FX premiered The Strain this week, its terrifying new show from creator Guillermo del Toro, and one thing is certain: it is not for the faint of heart. The show follows Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), an epidemiologist who finds himself at the center of an outbreak — only this is no ordinary outbreak. When a plane full of dead passengers lands at New York's Kennedy International Airport, Ephraim fights to be on the case, assuming the cause of death must be some new strain of ebola or any other, you know, "normal" virus. Nope! It's a vampire virus and a variety that looks closer to the zombies of The Walking Dead than the sexy night walkers of The Vampire Diaries. The premiere sags in parts, but it definitely has its gruesome moments. Let's dive in!
- The dead plane. The opening sequence itself isn't too scary, but the aftermath is. There's a creature being shipped in the cargo hold of the plane, and the suspicious flight attendants are screwed from the get-go. Once the show cuts away, I assumed the plane would go down. Instead, it lands at the airport, with no life inside. All the people are still in their seats, they're just sort of dead. Why on earth anyone would fight over who gets to board the "dead plane" first is beyond me, but Ephraim and his partner Nora (Mía Maestro) go on and inspect the dead bodies, four of which turn out to be alive-ish. Gross.
- Abraham's pet heart that he keeps in a jar. Meet Abe (David Bradley): he's just your unfriendly neighborhood pawn shop owner who keeps a heart in a jar in his back bedroom. He feeds it blood from his finger, and little wormy tendrils come out and feast on it. It's disgusting, and I want to watch it over and over again.
- That head-smashing scene. Skipping ahead, that questionable cargo from the plane reappears in the form of a giant vampire-monster in a cloak. This thing is humongous, and when the air traffic boss stumbles upon it, he's doomed in a major way. The monster rears up and sucks his blood before dropping him and essentially curb-stomping his skull. Sorry you had to hear that, but that scene is probably just the beginning of a long season of gore.
- The passengers awaken and attack the coroner. Poor guy is just listening to Neil Diamond and doing his job when all of his subjects wake up and viciously attack him with their nonhuman mouths. I hate it and love it at the same time.
- The little French girl goes home. The families of dead passengers are pretty upset about not knowing what happened to their loved ones, and perhaps the angriest of them all is this French guy. We follow him home, where he's wishing with all of his heart that his little daughter isn't dead, and then she shows up. She's at the back door speaking in French about how she's cold. (Obviously . . . because she's dead.) Overwhelmed with relief, the man just accepts that she's OK and brings her into the home. Bad news bears, guys: she's not human anymore.
- Corey Stoll's hairpiece. I regret that this earns a place on the list, but I would be remiss not to mention it. Just be bald and beautiful, Corey.
What did you think? Are you looking forward to more of this action?