‘The Strain’ Recap ‘New York Strong’: The King Rat Strikes Back

In ‘The Strain’ recap for the season 3 debut, Fet tries to find the Master, Setrakian searches for answers in the Lumen and Eph is given an offer he may not be able to refuse…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

It’s been 23 days since that fateful day when a flight bound for New York landed at the airport that unleashed the single greatest plague to threaten humanity in the history of the world.

It’s actually kind of hard to believe with everything that has unfolded through two seasons of ‘The Strain’ that only 23 days have passed, especially considering the amount of people who have been lost thus far not to mention the relationships that have both flourished and failed over three weeks time.

According to the voiceover courtesy of Abraham Setrakian to start the debut episode on Sunday night, reinforcements were finally deployed to New York to fight back the strigoi threat but as outbreaks started popping up in cities across the United States, the manpower was redistributed and supplies were starting to run short.

Almost like New York was a lost cause, the government managed to keep the city contained — in other words locking all the strigoi inside that containment zone — but leaving very few exits available for anyone trying to get in or out at this point. That doesn’t mean New Yorkers are giving up because Justine Feraldo is still leading a charge to clear out the city and she’s armed with two new weapons as season 3 begins.

Vasiliy Fet is now teamed up with Feraldo as a guide of sorts to help a Navy SEAL team wipe out nests of strigoi while hunting the Master and Eph has been contracted to concoct as much of his biological weapon as possible to destroy the vampires who have taken over the city.

For every win Feraldo achieves, it seems she’s taking two more losses — whether that means manpower, the lack of government assistance, food dwindling or just more strigoi than her army can kill — New York is in a battle where there’s no clear path to victory.

And if the debut episode is any indication, things on ‘The Strain’ are about to get much worse before it gets better. With that said, let’s recap the season 3 debut of ‘The Strain’ titled ‘New York Strong’….

King Rat

The time jump between season 2 and season 3 is only seven days — according to Fet in a later conversation with Setrakian (more on that later) — and what we find are the last remnants of the United States military helping to clean up New York before they leave town. The members of an elite Navy SEAL team have been deployed to help eliminate strigoi nests in hopes of eventually finding what they are calling the “King Rat” aka The Master.

Disbelief has been the greatest enemy to those trying to fight against the strigoi threat because no one really wants to buy that a supernatural force like vampires actually exists so this has allowed the Master and his minions to run roughshod over the whole city before most people acknowledged what was actually happening. The military clearly didn’t buy into the true nature of the threat but they are finally starting to come around. In fact, after engaging with the strigoi for the past few days, the SEAL team has even theorized that if there’s an army full of pawns, there must also be a king.

So with Fet’s help, the SEAL team are hitting every major nest they can find around the city in hopes of tracking down the man they know as Bolivar or we know as The Master.

The Navy SEAL’s are highly trained and very effective but it’s killing Fet to not go down into the dank basements alongside the soldiers where he can lop off some strigoi stringers as well. Unfortunately, Fet is only a liaison and nothing more so he’s not allowed to team up with the SEAL’s, only offer advice from the outside looking in.

Meanwhile, Feraldo is fighting a constant battle to keep New York supplied and fighting while her troops are outnumbered by the hundreds on the street. She’s not receiving much, if any support from the Federal government and it appears that if New York will conquer the strigoi threat, they are going to have to do it themselves.

To make matters worse, the Navy SEAL team informs Fet that they are being given two more days to flush out the King Rat or they are leaving town to engage in another assignment. Time is running out and once the soldiers are gone, they aren’t coming back.

Waiting Is the Hardest Part


After creating a biological weapon to destroy the strigoi alongside his now dead partner Nora last season, Eph is part of Feraldo’s team as he continues to make the chemical compound she’s handing out to her troops to combat the enemy. When he’s not “making the donuts” as Eph describes, he’s hanging out in his old house every single night just waiting for either Kelly or his son Zack to finally come home again.

Feraldo tries to convince Eph that he’s too important to the cause to just hang out in quarantined zones by himself late at night, but he’s clearly convinced that this is the only way he’ll ever get his son back. Eph’s problems are also compounding at work because his latest batch of bio-weapon only had a 75-percent success rate, which means either something he’s doing is wrong or the strigoi are evolving and adapting to resist the chemical (my money is on the latter).

When he’s not hanging out at his old house or building a weapon to kill the strigoi, Eph is raiding pharmaceutical supply warehouses and trading drugs for food and liquor. Eph is also taking a high dose of Dextroamphetamine sulfate — which is a stimulate typically used to treat ADHD. In other words, he’s taking uppers to stay awake all night while waiting for his vampire bride and son.

