ORBzine - The Strain TV Review

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The Strain



Season 1

The Strain The Strain [Season 1, Episode 1] Night Zero
Shown 13/Jul/14

This is a new TV show by Guillermo Del Toro ( Hellboy ) and Carlton Cuse ( Lost ).

It starts with a massacre aboard a transatlantic flight, like in Fringe . The CDC seal off the plane and investigate. However, a baggage inspector named Peter Bishop (yes, another Fringe Reference) discovers that a big coffin-like box may be involved. Yes, like the mysterious coffin aboard the sailing ship in Dracula , it seems to be the source of the unexplained deaths.

Like most shows of this type since X-Files , the protagonists are a male-and-female pair of investigators. The Scully character is Mia Maestro , best known as the Argentinian sister from Alias . However, she may not be playing an ethnic Latina character here.

The Strain The Strain [Season 1, Episode 2] The Box
Shown 20/Jul/14

The villains want the four survivors to be released, so they mastermind a disinformation campaign blaming the aircraft. The Government is keen to believe this, because it is better to ground a worldwide fleet of aircraft than to quarantine NYC. Oh, how quickly we forget 9/11. It is bad enough that smashing skyscrapers is a new cliché in superhero films, but an ignorance of bio-security is unforgivable.

The CDC investigators go off the book, sending the surviving pilot to a local hospital. The doctor there is a great Diagnostician, a role invented for the TV show House, M.D.. Coincidentally, nobody bothers to check the morgue where over a hundred bodies were shelved. Despite knowing that they must be contaminated with deadly parasites that cause their host to mimic death ...

A wrinkly old Van Helsing type named Setrakian (David Bradley - Game of Thrones ) is in NYPD custody. Yes, it seems like there is someone who can actually slay the vamps. Unfortunately it involves invoking this dated trope.

Kevin Durand ( Lost ) is the first heroic Public Health Inspector since Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (1979) .

The Strain The Strain [Season 1, Episode 3] Gone Smooth
Shown 27/Jul/14

Sculder and Mulley continue their half-hearted investigation. They have discovered that the bodies are missing, but they assume the US Military-Industrial complex is to blame. Meanwhile, the vamps keep up the pretence that it was a mechanical failure.

The Male doctor (Corey Stoll - Ant Man ) attends the custody hearing for his pre-teen son. This is a typical subplot, giving the protagonist something outside their won life for extra drama. It is also a way of making a boring character slightly more interesting. Meanwhile, CDC Hobbit Sean Astin ( Harrison Bergeron ) gets an offer that he cannot refuse. The vampire Eichorst, in his guise as a controlling interest in a big pharmaceutical firm, can put the Hobbit’s wife on a test scheme that will cure her cancer. But what will the cost be?

The Strain The Strain [Season 1, Episode 4] It's Not for Everyone
Shown 03/Aug/14

The CDC types dissect the dead vamp, and one of them realises what they are up against. The Hobbit (Sean Astin - Harrison Bergeron ) comes clean about his moments of weakness, but he may as well have kept his mouth shut.

The Vamp conspirators know that word will get out soon. The creepy old billionaire Eldridge Palmer (Jonathan Hyde – The Mummy ) hires a super-hacker to slow the internet, so nobody can transmit photos. She is a Lizbo Salamander-style hacker girl, because male nerds are no longer a mainstream trope. Taking the Internet down is a masterful plan, and will make public health announcements a lot more difficult. The heroes will have to start sending ASCII art to the general public.

The Public Health Inspector (Kevin Durand – Lost ) is nowhere to be seen. However, the Latino car thieves are still hanging around, and they live in the same neighbourhood as Setrakian the vamp-hunting pawn-shop man. Somehow these plot lines will all intersect.

The Strain The Strain [Season 1, Episode 5] Runaways
Shown 10/Aug/14

Lady CDC Doctor Mia Maestro does not want to help kill the vamps. Instead she goes to visit her mother, a well-preserved but senile specimen in an old folks home.

Fett the health inspector (Kevin Durand – Lost ) gets curious about why the rats are fleeing en mass. He discovers something lurking in the sewers. Yes, the mystery of where 200 walking dead disappeared to is now explained. But can he outrun what look like Reapers in Blade 2 but act like fast zombies in 28 Days Later ?

The old vamp-hunter Setrakian (David Bradley - Game of Thrones ) has flashbacks to his time in the Concentration Camp run by Eichorst. Every night the Master Vamp (a creature of subtle CGI imagery, presumably thanks to Guillermo Del Toro ( Hellboy ) creeps in and drains the weakest of the inmates. Can our hero steal some silver and use it against the monster?

