Martin Carr reviews the eighth episode of The Strain season 2…
Anything which opens with Shakespeare and closes on family in fighting must be worth watching. That The Strain manages to lever arch in some decapitation, merely adds spice to an already combustible combination.
Indulging in a soupcon of theatricality, some smoke and mirrors and impromptu table top surgery is par for the course this week. Ample amounts of ‘muncher’ mutilation combined with Palmer sowing his oats, adds depth and emotion effortlessly. From minute one you get the impression The Strain is stretching its legs, seemingly less eager to impress. This has nothing to do with its ability to wow where necessary, merely a sign of confidence in the story telling.
Penry-Jone’s Quinlan continues representing a linchpin in proceedings, this time in waking up Gus to the realities of his situation. While Eichorst and Palmer face off in a verbal sparring match of alpha male proportions. Something which promises to turn nasty a little further down the line. With his bio weapon missing in action, Goodweather hides behind alcohol and infidelity. While Fet’s emotional instability threatens to undermine his effectiveness in the field. What did come as a surprise however was the re-emergence of Natalie Brown’s Kelly Goodweather.
For so long just another actress under inches of prosthetic and black contacts, her move to centre stage finally gives the family drama traction. Until now just a one sided conversation over played by Max Charles, as the petulant and wholly annoying Zack Goodweather. Brown’s direct involvement sharpens a dynamic desperately in need of jumper cables. With Charles finally comfortable in the role, I am glad to say he has ceased to be a pointless addition. What we have now is a twisted love triangle, sure to involve heavy artillery, frantic foot chases and arachnid infantry. With the potent team up of Gus and Quinlan, there is the opportunity for some serious arse kicking action amongst the domestic drama. Only time will tell how effective this partnership proves to be. But if initial impressions are anything to go by we are in for some fun.
Season two feels like someone strapped a defibrillator to the creative team for kicks. There is so much emotion and structure to The Strain as it stands, that it feels like a completely different animal. Gone is the lethargy, endless exposition and Sahara dry plot devices which made the first season such an endurance test. What ‘The Intruders’ offers up is exciting, concise, baggage free television which is effortlessly addictive. So good in fact that you barely notice the weeks fly by. If only everything on the small screen could undergo a similar metamorphosis. Sadly you can’t have it all.