The Strain: The Box Review -

The Strain Review

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Episode: The Box (Season 1, Episode 2)
  • Starring: David Bradley, Robin Atkin Downes, Ali Momen
  • Written By: Guillermo del Toro (developer), Chuck Hogan (developer)
  • Directed By: David Semel
  • Network: FX
  • Studio: Mirada
  • Series:

The Strain: The Box Review

The survivors are released

By Kimberly McCall     July 21, 2014

The Strain: The Box Review
© FX/ Mondo
Okay, so we all know the box made its way safely into the city. Meanwhile, the four plane survivors are released, in a sea of media hell, while still showing symptoms, vampiric symptoms. And, of course, all the “dead” corpses in the morgue have gone missing. Honestly (if you can believe it), all the artery sucking takes a back seat to some serious character development in The Strain's second episode entitled, “The Box”.

Directed by David Semel (American Horror StoryBeverly Hills 90210), “The Box” takes us further into Ef Goodweather (Corey Stoll)'s private life as he has to deal with his divorce and custody battle, not to mention AA meetings. We also visit Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley in jail and learn that that heart we was feeding, last episode, belonged to a woman whom he failed to save. At the end, we witness the old and mysterious Eldritch Palmer (Johnathan Hyde) finally getting to meet this...character he had arranged to have been flown over from Europe in a giant box of soil. However, we, the audience, still don't quite get that good a look.

We are now two episodes into del Toro's The Strain and I have to wonder when the series is going to catch up to its trailers. The big eclipse over New York City? We all already know it's coming. Perhaps the buildup would be more enjoyable if we'd all been kept in the dark about the impending large event. It's almost as though the previews gave us too much of a spoiler.  They should have hit us with that by now so no one would know what to expect next. Or, are these events commonly known from the book trilogy and they're just filling the rest of us in?

I'm trying to not be preoccupied and enjoy the character building as it happens.  I'm really curious how Kevin Durad's Vasiliy Fet develops. I'm sure there is something to this series worth waiting for. We'd all be disappointed if it were just another vampire/deadly virus storyline. Guillermo del Toro is an artist that usually delivers in the new and the different. I'm not giving up on him yet.
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tjanson 7/21/2014 6:31:36 AM

 I expected a bit of a step back after all the events in the first ep.  i think its developing fine

aegrant 7/21/2014 8:02:16 AM

 Still staying true to the books for the most part, but this episode was a little slow. They do have to develop the characters.

Walker 7/21/2014 8:12:53 AM

I am about to give up on this show.

The book, for all its overwriting (a drinking game based on descriptive metaphores will put you under the table by page 5), had a slow and powerful build-up.  When you finally reached the confrontation with the Master, the tension was incredible.

The show decided to completely throw all of this away. The pilot included scenes from half-way into the first book.  For example, the cabinet theft happens during the eclipse.  Characters were introduced too fast (why is the TV Setrakian an idiot who makes a spectacle during a press conference?).  Surprise betrayals are already revealed (Phelps and Stoneheart).

There is nothing left for this show.  The build-up and investigation is trashed.  All you have left is vampire hunting.  And most of that is during 2nd season.  If the show lasts that long.

Walker 7/21/2014 8:17:27 AM

Perhaps the buildup would be more enjoyable if we'd all been kept in the dark about the impending large event. It's almost as though the previews gave us too much of a spoiler.

Exactly.  This is how it is done in the book.  Which is why it works there and not here.  They felt that they had to introduce all the major players in the pilot.

monkeyfoot 7/21/2014 9:23:27 AM

Finally caught up and saw the first and now the second episode. I haven't read the books so I have no idea what is going on. I didn't even pay attention to the coming episodes preview that ran at the end of the premiere. All I know is the basic premise is vampirism. So far I'm enjoying it. It has interesting characters and a premise with mysteries I'm awaiting unfoldment on.

It seems you guys who read the book are in some upset about how things are going. The books are always filled with great detail and enjoyment because you get to be hypnotized into it and live the story and flesh it out in exquiste detail in your head. But then when they make a movie or TV version there is often alot of upset.

Why didn't they make this the way I saw it in my head!?!? I did it perfectly! They messed it up!

blankczech 7/21/2014 9:39:17 AM

I basically visit the Mania website to read the comments.  I can find press releases and trailers all over the internet usually sooner than they arrive here, but Mania comments are a little unique. I have no problem with people who want to rip a movie / TV series in a comments thread. Everybody is entitled to their opinion and I don't think you're a troll if you say something negative. Personally,  I don't want to read 20 comments, that all say -  Wow, this is really great, I love it.   That's boring. I really like it when commenters debate the merits of something.  There have all ready been a couple of negative comments in this thread.  I didn't read the books and I didn't see the trailers in advance of the show.  I came to it without any expectations and so far I'm enjoying it.  So this time around I'll be one of the people who says...Wow, this is pretty good.

aegrant 7/21/2014 9:57:06 AM

 Yes the book did drag a bit in the begining but , well, its a book. I think the series has to build its characters, I just hope they don't dedicate a whole epeisode to everybody's back story - I think the way they are sprinkling Gus' story in the show is great and i understand that Eff is the focal point so he gets more flushing out but they need to get on with the other characters. 

With all that said, I am happy that this was brought to life as a series because a movie format would cut way back and this would problably be something more of the straight to DVD/BR realm.

Just MHO



ddiaz28 7/21/2014 1:39:09 PM

I've read the books and I've really enjoyed the first two episodes.  I think that the characters have been great so far.  Curious to know how many seasons this will go? One per book?

MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 7/22/2014 9:25:44 AM

 Before it was a book it was supposed to be a television series in the first place. But it was rejected.

bennyhill 7/22/2014 8:42:26 PM

 I'm really digging it.  Love the Salem's lot vibe.  Haven't read the books at all so please no spoiling.

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