The Strain: The Box
July 21, 2014 7:44 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

The CDC investigation into the mysterious conditions of the death plane is complicated by a cover-up. We also learn more about the shadowy conspiracy that appears to be behind the events of the show.
posted by codacorolla (17 comments total)
This continues to be dumber than a box of rocks, but also at least marginally more fun that said box. At least, it's pretty fun when they're not doing back story of the bland as bathwater main CDC character. I rolled my eyes fairly hard at him taking time out to go to AA.

Probably the stupidest moment of the show (likely to be a recurring theme) was the fact that nobody had checked into the morgue of one of the largest population centers on the planet for the past day. Once again, I'm hoping that when the show gets past the set-up portions of the story it can start being stupid in ways that are a little more fun.

Speaking of which, everything that's NOT the CDC investigation is cheesy and fun. That makes me wish that the main POV character was our killer health inspector, or the secret agent pawn broker.

Regardless, despite its ridiculous name (the Stoneheart Foundation had me laugh out loud) the top level cabal seems like an interesting wrinkle in the plot, and I'm excited to see where they go with Lord Voldemort.
posted by codacorolla at 7:55 AM on July 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

I have never watched something while praying for a condensed fan edit version more.

I can't even believe how dumb this show is. They found that worm and yet they don't shut the airport down.. or mention the worms to those jerks who want it opened? What about the security breach from that large missing coffin? The main character goes to an AA meeting? Forgives his exwife's new boyfriend who the day previous had made sure he got a parking ticket?

Seriously. These two episodes should be cut down to one, all taking place in one night. And even then it probably won't stop the stupidity that's to come.
posted by Catblack at 11:35 AM on July 21, 2014

So I was going to watch this show based on the Guillermo del Toro involvement, but the sense I'm getting is that I shouldn't? Is it that bad?
posted by Partario at 1:20 PM on July 21, 2014

Ummm... it's not very well written, but I think it has potential to be guilty pleasure popcorn TV (like early season True Blood). Right now the major problem is that there are a ton of plot holes where even a cursory amount of thought has you questioning the internal logic of the show, and the POV character isn't very compelling (he's an incredibly stock overworked dad character).

That's the downside. The upside is that when it focuses on the monsters or on the other characters it's actually pretty awesome, and from what I understand the novel gets much, much wilder after they get all of the set-up out of the way. I plan on sticking with it, even given all of the bad stuff I've written above.
posted by codacorolla at 2:10 PM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

Well, we enjoyed the first episode in a dumb sort of way, so we'll give the second a fair go, but it's not sounding too promising.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:01 PM on July 21, 2014

Are we allowed to mention books, in a non-GoT thread?

I don't care for the show, sadly, for all the reasons above. I didn't care for the books, either - the first book, anyway, which is the only one I read.

However, in fairness to the writer, I don't recall the same utter lack of believability from the books that we're seeing now in the show. It seems like the show is trying to blow out the entire plot of the first book in the first few episodes - and the incongruities are coming from a lack of sufficient time to do that.

The first book was godawful boring for an evil vampire takeover novel, in the same way 2012 was godawful boring for an end-of-the-world action thriller. But it did seem to make marginally more sense than the show so far.
posted by kythuen at 9:01 AM on July 22, 2014

Maybe if it improves it could be a guilty pleasure? Sheesh. I heart me some del Toro, but I think I'm out.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:11 AM on July 22, 2014

I'm staying in because I too like the ridiculous Stoneheart Society and Setrakian. Sooner or later, the CDC/Vampire plague or parasite has to die down, and then I can more happily suspend my disbelief. I'm hoping that large parts of Eph's family situation will also go away as the vampire apocalypse happens. (Unless we're being set up because his son is going to become infected and that's Eph's motivation for finding a cure? Because a worldwide vampire apocalypse isn't reason enough?)

I really loved the conversation between Eichorst and Setrakian in jail. The AV Club opened their recap with Eichorst's line, “You will not avenge anyone. You’re not a hero. Or a savior. You’re just a number.” And that's just a great villain line.

Some of the dumber moments of the show are actually sort of fun in a meta way. The Department of Health and Human Services hustling the four survivors of the flight out of quarantine was hysterical given that the make-up department had clearly been given instructions along the lines of, "We want them to look like fish belly corpses, please." Had no one run tests on those people? I feel like their numbers must have been freaky enough to at least hold them for observation even if their deathly pallor wasn't.

I loved Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth, but I thought Pacific Rim was both dumb and boring, so I'm not entirely surprised here.
posted by gladly at 9:22 AM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm staying in because I don't have a train wreck show this season yet and this fits the bill nicely.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:17 PM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

At least, it's pretty fun when they're not doing back story of the bland as bathwater main CDC character.

No way! They are establishing that he is a LOOSE CANNON who GETS RESULTS and g as problems. In fact, since I can't remember his name at all, I will start calling him McBain i stead of CDC guy.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:06 AM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

From TV Guide:
Most important news: Cory Stoll's wig in the show is there so that they can take it off him later and change his look.

Also, Guillermo del Toro has an interesting simile for how the vampires see people:
The vampire drinks the person like a person would drink a Capri Sun. What do you do with a Capri Sun after you drink it? You crush it and throw it away.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:21 AM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

(the Stoneheart Foundation had me laugh out loud)

Has anyone actually said the name of the wrinkly old billionaire who runs the Stoneheart Group on the show yet? Because if you thought that name was silly...
posted by Naberius at 8:01 AM on July 23, 2014

I bailed at the point when the old guy and the guy with the terrible accent were having a 78-minute-long conversation through glass. Is this exposition? Is this characterization? I don't care; so. fucking. boring.
posted by threeants at 9:46 PM on July 23, 2014

Also, as a Balding-American, it annoys me that apparently Corey Stoll had to be given a wig to play a Dull Handsome Guy.
posted by threeants at 9:48 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Even though I knew Corey Stoll was in this show it still took me maybe 10 minutes into the first episode before I realized that was him!

I think given the high level conspiracy it took to get the box on the plane, et cetera, it's feasible that HHS was told to get CDC out of there and let those survivors go. Because yeah, that decision is too stupid otherwise to make any sense at all.

Anyway, this show is on the right side of the line it's walking for me, apparently, because I'm sort of loving it despite (or because of?) the dumbness.
posted by something something at 7:04 AM on July 24, 2014

So I'm only just catching up on this show. I now feel vindicated in my fast-forward through the AA scene.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:58 AM on September 1, 2014

I bailed at the point when the old guy and the guy with the terrible accent were having a 78-minute-long conversation through glass.

See, I really liked that part; the Setrakian/Eichorst scenes are the best.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:17 AM on March 31, 2023

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