TV Review: FX’s The Strain Returns With More Gross, Campy Fun

The Strain, FX’s gross horror drama from Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse, doesn’t miss a beat in its second season opener.

After a failed attempt to destroy the Master, our team of vampire fighters retreated to lick their wounds and find a new way to stop the spread of the vampires throughout NYC. Eph (Corey Stoll) and Nora (Mia Maestro) take a more scientific approach, searching for a cure the only way they know how and encounter ethical and moral issues in their work. Fet (Kevin Durand) is still in total kickass mode, and developing a deeper bond with Dutch (Ruta Gedmintas).

The show’s greatest asset is still Setrakian, played with a wonderful campy grittiness by David Bradley. Setrakian is confounded at his failure at dispensing the Master and takes a journey down a rabbit hole of memories to discern a way to stop the threat.

The Strain’s second season opener is often a slow watching experience, mainly during scenes with Eph and Nora or when we delve into the more political side of handling the disaster. The show tempers this by giving us plenty of villain time and heaping on its trademark gross out style. The Strain is still very melodramatic and campy, but the creators are using that tone to their benefit. They’ve embraced the more wacked out elements and blended them well with the grounding that good horror requires. It all gels together to make watching the Strain and enjoyable summer affair.

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