Tag Archives: Television

TV Review: The Strain: S3E9 Do or Die

the strain s2 imageEph and Dutch fanatically race to finish their device to stop the Master; Justine, Gus and Angel take a final stand to stop the spreading virus; Palmer takes revenge for past wrongs.

With just one more episode to go, The Strain begins to wrap up its third season with things looking really bleak.

The episode is an interesting one in that we get some history about Eldritch Palmer, who up to this point is a character we haven’t learned too much about. How’d he become the wealthy power wielder he is today? That’s somewhat answered here.

The episode really has a couple of things its focused on, Palmer as I mentioned before, Angel and Gus, and Eph and Dutch’s tool.

Palmer is a big focus as he makes some big moves against the Master and his crew. I’m definitely not ruining it as it’s something that’s somewhat unexpected and really cool to watch. Lots of action there and it comes in a way that’s actually interesting. In it all, we find out what’s in the crate and it’s something I’ve been wondering about for some time.

Speaking of action, there’s Angel and Gus who are attempting to get out of the city, but so is a lot of the police who decide to abandon it. Justine is left with just a small group and they eventually cross paths with Angel and Gus. That I definitely am not spoiling. There’s some really touching moments between Angel and Gus and makes me want a show of just the two of them. They’ve been some of the best things of the series as a whole. But, this particular segment is pretty explosive and there’s quite a few deaths. It’s definitely not something I saw coming at all and there’s a bit abruptness to it. Still, blaze of glory.

Finally, there’s Eph and Dutch who we get to see test their new weapon dealing with a signal the Master omits. It’s a really cool aspect of the show and feels like something new in this sort of genre. I’m digging this aspect and it gives a way for the series to wrap up easily and quickly if it needs to.

With just one episode to go, there’s a lot to still wrap up. There’s another season to go, but it’s a big question as to how far the series will go in its finale. There’s an interesting direction it could go if it follows the books and comics, but I have no idea if that’s the intention. If so, the finale could be one hell of a season ending.

Overall Rating: 7.85

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TV Review: The Strain: S3E8 White Light

the strain s2 imageThe Master’s voice emerges and proves overwhelming; Fet and Setrakian search for cargo from the Egyptian vessel; and Quinlan agrees to deal with the Ancients, but a betrayal afterward proves deadly.

The Strain begins to wrap up its third season with just a few more episodes left as various plot lines move a hell of a lot forward with some impressive events that really shake things up.

The big chunk of the story revolves around the mysterious cargo which we still don’t quite know exactly what’s inside, but Fet and Setrakian go after it while Quinlan confronts the Ancients considering it. There’s a lot of play here and you never quite know who’s on what side and if there’s going to be a betrayal or not. But, when it’s all said and done, there’s a huge shift in status quo and we really have no idea who is left standing to fight on. It’s an impressive move for the series which seems to wipe out a whole bunch of characters that most would probably say didn’t add much to the series and does so in a fashion that has your jaw drop. It’s cool to see even though it’s a rip-off of Blade II.

Eph and Dutch have their moment as we hear the Master’s voice and in a way I’m not sure where they’re going with it. It’s definitely interesting and a new direction that feels like it’s something new in the bigger war. I can make some guesses as to what I think will happen with this, but it’s interesting to me overall. There’s also some movement in the relationship front with tensions having been ramping up for some time.

My favorite part of the episode is between Angel and Gus. There’s an exploration of these two characters who have stood out the entire season and actually make the case the two deserve an entire series focused on them. There’s real character development and I was left wanting to see more of just them.

The episode is a good one bouncing back from last week’s. It moves some plot lines along and adds what feels like progress to quite a few of them. We get a bigger picture of things going on and leaves it all open enough that you never quite know where things are going and who’s on what side. It’ll be interesting to see how the season wraps up, because there’s still a hell of a lot to go.

Overall rating: 7.85

TV Review: The Strain: S3E7 Collaborators

the strain s2 imageSetrakian creates a new plan to trap the Master as Eph and Dutch search for the Master’s “voice.” Also: Palmer fights for his life and needs Setrakian’s access to the white and Fet suffers a tough personal loss that reveals a deep family secret.

The Strain is actually somewhat slow this episode as the various parties go along their way to figure out what they’re going to do next. This all seems rather odd as it feels like they had a plan when they found out what to do with the Master. Instead of having one strong plan it feels like the team is now throwing things against the wall to see what sticks and maybe that’s part of the point.

Part of the plan thrown out there is to disrupt the signal between the Master and his minions. It’s a cool aspect and a decent one, but what Setrakian and Fet are doing confuses me. They know a silver/lead box will stop him, but they don’t seem to be really going about making that a priority.

There’s also a focus on Fet’s family’s past. It’s an odd addition to the story and one I’m not sure is important or adds much to it overall. Yes, it fleshes out the character a bit, but for now, there’s no major impact and it only adds odd coincidences.

