Monday, 17 July 2017

The Strain 'The Worm Turns' Review

This review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS, if you do not want certain plot points or story spoilt, please do not read further.

The Strain returns after its literal explosive season three finale to find that nine months have passed since the detonation of a nuclear device on Liberty Island, and that the strigoi have effectively taken over the world.

It's a bold step, and one that has given the show some fresh life as it has gone from horror survival to post-apocalypse fight for freedom, and the time jump gives the show the opportunity to create a new world for our characters to inhabit.

Whilst this episode doesn't feature Setrakian, Dutch or Gus, though it does show us what's happened to the rest of the cast since the end of the world.

We find out that since Zach detonated a nuclear bomb and destroyed the world Ephraim has fled New York and is now living in Philadelphia, working with a group of black marketers to trade his medical knowledge for valuable trade items.

Despite having lost his family, no longer being with his friends, and being in a devastated world that his son helped to create Eph almost feels like a whole new character. He's more relaxed and easygoing, which is a little bit ridiculous for someone living in a world ruled by vampires, but then he's no longer fighting against the Master and trying to save his family, so I guess there's a lot of pressure gone now.

It's during his work as a travelling doctor that Ephraim discovers that the Partnership, the human face of the strigoi rule, have been pumping tankers full of blood into buildings that are home to hundreds of strigoi. Something that I'm sure will be important in upcoming episodes.

After the black market hideout is raided by strigoi Ephraim and his colleagues find themselves bundled into the back of a bus as prisoners. Before we can find out what fate can befall strigoi prisoners, however, the bus comes under attack from bombers and Ephraim becomes the only survivor.

Despite not wanting to get involved and to have a quiet existence he can't stop himself from providing assistance to the injured freedom fighter that attacked the bus and soon finds himself escaping the scene of the attack with the resistance members.

Meanwhile, Zach has been spending the time since he caused the apocalypse living with the Master in his own private apartment full of arcade games, game consoles and toys. The end of the world has done little to lessen Zach's annoyingness.

It would appear that the Master is far from finished with Zach as he begins to groom the boy to be his next host after Palmer. He takes Zach into what's left of Central Park Zoo and arms him with a rifle, having him hunt down and kill a tiger.

The scene plays out differently to the books, where the Master has Zach build up a bond with the animal before killing it. Here however, the Master comes before Zach as a vision of his mother, twisting the boy into believing that the Master is Zach's friend and that his future lies with the strigoi.

It's rare that there's a scene with Zach that actually makes you feel anything for the character other than major annoyance (he makes Wesley Crusher look like Shaft), but here we get a look into just how messed up his mind is and how deeply the Master has his claws into the boy.

On the other side of the country we find that Fet and Quinlan have been searching for a weapon that can help them end the Masters reign; a nuclear bomb.

The two of them have teamed up with a group of survivors, including the tough sharpshooter Charlotte, who would appear to be Fet's latest romantic interest. Despite travelling with a group of fighters Fet seems to be getting himself into bad situations quite easily.

When the group is held up by another group of survivors it's only thanks to Quinlans superhuman intervention that the group gets out alive. Unfortunately for Fet him and Charlotte are later captured by a second hostile group when they're searching for food without Quinlan around to protect them.

Whilst Fet may not be the best at not getting himself into trouble it does actually pay off for him when he finds himself imprisoned with a Roman, a soldier from a missile silo that still has its nuclear weapons.

Using one of the oldest tricks in the book to get the upper hand on their captors Fet and Roman manage to get free (literally just before Quinlan turns up to save them). Looks like our heroes could be finding their ultimate weapon sooner than we think.

The first episode of the final season does a great job of setting up the new world and showing us what some of our characters have been doing in the gap between seasons. Hopefully the rest of the season will continue to build upon this solid foundation and will build a strong conclusion to one of the best horror series on television.

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