And even with the stern warning from Feraldo about his importance to the ongoing battle, Eph is still traipsing through dark parking garages to fuel up his taxi cab and ending up in a full on fight with a group of strigoi that are lurking in the shadows just waiting on somebody to drain. Eph is putting his hand a little too close to the fire and while he still hasn’t gotten burned yet, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before he does.

The Hunger for Answers

CR: Michael Gibson/FX

CR: Michael Gibson/FX

Elsewhere in New York as we catch up with everybody as season 3 gets underway….

Setrakian has been locked up in a penthouse he’s sharing with Quinlan while reading and translating all of the passages from the Occido Lumen. The text is somewhat puzzling, but Setrakian is convinced that the answer to destroying the Master lies somewhere within those pages.

Meanwhile, Quinlan has a meeting with the Ancients, who are currently pissed off that Setrakian more or less double crossed them and stole the book they paid a ridiculous amount of money for in that impromptu auction from a season ago. Quinlan explains to the Ancients that for now, they’d be better off sitting back and watching the real soldiers go after the Master because while they certainly aren’t friends — everybody in that room is after the same enemy.

Upstairs at the penthouse, Fet encounters Quinlan and lets the half-breed day walker know exactly where he stands on his hierarchy of tolerance. Fet says no mater how much Quinlan claims to be helping, he’s still drinking human blood to survive and there’s still a stinger that will eventually be revealed and therefore he’s still just another strigoi waiting to be exterminated.

Fet even gets a little cocky and tells Quinlan that he’s closing in on the Master and bets him that he’ll find the ‘King Rat’ long before his son ever gets close. As it turns out, Fet is right on the money but for all the wrong reasons.

And finally, Gus is still keeping his mother chained up in their old apartment while feeding her blood that he’s donating as much as possible to keep her fed. Gus was never going to accept that his mother was actually dead and he’s doing everything he can to keep her around in case there’s some way to bring her back.

It’s a Trap


With time counting down until the Navy SEAL team is called away from New York, Fet is on a mission to track down the Master before they are gone. The latest hunt takes them into a huge nest that’s conglomerated below the city with thousands of strigoi all piling together in one landing spot.

When the team arrives in the underground subway tunnel, they encounter a couple of lookouts and a moment later a man in a suit just wanders across the tracks and up the stairs. Fet gets video from the team and realizes that the man in the suit is none other than Eichorst and he relays just how important this particular vampire will be to finding the Master.

The team gives chase and ends up in a church a few blocks away as Fet warns them to take extreme caution because where Eichorst travels, the Master isn’t far behind and he’s not going to be easy to kill.

Once the team gets inside, Fet realizes that communications have been cut off and he now knows that this entire set up was a trap. As the team goes deeper and deeper into the bowels of the church, a screeching sound sirens out to some of the soldiers, debilitating them until the Master arrives and tears through them like paper.

One by one, the Navy SEAL’s are eliminated and Fet decides that it’s time to take action so he goes inside trying to lend a hand, but it’s already too late. Finally realizing that survival is their only hope, Fet helps two remaining soldiers escape before coming face to face with Eichorst who smiles a devilish grin before fleeing into the night.

It’s clear the SEAL team was effectively eliminating the enemy but eventually they got too close and the King Rat struck back.

And back at Eph’s old house, he finally gets the visit he’s been so desperately waiting for all these nights.

Kelly appears along with her creepy feelers to give Eph an offer he may not be able to refuse. Before laying out the offer, Kelly explains to Eph that she’s still partially the same person he fell in love with and married all those years ago. When the Master’s voice isn’t inside her head, Kelly emerges but only for a brief moment because then the hunger takes over and she disappears again.

As curious as Eph is about his ex-wife turned strigoi, he’s got bigger problems right now.

Kelly lays out a deal for Eph so that he can get his son back. All he has to do is turn over the Occido Lumen to the Master and Zack will be returned to him unharmed and still very much alive. Eph is shocked that a book is so valuable to the Master that he would go to these lengths to retrieve it. Still this may be the only way Eph will ever see Zack alive again.

The Occido Lumen was the subject of so much of ‘The Strain’ for the last season, it appears that the book’s importance wasn’t oversold because there’s something hiding within those pages that frightens the Master so much that he’s willing to bargain with his enemy to finally get his hands on it.

Now it’s up to Eph to decide if he’s willing to give it to him.

‘The Strain’ returns for a brand new episode next Sunday night at 10pm ET on FX.

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