In every generation a Shane is born. She alone will wield her posture, scowls, and not-give-a-fuckery to make lesbians across the globe watch television shows they would never normally view.
These words, written on the backside of the Declaration of Independence, have proved prophetic since the day the original Shane McCutcheon slept with more girls than Buffy slayed vampires. Alas, the Hellmouth at the center of the The L Word eventually swallowed the whole show, and it was replaced by its Scottish counterpart, Lip Service, which brought with it a new Shane by the name of Frankie Alan (Ruta Gedmintas). Right from the start Frankie was like, “Look, I’m gonna fuck a lot of girls while shooting sad faces at the only one I care about, I’m gonna do blow off every toilet in Glasgow, and I am not going to have a Scottish accent even though a major plot point is that I have lived in Scotland since childhood. You will accept these conditions without question.” And we were like “As long as you have that face while you do those things, we are cool.”
As you may remember, Frankie went back to the United States after [SPOILER] was run over by a [SPOILER]. But the prophecy of the Shane must be fulfilled, and so Ruta Gedmintas has returned to the screen once more as Dutch Velders, genius computer hacker of FX’s The Strain.
The very first time we meet Dutch, she is shot from behind, standing in the aisle of a convenience store. Most people would simply look like extras from such an angle, but since Ruta Gedmintas is 18 feet tall and has the posture of a morally ambiguous warrior princess, you know even then that this woman is Queer and Important.
We receive confirmation of both these assumptions when she flirt-fights with another lady about how she just tore down the entire internet because the bad guys paid her to. (It’s deeply convenient that the main good guys happen to be in the same convenience store, but it gets Franky to us, so whatever.) And really, Dutch is Franky. They’ve got the same wounded yet devil-may-care attitude, the same wardrobe, and the same propensity to fall for girls that leap headfirst into dangerous streets.
I’ve had a look at the next episode of The Strain, where Dutch confirms that she and the girl from episode eight are “more than roommates.” In fact, they seem to be exes who still live together and engage in occasional cuddling, angry sex, and theft of each other’s possessions. And we’ve all been in that relationship a time or two.
The rest of The Strain is pretty meh, to be honest. But it has improved drastically since the pilot, which I drunkenly live-tweeted last night. Here’s a sampler from one of my favorite moments.
The show concerns the proliferation of vampires, controlled by an ancient Master and an ex-Nazi. They are opposed by a brilliant but difficult scientist (he just wants to save his family!), his beautiful colleague (she just wants to sleep with the dude scientist!), Aberforth Dumbledore, Jayne Cobb, Samwise Gamgee, and Carl from The Walking Dead. (Also Inga Cadranel, who plays Detective Deangelis on Orphan Black is there, which is fantastic because she is the unsung hottie on that show.) The series is only just now starting to grow out of grossly overused archetypes and into actual characters, so this is a good time to pick it up. You can pretty much skip from episode one to episode eight. I did, and I don’t feel like I missed much.
One caveat for the faint of heart/stomach, though: As much as this show’s mythology and characters are recycled, they have come up with new and inventive ways to show dismembered bodies and vampires with syphilitic noses. Guillermo del Toro’s visual gifts are on display here, even when his light narrative touch is absent.
So, will you be tuning in for The Strain? (You will, because you cannot resist THE PROPHECY.)