Has The Strain turned a corner? One would say “yes” based on “Identity.” Yes, “Identity” had some problems. However, these problems were nothing other action/drama series don’t also suffer from.
For example, do hitmen employed by major corporations keep the company’s logo on their cellphones? Which makes me ask another question, “When did Stoneheart hire a hitman?” Compared to other episodes, this is not a problem.
Other television shows pull outlandish things all the time and we don’t question it. Every season of 24 had a mole in the agency, but we didn’t question how a government agency charged with national security managed to not vet their agents?
We could criticize how in past episodes Nora has been a great shot, but when it came to shooting stationary vampire kids she totally gaffs. “She was under pressure,” you say. Sure, except she was under pressure in every episode she was killing vampires.
We could also wonder why the showrunners brought back an underdeveloped character like Reggie Fitzwilliam only to kill him off.
We could also point out the vampire attack on Gus, Angel, and Aanya during their delivery was seen a mile away.
These small problems pale in comparison to the leaps and bounds the show has made in only a couple of episodes.
Before the hitman kills Eph’s new friends (even if one of them was a “long time friend) there was some nice development of how the vaccine would save New York. It was a well thought out plan on both the showrunners/writers part and how the actors delivered it.
There’s only a small doubt if we will learn when and why Stoneheart called in the hitman. Stoll even managed to rein in his overacting to give a believable performance as a doctor trying to fight the good fight.
“Identity” also saw more of what the world outside of New York knows about the virus. The newscast, with a mention of what Congress was doing to help New York, did a lot to move that particular element of the story. The showrunners dropped the ball on how the Master’s cover-up fell apart, but it seems they are trying to make up for it. So I’ll give them a break this time.
Reggie Fitzwilliam came back to the series from out of nowhere. His initial reintroduction seemed like the showrunners and writers forgot they had a character floating out there somewhere in the story netherworld. His only point was to show Fet and Setrakian Palmer’s real estate purchases. To say the least, Fitzwilliam wasn’t handled well. It’s a shame the character wasn’t kept around log enough to face Palmer once last time.
A blind man could see that Gus, Aanya, and Angel were going to be attacked when they left the restaurant. It was no surprise. The trio’s little adventure did help to somewhat develop the characters. Of course, we want to see more Angel (and his movies).
The best thing about “Identity” was the end of the puppet Master. No, the Master is not gone from the series, he’s still got plans. The bad foam and plastic Master is gone. The transformation of the Master into the body of Gabriel Bolivar was the second coolest thing that has happened either season. The ending was the first coolest thing that has happened in The Strain.
“Identity” was also the first episode that Zach wasn’t a giant douchebag. That’s a win in anyone’s book.
The Strain has indeed improved over the past couple of episodes. It’s only taken half the season to get to a point where you don’t want to turn the channel before the first commercial break. We’re keeping our fingers crossed the rest of the season is just as good if not better.