The Strain: Review: Series 1 Episode 2: The Box

Strain 2The survivors from the flight are released from CDC custody…

It would be difficult to maintain the intense levels of the pilot throughout the series, and neither writers David Weddle & Bradley Thompson nor director David Semel try to copy the tricks that Guillermo del Toro brought to that opening. This is far more of a procedural story for the majority of the episode, although there are a couple of gross-out horror moments – notably when Emma Arno’s father comes to check that she’s okay in the bath – and a more insidious element with the deterioration of the survivors’ bodies.

There’s also a perhaps surprising amount of time given to Doctor Goodweather’s personal life; we accompany him not just on the visits home (where he’s given some cold truths by his son) but also to an dependency group where he’s quite amazingly accurate in his self-diagnosis. You have to suspect that these are elements which can be turned against him by the vampire Master at some point.

We also spend quite a bit of time establishing Gus Elizade, his family relationships and his views on what is proper to allow in his house. References to Catholicism and his mother going to Mass haven’t passed unnoticed. In some ways I’d rather know more about Abraham Setrakian and his past history with Eichorst – but I think we’re going to get that over the coming weeks.

Verdict: Perhaps not quite as gripping as the opener, this is still one of the better horror TV series out there at the moment. 7/10

Paul Simpson

 

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