The Strain, FX Networks
I don’t know if it was because I was in a post-Guardians of the Galaxy glow and had finally seen it after two years of waiting or if I needed a new summer TV show to hang my hat on, but I fell hard for The Strain and in turn, Corey Stoll.
I wasn’t even sure if I was going to watch The Strain. The one sheet ads were gross and I knew I couldn’t handle parasitic eye worms for long periods of time. I also saw from the on-TV description that the hero I was supposed to put my faith in was named Dr. Ephraim Goodweather. That’s a hell of a name and not one I thought would be connected to a good series (I also thought the same about Buffy and I was obviously beyond wrong). The reviews came in and they were positive, so I DVRed it.
I didn’t know Corey Stoll from a hole in the wall but had a vague memory of him in Non-Stop, that Liam Neeson movie I also couldn’t really remember. But as any Corey Stoll fan knows, the man has a way catching your eye awfully fast. Eph, as he’s called repeatedly, without any concern for how often people actually say each other’s names in life, works for the CDC and believes in locating, quarantining, studying and curing viruses. He’s saddled with pesky ethics and morals that prevent him from freely killing those infected, which is the only way to stop and contain the growing problem. If you want a pure how-do-we-kill-it mentality, Fet, played by Kevin Durand, is your man. And mine. I’m torn. It happens.
My friend, Jenn, had already been undone by Corey pre-Strain and recommended House of Cards to me. I’d put it off because with the full season episode dump at Netflix, if you don’t watch it immediately, you’re quickly left behind. Thanks to Corey, I gave in and shotgunned season one in a few days.
I took this with my phone, clearly. The image belongs to House of Cards and Netflix and not me. Arms for days.
Several things happen when you do this. First, any casual Corey problem you have is escalated into a full-blown crush. If this didn’t happen to you, you are far stronger than I am. Second, with every passing second of House of Cards, Corey’s Strain wig becomes more and more ridiculous. You soon find you have trouble believing Eph is, in fact, Corey Stoll, for Corey is beautiful and bald and Eph wears a hair hat that is pretty impressive for a wig but just isn’t him.
The other thing that happens is that Peter Russo becomes the thread that pulls on your heart. You hope for the best for him, his sobriety, his political career and personal life. He struggles and is emotionally tortured in a way that is devastating to watch, especially with those big eyes of his. Frank Underwood is House of Cards, sure, but he’s not a good person. As Russo says in an email to one of his very angry constituents, he’s a good person, or he’s trying to be. Russo tries so hard and broke my heart several times in the process. He also made it so I’m hopelessly contaminated as far as Corey Stoll goes. I couldn’t undo this problem even if I wanted to.
I didn’t expect this to happen, especially not in the week before the final season of Sons of Anarchy but sometimes television throws a nice surprise your way. The Strain airs on FX, Sunday nights at 10pm EST. House of Cards is available on Netflix streaming and on DVD. For more Corey, check out This is Where I Leave You, also starring Tina Fey and Jason Bateman, in theaters September 19th.