master.

Eichorst isn’t fond of Palmer and his so-called partnership with The Master.

The friction between Palmer and Thomas Eichorst (Richard Sammel), The Master’s secondin command could start a raging fire. Eichorst and Palmer are at odds but I believe Eichorst envious of The Master’s need for Palmer’s wealth and social status. Eichorst may be a loyal “foot soldier,” but his position easily be replaced. Sammel masterfully plays Eichorst with a quiet fervor. The way Eichorst never raises his voice and how he smirks just before he strikes make him that much more sinister.

 

Overall

“BK, NY” hold you captive to its macabre contents. episode doesn’t many answers, it more complex questions the rest of the season. What does Palmer want with an old soap factory? Will Eph and Nora’s plans to “infect the infected” work? What purpose will the newly blind children serve for The Master? Who will be The Master’s successor? Let the season begin!

Catch up on season one of The Strain with my reviews and stay tuned for my interviews with the cast/crew of The Strain at this year’s SDCC 2015.

Tune into The Strain, Sundays at 10PM only on FX.

For more on the show, go to http://www.fxnetworks.com/thestrain

Like The Strain on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TheStrainFX

Follow The Strain on Twitter – @TheStrainFX

The Strain on Google+ – https://plus.google.com/102709973293035079984/posts

 

Photos: ©2015 FX Networks. All Rights Reserved.

 

© 2015, Judy Manning. All rights reserved.

Judy Manning

Dream chaser extraordinaire! Judy is sarcastic and goofy! She is an avid admirer of all things supernatural, paranormal, and mystical. (She finally came around to zombies, but NO clowns...she loathes clowns). She loves to read and write, watches way too much TV, and enjoys many genres of film. She's enjoys music of the Trance/Electronica variety (and let's be honest most music from the 80s). She also has a wicked sweet tooth. Cupcakes beware.

About the author

Judy Manning

Dream chaser extraordinaire! Judy is sarcastic and goofy! She is an avid admirer of all things supernatural, paranormal, and mystical. (She finally came around to zombies, but NO clowns...she loathes clowns). She loves to read and write, watches way too much TV, and enjoys many genres of film. She's enjoys music of the Trance/Electronica variety (and let's be honest most music from the 80s). She also has a wicked sweet tooth. Cupcakes beware.

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