The Strain The Strain [Season 1, Episode 6] Occultation
Shown 17/Aug/14

The OAP vamp-slayer Setrakian (David Bradley - Game of Thrones ) discovers that taking on multiple vamps in a dark basement is not a good idea if you have a heart condition. However, he has no allies available at the moment.

The CDC doctor (Corey Stoll - Ant Man ) is a wanted man. The FBI are after him – yes, despite Vamps attacking people in the streets FBI agents are looking for one of the good guys!

The ratcatcher (Kevin Durand – Lost ) discovers that his office has been compromised. However, he is smart enough to work out a way to kill the vamps.

The Vampire coerces the Puerto Rican thug and the CDC Hobbit (Sean Astin - Harrison Bergeron ) into stealing and disposing of the vamp corpse in the hospital morgue. After all, they do not want the FBI to actually INVESTIGATE!

The eclipse happens – like in From Dusk Til Dawn 2 , it is a great time for Vamps to catch their enemies off-guard. The Medical Examiner who went MIA in Episode One makes a reappearance. By incredible coincidence, both the Feds and the Puerto Ricans happen to bump into him in the street.

The Strain The Strain [Season 1, Episode 7] For Services Rendered
Shown 24/Aug/14

The nanny takes the kids back to the mansion. It is like Hardwick Hall (More Glass Than Wall), but the window blinds are all drawn closed so there is no direct sunlight even in daytime.

The vamp-hunter (David Bradley - Game of Thrones ) sets a trap for the German vamp. They set the Hobbit (Sean Astin - Harrison Bergeron ) up as a blackmailer, and get the Vamp to meet him at a subway station. Their plan is to tail the vamp back to his Master. However, they may be over-ambitious.

It turns out that there are other vamp-hunters in town. A gang of hunters with mis-shapen faces and pump-action crossbows turn up.

The Strain The Strain [Season 1, Episode 8] Creatures of the Night
Shown 31/Aug/14

The heroes go looking for UV lights – the only weapon they can get against the vamps. The rat-catcher (Kevin Durand – Lost ) has the same idea, so they team up. However, the vamps are now out for revenge.

The good guys get trapped in a fuel station. Delivery driver George Buzo ( Mutant X: S3 ) has a van parked nearby. Can they make it?

By incredibly unlikely coincidence, the Lizbo Salamander-style hacker girl ( ) who the vamps hired to cripple the Internet is in the very same fuel station!

The Strain The Strain [Season 1, Episode 9] The Disappeared
Shown 07/Sep/14

The CDC doctors get to the ex-wife’s house. However, despite saving the kids (this is a gritty show, but the makers knew where to draw the line) there is no sign of their mother wife ( Natalie Brown ). The main doctor (Corey Stoll - Ant Man ) and his female counterpart ( Mia Maestro ) decide to wait for her, and things get passionate between them.

The rat-catcher (Kevin Durand – Lost ) is being set up as the pawnbroker’s protégé, and will probably be trained to kill the next generation of vampires. The hacker girl ( ) finally comes clean about crippling the Internet. She mentions that there was a creepy plastic-faced German present when she was hired.

The pawnbroker Setrakian (David Bradley - Game of Thrones ) has flashbacks to the concentration camp, when he confronted the Master Vampire. We get to find out how he survived. Also, we find out how the Nazi officer survived. Predictably he sold his soul to a devil – for the second time in one lifetime. Quite a feat, when you think about it!

The Strain The Strain [Season 1, Episode 10] Loved Ones
Shown 14/Sep/14

The rat-catcher (Kevin Durand – Lost ) takes the Dragon Tattoo girl ( ) to see the creepy old billionaire Eldridge Palmer (Jonathan Hyde – The Mummy ). Unfortunately, Roger R Cross ( First Wave ) runs a tight ship when it comes to security.

The CDC Doc (Corey Stoll - Ant Man ) goes looking for his ex-wife ( Natalie Brown ). Their son actually does a better job than his dad, using iphone GPS search tech on the much-slowed Internet.

In flashbacks, we get to see what happened to the ex-wife about sixteen hours previously.

The Strain The Strain [Season 1, Episode 11] The Third Rail
Shown 21/Sep/14

The fearless vampire hunters go into the subway tunnels with their makeshift weapons. The Master Vamp is in the WTC station, abandoned since 9/11. The Nazi vamp is nowhere in sight, but the Master has an entire army of newly turned vamps to defend him instead.

The CDC Doc (Corey Stoll - Ant Man ) leaves his son to look after Mia Maestro ‘s senile mother. Unfortunately the elderly lady demands her ashtray, and her cigarettes. Yes, locking the pair up with weapons, food and water was a good idea, but someone forgot to include the old lady’s cigarettes. As a result, the kid ignores his dad’s orders to stay put. He wanders out in search of cancer sticks. But will he find the lady’s favourite brand?

