Strain: Season 3
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The Strain: Season 3

Many genres have a difficult time making the migration from the movies to television. The issue has always revolved around the limitations or guidelines the Federal government, particularly the FFC, have placed on any form of television broadcasting. When the networks realized that premium cable channels fell outside the mandated purview of the commission, Channels such as HBO and Showtime began creating content capable of incorporating plot devices like graphic violence, gratuitous nudity, and language considered impolite in polite society. This resulted in shows too graphic for many viewers. In recent years the pendulum has found an equilibrium somewhere in the middle with the intermediate level of access, basic cable. Some enforceable standards limited the content. A 20th Century Fox affiliate, F/X has retained a prominent position, particularly in horror, by not relying on the previously forbidden plot contrivances. The creation of horror series including ‘American Horror Story’ and the series under consideration here, ‘The Strain.'  These are excellent examples of how terrifying content that relies on character development, exceptional underlying themes and a tightly woven, cohesive story. This series also made significant progress in reversing the trend of turning the familiar monsters of our youth into exceptionally attractive romantic characters. In this show, the vampires, known as the Strigoi, are physically repulsive driven by an unquenchable thirst for the blood of living human beings. For those diehard fans of horror who are tired of glittering, angst-riddled vampires involved with a confused teenage girl caught between bestiality or necrophilia, ‘The Strain’ returns to a simpler time when horror was intended to frighten not give dreamy-eyed teen girls something to doodle on the cover of their notebooks. Most of the positive aspects of this TV series stem from the resume of its co-creator, Guillermo del Toro, has been a certified master of horror behind the popular ‘Hellboy’ franchise. Along with his partner, Chuck Hogan, have taken the established vampire motifs, reweaving the tapestry of the story into something frighteningly intriguing

Over the last three seasons, the audience watched in terror as an ever-growing hoard of vampires overtakes New York City. Street by street, borough by borough. The civil authorities but they decide to centralize the war against the undead placing Councilwoman Justine Geraldo (Samantha Mathis), in charge of the new task force. Peering just below the surface of this creature feature lies a strong thread of political commentary. When faced with an entirely unique, supernatural situation the local government calls for meetings, discuss and respond by forming a committee. The US military eventually is dispatched but only after the Metropolitan police, led by Councilwoman suffer major defeats by the Strigoi. In modern horror films, it is crucial to define the parameters of the supernatural menace. Just as zombies come in a myriad of types so do vampires. Anything that originated in the recesses of Guillermo del Toro’s macabre mind is certainly not to involve sparkling, brooding vampires with these are old school intimacy issues. Pale white skin. Dead eyes and pointed ears. Their most notable distinction is the way they kill and feed, with a tubular extension ending in sharp, hungry teeth.  There is nothing there to inspire thoughts of romance in prepubescent girls. They are also under the mental control of ‘The Master,' an ancient who has endured the eons by moving is consciousness through a series of victims. In this season, the understanding of the Master’s methods. After the loss of mistress and his son kidnapped by the vampires Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), formerly of the CDC, begins to investigate the inner workings of the Strigoi in the hope of finding an exploitable weakness. Joining him is Dutch Velders (Ruta Gedmintas), the computer hacker that broke the internet at the beginning of the invasion. The once unified cadre of survivors has broken apart ostensibly over tactical differences. The foremost authority of the Strigoi is Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley), usually referred to ‘The Professor.' He possesses knowledge of an ancient book, the Occido Lumen, generations of information holding the key to the ultimate destruction of the Master. In order, help prevents the Strigoi from obtaining it by exploiting two of their vulnerabilities. The text was written in a special ink that shows only in direct sunlight, and the spine is fashioned from pure silver both poisonous to the Strigoi.

The authorities quickly fall to the temptations of corruption. The most egregious were to press prisoners into service finding and killing Strigoi. Ill-armed and untrained this assignment us tantamount to a death sentence. Even Navy SEALS, among the best-trained warriors in the world, encounter huge losses in combat. The former pest control officer, Vasiliy Fet (Kevin Durand), is often underestimated as a mere ‘rat catcher’ but he is incredibly intelligent, quick witted and a natural strategist. Typically, he partners with the professor on their search and destroys missions, with the military outmaneuvered at every turn it seems to fall to Mr. Fet to lead the resistance.  The most trusted lieutenant of the Master is Thomas Eichorst (Jonathan Hyde), former Captain in the Nazi SS and head guard at a concentration camp. He forced Setrakian to build an ornate coffin that the master used to survive World War II. Upon learning that the Lumen was close at hand, he is dispatched by the Master to retrieve it. The first portion of the season focusses on the race to obtain the Lumen, currently in the passion of a gang leader.

One of the exciting new characters is Quinlan (Rupert Penry-Jones), He was a rarity among the Strigoi, one of ‘The Born.' Hui's mother was carrying a son when turned by the Master. The result was Quinlan, possessed the speed, strength, and endurance of any of his kind but retaining human intelligence and cognition. He has dedicated his long life to finding and destroying the Master. Allying himself to Setrakian in a plan to obtain the book and use it to trap and kill the Master. The opponent has used his cohesive control to enslave an army of newly created Strigoi. An alternate perspective of the disaster delivered to Augustin Elizalde (Miguel Gomez), a member of a Mexican Gang turned vampire hunter. His mother had turned, but Gus refused to accept the consequences continuing to care for restrained in her apartment. Teamed with a former famous luchador, The Silver Angel, Angel Guzman (Joaquín Cosio), whose trademark silver cross ‘brass knuckles,' that was devastating against human opponents but is lethal to the Strigoi.

The most significant plot thread present in this follows the efforts of Ef and Ef and Dutch as they devise and build a weapon. Through experiments performed on Strigoi the confirm their hypothesis that the Muses some frequency to control the Strigoi and enables him to see and speak through them. They develop a working prototype to stop the Master. Their means of approaching his through terminally ill billionaire, Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde), who felt betrayed after the mantle of the new host was passed on to Eichorst), he somehow manages to survive the assault of the Master and his hordes. The action is fast paced and ideally spaced out in each episode.

The series does incorporate many archetypes, and tropes culled from decades of vampire lore as devised by screenwriters over most of the lifetime of motion pictures as an art form. An example of this can be seen in the introduction of ‘The Ancients’, the oldest of all vampires and progenitors of their race. In other venues, ‘the Blade Trilogy’ for instance, this group was depicted as robust, controlling the vampire world and influencing mortal governments as an undead board of directors. In this incarnation, The Ancients are husks of distorted undead flesh.So decrepit that they must be placed against boards to remain upright. There is also a small army of sentient Strigoi that serve him as a special forces unit. The diversity in how vampires are show provides an incredible diversity to the story allowing for many captivating secondary plot lines. Season 3 left the story with a thrilling cliffhanger leaving fans on the edge of our seats until the new season begins.


 Posted 06/29/2017

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