'Interview with the Vampire' recap: Le bon temps are not roulant

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Interview with the Vampire

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The bloom is off the rose for our two lovers, and like most things involving vampires, it ends in blood.

Louis’ (Jacob Anderson) guilt over his new diet is settling in, and he wonders aloud if he and Lestat (Sam Reid) should be more selective about what they eat. If not animals, then maybe just bad humans.

As they stroll, Louis identifies a likely one based on the man’s criminal thoughts. Lestat wastes no time in breaking the guy’s neck and offering him up for his sulky boyfriend, but in the end, Louis chooses a cat. Upsetting! I’m team eat the bad guy, leave the cat alone. It was chubby and clearly somebody’s pet!

“I fear for the feline population of New Orleans,” Lestat sniffs when Louis announces his plans for a human-free diet. 

Although he’s frustrated that Louis’ denying his killer nature, Lestat nevertheless heckles the Azalea’s piano player, taking the man’s place to play a killer ragtime riff on Bach’s “Minuet in G.” Turns out, Lestat’s a bit of a virtuoso.

Afterward, he tells Louis that it kept the piano player from leaving for a gig in Chicago, and in fact, Lestat inspired the man to write “Wolverine Blues.”

Daniel (Eric Bogosian) pipes up in the present, skeptical that Lestat inspired Jelly Roll Morton and overall is coming off as less of a villain in this retelling. As proof, he plays clips from their 1973 interview, in which Louis insults Lestat up and down. 

“The version we speak of now is the more nuanced portrait,” Louis says. But Daniel suggests he’s celebrating the abuser in their toxic gothic romance.

Interview with the Vampire

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Jacob Anderson as Louis De Point Du Lac and Sam Reid as Lestat De Lioncourt

| Credit: Alfonso Bresciani/AMC

Louis insists he’s not a victim, and in turn reads from Daniel’s memoir to prove the pitfalls of memory and recollection. When he asks Daniel to allow him his odyssey, Daniel tosses the tapes in the trash, and Louis sets them on fire with his mind. Neat trick!

In 1917, Lestat’s killing when Louis isn’t around, and Louis’ taking deliveries of rats to eat. It leaves him weak, his libido so low that he barely objects when Lestat takes club singer Antoinette Brown (Maura Grace Athari) to bed.

Afterward, he finds Lestat burning the body of a dentist in town for a convention — Antoinette survived thanks to her talent — and Louis asks, “Aren’t I enough?”

This amuses Lestat, who reminds Louis that they’ll be together for eternity, and he likes a little variety from time to time. When Louis asks if he can have the same freedom, Lestat answers, “Of course, of course, of course,” in an increasingly squeaky voice, clearly filled with immediate regret about the whole conversation. Oh, you hot French dummy.

During this time, New Orleans is the last stop for soldiers headed to France for WWI, but the town leaders try to cut the legs out from under Louis’ business by signing an ordinance requiring prostitutes of color to move across Canal Street.

Louis is insulted, but he’s also a savvy businessman, so he gives 5 percent of his profits to his girls, making them all owners and invoking the Constitution’s equal protection clause. I… have never fully understood the equal protection clause, but you know who does? Bricktop Williams (Dana Gourrier) in her expensive new dress. Yes, your majesty!

Over a hand of cards at the Azalea, a few of the friendly aldermen warn Louis that Woodrow Wilson’s putting pressure on the skin trade, and the city council’s inclined to bring the hammer down with another ordinance. Or is the real problem that Louis refused to go into business with Alderman Fenwick (John DiMaggio)? It’s both, maybe.

That’s when Louis’ old friend Jonah (Thomas Antony Olajide) shows up, in uniform and close to shipping out. The two men clearly share a history, and they go for a drive to the swamp, where Louis explains his open relationship: “He’s a lot. It’s not perfect. But we kind of have this agreement.” 