The Strain The Strain [Season 1, Episode 12] Last Rites
Shown 28/Sep/14

With the direct attack on the Vamps’ stronghold unsuccessful, the heroes barricade themselves in the pawnshop. The hacker girl returns (after all, she has nowhere else to go), and offers to help them broadcast a short message across all wavelengths. Can they make a concise warning before they get cut off? And who will cut them off – the human FAA or the vamps?

The Latino car thief has carjacked an African-American man of his own age, who runs things down on the docks. This involves a stash of guns, but also a large amount of cash and a mysterious shipping container.

The old man Setrakian (David Bradley - Game of Thrones ) has flashbacks to the previous century, when he was a vamp-hunter in the 1960s. He tracked the Master to a ruined castle in rural Albania, but instead of leaving his wife back home he leaves her in a nearby village. Will it end badly? Almost as bad as the makeup the 1940s actor is wearing to look 25 years older.

The Strain The Strain [Season 1, Episode 13] The Master
Shown 05/Oct/14

The heroes hide out in Brooklyn, but they know the Master has a new hideout in Manhatten. The rat-catcher (Kevin Durand – Lost ) knows the area well, and can catch the vamps unawares with his knowledge of their rear entrances.

Elsewhere, the Latino car-thief is held by the faceless vamp-hunters. They do not seem interested in directly attacking the Master, although they are better organised than the amateurs who are doing the real work. Presumably this is a setup for the next Season.

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The Strain

The Strain The Strain [Season 4, Episode 1 ]
Shown th October 2015 [Wednesday]

Reviewed in our special supplement The Strain

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  • Season 2

    The Strain The Strain [Season 2, Episode 1] BK, N.Y (92 min)
    Shown 12/Jul/15

    The OAP vamp-slayer Setrakian (David Bradley - Game of Thrones ) is held by the faceless vamp-hunters. They take him and the Latino car-thief to meet the Elders. Can an alliance be agreed upon? After all, the Elders are the only ones who know how to kill the Master.

    The Master has a plan of his own. He gives the Doctor's wife ( Natalie Brown ) back her individuality, and then offers her a team of helpers - The Children of the Night.

    Fett the rat-catcher (Kevin Durand – Lost ) and the hacker woman vamp-proof their new hideout by welding mesh over all the entry points. Meanwhile, the CDC doctors try to develop some kind of cure.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 2, Episode 2] By Any Means (75 min)
    Shown 19/Jul/15

    The lesbian hacker has become a bisexual wrench-wench. She and Fett the rat-catcher (Kevin Durand – Lost ) go patrolling, and find time for some skinny-dipping.

    The doctors start experimenting on human subjects. This prompts the OAP vamp-hunter Setrakian (David Bradley - Game of Thrones ) to reminisce about the 1960s. He was a Professor when the young Billionaire Eldridge palmer (crippled, even back then) offered him a deal. Eldridge would pay the Professor to become a Relic Hunter and search for vamp-related objects. The first item he goes after is a certain wolf-headed cane-sword. It is in the hands of a familiar face – rent-a-villain Nigel Bennett ( Lexx ) who conducted experiments on human subjects in the concentration camp. This thematically parallels the experiments on vampire subjects.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 2, Episode 3] Fort Defiance (65 min)
    Shown 26/Jul/15

    The OAP vamp-hunter Setrakian (David Bradley - Game of Thrones ) goes patrolling. He has a secret, which explains how he could be an adult in the 1940s and yet is still alive today.

    The rat-catcher (Kevin Durand – Lost ) draws, prints and posts an A4 flyer with vamp-hunting advice for novices. While putting three hundred copies up all over the neighbourhood, he and the wrench wench ( ) discover a Missing Persons poster for her ex-girlfriend. Yes, the one who dumped her and stole her money. To get closure, the wench visits her ex’s mother. Mama blames the wench for the terrible relationship, so it may not have been as one-sided as it looked. However, the wench is still a manipulative user as she is using Fett the rat-catcher as a rebound lover.

    The Elder Vamps send their minions on a mission to kidnap creepy old billionaire Eldridge Palmer (Jonathan Hyde – The Mummy ). However, although his faithful bodyguard (Roger R Cross – Dark Matter ) has resigned, he still has a hi-tech security setup in place. Eichorst has given Eldridge a new bodyguard (the Goth Rocker from the plane) but he must also have warned him about the Elders’ minions. Yes, the penthouse is armoured against vampiric assault!

