Warning: Spoilers ahead
For those who have been following me and my coverage of The Strain since before the S2 premiere, you’ll know that I started the season not a happy camper at all. Well, actually, I can honestly say that I was pretty f*cking mad. It’s no secret that my favorite character from season 1 was the hooded strigoi that we were told was the prominent character from the trilogy, Mr. Quinlan. So, when I had heard rumors that the Quinlan character was going to be “rebooted,” I was annoyed, but when I actually screened the first 3 episodes of the season and saw Quinlan revealed to be “Vaun” and then, rushed to a horrific death in Palmer’s penthouse UV pit, I wanted to tear the entire writing team’s heads off.
Shortly after, I did a Q&A with Executive Producer and Co-Creator Chuck Hogan on the reasons behind the Quinlan/Vaun switcheroo (you can check out that interview by clicking here), and while my blood pressure had gone down and my face was no longer blood-red, I still took a “wait and see” approach with regard to the new Q. I had been an ass-hair’s away from “breaking up” with the show altogether over this, and while it wasn’t impossible, it was going to take a lot to win me back over.
Fast forward 2 months. Not only is the new Quinlan — portrayed by the immensely talented Rupert Penry-Jones — my favorite character once again in the series, but it’s pretty clear to me now why the reboot was done (and if it’s not clear to **you**, just go back and re-watch episode 2.07 “The Born”). And, of course, I feel pretty stupid for all the hell-raising I did. It just goes to show you why it’s folks like Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan who are paid the big bucks to write for shows like The Strain instead of idiot journalists like me.
Fortunately, I was able to do a 2nd Q&A with Chuck Hogan this past week not only to let him know how stupid I was, but to get the deets on the new Quinlan, what’s to come in season 3, and of course, any teasers we can get on Sunday’s highly-anticipated season 2 finale. Check out what he had to say.
TV GEEK TALK: First, what an amazing season. I, as well as a good deal of the fans, started the season off a little peeved because of the Mr. Quinlan reboot (and Vaun’s death), and ironically, the new Q turned out to be one of the best parts. So, kudos and plaudits to you and all of the writers on that!
Chuck Hogan: “Mary, I would never, ever, ever say ‘I told you so.’ Well, almost never.”
TV GEEK TALK: Can you talk about how the new Mr. Quinlan was conceptualized? Who came up with the idea as well as the new look?
Chuck Hogan: “Anytime anything new and awesome and strikingly visual occurs in the show, you can pretty much guarantee that Guillermo [del Toro] personally oversaw it. Carlton Cuse, myself, and all the writers worked to make Quinlan a worthy addition to the show. I felt particularly lucky that episode 2.07, ‘The Born,’ fell to me to write.”
This entire season has been fantastic, but of all the episodes, I’m certain “The Born” will go down as one of the best. Opening with flashbacks of Quinlan as a gladiator in the Roman Empire and culminating with a Q vs. the feelers fight scene that leaves even Setrakian in awe, this episode made clear that this character was a force not be reckoned with.
TV GEEK TALK: One of the big things I love about the new Q is he seems much more “human” than the Quinlan 1.0/Vaun, not only in appearance but his total affect. Is that something that was intentional? How did you decide which aspects to put into the character?
Chuck Hogan: “Absolutely more human, more relate-able, more mysterious, and yet very much still a strigoi. Credit Rupert with a lot of that.”
TV GEEK TALK: That brings me to Rupert… Rupert Penry-Jones has done an amazing job, and I can’t imagine anyone more perfect for the role (ironically, I hadn’t even heard of him before “The Strain”). Was the new Quinlan created with actor Rupert Penry-Jones in mind, or did that casting come later? Also, has Rupert had any input into his character and the evolution of his character?
Chuck Hogan: “We have amazing casting professionals, both in Los Angeles and Toronto. They brought us Miguel Gomez (Gus), a virtual unknown at the time who has also become a fan favorite, and whose career is taking off. They helped us find Rupert, an established British actor who from the first moment, took control of the character and brought him to ‘half-life.'”
TV GEEK TALK: In the season 2 penultimate episode, we see Quinlan give the order to Gus to kill Setrakian if he refuses to hand over the Lumen. I haven’t screened the finale yet, and this question may be answered in that episode, but any hints of where that’s going? I have the hope that perhaps Quinlan, Gus, and Team Setrakian will all come together and work towards a common goal.
Chuck Hogan: “No spoilers here. Though I suppose it would be kind of cool if those guys teamed up. Wish we’d thought of that.”
