Review: The Strain Season 2 Episode 1 – “BK, NY”

The Strain is a horror drama series adaptation of the books written by Guillermo Del Toro. The series follows a band of survivors who try to fight a communicative disease that ends up turning its victims into vampires.  The series’ main protagonist, Ephraim Goodweather, realizes that because the disease is steeped in thousands of years of lore and mystery, it will take more than science to combat. In season one, Ephraim, a CDC epidemiologist, teams up with Abrham Setrakian, a holocaust survivor and vampire hunter, and others to fight the epidemic brought to the United States by an ancient vampire known as the Master.
Jusef Sardu
At the end of season one, Goodweather, Setrakian, and the others locate the Master and attempt to kill him to restore New York City from the near apocalyptic wasteland it became in the short time since the epidemic broke out. At the theater where the Master was hiding, the party successfully forces him into daylight.  Despite Setrakian’s insistence, however, the sunlight does not kill the ancient vampire.  Vaun, a vampire hunting vampire, explains to Agustin “Gus”  Elizalde, another main character, that the Master is one of an ancient group of vampires that has broken allegiance with the others, and that humans will be needed to slay the master.

Episode Recap

“BK, NY” picks up right where “The Master,” season one’s finale, ends.  In a flashback to the 1930’s, Abraham Setrakian’s grandmother tells him the fabled history of the Master.  Setrakian then returns to the club where the “Merry band of vampire hunters” (Eldritch Palmer’s name for the main characters combating himself, Eichhorst, and the Master) faced off with the Master. Abraham traverses into New York’s sewers, where we’ve seen plenty of vampires (known in the show as Strigoi) in season one. In the tunnels, Setrakian comes across Vaun and his vampire hunting party. Vaun and the others kidnap the old man, and take him to the ancients. There, Setrakian and Gus meet again.  Vaun explains that the ancient vampires want the Master stopped, and they have the resources to kill him. After promising to help the ancients, he is let go to hunt down the Master.

The Master needs some facial cream

At Vasiliy Fet’s apartment, the Ukrainian exterminator works to fortify his place from vampire attacks.  Various black smoke stacks can be seen in the background, indicating that New York City is falling into further decline from the epidemic. Ephraim Goodweather questions whether he and the others should trust Setrakian, but Fet and the others insist that they have no other option but to fight vampirism. Goodweather, along with love interest and fellow CDC epidemiologist Nora Martinez, decide to use their intelligence to tackle vampirism from a scientific standpoint. They leave Fet’s apartment in search of pathology supplies.

Fortfying the Base

The Master, severely wounded by Setrakian and Goodweather’s assault, calls on Thomas Eichhorst to aid him in preparing the succession. The Master requests that Eichhorst find Goodweather’s ex-wife-turned-vampire and prepare both the loam and the children. Later, Eichhorst locates Kelly Goodweather in vampire form and helps her retain her memory from when she was a human. Eichhorst then intercepts a bus of blind school children, whose school was subsidized by Eldritch Palmer’s company, The Stoneheart Group, and promises that their adventure has just begun.

Vaun looks like a Kratos Ninja vampire

Eldritch Palmer and Thomas Eichhorst meet again, this time in an abandoned soap factory. Palmer continues to demand presence with the Master, and Eichhorst refuses.  He explains that despite the elder billionaire receiving the gift of vampirism from the Master, Palmer is still his servant.  Coco Marchand, a real estate agent, explains to Palmer that the factory will adequately drain large amounts of fluid waste, as he wanted. Later, Palmer promises to give both the mayor and the city of New York millions in aid to help fight the epidemic. Marchand arrives and explains that the factory will be his.  Palmer offers her a job directly with him.

The Statler and Waldorf of the vampire world

Setrakian, Goodweather, Martinez, and Fet all head to a storage locker, where Abraham has stored weapons to help fight the Master should his plan fail.  There, the party encounters an elderly couple and are assaulted by a large group of vampires. The couple is attacked, but at Goodweather’s request, the party takes them with them as they escape the storage facility.
“BK, NY” ends as Eichhorst takes Goodweather to a large container of dirt and other vampires (the blind children from earlier), and explains to the vampire that there she will be able to serve the Master by leading him to Zack Goodweather, Ephraim and Kelly’s son.

The moment when you think maybe you changed the channel to Storage Wars

Review

“BK, NY” was a strong start to the second season of The Strain, and hopefully it will be as thrilling as the first. Stephen McHattie as Vaun is like a ninja version of Kratos in the best possible way. The rest of the cast does well, though for me at least, the actors portraying the bad guys seem to be more entertaining than those playing the good guys. Kevin Durand and David Bradley are the notable exceptions. While the acting isn’t perfectly rounded out, the story line is great; not just for “BK, NY,” but for the entire first season as well. I’m genuinely excited to see where the story goes.

Apparently the divorce isn't amicable

Content Guide

Violence: “BK, NY” depicts constant acts of violence, specifically vampires brutally attacking innocent humans and the vampire hunters killing vampires. Decapitations are common, and there is a significant amount of blood and gore.
Language/crude humor: After two viewings of “BK, NY,” expletives were relatively rare.  However, some of them include: D*****, S***, and using Jesus Christ’s name as an expletive.
Sexual content: “BK, NY” contains no sex or no nudity.
Drug/alcohol use: There was no drug use in “BK, NY,” and the only reference to alcoholism was when Ephraim Goodweather, a recovering alcoholic, explains that the only reason he stopped drinking was for his family.
Positive Content: “BK, NY” is a story of good fighting evil in the same perspective of David and Goliath. Right now, Setrakian/Goodweather & Company are David, whereas the Master and Billionaire servant Eldritch Palmer serve as the Goliath figures.
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The Bottom Line

"BK NY" was an intensely gratifying start to the second season of The Strain. Hopefully the entertainment factor doesn't wain, but knowing Guillermo Del Toro, it won't.

 

8.3

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Cody Hahn

Lover of Jesus. Husband. Daddy. Geek.

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