    The Strain The Strain [Season 2, Episode 4] The Silver Angel (72 min)
    Shown 02/Aug/15

    The Staten Island politician ( Samantha Mathis ) sends her thugs into the survivors' neighbourhood. Meanwhile the wrench wench ( ) and the OAP Setrakian (David Bradley - Game of Thrones ) go looking for Roger R Cross ( Dark Matter ) on Staten Island. The rat-catcher (Kevin Durand – Lost ) decides to help quarantine the city by blowing up the subway tunnel. Unfortunately this means breaking curfew and incurring the wrath of the fascist cops.

    The CDC duo test out their biological weapon. One infected vamp can infect his entire nest. However, the Master can take the same action that the Borg Queen did in Star Trek: Voyager when individual Borg started participating in Unimatrix Zero. Suicide the entire nest before the infection spreads!

    The CDC scientist (Corey Stoll - Ant Man ) takes his son out for little league practice. Strangely, the boy’s hand-eye coordination is so poor he cannot hit a ball with a stick. Later the scientist’s wife ( Natalie Brown ) and her Children of the Night make progress. How lucky for her that the corrupt industrialist, creepy old billionaire Eldridge Palmer (Jonathan Hyde – The Mummy ), had funded a school of blind children for just this eventuality!

    In line with his roots in Mexican film-making, Guillermo Del Toro ( Hellboy ) has included a new character – a Mexican wrestler named The Silver Angel. This one was a big success decades ago, until his last low-budget film where he took on a horde of cheap Nosferatu lookalike vamps and damaged his knee. Now he is bus-boy in a curry-house in NYC.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 2, Episode 5] Quick and Painless
    Shown 09/Aug/15

    The CDC Doctor (Corey Stoll - Ant Man ) gets a new identity card, and breaks quarantine to get to Washington DC. He shaves his head, adopting a villainous look for Ant Man . However, he cannot keep his mouth shut or his head down.

    The ladies go down to the police station to bail out the rat-catcher (Kevin Durand – Lost ). The lady doctor ( Mia Maestro ) shows the lady politician ( Samantha Mathis ) how to scan the quarantined suspects with a UV lamp. The wench and the rat-catcher join the cops on a raid. They are up against the creepy little spider kids - yes, the mama vamp ( Natalie Brown ) and her children of the night are closing in on their target.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 2, Episode 6] Identity
    Shown 16/Aug/15

    The now-bald CDC doctor (Corey Stoll - Ant Man ) gets to his friend in Washington DC. Together they make moves to mass-produce the bio-weapon. However, the collaborator’s death may be an issue. The CDC Doc is having a good time but he seems overconfident just because he has a fake name and a new haircut (or lack thereof). Does he genuinely believe that Stoneheart Corporation will not have any spies in the US Military-Industrial complex capable of stopping him?

    Roger R Cross ( Dark Matter ) joins the good fight. Just in time, because the vamp mommy ( Natalie Brown ) and her spider-kids are closing in on her son. Setrakian (David Bradley - Game of Thrones ) needs all the soldiers he can muster to take on the monsters. But will the cliché that the token black man dies first come true? Or will Mr Cross be able to star in THREE sci-fi shows at the same time – this, Continuum and Dark Matter ?

    The mysterious Inhuman meets with the Ancients. He needs human hunters, and they have none left. Their Puerto Rican guy is still hanging out in the curry house. The daughter of the house is ordered to do a delivery run. Even during the Vampocalypse, people still expect hot food to be delivered. The Puerto Rican offers to accompany her, and Angel the Mexican wrestler insists on coming along.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 2, Episode 7] The Born
    Shown 23/Aug/15

    The wrench wench and the rat-catcher go to get supplies from her old apartment. It seems unsafe to risk walking into an ambush, but nobody seems to care. They discover what happened to the wench’s lesbian lover. Nobody thinks to tell the poor girl’s mother, who had been risking her life putting up Missing Person posters in the middle of a vampire apocalypse!

    Stoneheart creepy old billionaire Eldridge Palmer (Jonathan Hyde – The Mummy ) continues to romance his lady assistant. How long will it be before she brutally rejects him? What is her real agenda?

    The mysterious inhuman goes looking for Professor Setrakian. We get a glimpse into his past, when he was a gladiator in ancient Rome. The fight is brief and unimpressive, not comparable with anything in Spartacus . Unfortunately the introduction of an apparently vital character at this late stage smacks of Deus Ex Machina, and the existence of a super-powered slayer turns this into a mere copy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer . A pity, as this show’s relatively brutal realism set it above the others. The Mexican Wrestler with a past was done in Buffy’s sister show, Angel , but it is still excusable. However, this new character of The Born is a step too far in the direction of Rodney Stu.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 2, Episode 8] Intruders
    Shown 30/Aug/15

    The Born goes looking for a new sidekick. The Latino car-thief is happy with the Asian family, but their business is doomed and they will have to leave town.

