If you’re like me, I’m very excited about tomorrow’s series finale of The Strain, but at the same time, I’m also quite sad. We don’t know what will happen to our dear Quinlan in tomorrow’s final installment of the series, but regardless of how it all plays out, it’s the end of the story which means it’ll be the last time we’ll see this wonderful character. For me, these past 4 years have been a wonderful experience, and when I first heard about this new FX series called The Strain back in 2013 and decided to cover it, I never thought it would become one of my favorite series of all time. What’s more, I certainly never thought that this mysterious half-breed strigoi by the name of Mr. Quinlan would move me so and ultimately become my favorite character of all of television.
And, I know I’m not alone here. Quinlan is definitely one-of-a-kind, and with his superior fighting skills, cunning intellect, elegant way of carrying himself, and just a perfect balance of humanity and savagery, it’s no surprise he has become a fan favorite and in my opinion, the one character fans will remember the most — and miss the most — once the series wraps tomorrow. A couple of weeks ago I called on fans of the series on social media to recount their favorite or most memorable Quinlan moments, and while there are literally dozens of fantastic Quinlan scenes, these are the ones that fans mentioned the most. Each one also includes a video, and so, with a single click, you can watch and relive these wonderful Quinlan moments.
10. Season 2, Episode 6, “Identity” — Quinlan Tells The Ancients Off
Aside from that brief scene of Quinlan landing at the airport in the season 2 episode “Quick and Painless,” this was our first official introduction to the character who would ultimately become legend in the world of The Strain. And, boy, what an introduction. While the Ancients are supposedly just as powerful as the Master, Quinlan holds nothing back and tells their old, wrinkled asses off like there’s no tomorrow. The scene is quite comical, but at the same time, it makes clear that Quinlan isn’t a force to be reckoned with and things are about to change dramatically in the hunt for the Master.
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9. Season 4, Episode 6, “Tainted Love” — Quinlan Plays Hide-And-Seek With Lydia
While Quinlan is the ultimate bad-ass and some of his most memorable scenes are those depicting that, ones that show the human side of him are equally as compelling. One of the best examples of that is the flashback scene of Quinlan learning to be a father to Lydia and playing hide-and-seek with her. Up until this point and as far as we know, Quinlan had virtually no other interactions with children in his 1900 years of existence. But, given the short time that he had been in Lydia’s life, this scene clearly demonstrates he’s quite the natural.
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8. Season 2, Episode 7, “The Born” — Quinlan As A Roman Gladiator
If you’re a fan of the trilogy, then you know Quinlan is over 2000 years old and was a Roman gladiator and soldier. But, if you’re not, then this very first Quinlan flashback of him as a gladiator in the Roman Empire provided a great introduction to this powerful being that had just joined the fight against the Master for humanity. The scene is also quite memorable for the level of special effects and choreography required to create a masterpiece of this caliber. I also suspect Rupert will never forget the scene either for the 6+ hours he had to endure in the make-up chair due to the full-body make-up that was required.
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7. Season 3, Episode 3, “First Born” — Ancharia Teaches Quinlan To Speak
In the season 3 episode “First Born,” we get some of the earliest Quinlan flashbacks with these taking place starting in 58 AD. By our estimation, Quinlan is around 18 or 19 years-old, and an older lady by the name of Ancharia finds him in a gypsy camp and part of some freak sideshow. She takes him away from that awful place and effectively becomes his adoptive mother. In the few years that Quinlan had been alive, all he had known is pain and suffering — constantly beaten and put on display for people’s amusement. Ancharia shows him kindness for the first time in his life, and as part of that, teaches him to speak. It’s a very touching scene and one that Quinlan fans will likely never forget.
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6. Season 2, Episode 13, “Night Train” — Quinlan Gives Big Pep Talk To Convicts
This is what I call a grand entrance. Gus introduces Quinlan to his convict friends in the season 2 finale, and even after he snaps one their necks in front of the entire group, he still walks away with all of them backing him and him smelling like roses. And, why? Because this dude has lived for over 2000 years, has fought in countless battles and knows how to pump up and inspire a group of soldiers before going on the battlefield. Quinlan gives many speeches over the course of the series, but this is definitely one of the greatest and most memorable.
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5. Season 4, Episode 5, “Belly Of The Beast” — Quinlan Gives That Famous Smile
On a good day, you’d be lucky to get a flat stare from Quinlan, and 99% of the time, he’s completely expressionless. However, if by some miracle you somehow manage to get a smile out of him, now that’s something for the history books.
