From the very beginning, The Strain’s hour-and-a-half-long second season kickoff party, “BK, NY,” was all about callbacks. After the standard digest of season one comes a flashback to a young pre-vampire hunter Abraham Setrakian, then a recasting of that crucial moment from the end of last season when Setrakian managed to hurt The Master with the sun. The Strain knows it’s got a dense plot and you’ve only got so much RAM.

First, that Guillermo del Toro-directed flashback: While sipping soup, little Setrakian learns about a man named Jusef Sardu from his grandmother. He’s a folk tale but more than that. This friendly man born with gigantism is, you guessed it, The Master. Well, kind of. He’s the body of The Master stolen by The Master via the time-honored tradition of worm vomiting. It is this figure that haunts his old town stealing children in the night. It’s all hilarious and gross and exactly what you want from The Strain. Well played Guillermo.

Now in the Red Hook district of Brooklyn, Setrakian and the gang have set up shop in Vasiliy Fet’s loft. They’re fortifying it against the inevitable attack that will presumably happen this season and doing a little table setting too.

The city has, we gather, been plunged into chaos or something like it. Last season ended with the vampires getting let loose in the city, but, by now — only a few weeks later — you’d expect more to have happened. This New York is not a wasteland so much as a ticking bomb. It’s bad out there, but it’s not quite The Walking Dead just yet. You can still ride the bus.

The Master’s body is more damaged than the city. Setrakian really hurt him, even though Setrakian thinks he failed. The Master orders Eichorst to find Bolivar, the Marilyn Manson-y fellow who endured his infection and actually become an undead rocker, and “the children.”

That last one. That’s not good.

Setrakian, meanwhile, has been taken by Vaun, the hooded leader of the undead hunters with the rifles (who have recruited Gus as their padawan and tool, as he’s not burdened by their limits). Vaun speaks for The Ancients. Both they and Setrakian want The Master, and the enemy of their enemy is their frenemy. Possessing knowledge of the Occio Lumen, an ancient book that could offer insight how to defeat The Master, the Ancients let Setrakian go on the condition that he tell them where he is. They cap off their meeting with some disturbing sacrifice of some random guy to the Ancients.

Eph and Martinez have expanded their territory to an old lab of theirs, opting to keep it there instead of hauling all that crap back to their loft. The show has now given us two permanent “home bases” for our heroes, who I desperately want to nickname the Scooby Gang. Can I? Do you Buffy fans give me permission?

Also expanding territory: Eldritch Palmer. He secures a new property. Two actually: a “whatever-you-wanna-do” warehouse space, and Coco Marchand, a young, pretty, overachieving French-American woman who dazzles Eldritch professionally and feels totally objectified. She’s charming; he’s charming; they charm each other. If The Strain really goes down that route, the age difference will be disturbing. But, hey, he’s the bad guy so he’s gonna do some bad guy stuff.

In the closing act of the episode, Eph and Martinez work together in a lab to device a means of developing a vaccine, some sort of medicine to render the vampires essentially powerless. This seems like a good idea and turns out to be a rather timely breakthrough.

Then the Scooby Gang joins Setrakian in a maze of a storage facility where the hope to locate weapons. Instead, they locate a middle-aged couple hiding in their storage space and get attacked by vampires. Infections all around.and before Vaisiliy (I haven’t mentioned him yet, but everyone’s favorite Ukranian rat exterminator is back, he just wasn’t given much to do) can shoot them, Eph’s lightbulb goes off in his head. That lab he and Martinez have secured is going to be mighty useful.

and before Vaisiliy (I haven’t mentioned him yet, but everyone’s favorite Ukranian rat exterminator is back, he just wasn’t given much to do) can shoot them, Eph’s lightbulb goes off in his head. That lab he and Martinez have secured is going to be mighty useful.

And that’s that. There is clearly plenty of plot to go around for the rest of the season and that’s good news for both fans and our protagonists, who might survive a bite, but won’t survive a ratings drop.