    Setrakian (David Bradley - Game of Thrones ) and the rat-catcher (Kevin Durand – Lost ) close in on the magical book. Eldridge Palmer (Jonathan Hyde – The Mummy ) also puts in a bid on it, keen to know how to kill an ancient Vampire should the Master double-cross him. But Eichorst does not bid, he merely takes what his Master desires. Who will get the book first?

    The Mommy vamp ( Natalie Brown ) closes in on her son, thanks to Eichorst giving her some makeup tips so she can pass for being human.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 2, Episode 9] The Battle for Red Rock
    Shown 06/Sep/15

    Guillermo Del Torro has apparently decided to up his game and face low viewer figures by replacing the original opening credits with a cheesy comic-book version. The mysterious Inhuman is now credited, although he does not appear in this episode.

    The vamps are now on the offensive. Eichorst leads the Mama Vamp ( Natalie Brown ) and eighteen others on a boat trip to the peninsula. When they attack the power station, the rest of the vamps will hit the police on the poorly-guarded perimeter. A simple plan, but it means putting all the Master’s forces in one location at one time. Luckily for him, the heroes are unprepared and ill-organised.

    The CDC Doctor (Corey Stoll – Ant Man ) and Setrakian (David Bradley - Game of Thrones ) are not the most eloquent people when it comes to persuading the lady politician ( Samantha Mathis ) of the imminent threat. They should have sent the lady Doctor ( Mia Maestro ), who has already earned the politician’s respect and developed a good working relationship with her. The NYC Mayor (Ron Canada – Star Trek: DS9 ) is only interested in protecting his rich campaign contributors in Manhattan. Once he finds out he is in danger, he gets himself evacuated. The lady politician must command the NYPD and get the civilian population to take up arms in their own defence.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 2, Episode 10] The Assassin
    Shown 13/Sep/15

    The cheesy comic-book credits are gone again. Also, the Born and the Latino car-thief are off-screen this episode as well.

    The NYC Mayor (Ron Canada – Star Trek: DS9 ) gets what he is interested in – the chance to protect his rich campaign contributors in Manhattan. The lady politician ( Samantha Mathis ) is given the command of the local NYPD, but she insists on putting a 1% property tax on the rich Manhattanites. Naturally the greedy rich are unhappy about having to make a contribution to their own defence, and are opposed to this form of crowd-funding. However, they will have to learn not to expect free hand-outs from the NYPD.

    Setrakian (David Bradley - Game of Thrones ) takes the rat-catcher (Kevin Durand – Lost ) and the lady Doctor ( Mia Maestro ) to find the magic book. The old man is focused on killing The Master, while the other two get distracted by short-term goals like keeping their friends alive.

    The CDC Doctor (Corey Stoll – Ant Man ) and the wrench wench do some surveillance work on Stoneheart’s HQ. They plan to assassinate the SOB who is helping the vamps - Stoneheart creepy old billionaire Eldridge Palmer (Jonathan Hyde – The Mummy ). However, they are a pair of blundering amateurs. Worse, there is a police detective who looks like Eddie Munster and is on Stoneheart’s payroll.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 2, Episode 11] Dead End
    Shown 20/Sep/15

    The CDC Doctor (Corey Stoll – Ant Man ), the rat-catcher (Kevin Durand - Lost ) and the lady Doctor ( Mia Maestro ) go to rescue the wrench wench. They know what hotel she is in, but not which room. Luckily Fett the rat-catcher is an expert on NYC architecture, so he can find the short-cuts they need to get to her in time.

    We get to see a flashback to Eichorst's past for the first time. Before he joined the SS he was a second-rate salesman in a country facing austerity and seeking scapegoats. He had a chance at a good life with a young woman, but his own weakness of character led to his downfall.

    Setrakian (David Bradley – Game of Thrones ) discovers who owns the magic book. But the owner ignores all logic, and wants to sell it to the highest bidder. As if the murderous vamp-lovers would not just kill him and take the book for free!

    The Strain The Strain [Season 2, Episode 12] Fallen Light
    Shown 27/Sep/15

    The Latino thief and Angel the former wrestler break into Rikers Island. The place is on lockdown, and the guards are nowhere in sight. The fourteen thousand prisoners are probably all vamps by now, so opening the front gates is a bad idea. But the thief wants to bust out his old street-gang and recruit them as his own private army. The Born has a mission for them. However, giving convicted criminals a stack of weapons and then trusting them to do the right thing is not always the best idea.

    Setrakian (David Bradley – Game of Thrones ) makes a bid on the magical book, the Lumen. But to outbid Palmer he needs the Ancients to supply him with gold. Their choice is simple – do they fear him more than they fear the Master and his allies? But do they trust him?

