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Interview with the Vampire: What Can the Damned Really Say to the Damned

For a show with a premise based on a distortion of reality, this episode spends most of the hour playing into the idea that the story we’re being told is not actually what really happened.

Louis clearly has pieces of false memory shoved into his memory, big giant swaths of time where what he recalls differs from what actually happened. It’s an interesting idea, that the entirety of what we know as book readers is based on an unreliable narrator. That was hinted at in Rice’s own books, when further installments shifted from Louis to Lestat as the main protagonist and Lestat’s version of events differ considerably. There has been no talk of what comes next for this series after this season is finished. But given how dark and powerful things have been so far, I doubt it’ll end on a happy note.

I absolutely loved how Daniel was guiding the interview, disregarding Armand’s interjections because Armand isn’t supposed to be relevant. The dismissal of this ancient vampire feels like poking a bee's nest, calling the man serving them at dinner the 'Real Rashid.' What’s worse is that Armand is plotting against Daniel, planting seeds of distrust and control in Louis' mind. The whole dynamic is fascinating, because it is clear Armand is controlling the narrative to a degree, and it makes me wonder: Why?

Should Louis trust the writings of his daughter, when she is also an unreliable narrator? Are the memories that Louis holds dear so tainted by his own grief and outside influences such as Armand and Claudia’s writing? I’m starting to feel as though this is no longer a story being related as much as an investigation into some kind of century-long cover up of an unspeakable crime.

This episode took what was basically only a few pages in the original novel, and expanded upon them: Claudia’s long depressing search for other vampires, with Louis a willing participant only because he cannot leave her. It is the time before Louis and Claudia inevitably end up in Paris. What’s interesting is the time period. This is a Europe engulfed in World War II, and the show doesn’t hold back with the realities and brutality of war.

We spend the bulk of time in Romania where Louis speaks at length to an Englishman named Morgan who is in love with a Romanian waitress named Emilia. They play verbal chess because there isn’t a game in front of them to distract from direct conversation. It is a lovely little cat and mouse moment, and acts as a reflection of the same back and forth going on in the present between Daniel and Louis.

Spending this much time in a singular place we get to know these side characters a bit, and of course everything ends in tragedy when Emilia ends up being a victim of a local rabid vampire. While horrific and sad, it demonstrates the strange society that has cropped up post war, where the death of a woman is not argued against at the mere idea that she has been touched by evil. They kept cutting over to Louis and Claudia who had no intention of intervening, because they are the monsters lurking in the shadows.

Of course there is one final moment of utter and abject failure, as Claudia finally succeeds in finding another vampire. An older woman who is at the end, clearly ancient and miserable. For a flash of thought she sees a future with Louis and Claudia, who could quicken the life within her, only to let that fantasy die as she throws herself onto a fire. The message is clear: there is no past to find, and that cuts deeply into Claudia’s search for meaning.

Louis, meanwhile, is haunted frequently by the image of Lestat. This apparition taunts him and plays into Louis’s greatest fears, while also giving us more Sam Reid while the character is languishing in a garbage pile. Louis’ guilt over his role in Lestat’s ‘death’ is at the forefront, along with the truth that he held back and didn’t actually kill him, leaving Louis at odds with his daughter. The imagery is stark and brutal, with Lestat still sporting a gruesome slit across the neck, and at one point a bird emerges from the wound and flies away. His macabre presence colors every interaction Louis has with Claudia, and is a literal ghost standing between them.

One last major note about the episode. Between seasons Claudia was recast, and instead of glossing over that fact the show announces it in bold red lettering at the start of the episode; I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that. Bailey Bass left for mostly undisclosed reasons, and Delainey Hayles took over the role. Delainey looks somewhat like Bailey but she is somewhat smaller and younger looking. Delainey’s portrayal goes in roughly the same direction as Bailey's; however, Delainey is quicker both in movement and speech, her expressions are more intense and sullen. It has been just one episode, and I loved Bailey’s performance in season one, but Delainey seems to be more than up to the challenge.

This was an intense and dark first episode with complex layers of storytelling, acting and excellent production design. Four out of four tragic fates.

Samantha M. Quinn spends most of her time in front of a computer typing away at one thing or another; when she has free time, she enjoys pretty much anything science fiction or fantasy-related.


  1. I wondered if some of the Lestat "apparitions" were actually the real Lestat communicating telepathically. When he says that he is going to kill Louis but he'll wait until he's happy... or when he said it was the perfect betrayal... that felt like Lestat communicating across the ocean.

    1. Wasn't that a big part of season 1. Showing that Lestat, as their maker, could not communicate telepathically with Louis or Claudia. It was kind of a big thing. So why would he be able to now?

  2. I love "Real Rashad." I love that he's even a thing to begin with. I love Daniel threatening to break him. I love the expanded role that Armand has now too. He's definitely very, very controlling. Of everything. The business, access to the pages they hide, the windows that Armand can survive but Louis cannot... It doesn't feel healthy. At all.

    What a contrast, too, in the levels of physical affection with Louis/Armand versus Louis/Lestat. It made them holding hands and cuddling on the couch at the end stand out very much as a performance for Daniel's sake. Very interesting.

    Heather, I don't think that Lestat can actually be talking to Louis. He's his maker, so his mind is closed off. It does feel like it could be him, though. Just his physicality was great.

    The "You and Me" speech at the end was my favorite part my far. Hard stuff and soft stuff. Wow. I actually teared up when Louis told Claudia that if she was the only vampire, she would be enough. Only for us to cut and see Lestat sitting next to her. Makes you wonder who Louis was really directing that towards.

    I also really liked how they handled the recasting. Very theatrical. Although I actually thought that Delainey looked older. Something about the eyes. Bailey Bass had huge eyes (or at least they played them up) which gave her a younger vibe to me. Still, I liked her performance here. She's definitely a sharper, more sullen Claudia. I'll be curious to see how she develops now that they're in Paris.

  3. Heather, your comment included a spoiler from the book so I had to delete it -- so sorry.


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