It’s the weakest of the episodes so far this season that I can tell has a goal of giving the characters further direction, but the directions they go feel like they kind of contradict some things we already know and there’s a lot of new information that just doesn’t feel like it’s needed.

Still, there’s interesting things, especially involving Palmer, that make the episode worth watching for the greater story. On its own though, it doesn’t hold up.

Overall rating: 7.15

TV Review: The Strain: S3E6 The Battle of Central Park

the strain s2 imageFet strikes the strigoi army at its heart and Justine tries to drive it out of Manhattan for good. Also: Gus and Angel fight for their freedom and face a moral dilemma.

The Strain actually feels like things are on the offensive and there’s some actual wins in the battle against the strigoi. A couple of stories finally merge as Gus and Angel’s journey comes together with Fet’s plan.

There’s some really great action sequences in this episode showing off the upped production values compared to the previous two seasons. There’s some big explosions, lots of gunfire, and a solid battle that’s enhanced through a great use of shadows and darkness.

But, what I really enjoy about the episode is that it’s showing actual strategy and the bigger picture. Sacrifices in one location are made as a feint so that a move can be made in another. It’s more than just one small heroic move by someone or one person’s perspective, you get an epic feel of it all.

The other thing I really enjoy is that nobody is perfect. What feels like a win and smart play is shown to be shortsighted and folks are outplayed. Folks act naturally too, they put others in danger before themselves or attempt to protect themselves and generally show fear. Again, it’s a solid change from gung-ho superheroes you might see elsewhere. In a world full of vampires these folks are very human.

“The Battle of Central Park” feels like one in the end and you see why the episode gets its title. This is one that builds throughout the hour paying off numerous times especially as it comes to an end. Again, this third season is really showing its strengths and is the best season so far with some of the best episodes yet. Looking forward to seeing what’s still to come.

Overall rating: 8.65

TV Review: The Strain: S3E5 Madness

the strain s2 imageNew information surfaces from the Lumen, forcing Setrakian to seek out lifelong rival Eldritch Palmer for help. Also: Eph’s new experiments take him to the brink of sanity and Fet tries to unearth strigoi movements in New York City.

The Strain really emphasizes how much things have spread and changed in this episode. The first few minutes tell us that as Setrakian in a voice over tells us how much things have spread and how much of a losing battle it is… and this episode is just eight days since the last, so yeah.

Things are falling apart, but this episode also gives us a lot of hope in what Setrakian and Eph both discover.

The Lumen reveals its secrets as Setrakian finally figures out the secrets it holds as to how to defeat the Master. The discover is a “no duh” moment once you see it. I kind of feel like an idiot not thinking it through. The actual how to defeat him too is a bit of a “no duh.” But, now there’s at least a goal in a way.

Eph’s discovery is more scientific and interesting. Through some experiments, and accident, he learns some of the weaknesses of the strigoi, and this one was really interesting. How it’ll all be used will be interesting, but it’s a new weapon to use in the war.

Then there’s Fet who is down in the tunnels of New York and makes a rather grim discovery. That’s the holy shit moment of the episode where you know some epic battle is coming.

What’s interesting is this episode sets up an endgame in many ways. We now know how the enemy can be defeated, so, if the series is wrapping up this season, we now can see how it’ll happen. I hope we get another season, but if this is the beginning of the end, it at least looks like it’ll be a hell of a battle to come.

Overall rating: 8.15

TV Review: The Strain: S3E4 Gone but Not Forgotten

the strain s2 imageA new phase surfaces for the infection and Justine builds a new army while Eichorst plans a counter attack.

The Strain is an interesting one tonight. With the Master out of commission for now, Eichorst has taken control and has decided to make a move to strike back at those who have attacked him.

One can’t help but see some parallels in this episode between the vampire infection/world and that of religious extremism. There’s a mention by Eichorst of 70 virgins and the use of suicide bombers in the episode that makes it pretty clear one can make an argument that this series is a veiled allegory.

In both religious extremism and in this series we have individuals who have perverted a system for their own good, gathering devout followers who don’t question and are willing to give their lives for the cause. In both we see a clash between the factions and modern society. Both, it’s a battle over a book and what it says. In both the actions are unflinching and focused on a goal, while a few perversely gain from it all.

The episode is one that shakes things up a bit too. The infected are acting differently and Goodweather is a bit more focused on what he has to do. Justine too seems to finally come around.

This is a bridge episode, but one that really does a good job of getting things focused and exploring the bigger picture of what this series might be trying to say.

Overall rating: 8.35

TV Review: The Strain: S3E3 First Born

the strain s2 imageThe Occido Lumen is stolen and Strakian and Fet search for it; Gus and Angel try to keep a secret houseguest from a police sweep; and Quinlan’s reasons for vengeance is unearthed.

