Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘The Strain’ Episode 3

So here we go again, more vampires and horror from the angle that everything is treated as a virus. The Strain has a lot going for it but still seems to have trouble utilising all the elements that are in play, namely the characters and original perspective of a CDC worker investigating a traditional monster as a medical issue. This week opened with the transformation of Setrakian’s nemesis Eichorst from full blown missing nose, nightmare face to normal evil Nazi face. The special effects are fantastic and the scene presents an explanation of how he looks human but is clearly Strigoi. More information needs to be presented this way because a lot of the time Eph seems more like Dr Exposition.

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No nose vagina faces will soon inherit the Earth!

So far most of the lab scenes have felt lacking and been bathed in blue light to show skin squiggles crawling around peoples flesh, as much as I don’t mind simplified devices like forensic analysis I do feel like the scenes lack depth. This weeks episode sees Eph and his team try and find out exactly what the virus is doing to El Capitan Redfern by shining yet more blue light on him and watching him react to a noise that no one but Cap can hear.

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This man is sick, squiggle white worm sick and that seems to be the worst kind.

Meanwhile we have further charm from Vasiliy Fet who gives a father a telling off for being an asshole, Setrakian doing more detective work and being released from prison (With his sword cane!) and after watching them this week I’m more convinced that Vasiliy and Setrakian should fight crime on the streets of New York in a prequel series. We now know the rats are running from New York which by the reaction from Mr Fet I will assume is a bad thing and have seen what the survivors will become (Animalistic Goths with anger issues and long stinger like tongues) so we are so close now to seeing some monster kills. El Cap has been our first team kill and it was not as interesting as I would have liked but it worked and made Eph go full Tom Atkins (Man of ACTION!).

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This is how you go full Tom Atkins, if you are unaware of who that is please go and watch Night of the Creeps(1986).

Bolivar also appeared for a fair amount during the episode and he does not seem to be having a good time with the transformation, if there was maybe an episode that focused on a single character and the several stages of becoming a Strigoi we would have felt invested. So far those that survived the flight have not felt important due to the dead passengers getting up and running around presumably nibbling on some of the residents of NY.

No one has even mentioned this bunch running around taking Manhattan like Jason didn’t try before.

We also had a little follow up scene on the little girl who killed her father after waking up, basic horror stuff that amounted to Eph turning up to a bath with some large clumps of hair and little else leaving us to assume there is a Daddy/Daughter tag team of Strigoi out there (Again I feel like a missed opportunity not having those 2 running about for an entire episode). I get the feeling they have avoided showing the female survivor so that a dedicated episode can show the slow progression of the virus and maybe have us feel investigated in the character but also know more about our villain.

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Apparently the Strigoi virus hates genitals.

Bolivar this week lost his penis which in the book is a scene that we are not privy to, in the book a Dr is investigating the mysterious illness plaguing the rocker and with a raspy broken voice Bolivar removes his clothes then utters “Gone smooth.” showing his pale body and lack of sexing parts. In the show Bolivar goes to take a piss and then his penis falls off after which he flushes which confuses me but also maybe an indication that he is at the final stage of becoming a Strigoi, it’s a little ambiguous but the joy of TV is that we can find out next week.

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I don’t expect him to become his final form until the last series but it would be awesome to see this next week (Side note, this fantastic art is a cover from the comics which I would also recommend).

This week was more setting up and establishing, having read the book I still feel that is not the best representation of the material but like the characters in the show enough to carry on watching. Much like The Walking Dead I often have issues with how the material is treated but like that series I feel season 1 is always treading water and trying to work out what they should be doing and making everything fit. Gus has been absent and as before the clichéd female lawyer from the plane is still not being mentioned, Vasiliy and Setrakian are not in it nearly enough and the team should be together in the next episode or the show is going to start feeling repetitive.

I give episode 3 a rating of 9 noses and 1 penis out of a Tom Cruise. It would have been 2 penises but Sean Astin is still alive and now they have a competent actress playing his ailing wife while he sits with a blank stare.

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Sean Astin substituting sadness for “The look of a man who may have left the oven on but cannot remember”.

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