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The Strain - New York Strong - Review: "King Rat"

4 Sept 2016

"It has been 23 days since the landing of Regis Air flight 753"
- Abraham Setrakian

The Strain aired the premiere of its anticipated third season on Sunday night to relatively decent ratings. Based on the trilogy of books by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan Season 3 of The Strain will roughly cover The Night Eternal - Book 3 of the trilogy. Although, the TV series does not adhere strictly to the events in the book when considering seasons one and two there is the time jump that occurs in the beginning of Sunday's episode suggesting this current season will follow the events of the third book.

I thoroughly enjoyed the books the TV series is based on, however, I was not impressed with most of the second season. It lacked in many areas where I feel if they followed the events of the book more closely it could have been magnitudes better. Furthermore, the storylines seemed to drag out and, for a show basing itself on being a horror/drama, there was not a whole lot of horror. Season one was a superb piece of art and the perfect initial installment of what fans hoped would be at least four seasons of the acclaimed book trilogy.

This brings us to Season 3 of The Strain. As much as I dislike 'time-jumps' it definitely works for this show and the premiere on Sunday night showed fans how well this story can be as long as it follows the source material a little closer. However, as far as 'time-jumps' go, The Strain only jumps forward a few weeks.

It has been 23 days since the Regis Air flight 753 landed on the tarmac back in Season 1 Episode 1 bringing The Master and all the infected passengers with him. It was this flight that is now considered 'Ground-Zero' for all the current problems plaguing the country. While the first two seasons focused on Manhattan and all its boroughs, The Master's reach has all but taken over the entire United States. (By this point in the book, however, the entire planet has succumbed to the strigoi's infectious worms). A lot can happen in just over three weeks and it is revealed the strigoi have pretty much taken over major cities across the country and wreaking havoc all over the land.

Given the events of season two's finale, it seems normal, with what happened to Nora and him losing his son Zack, to see Eph is returning to his old drinking habits. We first see him drinking alone, and drinking a lot. He has an improved social/work status as we witness him receiving chemicals from Councilwoman Justine Feraldo for a Bioweapon he has created to combat the strigoi on a biological level. However, it appears the strigoi are becoming more and more resistant to his organic creation with only 75% succumbing to its effects rather than the intended 100%.

This is actually the least of Eph's issues - By the end of the episode he is confronted by Kelly, his estranged wife-turned-strigoi, who asks him to turn over the Occido Lumen in exchange for Zack's safe return to him. We know the Occido Lumen holds many secrets about The Master and his minions, one of which is how to eliminate the evil once and for all. Now in possession of Setrakian it would be extremely difficult for Eph to pry the book from the old man's hands let alone attempting to get it past from Mr. Quinlan, aka The Born. Could Eph compromise the entire operation for the remote chance The Master will live up to his end of the bargain and give him back his son? Is he willing to jeopardize everything they have worked so hard for in preventing the world from spiraling into chaos? The Army Reserves that were searching for Bolivar/The Master kept referring to him/it as "King Rat"; If Eph does hand over the Occido Lumen to Kelly than that sobriquet would be appropriate for Eph alone - the ultimate 'King Rat'.

Throughout the episode I was captivated by how much better The Strain has become relative to last season. They even thought to give the title sequence a makeover; a welcome change, showcasing how much the show is deviating itself from past seasons. I have faith this new chapter in the show will revitalize fan's love for the story that has so much promise. I look forward to the following episodes and what this season will bring, especially after such a great opener.

Thoughts and Discussion

- Did you notice... The stock ticker at the beginning of the episode read that Silver prices were down. I guess now would be a great time to buy Silver for more than one reason.

- How far has the Reach of The Master and the strigoi extended to? Is it confined to just the United States or has it gone further?

- Did you notice... when we first meet Eph in his home, he is approached by two young men that are clearing out homes in the area. They mention that Eph needs to go to a sanctuary at "St. Michael's". In the New Testament 'Michael' leads God's armies against Satan's forces in the Book of Revelation, where during the war in heaven he defeats Satan.

- How does Eph's bioweapon get dispersed to the strigoi? Is it an aerosol? Or does it have something to do with the way they feed? I hope we learn more about its effectiveness in coming episodes.

- Where has Dutch been? She is the only character we didn't see in the premiere. I really enjoy her character and would like to see more of her.

- Who is Lar? The Ancients (well, the three in the new world anyway) are using him as their 'voice'. Is there more to him that we should know?

- I loved how Quinlan put The Ancients in their place when they called him a traitor. He tells them they are paralyzed by a truce that has lasted centuries and has now been broken. They have become indolent. The Master has definitely pulled one over on them and I wouldn't be surprised if he attempts to take their lives. Quinlan has already posited that The Master has killed the three Ancients from the Old World and is now here to finish the job.

- What do you think Eph will do in regard to Kelly's request? Do you think he will hand over the Lumen in exchange for his son or will he put the needs of the many before his own and keep on fighting? My hope is that he finds a way to get his son back without comprising the goals of everything they have been trying to accomplish since 23 days ago. I would love to know what you all think about this - comment below!

Thank you for checking out my Review of first episode of Season Three of The Strain! Check back each week as I review each episode of this season. Please comment below about what you thought of the episode and the season in general. Have a great week everyone and see you back here next week!

About the Author - Geo N
Geo N is from Detroit, MI. His favorite shows include The Blacklist, Outcast, Hell On Wheels, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, LOST, The Leftovers, The Strain, Sons Of Anarchy, Sleepy Hollow and countless others. When he's not watching tons of TV, he enjoys reading, playing hockey, comic books, weightlifting, and writing. Thanks for checking out my post.
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