Violet recaps the series premiere of The Strain, titled Night Zero, where the CDC investigates a plane that mysteriously lands with all passengers on board dead! As they try to determine the cause of death, we find out that there are other supernatural elements at play here. Following the recap, both Violet and Josh share their thoughts about the episode.
Don’t need the Strain episode recap for Night Zero? Click here to jump directly to Violet’s thoughts on the episode!
To see Josh’s thoughts on this week’s The Strain episode, Night Zero, click here to get directly there!
Episode Recap of The Strain, Season 1 Episode 1: Night Zero
On a flight out of Berlin that is landing at JFK airport in New York, a flight attendant hears some banging in the cargo hold. He frantically calls another flight attendant to investigate. Something pounds the door open and emerges.
The plane lands but does not respond to flight control. When they investigate, they discover that the plane is cold. All of the window shades are drawn except for one. They notify the CDC about the “dead plane.”
Meanwhile, in Queens, a CDC official shows up at a family counseling center for a session. His young son is in the waiting room and points out that he’s late. The man, named Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, goes into the room with his wife and the counselor for his last court appointed session. However, he gets called away to check out the “dead plane.”
When he arrives on site, he is informed that there have been no 911 calls from the plane. He smooths talks his way into the CDC being the first to enter the plane.
At a pawn shop, a guy tries to steal some money, but the old man behind the counter gets the better of him. The old man goes into a secret room after seeing a news report about the plane. There’s a large heart in a jar of water, and tells it, “He’s back. I don’t know if I can do it all over again. This time, I cannot fail.” He pricks his finger and squeezes a few drops of blood into the jar, and several worm looking things come out to drink the blood.
Ephraim and his partner, who he had an affair with but didn’t tell his wife, get suited up in their hazmat suits and enter the plane. Everyone on the plane appears to be dead, though it is not apparent why, and there is no sign of struggle. They use the UV light and find a biological pattern all over the plane. Nora checks out the cockpit, which is supposed to be locked but isn’t. Suddenly the pilot wakes up, as do a few other people.
At the Stoneheart group, a man with eyes that blink vertically instead of horizontally reports to Mr. Palmer, who has just finished his dialysis treatment, that the “cargo” has safely arrived and that the four survivors have been found. The man, whose name is Eichorst, comments that he misses breathing.
The bodies are taken off the plane to a special location for autopsy, and the four survivors are quarantined. Ephraim and Nora try to get more info from the survivors, but they’re not very helpful. Ephraim is called to the cargo area to look at 9 ft tall handcarved box that Nora says looks like a coffin. It’s not on the flight manifest. They lay it down and open it up. It’s filled with soil, and there’s a latch on the inside.
At Ephraim’s wife’s house, her boyfriend is there, while she and Ephraim’s son, Zach, watch the events unfold on their laptop. Zach is confident that whatever is wrong, his dad will take care of it. He texts Ephraim to make sure he’s okay.
Meanwhile, Bishop gets on the phone with Berlin to try to figure out where this box came from, while other CDC officials seal it up. Bishop hears a sound, but it seems like no one else hears it. He follows the sound to a deserted area in the cargo warehouse and sees a cloaked figure on the ground. It suddenly stands up, hooks its fangs into Bishop, and drinks his blood. Then it snaps his neck, crushes his skull, and runs off.
Eichorst tracks down a guy named Gus to be his driver in exchange for fixing his mom’s immigration status and clearing his brother’s criminal record. He is to go to the airport and drive back a van which will have cargo in it, but he is not to look at the cargo or make any stops, and he has to bring it across the bridge to Manhattan before daybreak.
The old man from the pawn shop goes to the airport and sneaks his way past security, telling Ephraim’s assistant Jim that he needs to speak to someone in charge about that plane.
Ephraim makes a statement to the press who are gathered in the airport. A distraught father slaps him. Ephraim says he’ll have answers in 48 hours.
The person examining the bodies finds identical precision puncture wounds in all of the bodies he has examined so far. Also, when he cuts into the bodies, a white substance comes out. He will investigate further and keep this information from getting out to the press.
Jim introduces the old man, Abraham Setrakian, to Ephraim. Abraham tells Ephraim he has seen this disease before. He seems to know what is happening to the bodies. He tells them the bodies must the destroyed, and the heads severed. Ephraim just thinks the guy is crazy, especially since they see that his cane is actually a sword, and has security take him away. But Nora is listening when Abraham says that if they still have the coffin, they still have him, and not to let the coffin across the river.
A body is examined under UV light by the medical examiner. Meanwhile, Eph and Nora examine the cargo hold of the plane and find a worm, which they believe to be the carrier. Then they find soil with more worms in it. They rush to the coffin – but it’s gone. They watch the security footage, and see a figure quickly fly to the coffin and lift it up into the air.
