Friday, 12 February 2016

The Strain Series 1 — Episodes 1 & 2: Night Zero and The Box

You know, I’ve got to admit: being off ill is not fun.

I’ve had stomach cramps, so you know.

And had to take the day off, as I’ve not exactly felt stunning.

Saying that?

These thing never last beyond a day.

So, by the morning … ?

I should be fine, and ready to go back to work: as per normal.

In the mean time … ?   Figuring out what to do with my time … ?

Well, I got bored.   And am short of cash.

And didn’t really fancy heading out.

So … ?

I had enough iTunes credit to buy or rent a film.   Or an app … or a TV show.

I went for a TV show.

Actually … ?

As iTunes were doing the first series for a reasonable £4·99, I went for a whole series: of something that had caught my eye a while ago.

The FX series, The Strain.

Going on the first two episodes?   I think that’s a fiver well spent.


Episode 1Night Zero — opens with a long distance flight landing at JFK Airport, in New York.   Initially showing us two of planes crew, trying to figure out exactly WHAT is in the hold.   The scene switches: to JFK’s Control Tower: where staff are puzzled by the fact the flight has come to a complete dead stop.   Literally dead: minimal lights, all curtains pulled, and an engine going far colder than the ground crew expect an engine to be going.

In amongst the emergency services?   Are Dr Ephraim ‘Eff’ Goodwind* and Dr Nora Martinez†: a pair of medical doctors from the US Centre for Disease Control.   As their the first to board the plane?   They’re the first to find most of the passengers are dead … And that the four survivors — of the 300 or so people on the flight — all look pale … and all have suspicious incision marks on their necks.

Oh … And that there’s a even more suspicious cabinet in the plane’s hold: nine foot long, by four foot wide, full of soil … 

And locked from the inside.

Are we getting worried, yet … ?


Episode 2The Box — sees Gus — a Latino gangster, trying his best to reform — finish the job he’d been given in episode 1: delivering the box to an unnamed warehouse over the river.   Meanwhile … ?   Dr Goodwind’s boss releases the four quarantined survivors of the flight: as he’s been told the plane had been brought down by carbon monoxide poisoning.   Eff and Nora, however?   Are both aware that the survivors — including the plane’s pilot — are showing symptoms of something radically different.   In the mean while?   In episode 1 we’re introduce to Abraham Setrakian‡, a Holocaust survivor who’s seen the disease, before: and had warned Eff and Nora about the box.

Ep[isode 2 … ?   Sees him visited by Thomas Eichhorst.   But where Setrakian survived Treblinka, having been an inmate there, Eichhorst was one of the guards.   Eichhorst only mets Setrakian in jail … to carry on torturing someone he first met, seven decades previously.

Things look like they could be getting worseº … 


Now … ?

I know — sort of — what you’re going to be asking me, here.

“Paul, did you think these opening episodes were any good?   And, if you did, where can I get copies?”

Oh, yes.

I’ve only sat myself down with these first two as I have to be up in the morning: and want to wake up relatively fresh.

That’s actually going rather against my first instinct: which was to immediately watch episode 3.

That will possibly come another time.

As for where … ?

Well, frankly, I bought this opening series from iTunes: who had a special offer on, of £4·99, for all thirteen episodes.

Which is what caught my eye: usually, a series pass is double that price for that amount of episodes.

I couldn’t tell you if the series is available on Netflix: not being a subscriber.

However?   A dvd and blu-ray version are on Amazon: and both series one and two are on Amazon Video.

At this rate … ?   I’m going to keep my eyes open for series two and three: either on DVD, or iTunes.

Thus far?

I’m impressed with these first two episodes …

*        Played by Corey Stoll: who I remember as the doomed Senator Peter Russo, in the first series of House of Cards.

†        Mia Maestro: who — at least to me — is a relative unknown.

‡        Played by David Bradley: who I’d last seen in Am Adventure In Time and Space, as William Hartnell.   I’m also aware he’s cropped up in Dr Who, has a recurring role in Game of Thrones^, and played Cohen The Barbarianª … !   He’s Cohen the Barbarian!   I’m impressed!!!!!!!!!!!

^        Unless they killed him when I wasn’t looking.   Blink, and you miss them, sometimes … 

ª        He’s too young to play Cohen, Cohen’s at LEAST 80 … !

º        One character is a dying billionaire: played by Jonathan Hyde.   The character’s called Eldritch Palmer.   Ever get the feeling someone’s getting character names out of a book … ?

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