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Interview with the Vampire: No Pain

"It was better when he broke my bones."

I officially have no idea what is coming next, while at the same time I’m dreading what’s coming next, and I know that makes no sense.

This series is such a strange and unpredictable beast. The plot keeps jumping from straight canon to massive alterations that serve both the original book’s story structure while also giving us a bunch of new and very interesting content. All the while we gain greater and greater information about the characters, and while some are leaning more sympathetic, there is one character that keeps getting painted as the villain of this particular story: Lestat.

The first twenty minutes of this episode departs from the norm and shows us a chapter from Book Two of the Vampire Chronicles... except it doesn’t. While Armand’s story is very close to a direct canon adaptation to events depicted in the second novel, they very obviously slanted it to make us sympathetic to Armand’s side of the story.

Armand was sent to Paris to rule over a coven that hated their own existence. He spent 250 years in essentially solitude and misery, and then Lestat arrives and changes everything. So what did Lestat actually do? He is going about his life, spending his time acting and conversing with his lover Nicolas and staying out of everyone’s way. Then Armand shows up and throws him around like a rag doll and kidnaps his love. Does Lestat go into their lair with blades and violence? No, he goes in with a cross and with a few words destroys the coven from within. It is so contrary to the portrait of cruelty and violence we have for Lestat that I wonder what we’re missing from the story.

What is even more contrary is that Armand lets Lestat speak and ‘corrupt’ his coven. In short order they all go out and quickly kill themselves. It is so perverse and in character for Lestat, but his visit to Armand’s coven wasn’t about destruction, it was an attempt to save his lover. Which he does with very little fanfare, although it does appear to require him to turn Nicholas.

Okay, that is kind of mixed. What’s his next crime?

He broke Armand’s heart. Which both Daniel and Louis call out is because Lestat is a raging narcissist and cares only for himself. Except, think about what Lestat actually leaves Armand? Purpose, a new coven and a way to live in the world. I’d say that’s a healthy trade, even if Lestat did play on Armand’s feelings to learn about the dark gift. It feels suspicious, like we are seeing a very narrow version of events, that I might add, is told from Armand’s point of view, as an admittedly jilted lover.

The concept of fragility is also brought up more than once in this episode, whether a vampire has the ability to survive immortality. Armand brings this up about Nicolas and Claudia, but I think it is simply him remarking on the mirror they represent. Armand seems dangerously insecure and needy, fixated on things because he is bored with his place in the world. Yet when he stands next to Lestat for even a few minutes it is utterly obvious that he is inferior to him in temperament and intelligence. What is interesting to me is that Armand doesn’t mention Louis’ fragility. Or is that because Louis is not fragile, but has a reserve of strength that Armand is afraid of unleashing. Is Louis more like Lestat than he realizes?

I’m worried about Daniel. His health seems to be rapidly deteriorating, and the interview seems to be getting away from him. Raglan’s reveal at the beginning of the episode opens up some doors for Daniel in his investigation, and I wonder how much that data drop will come into play later on in the story. I loved how Raglan kept messaging Daniel to see if he needed help, it was kind of hilarious. Was Raglan right? Is the game Daniel is playing going to end with his death? Or maybe undeath?

All right, moving on to the ‘present’ Paris stuff with Louis and Claudia, it appears the other shoe has finally dropped and the coven is now demanding that Louis be destroyed. Except Armand doesn’t seem able to go through with it, showing us again that Armand is not as strong as he pretends to be. All the while Claudia has become a ‘puce’ which is generally defined as the color of frustration on a person’s face. She is verbally abused and made to do menial tasks, but takes the abuse easily and is finally brought into the coven. This is when we finally hear The Five Laws:

Law One: Each coven must have its leader, and only he may order the working of Dark Trick upon a mortal.

Law Two: The Dark Gifts must never be given to the crippled, the maimed or to children.

Law Three: No vampire must commit to writing the history of the vampires.

Law Four: No vampire shall ever reveal his or her true nature to a mortal and let the mortal live.

Law Five: No vampire may ever destroy another vampire, except that the coven master has the power of life and death over all his flock.

While there was a show about Santiago reading out the laws, there is something about that simple act that feels like Armand is passing over his power to Santiago. It is another great example of the kind of complex character building that makes this world work. Santiago is the consummate actor, whose entire persona is a front for what is clearly some deep underlying pain. His maker is ‘dead’ and buried in the basement of the theater. He doesn’t seem exactly upset, but there was a moment of hesitation when he explained what happened to his maker to Claudia.

I feel like I’ve been holding my breath all season waiting for the axe of vampire ‘justice’ to drop on Louis and Claudia's neck. Perhaps I should include Daniel in that thought too, because he is in just as much danger as Louis and Claudia. So when will the tension be released?


This is the second time the Bacon triptych has been mentioned; they even showed Louis and Armand discussing it. Also the buyer sounded an awful lot like Santiago. Is he still around?

So long time Rice book readers might have jumped out of their seats when Raglan James was introduced. His presence is kind of strange, since he isn’t important for a while in the Vampire Chronicles. His organization may be the mysterious Talamasca, but we’ll see.

This the second time the ‘great conversion’ has been mentioned. This time with actual numbers, which show that the vampire population has nearly doubled in a year. What could be happening to cause this sharp increase in numbers? Shouldn’t this be forbidden according to the rules of vampirism?

Claudia going into her time with Bruce was devistating, you could visibly see the pain on Louis' face. Delainey Hayles is hitting it out of the park as Claudia this season.


Rashid: “They are peaceful beings.”
Daniel: “They drain and disappear us.”
Rashid: “They have a biological imperative that is in conflict with human morality. But what is that morality other than rules agreed upon?”

Armand: “I'm evil, evil as any vampire who ever lived. I've killed over and over and I will do it again. Why does that make you as evil as any vampire? Aren't there gradations to evil? Is evil a great perilous gulf one falls into with the first sin?”
Louis: “I mean, kinda. It's not as logical as you're saying, but it's dark and it's empty, and I can't see the bottom of it.”
Armand: “But if evil is without gradation and it does exist, this state of evil then, only one sin is needed. That's your argument.”
Jean-Paul Sartre: “Evil is the product of the ability of humans to make abstract what is concrete.”
(I did not catch this was freaking Sartre, holy merde. The actor even looks like him).

I feel like I'm nothing but effusive about this show, but let me say a word of negativity in closing: perhaps this is not Interview with the Vampire. At this point the show has diverged so far from the source material that it feels almost original, like a very well written fan fiction.

3.5 out of 4 Conversations About Human Morality

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.

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