The Strain – Bad White (Season 3/ Episode 2 Review)

The Strain – Bad White (Season 3/ Episode 2 Review)

The new season of the FX series, The Strain, continues to deliver one of the finest Horror programs available today. The production values, story, and acting are among the best, not only on basic cable, but all of television. The series’ new season’s opening credits are worth holding back on the fast-forward button, while the music and images set the scene for what is to come. That said, episode two, entitled Bad White, which aired Sunday September 4th, opened in a secret laboratory viewers have never seen before. Tables of Strigoi are being dissected and tested. It quickly becomes apparent that the doctors are trying to create the White. The blood of The Master used to heal Eldritch Palmer and keep Professor Setrakian alive. Their latest test subject begins to foam at the mouth and convulse, forcing one of the doctors to pull out a gun and kill her.

the strain bad white 2
Still from FX’s The Strain episode Bad White

Inside the Mayfield Hotel, the secure residence for the military personnel fighting the Strigoi, Fet sits at the bar with one of the remaining Navy Seals. He is told that the military is pulling out in order to prevent Washington DC from being overrun. When he leaves, an attractive woman sitting on the other side of Fet buys him a drink and strikes up a conversation. Yadda-yadda-yadda, they end up in bed. Waking up the next morning, they introduce each other. Her name is Kate. Fet leaves, and viewers do not learn who she is other than she is also fighting against the infected.

Eph drives to the 54th Street building where Setrakian is deciphering the Lumen. Upon arrival, Quinlan tackles Eph and holds him by the throat, Fet steps in to help Eph and introduces them. Eph is understandably suspicious of their new ally. He explains why he is still in New York, tells them about the ambush of the train by hundreds of Strigoi, and of the death of their friend, Norah. Setrakian warns Eph that The Master will use his wife and son against him, he has no idea that this has already occurred.

When audiences saw Dutch Elders (Ruta Gedmintas) last, in the season two finale, she had chosen to give up the fight for humanity and her future on the show had been left in limbo. She returns with a small group who are trying to survive inside the quarantine zone. They plan to raid an apartment on the 42st floor of a high-rise; Dutch is understandably concerned that the rest of the group has not thought it through. Once inside, they are attacked and several of them are killed. The rest grab supplies and run, leaving Dutch to fend for herself. She tracks them down and confronts the leader of the three who abandoned her.

While they are arguing, she shines a UV flashlight on his chest and discovers that he has been infected. Telling the others that he has their problem now, she turns to leave. Without warning, she spins, and takes off the top of his head with a remarkably gory effect. Dutch is now our second favorite sword-wielding television heroine being equally adept at hacking computers, and cabezas. Eichorst comes to Palmer’s office and asks about the Freedom Centers that have been set up under the guise of helping the city’s inhabitants, but are really a front for determining which humans will be harvested for the ‘facilities’ that will be coming on-line. Eichorst gives him an ultimatum, retrieve the Lumen, which he had let slip through their fingers, or he will never receive the White again.

Still from FX's The Strain episode Bad White
Still from FX’s The Strain episode Bad White

Later, after Dutch’s confrontation with the people who abandoned her, Palmer meets with one of the doctors from the mysterious laboratory. The doctor (Ben Carlson), tells Palmer that the experiments are fruitless and have resulted in the deaths of all the terminally ill people who have volunteered at the Freedom Centers to be tested upon. He says that he is done and leaves. Palmer’s attempt at synthesizing the White is over. Quinlan continues to grill Eph in an attempt to discover the real reason he sought out Professor Setrakian. Eph pushes back, wondering the same about the half-Vampire.

Setrakian and Fet leave for a meeting, allegedly with the man who had put the Lumen up for auction, they leave Eph alone in the apartment. They drive to a highway overpass and are surprised when Eldritch Palmer arrives. He offers them a deal, he will withdraw his support for The Master if Setrakian gives up the formula for the White. It is obvious to Palmer that the professor knows how it is done. The deal is rejected and they part ways. Safe in their vehicle, they discuss how they might be able to use Palmer’s desperation to their advantage.

Worth noting is Natalie Brown’s acting as Kelli, Zack’s Strigoi mother. Her portrayal as one of the infected given the gift of free-thought is spot on. Her inner struggle is apparent without being overdone. As time with her son goes on, Kellie’s Vampire urges are becoming increasingly difficult to suppress and Zack is beginning to become suspicious of her motives. When she comes to visit him, he rigs the lock of his room/cell in order to get a look around. After she leaves, he is able to escape to explore the area and stumbles upon her feeding on a boy about his age.

While running from the horror, he has an asthma attack and she catches him. Unable to breath, he begs her for help. Holding him, she begins to lose the battle within herself and her feeder emerges. Just as she is about to give in and kill her son, The Master appears and saves Zack. Pricking his own finger, The Master drips several drops of the White into Zack’s mouth, allowing him to recover. We do not know what this act will do to affect Zack’s view of The Master and his mother.

While the professor and Fet are gone, Eph finds it locked in a safe protected by UV lighting. Quinlan approaches, stopping just outside the range of the light cast by the bulbs that would kill him. He offers Eph a deal to help save his son and still be able to use the book to defeat The Master. As the episode ends, the UV lights turn off. Time is getting short for our heroes to save New York City, and by extension, all of humanity. Season 3 of The Strain is shaping up to be the best so far, with fans on the edge of their seat waiting for the next week’s episode to come. CrypticRock gives Bad White 4 out of 5 stars.

Still from FX’s The Strain episode Bad White

For more on The Strain visit FX

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Wayne Hills
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Born in Manhattan, NYC at the end of the 1950s, Miguel grew up during the turbulent decade to follow. The racial, political, and social upheavals of the next three decades shaped the way he views the world around us. Miguel has been published in numerous anthologies under Miguel A. Rueda, and his pen name, Wayne Hills. Although most of his stories are written in the Horror and Fantasy genres, he will adapt to whatever submission calls fit into his schedule.

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