Warning: Spoilers Ahead
Wow, it seems like it’s been forever since that epic battle in the season 1 finale between the Master and Abraham, which culminated with the realization that sunlight doesn’t kill the monster and the Master is a much more formidable foe than they had thought. Fortunately, the wait is almost over with the season 2 premiere just 1 week away. Armed with this new knowledge, season 2 makes a major shift when it is decided that they need a change in plan if they have any hope in wiping out the strigoi forever.
For Dr.’s Goodweather (Corey Stoll) and Martinez (Mia Maestro), this means backing off trying to defeat the Master and instead focusing on a possible cure. The books are silent on any attempts in finding a treatment for the strigoi pathogen, which I found to be very odd since the 2 main characters are actually doctors. You would think finding a cure and/or vaccine would be one of the first things they would try. So, needless to say, I was thrilled to see the writers go down this path, and I’m especially curious to see whether they succeed — and if they do, what impact it will have on the overall storyline from the original source material. I see some great potential in the development of this arc.
Another thing we get to see in the premiere is the backstory of the Master. Book 1 of the trilogy begins with the story about a man named Jusef Sardu, a Polish nobleman whose body the Master occupied nearly 2 centuries ago. Last year, Guillermo del Toro said that he decided to put off the backstory of Sardu until the viewers had the chance to see the Master and had gotten familiar with him. Well, Guillermo kept his word, and season 2 opens with young Abraham being told the story of Sardu by his grandmother (so nice to see Kathleen Chalfant reprising her role!). It is told in some great flashbacks, where we discover who exactly Sardu was, why the Master chose him to be his new host, and we also learn the significance of the silver cane that Abraham holds so dear and its connection to the Master. Oh, as an added bonus, we get to see Robert Maillet without all of his Master make-up, and I must say underneath all of that stuff is one handsome fellow.
While Eph and Nora go back to what they are best at — science — Abraham goes rogue and begins a quest for an ancient tome, the Occido Lumen, that supposedly holds the secrets of the origins of the strigoi as well as their weaknesses, information that could potentially be used to kill them. By doing this, he crosses paths with the Ancients and the “hooded strigoi” from the last season i.e. the character we were all led to believe to be one of the most pivotal characters in the books, Mr. Quinlan. Back towards the end of last year, Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan revealed in an interview that they had decided to rework the Quinlan character and that the “hooded strigoi” we had seen wasn’t, in fact, Quinlan but someone else. Even though this mysterious strigoi looked like Quinlan, acted like Quinlan, recreating the character was still feasible since his name was never revealed (well, except to the media).
Given that this really isn’t a “spoiler” since it was revealed months ago, I will confirm that they did move forward with this plan, and we learn within the 1st 5 minutes of the premiere that this strigoi isn’t Quinlan but some other character named “Vaun” — basically just another one of many foot soldiers for the Ancients. I will leave my full critique of this move for my review and recap next Sunday, but I will say that I don’t like it. And, I suspect a good deal of the viewers who are familiar with The Strain trilogy won’t either. You just don’t create a character (especially one as monumental as Quinlan), give the viewers time to connect with him, and then pull the rug out while saying, “Oops, I’m sorry. We messed up and need a do-over with this character.” That’s not cool! Not at all. It’s not fair to the fans, and it’s not fair to the actor playing the character, in this case Stephen McHattie.
The cast, Guillermo del Toro, and Chuck Hogan will be at San Diego Comic-Con next weekend, and one of the questions I plan on asking is “Why?” I have the utmost respect for Guillermo del Toro, and I am very hopeful there is a very good reason for the reinvention of the Quinlan character, one that will ultimately pay off in terms of the overall story that they are trying to bring to the small screen.
The season 2 premiere of The Strain airs next Sunday at 10/9c on FX. In the meantime, check out the below video and photos preview.
Geeky computer and math nerd by day and TV fanatic by night. My beats are The Walking Dead, The Strain, Person of Interest, Z Nation, and anything that most people would call freaky. Editor-In-Chief and Lead Writer of TVGeekTalk.com