    The Mayor (Ron Canada – Star Trek: DS9 ) is angry at the politician lady ( Samantha Mathis ) because she asked a bunch of rich fat-cats to pay their taxes. Everyone in the city’s poor neighbourhoods is spilling blood in the war against the vamps, but the rich cowards act like a bunch of Welfare Queens, demanding free policing! Someone gives the Mayor an early retirement. It looks like the Lady Politician has been framed, but Eldridge Palmer (Jonathan Hyde - The Mummy ) has taken an interest in her career. She points out that he was a war profiteer long before the vampire invasion started, but she will need his help.

    There are flashbacks to the time the CDC doctor (Corey Stoll – Ant Man ) first met the lady doctor ( Mia Maestro ). Their friend the CDC Hobbit (Sean Astin - Harrison Bergeron ) was there as well. Good times.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 2, Episode 13] Night Train
    Shown 04/Oct/15

    Setrakian (David Bradley – Game of Thrones ) and the rat-catcher (Kevin Durand - Lost ) go to the auction for the magic book. Eichorst also turns up, because The Master apparently does not trust the Billionaire with such an important task.

    The Latinos have assembled a small army. Their new leader, The Born, gives the compulsory Henry V speech.

    The Billionaire Eldridge Palmer (Jonathan Hyde - The Mummy ) gets talked into putting his foot down. He insists the Master treats him as an equal partner, not just a minion.

    The CDC Doctor (Corey Stoll – Ant Man ) puts his son and the lady Doctor ( Mia Maestro ) on the last train out of town. In theory they should be safe. However, the vampire mommy is still obsessing about her son. This leads up to another climactic confrontation that helps bring this Season to a conclusion that is, quite simply, shocking.

    Season 3

    The Strain The Strain [Season 3, Episode 1] New York Strong
    Shown 28 Aug. 2016

    Despite the apparent success at the end of the previous Season, the band of heroes has split up and their successes count for little or nothing. Setrakian (David Bradley – Game of Thrones ) and Fett the rat-catcher (Kevin Durand - Lost ) are still hanging out together, but they have different plans to kill the Master. Fett is advisor to a team of Navy Seals, like Ripley in Aliens - and we all know how that ended. The old man is obsessed with decoding the magic book. Their new ally, The Born, has abandoned (or been abandoned by) the small army of Latinos he assembled. Gus the boxer is keeping his own mother, a vamp, chained up like a mad dog.

    The CDC Doctor (Corey Stoll – Ant Man ) spends his nights at his old home, waiting for his son to return. He spends the days working on producing the bio-weapon. Unfortunately its effectiveness has gone down from 100% to only 75%, meaning the vamps are developing an immunity to it.

    With the exception of the politician lady ( Samantha Mathis ) and the vamp wife ( Natalie Brown ), there are no female characters left any more. Thus this has no chance of passing the Bechdel Test.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 3, Episode 2] Bad White
    Shown 4th Sept 2016

    The CDC Doctor (Corey Stoll – Ant Man ) has a choice - hand over the book in exchange for his son. The boy is in the custody of his own mother ( Natalie Brown ), but unfortunately she is a Strigoi and she can barely control her urge to feed on him.

    The Billionaire Eldridge Palmer (Jonathan Hyde - The Mummy ) is under a lot of pressure from the Master. Palmer needs the Master's white fluid in order to prolong his own life. Although he has financed secret experiments, they have failed. Even the illegal experimentation on human subjects, which are something the Nazi war criminal might be able to relate to. Palmer's only option now is to ask Setrakian for help.

    Dutch the lesbian hacker is back. She and her anarchist collective have decided to steal from the rich. All they can steal is food, so it is hardly the Great Train Robbery.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 3, Episode 3] First Born
    Shown 11th Sept 2016

    The CDC Doctor (Corey Stoll – Ant Man ) and the Born have stolen the magic book. The Master has offered to exhange the Doctor's son, currently in the hands of his vamp mama ( Natalie Brown ). Of course, the Born seeks to ambush the Master. But it never occurs to our heroes that the Master has his own double-cross planned.

    Gus the boxer is still keeping his own mother, a vamp, chained up like a mad dog. Angel the wrestler drops by to pay him a visit. The bad news is that the police are sweeping the area for vamps. However, the good news is that the Police Chief (Lee Tergesen - Weird Science ) has a work experience scheme for convicts. Yes, instead of being thrown in Oz the prisoners are conscripted into the Dirty Dozen.

