TV Show Review

TV Review: THE STRAIN: Season 3, Episode 1: New York Strong [FX]

SEALs vs Stingers The Strain New York Strong

FX’s The Strain New York Strong TV Show Review. The Strain, Season 3, Episode 1: ‘New York Strong,’ introduced us to events that seemed to have been in progress for a while, since season 2 – and that was encouraging. Certain character fails needed to be made up for (you know who I mean), and a clear escalation of the conflict – towards something resembling an actual climax/ conclusion – would be one way to do it. I could go into references to ‘Boston Strong,’ but that was clearly clickbait – meant to get us drawing comparisons to real life local resistance & recovery.

The elephant carcass in the room, of course, was Zach (Max Charles) having a momma’s boy moment that cost Ephraim (Corey Stoll) one more loved one, besides Zach. I suppose I should be curious to see how Kelly’s (Natalie Brown) wish-fulfilment plays out, now; but I won’t lie – even if Zach manages to redeem himself (in a big, BIG way), it will be a chore sitting through his momma’s boy scenes. She’s diseased; he’s just been dangerously delusional. At the same time, Eph wasn’t reintroduced as a total drunken wreck; but his bookending of the episode indicated an exploitable level of sentimental behavior. Yeah, that again.

I’ve found it best to just focus on the war; so it was heartening to see the authorities carry their response farther; but maybe it really hasn’t been far enough, IMO. IRL, I’d expect a military, taking this seriously, to go full Stormtrooper – Kevlar, head to toe, with thick face visor – to minimize bad contact. At the very least, I wouldn’t want my elite operators falling into the Master’s (Jack Kesy) hands. Now that I’ve mentioned it, was that detail made generally known to (or accepted by) the authorities? I’m not sure.

I’m still having issues with character behaviors, regarding the campaign. I expect local militia vigilantism to add certain problems to the effort; but failing to figure a victim too far gone to coherently speak is too far gone to pick up a gun – that’s the sort of thing unforced error plot drivers are made of.

The kind of unforced errors that irrational sentiment has plagued this show with. After the ultimately head-shaker of a thing, that was the Eph-Zack-Kelly dynamic, I was hoping that the switch to all-out war footing would come with a full-on reality check. Dream or not, at least Eph seemed willing to drop the hammer on an infected Zach. So it was with considerable disappointment that my reintroduction to Gus (Miguel Gomez), arguably one of the show’s consistently stronger characters, had him in full Zach mode. I also had mixed feelings about Fet’s (Kevin Durand) attempt at a tender father figure moment (with a side of hero worship). While I could appreciate his need to have one, it still kinda hurts to see the big man so sensitive to insensitivity. Two steps forward….

It’s exactly that kind of plot-driver sentiment that makes me appreciative of Setrakian’s (David Bradley) lack of sentiment, when it comes to Strigoi (sorry, Fet). Throw in the wild-card badassery of Daywalker, Quinlan (Rupert Penry-Jones), and the pair run the risk of becoming the only consistent reason to keep watching. The Master can toy with Eph all he wants, the main event still remains centered on Quinlan & Setrakian’s respective, well-aged beefs.

I suppose the most interesting aspect, to the Quinlan-Setrakian dynamic, is their diametrically opposite perception of time, allocated & applied. Quinlan has had lifetimes to see that every moment must be seized, in order to head off an inevitable failure to the long game (having played several). Setrakian, on the other hand, may have been too mindful of his own limited time – the resulting failure prompting him to be more cautious with the even less time he has to work with.

If I have to keep resorting to the action, as a way to overlook certain plot/ character flaws, then I really shouldn’t be given a reason to doubt the action. Eph’s close call, in the underground garage, was thrilling and all, but close enough to leave me wondering why wasn’t he walking worm food. Close calls are good; but handled wrong, and you stop taking them seriously (still on the fence about the outcome to episode 2.11: ‘Dead End’).

Still, the Aliens bug hunt was as good a place to revisit, as far as the episode’s action went; and another demonstration of the Master & Eichorst’s (Richard Sammel) talents is always a nice reminder of their place in that Quinlan-Setrakian main event, that I remain looking forward to.

It’s always nice to have something to look forward to, and a good season premier delivers just that. It also threatened to keep the Eph-Zach-Kelly thing alive, though; but it’s early – if the better bits don’t win out, there’s always a chance for a peaceful coexistence between the two elements.

(“Peace? No peace. Diiieee.”)

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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