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4. Season 4, Episode 5, “Belly Of The Beast” — Quinlan And Louisa’s Intimate Scene
Of all the numerous scenes that highlight the human side of Quinlan, this scene will likely be the one that fans will remember the most. Ever since Louisa met Quinlan on that fateful night in London in 1888, she had grown quite fond of him — actually, I would say she had fallen in love with him. And, because of that love, she gives Quinlan one of the most precious gifts I’m sure he has ever known. You know, one of the recurring themes with Quinlan since we met him for the first time back in season 2 is his perception of himself as a monster. “A monster from the beginning” he tells Eph last season, and he’s constantly hiding his face and lurking in the shadows. But, what if he didn’t have to do that anymore? What if he could walk among people, without everyone staring, without all the whispering, without all the double-takes? That’s one of the gifts Louisa gives to Quinlan, and it’s one of the most mesmerizing, most beautiful scenes in the entire series. The ending of the scene is also quite sensual, and that alone has made it one of the most talked-about Quinlan scenes among the fans.
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3. Season 4, Episode 5, “Belly Of The Beast” — Quinlan Vs. A Strigoi On Top A Moving Semi
Ever since Quinlan was introduced back in Season 2, there has always been 1 or 2 episodes per season with scenes that truly exemplify what a warrior Quinlan truly is. Some of these scenes from seasons 3 and 4 are further up this list, but this is definitely the one from season 4. What a hell of a fight scene. Quinlan vs. a strigoi on top of a semi going 60+ MPH. Only a kick-ass warrior like our Quinlan could pull something like that off and walk away completely unscathed.
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2. Season 2, Episode 7, “The Born” — Quinlan Meets The Professor And Fights The Feelers
While the scene of Quinlan in the Ancients’ lair may be our first official introduction to this fantastic character, this fight scene with the feelers that comes later in the same episode is the one that gave him the title King Bad-Ass. He slices and dices through these feelers like it’s nothing at all, and then, without skipping a beat, turns around and introduces himself to Setrakian. The ultimate warrior with a dash of elegance.
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1. Season 3, Episode 8, “White Light” — Quinlan Fight Scene In The Ancients’ Lair
“Holy shit.” This is what I said almost a year ago when I saw this scene for the first time, and it’s what I say every time I re-watch. What a phenomenal Quinlan action sequence. This scene never gets old, and I could watch it over and over again all day long. With its stunning choreography and the superb performance by actor Rupert Penry-Jones, the scene stands out from all the rest, and most fans count it as one of their favorites. It also turns out to be one of Rupert’s favorites as well, and in an interview I did with him last year right before season 3 ended, he said, “It was something that I had been looking forward to seeing. I was very nervous about doing it as I was aware that the potential was there for something really fun. I worked with the stunt guys for quite a few days getting everything right. It was like learning a dance or something. I had a couple of fake swords that I took home with me and would work on all the moves every day to make sure that I remembered everything. I didn’t want to be the guy who kept stopping all the stunt vamps mid-section and making them do it all again. Let’s face it, they were the ones who had the hard stuff with all the diving and falling over. We split the fight into three sections, each one had 10 stunt kills, so it was 30 kills in total. I loved every moment of it. The stunt team on the show is amazing and the reason that it worked so well was because of them. They are some of the best.”
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Tomorrow the series officially ends, and with that, will be the end for this character as well. However, it doesn’t have to be the end. You may ask how is that possible. Well, here’s why. First, continue to support the phenomenal Rupert Penry-Jones and his new projects. I’m being honest when I say I hadn’t heard of Rupert before The Strain, but boy, oh boy, I know who he is now. While the series has a fantastic team of writers who, through their skill, was able to create this wonderful character, honestly, a character is only as good as the actor who portrays him. Rupert was perfect for the role and has done an impeccable job, and had anyone else been cast, I’m certain we would have a very different Quinlan.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the one thing you can do to honor a character the most after a series ends is to keep the fandom alive. While I’m a reviewer of the show, I’m also a fan, and I’ve had the privilege of being a part of this marvelous fandom for the past 4 years. While production teams, writers, cast and crew are responsible for creating a show, what really makes it come to life — especially the characters — is the fandom. Bottom line — keep those fan social media accounts open, keep sharing your favorite Quinlan moments and photos, and with a little bit of luck, you may even recruit some new Quinlan fans even after the series ends. So, yes, everyone, tomorrow doesn’t have to be the end. I know it certainly won’t be for me.
The Strain series finale airs tomorrow night at 10/9c on FX.
Geeky computer and math nerd by day and TV fanatic by night. My beats are The Walking Dead, The Strain, Person of Interest, Z Nation, and anything that most people would call freaky. Editor-In-Chief and Lead Writer of TVGeekTalk.com