The Strain gives us the answer as to who Quinlan is and why he wants to destroy the Master. The information makes the character much more interesting as there’s one aspect in particular that makes the character and his mission that much more fascinating concerning the outcome if he succeeds.

The episode is interesting, packed with action and with solid pacing as Quinlan and Eph gamble to stop the Master… and it’s a big gamble.

Then there’s the story of Angel and Gus. I love Angel. I seriously want a show just about Angel. This aspect is much more grounded in that it has a lot to do with Gus and seeing our loved ones turning and suffering. It humanizes the show in a lot of ways.

The episode ends on a shocking moment and I can’t wait to see where the rest of the season goes as something happens I wasn’t expecting at all. Three seasons in and the show continues to surprise me.

Overall rating: 8.65

TV Review: The Strain: S3E2 Bad White

the strain s2 imageThe Master plagues Eph when he offers to return Zack; Dutch rejoins an old group of friends, but wonders if it makers her safer; and Palmer seeks answers for Setrakian’s secret strigoi blood treatments.

The Strain has an interesting second episode where some revelations come out into the open and there’s a lot of jockeying of characters.

First, we catch up with Dutch who’s with a group figuring out her place in it all. It’s an ok segment and brings the excitement for the episode. It does seem a bit out of place and out of nowhere, but it also feels a little vital for us to at least know what she’s up to. It also reminds us she’s more than a hacker and can handle herself in a fight.

The big segment is Eph meeting Setrakian’s part-vampire partner and the revelation about what he’s been taking, “the white.” It’s out in the open and it explains what’s up for new watchers and clears some things up for those watching the two previous seasons.

The biggest thing in the episode is Eph and his family. He’s of course focused on getting his son back, at any cost, and his son is being held captive with some interesting developments there. All of that is setting up some interesting things between Quinlan and Eph in stopping the Master.

This is a much slower second episode, but a good one that sets up a lot that’s going on this season and also where loyalties lie with everyone. Things definitely don’t feel settled, though they shouldn’t and of course there’ll be betrayals (one is obvious), but we now know where things will be going this season.

Overall rating: 8.6

TV Review: The Strain: S3E1 New York Strong

the strain s2 imageIn the third season premiere, the strigoi become faster and smarter; Eph’s son is abducted; Setrakian and Quinlan try to unearth the Lumen’s deepest secrets; and Fet helps the Navy Seals on a deadly mission through the underground tunnels of New York.

If you haven’t been keeping up with The Strain, you might not have to as the third season jumps ahead a bit time wise with the strigoi gaining a greater foothold in the United States.

When the second season ended, I wasn’t sure if we’d be getting a third, and with this beginning it’s clear the creative team has regrouped and decided the best course of action is upping the action and horror a bit.

This first episode is full of it with Seals running around, gun battles, really tense action. It’s really good and a righting of the train so to speak, though the previous two seasons were never bad, just not exciting and great.

We’re getting closer to that great as this first episode kicks us off in a whole bunch of directions, but keeps up the tension and action throughout. There aren’t as many quiet reflective moments, instead bouncing around full of adrenaline.

The episode is also a decent beginning for those who may have missed the first two seasons, something that’s pretty impressive to do. It explains early on where things are, it’s not quite a revamped series, but it’s clearly shifted its focus a bit for the better.

I was hoping we’d get a third season of the show and after this first episode, I can’t wait to see what’s waiting us.

Overall rating: 8.6

TV Review: The Strain: S2E13 Night Train

the strain s2 imageIn the finale of the second season of The Strain, Setrakian and Fet battle for possession of the Occido Lumen, and gain a surprising new ally.  A massive attack imperils Eph, Nora, and Zack’s escape from New York.

This is it, the end of the second season, and it’s one hell of an ending. This will be a non-spoiler filled review, as I want individuals to go into this expecting as little as possible, so things come off as huge as they are.

Other than the small blurb at the beginning, I had no idea what to expect from the second season finale. I’ve read the comics, but don’t really know the books very well, and the television series has been different enough from the comics to keep me on my toes. This ending though sets up what should be an impressive third season (has that been given the greenlight?).

We know the Occido Lumen will be fought over, and it’s as stressful and exciting as you’d think. The show actually makes an auction exciting. We know Eph along with Zack and Nora are getting the hell out of dodge. That’s the focus of the episode, squarely the focus and it all has the episode and season go out on a high note.

While I’m unsure if a third season is a go, the end of the episode sets up what would be an exciting one as things ramp up even more, it also could act as an ending too, though an open ended one.

There’s been action filled episodes, there have been stress filled episodes, and there’s been some touching episodes, and the second half of the season has been much stronger than the first. This shows all of that off, and really shakes things up in mostly good ways.

A solid season finale full of excitement, it had me wanting a third season, and hopefully we’ll be obliged with one.

Overall rating: 8.5

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