Monday, October 31, 2016

TV Show Review: The Strain (Season 3)

I gave up on The Strain around the start of the second season. I found the acting cheesy, the story uncompelling, and the plot dragging. I decided to catch up on Hulu and watch the latest season on FX to see if it had improved. While there are more action scenes and decent new characters, the dialogue still feels a bit flat, the pacing is wonky, and rules of the game are a bit confusing. One of the worst parts is that they refuse to call their infected monsters vampires and insist on calling them Strigoi which makes for some bad lines throughout each episode as actors mumble the word.

Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) reels from the loss of Nora and works to find a cure for the Strigoi while not seeking any help for his alcoholism. Stoll is able to explore the role better without the terrible acting and snottiness of his son recast with Max Charles. His wife Kelly (Natalie Brown) has become one of the chief villains. Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley) has obtained a golden book that could either be an awful weapon for the villains or a killing stroke to The Master. The leader of the Strigoi switches bodies throughout the season that serves as the climax of several episodes and a catalyst for the finale.

Vasily Fet (Kevin Durand) is the most enjoyable character to watch as he helps out with an extermination strike force and leads the war against the packs of vampires huddled beneath the city. His relationship with Dutch (Ruta Gedmintas) frayed throughout the season as she found herself growing affectionate for Eph. The show does a decent job balancing all the stories. My other favorite character that makes the show enjoyable is Gus (Miguel Gomez) the ex-con who finds his talent killing vampires. He teams up with a former wrestler to take out as many as they can though this ends rather tragically. 

The villains have it together through most of the season and seem unstoppable despite some big victories for the good guys. Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hye) is fleshed out more through flashbacks that stalled the pacing a while. The show feels stretched for ten episodes but at least they shortened it from thirteen. Thomas Eichorst (Richard Sammel) is a vicious villain as an ex-Nazi and right-hand man to the Master.  The new addition of Quinlan (Rupert Penry-Jones) whose allegiances are not totally clear but seems like a good guy was fun to watch if not fully executed well.

I wouldn't implore any busy viewer of television to check this out but I know it has its fans from the graphic novel and must keep some sort of viewership to keep having seasons. They don't hold back on the destruction and the fighting is fun to watch on occasion but it won't blow anyone away as the special effects suffer from a lower budget. I won't spend much time thinking about it but I'm glad I caught up with The Strain and will stick with it through what appears will be a strange fourth season.

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