Hmmmm…so, is that saying we **will** see the entire group come together as one team, or should we take the response at face value? Don’t even try because you’ll give yourself a migraine thinking about it, and so, I guess we’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out on Sunday!
TV GEEK TALK: While most of the fandom have embraced the new Quinlan and in fact, he has quickly become a fan-favorite, many viewers have complained about the character’s limited appearances this season (and in particular, Q’s total absence in episodes 2.09-2.11). Can we expect more screen time for Mr. Quinlan in season 3? Like his being in all 10 episodes? (hey, we can dream!)
Chuck Hogan: “I can guarantee that you will see much more Quinlan in season 3…. assuming he survives 2.13, that is.”
Arghhhh! Okay, I’m not going to comment on that last part just yet but instead later, as it ties into another question. So, stay tuned.
TV GEEK TALK: What about the Quinlan flashbacks? I think most of the fans loved the flashbacks of Quinlan’s days as a Roman gladiator. Will we be getting more of those in season 3? And, what about flashbacks that tell the story of what happened to Quinlan’s family? There’s been many hints about that backstory but so far, no flashbacks.
Chuck Hogan: “There is so much to come, I won’t spoil it except to say you have much to look forward to. Let me also commend you on your questions! It’s gratifying to know both that you and others are so deeply into the show, and that we (writers and producers) are absolutely on the right track for season 3.”
TV GEEK TALK: And, what about some WAAAAAYYYYYYY back flashbacks of Quinlan and the Master?
Chuck Hogan: “Hmmmm…”
Ha! Another cryptic answer, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say this one sounds like a “yes” or definitely a strong “maybe.”
TV GEEK TALK: The last question is just an open-ended one. What can you tell fans, not just about Quinlan but about the show in general, to get them super-excited for the finale as well as Season 3?
Chuck Hogan: “Only that I will be watching the finale with a very heavy heart.”
Oh crap. I’m sure reading that response just gave the entire fandom the same sinking feeling that it gave me. Yes, my Strainiacs, I think this is a pretty blatant hint that we’re going to have a big death in Sunday’s finale. And, now, for the big question — WHO?
So, let all the speculation begin. As of this writing, I have not yet screened the finale, and so, I honestly don’t know who’s going to take the final bow on Sunday. However, 2 characters immediately come to mind — with the first being Thomas Eichhorst. Man, how I love Richard Sammel and his portrayal of Eichhorst, and a big part of me hopes I’m completely, 100% wrong, but the clues are definitely there. The below promo hints of an Eichhorst/Quinlan stand-off, and ever since Q pegged Eichhorst as the Master’s “new lap dog,” I knew this time would come. And, of course, the big hint for me is the huge Eichhorst bottle episode “Dead End” from 2 weeks ago. Television series often pay tribute to characters they are about to kill off with episodes just like this, and after watching it, I immediately begin to wonder about Eichhorst’s fate.
Eichhorst is definitely my #1 pick, but a 2nd choice is….. drumroll….. Vasily Fet. Excuse me for a moment while I wipe all of the egg off my face! Yes, folks, with the exception of Quinlan, if there is one character on the show whose death would seriously break the Internet, it’s our favorite rat-catcher. So, with it being such a crazy idea, why would I think this? First, this promo photo. That is one messed-up scene, and I definitely can see Fet sacrificing himself to save Setrakian.
Second, in as much as I hate to even mention The Walking Dead comic super-villain, Negan, because it has become somewhat of a broken record on social media, the recent speculation that the character has finally been cast and set to appear in the season 6 finale of the zombie drama has led to rumors that Kevin Durand has nabbed the role. These rumors have been fueled even more with Kevin’s recent tweet “He is coming :-)” which he very quickly deleted. I personally don’t think it’ll happen and I would be beyond shocked if it did, but you have to admit that a death of that magnitude would send a jolt through the fandom that would be felt around the world.
Finally, as for Chuck’s passing comment about Quinlan possibly dying in the finale. Using yet another The Walking Dead reference, fans often say, “If Daryl dies, we riot,” referring to the show’s fan-favorite Daryl Dixon. Well, I can’t speak for the entire fandom of The Strain, but I do have a feeling that if Quinlan died this Sunday, there would be a very similar reaction. So, Chuck, if that idea ever crosses your mind, you might want to dust off that riot gear because the fans are coming for YOU — and, I’ll be right there on the front line of the mob.
The season 2 finale of The Strain airs this Sunday at 10/9c on FX.
“The Strain” Season 2 Finale Promo:
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
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