The Strain, the TV adaptation of Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s vampire book, opened its premiere with a voiceover about hunger and its ability or inability to be satiated.

'The Strain' Recap

It’s February 8 at 8 p.m. and pilots are preparing to land a commercial airplane. A flight attendant in the back of the plane tells one of the flight attendants that something is on board that shouldn't be. They open the cargo hatch, close it, and whatever is inside bursts out and attacks. In a command center, they see the plane going dark and into a blind spot. They go outside to find the plane parked, all the window shades shut except for one.

In Astoria, Queens, New York City, Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) with the CDC arrives at a custody meeting with his estranged wife Kelly (Natalie Brown). He doesn’t want his marriage to end. While his wife says he’s great at his job, he flunks as a husband. As it turns out, his wife not only wants out of the marriage, but already has another guy she wants to move in with her. Proving her point, he ends up getting called to the plane case. Once he arrives, he finds out that none of the more than 200 passengers have dialed 911 and there’s been no movement. The also can’t do heat readings because the surface of the plane is so cold it’s working as an impenetrable wall. Without any knowledge of what’s inside, Ephriam insists they take their time.

In Harlem, a junkie heads to a pawn shop with a stolen watch. When the owner Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley) goes to check the watch, the junkie tries to steal cash from behind the counter. To his surprise, the older man quickly puts a knife on a major artery, forcing him to give up his theft. After the young man leaves, the owner sees the plane from Berlin sitting at the JFK airport and retreats to his office below the store. Speaking to a jarred heart sitting on a candlelit table, he says, “He’s back.”

Back at JFK, Ephraim and Nora (Mia Maestro) are getting outfitted in gear to brace themselves for what might be a virus aboard the doomed flight. Entering the plane, they find the passengers prostrate in their chairs, dead. They didn’t struggle, they weren’t burned and they’re not bruised. However, when they turn on the UV lights, there are marks all over the place, especially above the door to the cargo below. Before they disembark, they realize a few of the passengers and a pilot survived whatever overtook the plane.

At the HQ of the Stonehart Group in Manhattan, Thomas Eichorst (Richard Sammel) visits Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde), who is on dialysis and keeping a chilly climate in his room. Thomas is a vampire. After the meeting, he meets up with some ex-cons on a backstreet in the city. There, he instructs his helper to go to the airport, handing over an envelope of cash. He also promises to fix his mother’s immigration status and expunge his brother’s criminal record. Thomas then gives the young man three rules: don’t examine cargo, don’t make stops, cross the bridge back into Manhattan before daybreak.

Eph Updates Public On Plane Incident

Speaking to reporters, Eph tries to give them a preliminary update on the investigation into what happened on the plane. He tells them 206 passengers are dead and that they don’t know why, and that they don’t know why four survived. The only comfort he says he can offer is that none of the deceased seemed to have suffered in heir death. The first update Eph receives from the lab, which he's unlikely to share in the near future, is that each of the dead passengers have an incision on their neck. Furthermore, when the lab worker slices into them a white substance – not blood – comes out.

Abraham from the jewelry shop arrives at the airport to find a scene of mass chaos, with fans of one of the survivors – a goth rocker – cheer him on. When the man runs into the CDC's Jim Kent (Sean Astin), he asks to speak with who’s in charge of the medical investigation. When Abraham finally gets Eph’s ear, he tells him that he knows the bodies aren’t decomposing normally and advises that the heads be separated and that the bodies be burned. “If you have the coffin, then you have him!” he shouts in his last desperate plea before he's ushered out of the airport.

Worms Carry Vampire Virus

While Nora finds the man convincing, Eph is not certain. On the plane, Eph and Nora find a worm-like creature they believe is the carrier – meaning the virus isn’t airborne. Soil in the plane’s cargo is riddled with the worms. In the cargo hold hangar, they find that the cabin/coffin is no longer there. Video footage shows the inhuman creature taking off with the box.

In a parking deck, the guy from the streets hops into a CDC van, which has the wooden coffin in the back. Eph is trying to keep all vehicles big enough to hold the coffin from leaving the premises. When cops stop Thomas' guy and a dog begins barking, he pulls out a card Thomas had given him. Upon looking at it, Jim lets him through, saying he’s done working with the company. Jim later tells Eph no boxes have turned up, and then witnesses a worm sample for the first time.

Deceased Turn To Vampires

When the bodies are observed under UV light, a pattern emerges. Furthermore, the autopsies reveal that the organs are taking on new functionality. One of the hearts the scientist had been weighing has the worms, one of which begins to dig itself into his hand. When he gets it out, he thinks he’s saved himself. However, when he turns around, he sees that all of his dead patients have reanimated. Soon, they’re all feasting on him.

At the Stonehart building, Mr. Palmer informs Thomas about “the Jew” showing up at the airport during the day. The vampire promises to take care of him and pontificates about the future when there will be “purity” in the streets of the city. As he speaks, his errand boy is on his way back into the city with the coffin, oblivious to the sinister cargo in the back.

As it began, The Strain premiere ended with a voiceover about love, how it feeds on people and people feed on it. While a man cries for his daughter, who’d died on the plane, she walks into their home, arms outstretched, telling him she’s cold. “Love is our downfall,” the voice says as the father wraps his new vampire daughter in a hug.


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