    We see flashbacks to the Born's past. He was created when the Master fed on a pregnant woman - yes, just like Blade . In the year 58CE he was an inmate in a Roman freakshow, when an old woman (who was also a vamp-hunter) bought him and taught him.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 3, Episode 4] Gone But Not Forgotten
    Shown 18th Sept 2016

    The CDC Doctor (Corey Stoll – Ant Man ) is out of favour with Setrakian (David Bradley – Game of Thrones ) and Fett the rat-catcher (Kevin Durand - Lost ). He crashes at Fett's place, when Dutch drops by.

    The bossy Police officer (Lee Tergesen - Weird Science ) sends the Latino crew into the city's tunnels to clear the vamps. Our heroes survive, but the redshirts (okay, orange jumpsuits) do not. The vamps are acting as individuals now, without the Master to coordinate them. However, Eichorst has a plan. The lady politician ( Samantha Mathis ) has yet to make her next move - she did not even know about the Suicide Squad until a journalist questioned her. This means the Police HQ is vulnerable to a counterattack.

    Setrakian and the Born check in with the Ancients. It turns out that the Ancients never bothered to tell anyone about the red worm. In other words, the Master's defeat is only temporary.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 3, Episode 5] Madness
    Shown 25th Sept 2016

    The CDC Doctor (Corey Stoll – Ant Man ) and Dutch capture some vamp specimens for new experiments. The viral super-weapon is now just a rash, less impressive than herpes. Luckily they discover that the vamp telepathy is affected by a microwave oven.

    Fett the rat-catcher (Kevin Durand - Lost ) has a new plan, to attach tracking tags to living vamps and find their nests. Perhaps he will discover how they are getting into the safe zones. Unfortunately unlike the Doc and Dutch he is working solo, and does not bother to keep in touch with the lady politician ( Samantha Mathis ).

    Setrakian (David Bradley – Game of Thrones ) and the Born read through their notes. This leads on to a couple of obvious discoveries about the Master's secrets. One is that there is a secret text hidden within the magic book. The other is that one of the Ancients was defeated in Egypt ...

    We get a flashback of him visiting an Amsterdam brothel in 1972. Not to get some action, of course, merely to bait a trap for Eichorst. Unfortunately all he found was Nigel Bennett ( Lexx ), but he is happy because he got to enact a scene from Sin City . Thematically his own experiments mirrored those of the heroes.

    Eldridge Palmer (Jonathan Hyde - The Mummy ) is seemingly on his deathbed ... again. Eichorst has replaced him as business liaison and favoured collaborator, but still needs his help to get a mysterious ship from Egypt, where the Ancient was defeated, into NYC harbour.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 3, Episode 6] The Battle Of Central Park
    Shown 2nd Oct 2016

    Fett the rat-catcher (Kevin Durand - Lost ) has tracked the vamps to their main nest - under Central Park. Since the Navy SEALs are no longer around, he is assigned a SWAT team unit to protect him. By predictable coincidence, the Captain is his one-night stand from a few episodes ago. Their mission is to get into the main chamber and destroy the sleeping monsters. Can they walk twenty blocks between first light and sunset?

    The bossy Police officer (Lee Tergesen - Weird Science ) sends the Latino crew into the city's tunnels to clear the vamps. The conscripts do not care about saving the city, they care more about saving their own asses. Now there is a pretty girl among the convicts. How long will it be before they mutiny in the face of the enemy?

    The CDC Doctor (Corey Stoll – Ant Man ) and Dutch continue to investigate the vamps' communications. All they have to do is report any major increases in chatter, so that the Police will know to expect a counterattack. Can they manage this one simple thing?

    The Strain The Strain [Season 3, Episode 7] Collaborators
    Shown 9th Oct 2016

    This week the flashbacks are of Fett's grandfather back in 1941. He was happy enough to be a conscript in Joe Stalin's army, despite the atrocities that Bolshevik rule had forced upon the Ukraine. However, we are supposed to believe that he had a tough moral choice to make when the Germans conscripted him into one of their own units.

    In the present day, Eldridge Palmer (Jonathan Hyde - The Mummy ) is desperate so he collaborates with Setrakian. The Master's cargo has arrived on a ship from Egypt. How the Master knew about this, when the knowledge was concealed in the Lumen for centuries, is not explained. In fact, the exact identity of the cargo is not given. Perhaps this will lead on to an exciting twist at the end of an upcoming episode.

    The CDC Doc and Dutch take a road trip to the airport. The plane's data recorder might have more info on the Master's communication patterns.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 3, Episode 8] White Light
    Shown 16th Oct 2016

    Eichorst inspects the processing plant that Fett dynamited in the previous Season. The Master's plan is to mechanise blood-draining of the NYC population. This means that his wild hordes would be unable to hunt humans in the wild any more. Instead the humans would be farmed like in Daybreakers , or replaced with bottled beverages like in True Blood and then exterminated as undesirables in Ultraviolet . Maybe the Master needs vast quantities of human blood in order to revive his ally the Egyptian Ancient, who has been desiccating for three thousand years. Whatever way it turns out, it seems the Master is tired of humans and his endgame is to wipe them out.

