The Strain’s “The Battle for Red Hook” Fires Creative Blanks

The first clue that “Battle for Red Hook” was going to be mediocre at best came in the opening credits sequence. The Strain has never been scary and it’s only been barely creepy since season one. However, the stop-motion comic book art in the opening did little to inspire fear.

vampire-maggots

Convenient plot device conveniently remembered.

There was nothing wrong with the previous opening credits sequence. Although nothing in the opening sequences happened or would happen in the series, it was creepier than comic book art. The new comic book opening announces the series shouldn’t be taken seriously. If that was the effect the showrunners were going for they succeeded.

Remember in season one when everyone was suppose to stay away from the vampire worms? No? Don’t worry, the showrunners forgot too. Eph and company have fought a lot of vampires in a lot of tight spots, but somewhere along the way they forgot to concern themselves with the vampire worms. How could they forget about Jim Kent?

It’s an easily forgotten piece of storyline. It’s not like the vampire worms spread the virus. Of course, I’m being sarcastic. It’s one of the main plot devices in the series yet it was easily discarded only to be brought back up at the most convenient time.  It wouldn’t be a big deal if The Strain vampires were Bram Stoker-like vampires, but they’re not. The worms make the vampires.To forget this very important piece of storyline only to have it resurface when it suits them is unforgivable.

fet

As Fet goes so does The Strain.

To make matters worse, we’re suppose to believe the vampire maggots are going to infect Fet? Fet is not only the best character in the series, but he’s a fan favorite. When it comes to characters The Strain isn’t Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. Characters in those series, more so in Game of Thrones than The Walking Dead, aren’t safe. The Strain depends on their characters, as undeveloped as they are, for its continued survival. Other series can kill off characters because other characters have been developed enough to take over and still have a solid storyline in the series. Who would take Fet’s place when and if the showrunners decide to kill him off? 

sailor

Eighteen vampires and two normal looking humans board his ship, but he still thinks he’s going to make it out alive.

Speaking of vampires and Red Hook (Not the best segue, I admit it.) There were twenty vampires on the ferry that took them to Red Hook. How did so many more arrive to storm the gates of Red Hook? Are we  to assume the small group of vampires came across all those people to turn into vampires?  Are we also to assume those unfortunate folks became vampires in the short amount of time it took to get to the Red Hook checkpoint? It took a few days for the other infected people to turn into vampires.  Are we to assume the Master has the power to instantly turn infected people into full fledged vampires? If so, it was convenient timing to bring this up.

If this is the case then there is no situation the writers can get the Master into that they can’t get him or his legion out of by simply creating another power out of thin air. This is the same problem Tim Kring found himself in with Heroes. The showrunner and writers would write the heroes  into a corner so bad the only way to get out of it was to have Hiro go back in time to fix things. It’s deus ex-machina in waiting. There are only so many times you can fool an audience before they stop watching.  

For there to be a battle there has to be two armies. The vampires had their army and the humans? Well, they had to get their army from the residents of Red Hook. It’s not a bad idea- You’re few police officers are being run over by vampires, you head out into the neighborhoods to recruit citizens. Only problem is Councilwoman Justine Feraldo abandons her police officers moments after she’s told they need her and she takes vehicles being used for checkpoint defenses.

hears-gunfire

Hears gunfire before anyone else. Silly or an exscuse to show Dutch in her panties?

However, everything worked out because the swarm of vampires decided not to press their advantage. Bad writing strikes again when Feraldo drives through the streets of Red Hook doing her best Braveheart to inspire the masses speech. It wasn’t inspirational, but it was corny enough to get people out of their homes (some even wearing pajamas to illustrate how very few people heard the gunfire).

I’m hoping during the investigation of all the civilian deaths someone brings up the fact the waterfront wasn’t protected. Feraldo did say she was going to lock down Red Hook. I guess she didn’t mean the waterfront. If the waterfront was protected it wouldn’t have been as easy for Eichorst, Kelly, and some vampires to stroll into Red Hook’s powerplant. No, it would have taken one or two more scenes to cheat their way into it.

The Strain had made some great strides in the past episodes. Characters were slowly being developed and there weren’t as many cheesy scenes. Instead, the showrunners started to focus on scenes and characters that moved the story along at a natural progression. It seemed the series had turned a corner. However, “The Battle for Red Hook” saw the series turn right back to what was holding it back from being a quality horror/supernatural series.

 

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