“Night Train” ended what can only be called an unspectacular season two of The Strain. While the season was unspectacular, “Night Train” was pretty good. One would think ending the season on a high note would be a positive thing, however, the finale only served to highlight what is wrong with the series as a whole.
Season two never built on the promise of the vampire virus spreading through the city. No one outside the main cast seemed even remotely concerned about a virus spreading through the city.
The foreman at the start of the episode tells Eichorst it was a chore finishing his slaughter house with the crazy things going on in the city. As awesome as the scene was, especially how Eichorst says “sheep,” we never really saw these bad things, never saw tragedy, and other than the original victims and the two people this season, people seemed to be going about their daily routine.
“Night Train” further illustrated the lack of panic in the city by mistakenly showing the boarding platform for the last train out of the city. Had there been true panic, or if the showrunners had taken the time to develop the plot point a little more, there would have been a lot more people fighting to get out of New York. Sadly, a few waiting passengers and two National Guard soldiers is just another night in the Big Apple.
The Strain had an opportunity to create real mass panic in the city. The possibilities of what could have happened are almost endless. The panic and fear that they managed to get across on the screen fell flat. There was never any sense of dread or impending doom.
The best part of The Strain is and always has been the vampires. Yes, the Muppet Master was a joke, but the minions are creepy. The makeup and design of the vampires are some of the best on basic cable television. The creepy, spider, vampire kids were the icing on the cake.
Again, if the showrunners decided to really push the virus in the city angle we could have had more cool vampires. In fact, if the show was nothing but the vampires it may have been a better season.
However, we only saw the vampire minions in any force when Eichorst needed them for something. He managed to summon quite a lot of them when he tried to take the Odoenkirk (or whatever nonsensical name of the book the writers came up with) from Setrakian and Fet. There were, perhaps, more vampires in the scene than in any other to date. Of course there would be, you want to pull out the stops in your season finale. Except this many vampires only brings us around to the last point.
It can be assumed the vampires were once citizens of the city. If we include these vampires with the other vampires in previous episodes and add the horde that derailed the derailed the train we come up with a sh!t ton of missing people. More than likely someone was missing them from around the dinner table. Yet, we saw nothing to tell us anyone was missing nor signs of anyone caring Uncle Fester is missing. Another opportunity dropped by the showrunners.
It’s pretty much a guarantee the characters are as fully developed as they are going to get. Bad dialog and bad scenes hampered what could have been some great television characters. There are still a few bright spots her though. Richard Sammel’s Eichorst is one of the best villains on television. Sammel adds a level of scum that makes viewers want to take a shower after his scenes have ended. Kevin Durand’s Fet, bar none, is the best character on The Strain. The scene they shared during the auction of the Odenkirk was priceless. A scene like this only reminds was of what we could have had better characters.
Season three may hold some promise. The last scene between Fet, Setrakian, Quinlan, and Gys has set up an interesting premise. However, the allegiance only revolves around the book. What happens when the book is gone? Or when one side changes the deal? Season three can rebound from season two if the showrunners can do something different with an outdated trope like an item that can end all vampires.
We’ll have to wait and see.