    Eldridge Palmer (Jonathan Hyde - The Mummy ) gives Setrakian and Fett the details of the cargo handler who transported the Master's mysterious crate. Our heroes treat the worker as a collaborator, which is ironic considering the moral of last episode's story.

    Meanwhile, the flashbacks are of the Latino thief's childhood. His father was a wife-beating drunk, so his mother got her gangster brother to kill him. No wonder the boy is so devoted to his mother, even is she is now an undead blood-drinking mother. Also, he himself is a collaborator since he helped Eichorst smuggle the Master's coffin into the USA. Worse, he has murdered hard-working NYPD cops on at least two occasions and then mutinied and deserted his post in the chain-gang. His sense of entitlement is so much that he insists the Mexican Wrestler gets first treatment at the clinic, and then refuses to donate much-needed blood to the blood bank. By any logic he should he just as despised as Eldrich Palmer, and yet he is still treated as a respectable person.

    The Ancients have been incredibly slow to act. They may have had thousands of years to prepare, but it seems all they did was recruit a small number of bodyguards. Even though half the guards were killed off by Palmer's booby-trap last Season, the Ancients have neglected to increase their security or to take steps against the Master. Now they come to regret their own negligence.

    The CDC Doc tests the playback on the plane's cockpit voice data recorder. The recording of the Master's signal makes Dutch nauseous. She claims she is more vulnerable to noise than the Doctor because she is younger (under thirty), and he believes her. He even gets her to drink some alcohol, which is usually a bad idea in such situations. However, it seems to work because she starts to heat up their relationship.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 3, Episode 9] Do Or Die
    Shown 23rd Oct 2016

    The survivors of the NYPD decide to retreat and abandon the city. Their plan is to regroup with the National Guard. Of course, by abandoning the city's civilian population they will allow the vampires to convert up to a million new bloodsuckers. The Mayor and a handful of loyal members decide to stay and do their duty.

    Eldridge Palmer (Jonathan Hyde - The Mummy ) discovers what the secret cargo from Egypt was. He also plans to double-cross Eichorst in person. Will he remember to use the elaborate anti-vampire defences in his penthouse fortress?

    The flashbacks are of Stoneheart's earlier days. He was the illegitimate son of a millionaire, and when his father refused to give him a job he became embittered. This certainly explains a lot about him. He ended up wasting his entire life instead of enjoying it.

    The Strain The Strain [Season 3, Episode 10] The Fall
    Shown 30 Oct. 2016

    The good guys think they have The Master on the ropes. However, they are forgetting a few things. He still has an army of vamps that has killed or driven off the entire NYPD and now controls most of New York City. Also, he has a couple of the Navy Seals he infected a few episodes ago. Yes, it has only been forty-one days (according to the intro voice-over) but he has the city (and the entire country) at its knees. He also has Eph's wife wife ( Natalie Brown ) and son in his custody.

    Eldridge Palmer (Jonathan Hyde - The Mummy ) sets himself up as bait. After all, the Master must come after him if he wants the nuke back. However, will our heroes manage to set their ambush up in time? Or are they walking into an ambush themselves?

    The final battle is quite impressive. However, as with last week there is no sign of Stoneheart's fancy defences. At least he has a remote-control window-blind, and the brains to set the ambush in daytime when the Master is neakest.

    The Master had two nukes. One was to take out the Ancients, but what is the other one for? It is assumed to be a war-winning weapon, but where in New York City would be the logical target? After all, the Master's conventional (so to speak) forces have already killed the Mayor and defeated all military forces in the city.

    Season 4

    The Strain The Strain [Season 4, Episode 1] The Worm Turns
    Shown 16 Jul 17

    The Strain The Strain [Season 4, Episode 2] The Blood Tax
    Shown

    The Strain The Strain [Season 4, Episode 3] One Shot
    Shown

    The Strain The Strain [Season 4, Episode 4] New Horizons
    Shown

    The Strain The Strain [Season 4, Episode 5] Belly of the Beast
    Shown

    The Strain The Strain [Season 4, Episode 6] Tainted Love
    Shown

    The Strain The Strain [Season 4, Episode 7] Ouroboros
    Shown

    The Strain The Strain [Season 4, Episode 8] Extraction
    Shown

    The Strain The Strain [Season 4, Episode 9] The Traitor
    Shown

    The Strain The Strain [Season 4, Episode 10] The Last Stand
    Shown