The Strain S01 E01: Night Zero

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Air travel is the fastest route from point A to point B, which is on the plus side, but the negative side has passengers contending with rising costs, security checks, frequent flight cancellations and uncomfortable seats. As bad as that sounds, the poor passengers on Flight 753 unfortunately received more than their complimentary bag of peanuts. The jet has landed and the fright is just about to begin… please remain seated until we arrive at the gate for the first episode of “The Strain.”

Final Descent

The Strain” is based on Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan‘s trilogy and is directed by del Toro, David Semel and Keith Gordon. The season premiere begins with a 747 from Berlin landing at the John F. Kennedy International Airport, but this is no routine landing.

Usually when the Captain makes the announcement for a final descent, it’s followed with the Stewardess reminding the passengers to set their seats in the upright position as the hum of the landing gears bring expectations of finally sleeping in one’s own bed, but there is something in the cargo section of the jet and, unfortunately for the flight crew, it’s not your routine stowaway.

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The people in the control tower become a wee suspicious when they’re unable to communicate with the pilot or co-pilot. There are no sounds coming from inside the plane and all the window shades are down except for one. Is it terrorists? There are none of the normal demands made if this were a terrorist take over. Could the passengers be sick? If they are, is it contagious?

CDC

While Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) a CDC Epidemiologist with a bad hairpiece is dealing with a court mandated meeting with Mrs. G (Natalie Brown) and their marriage counselor on his bad attributes as a father and husband, his partner, Dr. Nora Martinez (Mia Maestro) calls him with the case. Nora, Ephraim and their associate, Jim Kent (Sean Astin) isolate the plane with the usual hazmat precautions before Nora and Ephraim are allowed to enter and finally learn what happened to the passengers.

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At first glance, the passengers look like they died peacefully in their sleep: no trauma, no wounds, no bloating, but the UV lights show a large amount of ammonia splattered about the bodies and plane. While Ephraim investigates the cargo compartment, Nora notifies security that the cockpit door is opened. Against orders, she enters to find the Captain still alive. He’s not the only one.

Expecting to find the normal items that people take with them on planes like luggage and golf clubs, and maybe drugs, Ephraim discovers a nine foot coffin filled with dirt. It has a latch on the inside. One would assume that the learned doctor would put two and two together and come up with the most likely conclusion, but maybe the marriage counselor was right about his attention span.

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Holy frequent flyers! Nora informs everyone that there are now four survivors with no memory of what happened. The four survivors are placed into isolation and the dead are placed in an airport hangar until an autopsy can be performed. The relatives of Flight 753 are not happy with the lack of information that is given to them. One father in particular is frantic to find his child.

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Abraham Setrakian

We meet Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley) during a robbery in his pawn shop where he does a Chuck Norris move on the two thugs trying to rob him. Later, he enters his secret passage to a room that holds a large container with a live heart that readily feeds on a few drops of his blood. Abraham speaks lovingly to the heart. Who did that heart belong to? When Abraham hears about the escapade at the airport, he heads there to warn the authorities. Does he really expect them to listen to an old man with a strange cane?

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Friends with Benefits

Okay, so we have our bad guys in the persona of Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde), a very wealthy, powerful and sickly man, his man-servant Mr. Fitzwilliams (Roger R. Cross) who tends to Palmer’s every need, and last but not least, we have Herr Eichorst (Richard Sammel) a foreigner who mentions within minutes of meeting him that he misses breathing. This is our clue that Eichorst is not quite human and that these men are responsible for the happenings going on at Kennedy International.

The Master

Coffin, dirt, dead bodies, yes my little blood banks, we are dealing with a vampire (Robert Maillet). The Master does not sparkle and there is nothing sexy about him. He moves silently and is quick to suck the precious blood from your body with his creepy proboscis. He leaves behind a trail of ammonia and invading parasites that are waiting to enter the first unwary victim. The Master needs to get himself and his coffin to safety, but how can he get past the tight security?

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Gus Elizaide (Miguel Gomez) is hired by Eichorst to steal a van that holds the coffin and vampire and move it to safety. Gus is promised many things for his family and that is why he takes the job, but he’s not the only one of Palmer’s payroll. When Gus was stopped by security, I never expected CDC agent Jim Kent to be one of the bad guys, but he helps Gus get past security.

While everyone is looking for the missing coffin, Setrakian finally has the opportunity to warn Ephraim and Nora about the danger they are facing, but Ephraim ignores Setrakian’s warning. While Setrakian sits in jail, the pathologist discovers that all the passengers share the same wounds in exactly the same place. He notes the parasites inside one of the patients’ hearts.

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Conclusion

Beware the greedy man. Mr. Palmer has allowed a monster to enter the States in order to achieve immortality. He and Eichorst are counting on the parasites to spread. They are counting on the dead to rise and do what is most natural. Palmer and Eichorst are counting on the former passengers of Flight 753 to seek the comfort of family. The Pathologist at the City Morgue has encountered the undead and now… Little Emma (Isabelle Nelisse) from Flight 753 finds her way home to her father. She is very cold and needs a hug… So do we, my little blood banks, so do we.

See you next week, same time and same place.

 

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3 Replies to “The Strain S01 E01: Night Zero”

  1. This is one of my favourite pilots of the year!

    I was so worried about this series but my doubts are gone and its looks like its being made so well. Cannot wait for Ep 2. That scene when he crushes that guys head! Holy Crap! 😀

    1. Hi Tim!! I’m so pleased with the series and hope that it keeps strong like the books. When the Master crushed the man’s head like a grape, I knew we had a serious vampire series on hand. Thank you for your support:)

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