Days after wrapping Season 2 of The Strain with one of the FX drama’s most unexpected deaths, showrunner Carlton Cuse and exec producer Chuck Hogan (who cowrote the horror novel source material with Guillermo del Toro) answered burning questions about Nora’s fate, Eph’s reaction, Eldritch Palmer’s (possible?) change of heart and more.
Here are the highlights from that press conference call.
IS NORA TRULY, SINCERELY DEAD? | Presented with TVLine reader Nicole’s rather brilliant theory that since Nora electrocuted herself using a silver blade, the strigoi worms inside her got fried, Cuse said, “Your reader is very imaginative, but sadly and unfortunately Nora is dead” — which is a significant departure from the novels on which the series is closely based. “[Killing Nora] was a very hard decision, because Mia Maestro is one of the most wonderful people you’ll meet and a very fine actress,” Cuse noted, “but on some level, the audience needs to be told narratively that no one is safe.” ABC’s Lost, which Cuse also shepherded, “killed popular characters… and it was extremely painful,” he reminded, “but it was necessary to make sure the show has a sense of danger and stakes.” What’s more, Nora’s death was “necessary to move Eph into the place he needs to be for Season 3.”
SO, HOW WILL LOSING NORA CHANGE EPH? | Hogan says that Eph’s research into an effective biopweapon against the strigoi will be an “ongoing” storyline, yet is just one of many ways the former CDC bigwig will come at the baddies. “Eph is really going to be looking to do anything he can A) for revenge and B) to find out what happened to his son,” Zack, who left with turned mom Kelly in the finale, Hogan says. “He’s going to be on a tear in Season 3.”
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WHAT IS NEXT FOR THAT LITTLE… ZACK? | As hinted above, Zack could very well serve as bait to draw Eph into a trap. But that’s only a small part of the petulant lad’s purpose. “If you read the books, his role is pretty interesting and significant. He has a fairly complicated relationship with The Master,” Cuse teases. “What exactly is going on there is one of the big dramatic questions, and we’re doing our own version of it in the series.”
WHERE DA WOMEN AT? | Nora’s death, coupled with Coco’s, swiftly depleted the series’ female ranks by 40 percent, as well as left Eph the only scientist among our heroes. Will there be new castings for Season 3 to address either void? “There will be some additions,” Cuse told TVLine, “but we also have a very large cast, and one of the things we struggled with in the second season was effectively servicing all of the characters.” On the female front, he pointed out, “We are very excited to do more, for instance, with the [Councilwoman] Justine Feraldo character played by Samantha Mathis. She’s going to be a big part of Season 3.”
WILL QUINLAN PLAY A LARGER ROLE? | The Born’s leader will also benefit from the finale’s reduction in headcount. “When he entered the narrative in I think it was the second book, it energized the storytelling,” Hogan said, “and on TV I feel like that has happened times 10…. We’ve had a lot of fun teasing out the mystery, but absolutely certain questions will be answered and he’ll be an integral part of the story going ahead.”
MIGHT ELDRITCH HAVE A CRISIS OF CONSCIENCE? | At least with the little bit of conscience he has, in the wake of Coco being killed as penalty for challenging The Master? “That’s an extremely good question,” the answer to which might be too spoilery, Cuse said. But Eldritch “certainly” will struggle with his cemented place in the bad guys’ pecking order. “The whole Coco storyline was meant to pivot the character a bit and force him to recognize the consequences of his actions on a very personal level — and that will have consequences in Season 3, for sure,” said Cuse. Added Hogan: “Don’t forget, he’s relying on The Master for ‘the white,’ so he’s stuck in a very interesting situation.”
ALL TOLD, HOW WILL SEASON 3 LOOK AND FEEL? | Given that Setrakian, Fet and the Occido Lumen are with Quinlan and his army on a slow boat to… wherever, while Eph appears to be shellshocked, don’t expect the same “heroes operating out of a main base” vibe in Season 3. “We definitely won’t see our gang living and working out of the same place, at least at the start of the season,” Hogan told TVLine. Because of that — and given Season 3’s shorter-by-design 10-episode run — “I do think the feel of the show is going to be different — not radically different, but we are going to be advancing the story faster,” Hogan shared. As Cuse noted, the abbreviated run “will add a lot of propulsion to the narrative.”