As Jonah kisses his way down Louis’ body, he bites into his own wrist to keep from killing him.

Back at home, things are downright frosty. Louis asks about Antoinette, Lestat says it’s over, and they make awkward plans for a date night after Louis attends a Du Lac family gathering the next day, which goes… badly. His mother tells him he’s not welcome, muttering that the devil walks at night. When Louis’ brother-in-law tries to keep him out of the house, he kicks the door in. His vampire strength makes it a huge overreaction, and it terrifies Grace (Kalyne Coleman) and the twins. 

Having revealed part of his true self to his family, he runs home and finds Lestat playing the piano for a houseful of drunken military men because the new city ordinance lead to the closure and electricity cut-off at the Azalea.

As if that’s not enough, Lestat smirks that he’s figured out Louis’ type, suggesting he can screw the soldiers, then eat them. (LOL, Lestat would never say “screw” — we’re keeping it clean for the readership here.)

When Louis gets upset, Lestat mind-compels their guests to leave. “What can I say? I’m a lot. Not perfect,” he snips.

Yep, he was watching in the swamp, he’s jealous, and he’s also upset that Louis drained a dog and two rats afterward. “This is not a life!” he shouts.

Interview with the Vampire

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Jacob Anderson as Louis De Point Du Lac

| Credit: Alfonso Bresciani/AMC

“That’s because you took my life!” Louis shouts back. And now he’s about to lose the last thing he cares about: the Azalea. Fenwick offers to buy the property back at 15 cents on the dollar, and with his mother’s words still ringing in his ears, Louis is overwhelmed — particularly because he’s been neglecting his hunger.

He puts a “no whites allowed” sign on the Azalea, and it invites increased harassment from law enforcement and the town elders.

“Take a Black man in America, make him a vampire, f— with that vampire, see what comes of it,” Daniel muses. And see? This is an adaptation. Take a beloved older property, keep the core of what makes it special, and inject it with the concerns and conversations of the present day. It takes on new meaning and, if done as thoughtfully as this series is so far, it elevates the themes already present in the material.

So yeah, that Black American vampire sneaks into Fenwick’s home that night and waits with frightening calm as Fenwick calls him arrogant and tiny, and mentions his sodomite townhouse.

We’re all okay with Louis murdering this man, right? Cats, no. Smug racists, yes. 

Louis doesn’t even flinch when Fenwick pulls out a gun and shoots him, even offering to let him reload. Then he attacks, screaming that he might just be arrogant. But he’s also a vampire.

He leaves Fenwick’s body hanging on the gates outside of St. Louis Cathedral, his intestines spilling over a “White Only” sign.

Of course, the city retaliates, burning the Azalea to the ground. Lestat, meanwhile, remarks that while it goes against his teachings, he’s pleased that his mentee killed with such aplomb. He’s thrilled Louis’ finally given in to the pleasure of his dark gift, but Louis says it’s actually proof that the two of them will never work. “That’s why you’re always gonna be alone,” he says. Lestat saw this all coming and didn’t try to stop it.

Louis leaves and staggers through the streets, where fires rage and people run and fight and scream. Then he hears a cry for help from a fiery rooming house. And he can’t save the Azalea or Storyville, but he can save her: “My light. My Claudia. My redemption.”

Blood droplets

  • “Ken Burns can choke on the footnotes.” Just imagine ol’ KB getting ahold of these interview tapes. The slow pans across sepia-colored photographs we’d enjoy! 
  • Louis mentions meeting Jonah years in the future, with him reacting the way his past acquaintances all do. I bet Louis can’t chalk that one up to the moonlight.
  • My kingdom for a full scene of Lestat reading New Orleans trivia out loud to a clearly unimpressed Louis.
  • “What do you imagine confines us to a single note? Why not a chord? Why not a cluster?” My, but Lestat has a way with words. The murder’s not great, but the talking is divine.
  • Next week: Claudiaaaaaaaa!

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