The Strain Season 2 Episode 3 Review – ‘Fort Defiance’

Martin Carr reviews the third episode of The Strain season 2…

After last week’s personal epiphany I am pleased to say things remain unchanged. Despite a lack of flashbacks The Strain retained a certain momentum, which unfortunately highlighted another problem. It became abundantly clear that Ephraim’s son is a royal pain in the arse.

 

Now before people get upset and say that he is only a child hear me out. This person, by which I mean the character not the actor, is serving no purpose. Petulant, selfish, attention seeking and permanently po-faced, the kid needs to go. Not gratuitously you understand just in a practical fashion befitting his stature. Whilst others may class this as an overreaction consider the evidence.

Holed up in Red Hook with hordes of ‘munchers’ on the loose, Zack’s response to a last-minute retrieval is textbook teenage tantrum. Now I am not one for pointing out the obvious, but those twenty minutes are frankly wasted. If you want to see conceited teenagers bemoan their existence, observe parents over summer break burn through cash keeping their offspring amused. Anyway enough of this, the child has taken up way too much time.

Elsewhere in The Strain Setrakian reveals a plot changing secret, while Dutch and Fet continue their unconventional courtship. Jack Kesy’s Gabriel Bolivar does more than look moody round a casket. Just as Eichorst proves himself the alpha male yet again over Eldritch Palmer in the scenes they share together. Meanwhile Corey Stoll demonstrates last week was no fluke, through a continued rejuvenation of Ephraim. Whether being heavy-handed in his parental methods or having a heart to heart with ‘The Master’, Goodweather has turned into someone of interest. It appears a liberal application of vodka to the character has caused proceedings to shape up nicely. While out on Staten Island Samantha Mathis’s Justine Feraldo is slowly turning into a firebrand.

 

For someone unceremoniously shoehorned into the action last week Mathis has something to prove. Despite her best efforts however government officialdom still feels like an afterthought. Even though Feraldo’s medieval approach is to be applauded, her sudden appearance smacks of narrative necessity. Now I appreciate government intervention should be assumed, yet this development still fails to convince. Just as Season one felt fragmented due to the requirements of structure, so this element feels at odds with its surroundings. As for Feraldo’s impact I sense it will hinge on an alliance with Ephraim which is coming. As they both dislike working within the inherent constraints of bureaucracy. Listen, irrespective of that one thing remains certain, the kid needs to go. Why they decided to change the actor anyway is beyond me. No doubt someone asked for more money. Happens all the time apparently ask Terrence Howard.