Gus gets into a CDC van at the airport and drives away with the coffin inside. Eph calls Jim and tells him to seal off the perimeter of the airport, not letting any big vehicles out that would be large enough to hold the coffin. Gus is stopped at the checkpoint, and shows the special card he was given. The officer tells him to exit the vehicle, but Jim comes over and is shown the card, and says he’s ok to go through. He then quietly tells Gus to tell the others that he came through for them and he’s done.
The medical examiner examines an enlarged heart, from which several worms emerge. One starts to burrow into his hand, but he is able to pull it out. When he turns around, all of the bodies that were on his examining tables have come to life, and they kill him.
Jim reports back to Eph that they found nothing. He takes out the container of worms and says that’s where they’ll start. Meanwhile, Abraham is taken to jail. We find out that he is Armenian and that he has some curious numbers tattooed on his arm that look like what one would have gotten during the Holocaust.
Over at Stoneheart, Eichorst reports to Palmer that everything went as planned, and that love will guide them home to their loved ones. However, Palmer brings up the old man with the sword who was arrested. Eichorst marvels that “the Jew” is still at it, but that he’ll take care of it. Palmer comments that a sentimental man would walk the streets before “the fall.”
As Gus drives across the bridge, he calls his mother to tell her he’ll be home in an hour.
The distraught father is home grieving over his lost daughter. However, she walks into the house and says she’s very cold. He hugs her, and we see her blink sideways like Eichorst.
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 1 Episode 1 of The Strain: Night Zero
Wasn’t there an episode of The X-Files that was kind of like this? Where they investigate a plane that lands and there’s some sort of virus on board? Or did I imagine that? It also kind of reminds me of a book I read, The Passage, by Justin Cronin, which is about a virus that takes over most of humanity and essentially turns them into vampires. Especially the part where the vampire thing that arrived in the coffin mentally called Bishop over to him so he could eat him. Additionally, the Stoneheart Group makes me think of Wolfram & Hart on Angel.
In any case, I’m not sure what to think of the show yet. Even though this first episode lasted an hour and 40 minutes (with commercials). It seems like this Stoneheart Group has set up the fall of man, with man being taken over by these vampire-like creatures. But then there’s Abraham, who apparently fought another attempted takeover years ago. I’m guessing the heart that he has in the jar is that of his wife, or long lost love, who was infected with the virus all those years ago, and this is all he has left of her. Ephraim just thinks Abraham is crazy now, but he’ll probably see the light soon. Especially since the bodies of the dead passengers will have all gone home to their loved ones by the next episode. Abraham is obviously too old to fight “him” (whoever “he” is) now, so he’ll most likely pass that torch on to Ephraim.
What’s the deal with the four “survivors” anyway? What purpose do they serve? The Stoneheart Group seems to know about them, and had expected them. Will they help spread the virus more easily? What will all the family members think when their supposedly dead loved ones return to them? Will they try to keep it a secret? How fast will the virus spread? What role will Ephraim’s family play in the show? They seem to be important, since a big chunk of the beginning of the episode featured them, and the episode kept flashing to them. What is Jim’s role in all this? Does he know anything about Abraham?
At this point, I am intrigued enough to keep watching. This is of course right up my alley in terms of a virus that takes over humanity. But the super fast effects of the vampire from the coffin moving around look a little cheesy to me so far. Hopefully they’ll tone that down.
Josh’s Thoughts: The Strain, Season 1 Episode 1: Night Zero
I really didn’t enjoy the first episode of The Strain. What kind of show is this supposed to be? The episode starts off feeling like a Contagion type story-line for a while. The usual disease spreading in some large populated area, and haz-mat teams have to investigate. I was fairly entertained by the beginning. But some of the characters, including the guy leading the investigation into the disease really just bothered me. I couldn’t really put my finger on exactly why, but there was something that grated me the wrong way with him.
Then the show decides to throw in this weird demonic creature in the mix. It feels like an afterthought, and just a way to make the show more scary. For me it just seemed silly.
Abraham was a bit of an interesting character. He seems a bit old to be fighting this supernatural creature though. I am guessing he is going to have to recruit someone to assist in his fight. He seems to be acknowledging that himself, and looks to be looking for a replacement for himself.
I guess we will have to see how the show progresses to see if it will keep my attention. I really felt like there was a lot of plot holes in the episode, and weirdness. Jim in the episode at one point allows a vehicle through, despite being given specific orders to check all vehicles. Huh? I won’t complain any further, but we will have to see how the episodes progress to see if this show will hold my attention.
Scenes from The Strain, Season 1 Episode 2: The Box
Here are scenes from the next episode of The Strain, titled The Box: