Monday, July 14, 2014

The Strain Season 1 Episode # 1 "Night Zero" - Recap and Review

FX The Strain by Guillermo del Toro Season 1 Episode 1 Night Zero Recap Review Worm in the Eye Eclipse Retina

Guillermo del Toro is one of my favorite directors and I love most of his movies (Pan's Labyrinth, Mimic, Cronos, The Devil's Backbone, Hellboy, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Blade II). I have also enjoyed the movies he has produced like Mama, The Orphanage and Julia's Eyes.

Guillermo has also co-authored with Chuck Hogan, “The Strain”, a vampire horror trilogy. The books are being adapted as a FX TV Series, with the active participation of del Toro.

The first episode “Night Zero” aired today. This post discusses the episode in detail. Readers yet to read the episode are recommended to skip the rest of the post, if they wish to avoid spoilers.

In the opening scene, a male voiceover talks about the hunger known as love and how it defines us as humans. 


Corey Stoll, Sean Astin and Mía Maestro as Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, Jim Kent and Dr. Nora Martinez in The Strain Season 1 Episode 1 Night Zero

A flight Regis Air 753 from Berlin is approaching touchdown at the JFK airport. One of the flight attendants, Rose (Karen Glave) is contacted by her co-worker, Peter (Adriano Sobretodo Jr.) for immediate help.

Peter is convinced that there is something moving in the cargo. Shortly, a hooded black figure attacks both of them.

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The flight lands at the airport. The ground crew does not receive any response from the flight crew. Concerned with this situation, they decide to call in the official agencies including the CDC.

Dr Ephraim Eph Goodweather (Corey Stoll) is the Chief Medical Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He is late again for the last of his court mandated family therapy sessions. His wife, Kelly Goodweather (Natalie Brown) is concerned about his inability to being a good husband and father to their son Zack (Ben Hyland).

Eph is informed about the Regis Air emergency. He reaches the airport and is met by Dr Nora Martinez (Mia Maestro) and Jim Kent (Sean Astin).

David Bradley as Jewish Holocaust survivor and pawn shop owner Abraham Setrakian in The Strain Season 1 Episode 1 Night Zero

We also meet Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley), an aging pawn shop owner who is more than what meets the eye. He deftly handles a couple of shoplifting street thugs.

Abraham learns about the airport incident on the news and realizes that He is back. He has a beating heart stored in a jar and feeds it his own blood to keep it alive.

Corey Stoll and Mía Maestro as Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and Dr. Nora Martinez in The Strain Season 1 Episode 1 Night Zero

Eph and Nora enter the plane wearing containment suits. They notice a lot of ammonia present and also that the passengers show no signs of any infection or struggle.

After switching to UV lights, they notice lot of biological stains inside the plane. There are four survivors so far: Captain Redfern (Jonathan Potts), vain celebrity Gabriel Bolivar (Jack Kesy), ambitious attorney Joan Luss (Leslie Hope) and timid Ansel Barbour (Nikolai Witschl).


Jonathan Hyde as wealthy old Eldritch Palmer in The Strain Season 1 Episode 1 Night Zero

At the Stoneheart group building, a mysterious Thomas Eichhorst (Richard Sammel) visits elderly billionaire Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde). Eldritch's right-hand man, Mr Fitzwilliams (Roger R. Cross) hesitates to interrupt his employer's ongoing dialysis.

Jim informs Eph about the discovery of a finely hand carved box about 9 feet tall containing soil. Nora notices that the coffin has an inside latch.

Eph asks Bishop, a ground crew worker to make inquires about the mysterious cabinet. Even as he makes the call, Bishop hears some voices inside his head and is led to a secluded place. He is brutally murdered by the same mysterious figure that attacked the flight attendants.


Richard Sammel as the mysterious Thomas Eichorst in The Strain Season 1 Episode 1 Night Zero

Eichhorst also visits Gus Elizalde (Miguel Gomez), a Mexican gangster and entrusts with the task of moving the coffin. He offers Gus the reward of having his beloved mother's immigration status cleared in return for his work.

Dr Bennett (Jeffrey R. Smith) performs autopsy of the dead passengers and discovers that their blood has turned white and opalescent. All of them also have a precise incision in their necks.

Abraham meets Eph and Nora and asks them to destroy the bodies of all passengers, whether alive or dead. He further asks them to destroy the coffin as the only way to destroy him. Eph has the seemingly raving Abraham arrested by the cops.

Eph and Nora realize the importance of the box and rush to investigate it. The box is missing and Eph orders Jim to ensure that it is not carried out of the airport. Gus, with Jim's help is able to get the coffin out of the airport.

The corpses come to life at the CDC and feed on Dr Bennett.


Miguel Gomez as Augustin Gus Elizalde the Mexican gangster in The Strain Season 1 Episode 1 Night Zero

Gus is happy with his latest assignment and calls to check on his mother. He does not seem to be as concerned with his brother, Crispin (Francis Capra).

One of the dead passengers, Emma Arnot (Isabelle Nélisse) returns to her father Gary (Steven McCarthy) and he happily embraces her.

The episode closes with Abraham Setrakian's voiceover quote: Love is our grace. Love is our downfall.

This episode was directed by Guillermo del Toro and his touches can be felt throughout the episode -  the way the episode has been shot and colored, the character development, the humor and the focus on the very human emotion of Love

Eph's description of the way a virus is transmitted was done well.

Acting is solid across the board. I liked Corey Stoll (Eph), David Bradley (Abraham Setrakian) and Miguel Gomez (Gus Elizalde).

Miguel has some of the best lines in the show and looks to be the standout performer.

Guillermo del Toro director with Sean Astin on the airport set of FX The Strain

This is Guillermo doing what he does best: a character driven piece with aspects of horror thrown in for good measure.

Hats off to him for successfully bringing the book to life. I look forward to Vasiliy Fet (Kevin Durand) making his appearance on the show.

This is one of the best 90 minutes of TV show I have seen. The recently concluded Fargo was another very well done show (also from FX Networks). If the show maintains the same level of quality, FX has another massive hit on their hands.

A must watch for fans of Guillermo del Toro/Horror genre. 

Click here to read the review of the next episode, The Box.

Trivia
  • The folk song Maggie can be heard playing on the radio in the first scene with Abraham Setrakian.
  • The song “Sweet Caroline can he heard playing on the radio, when Dr Bennett is attacked by the dead flight passengers at the CDC.

Click here to read all my posts related to Guillermo del Toro. Click here to read all my posts related to The Strain.

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Image Sources: FX Networks, DelToroFilms.com

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2 comments:

  1. This one passed me by! I'll try to check it out but am currently watching Ray Donovan, the 100 and 24 and am about to start Series 3 of Falling Skies and Utopia. I need an extra day a week for my TV viewing! That picture at the start was very yucky!

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    1. I think you will enjoy this show. Your TV schedule looks pretty busy :)

      Guillermo del Toro has repeatedly said that his take on vampires will be hardcore and NOT like the shining romantic Twilight ones. So the still is pretty much in sync with the director's vision....

      B2B.

      B2B.

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