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Life’s Too Short: The Strain S3E01 (2016)


The Restrain

One doesn’t know about you, but one thinks that any series starting its third season by a voice-over and a nightmare scene doesn’t deserve to have survived that far. Especially after its first season’s promise of a vampiric nazi hostile takeover of the USA degenerated into another repetitive, soporific, empty zombi vessel. It has become painfully obvious that Guillermo Del Toro is only name-dropped with his Executive Producer credit; the card could as well read “loosely adapted from a couple of Del Toro’s ideas for a better series”. That thing is a mess and it’s not even hot anymore, after being reheated on a malfunctioning back burner for two years.

Solemnly uttered by the old fart who carved The Master’s sarcophagus is Auschwitz or something, the voice over drops a time bomb as its first sentence: it has only been 23 days since the commercial aircraft carrying said sarcophagus has landed in JFK, meaning that it took three years for The Strain to cover three weeks. May one remind the reader that by watching this series we engage with vampires more than a thousand years old? Three weeks are a wink of an eye, a twitch, yet they almost got the bastard twice already. Who said “plot contrivance”? At such a sluggish pace it will take them 150 seasons to get anything done. It’s not The Strain, it’s The Restrain.

Speaking of twitching, there is a rather hilarious scene in this episode when the human/vampire hybrid boss goes visiting “The Ancients”, the three remaining millenary vampires acting as the Council of Elders for that particular breed. They made an apparition during Season 2 for a luncheon scene which was played for horror, but this time around it’s more of a strategic briefing. Oh boy. If the three naked old crones perched on the most uncomfortable stools ever conceived for sacred patriarchs were not enough, just consider how senile they appear. They twitch nervously as if affected by a mix of Alzheimer and Parkinson, their groans diligently translated by a bald minion. Cherry on the cake, the hybrid boss states that they are the only remaining Ancient as “the four in the Old World” have been killed by The Master, meaning that once upon a time there were seven Ancients, that for some reason three departed for the New World (short straw, one guesses), and that The Master is far superior to them. Not that it appears very difficult to kick those elderlies down from their stool, but still.

The Master, see, is impervious to technology. It just doesn’t work on him. This is demonstrated in an endless scene involving an old church and a SWAT team, which is basically Call of Duty with night goggles, including First Person Shooter POV. The old nazi appears and disappears. Mr Fet, the buddy you really wanna have by your side for a bar brawl, does all the work as usual. The other characters seemed lost in limbo, apart maybe for the politician who will die during this season. The old fart deciphers a satanic comic book. The good doctor drinks too much and doesn’t wash enough, so he smells as much as the series stinks. The hot hacker chick is nowhere to be seen (was she killed in season 2? No memory of that.). The annoying brat brushes his vampire’s mother hair in her basement. All very exciting stuff.

Maybe this season takes a turn for the better later on, but one’s patience was so severely tested by Season 2 that frankly, folks, one doesn’t give a damn. Life’s too short.

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