AMC’s Interview with the Vampire Season 2 Finally Arrives!

S2E1, “What Can The Damned Really Say To The Damned”

Louis and Claudia look at each other while walking in a street in Interview with the Vampire S2E1
Photo Credit: Larry Horricks/AMC

The following review contains spoilers for Interview with the Vampire S2E1, “What Can The Damned Really Say To The Damned” (written by Hannah Moscovitch and directed by Craig Zisk)

As we know, AMC’s Interview with the Vampire takes many liberties with Anne Rice’s esteemed series The Vampire Chronicles, particularly with the time period and the different ethnicities given to certain characters. This leads us into another highly nuanced season of the TV series where Louis (Jacob Anderson) and Claudia (Delainey Hayes) trek across the “old country” during World War II rather than the 19th century.

The introduction of this adventure is stark, as is the transition from Season 1 Claudia actress, Bailey Bass, to Season 2 Claudia, Delainey Hayes. If you were to watch Interview with the Vampire’s Season 1 finale and slip directly into Season 2’s opening episode, you’d be hit with the daunting distance between two worlds. A roaring New Orleans to the decrepit mess of war in Romania.

Claudia looks on, with candles behind her, in Interview with the Vampire on AMC
Photo Credit: Larry Horricks/AMC

We are left wondering what hell Claudia and Louis endured on the cargo ship they took from America to Europe, just as Daniel Malloy (Eric Bogosian) is fuelled by frustration from the gaping holes in Louis’s retelling of events. Interestingly, Armand (Assad Zaman) is there as well, offering colourful remarks as he marks his territory around the Dubai penthouse and on Louis’s emotional memory.

The dynamic between these three characters—Armand, Daniel, and Louis—has grown into a reliable play about three men battling for dominance and power over each other. Each seeks to control the narrative.

As Louis, Jacob Anderson once again dominates the space with his emotional portrayal. Anderson’s range is impeccable; he can be so light and carefree and then turn into abysmal anger when triggered, and that kind of temperament lends itself well to the characterization of immortality in this story.

On the battlefield where Claudia and Louis hunt, Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid) appears as a figment of Louis’s imagination; their interaction, characterized by pain mixed with longing, is extremely compelling. This is the first instance this season where we see Sam Reid’s Lestat in all his complicated glory. His presence brings consequences to the forefront. Where is Lestat? What is he doing? How will he avenge himself? Is this apparition grief or a vampiric manipulation from across the ocean?

At long last, in their journey across a foreign continent, Louis and Claudia stumble across a small town under Russian occupation, whose residents fear what lurks in the dark forest, preying on stragglers after dark. This group of refugees’ superstitions are exactly what Claudia has been looking for, and hope blossoms in her soul. Despite her girlish face, Delainey Hayes brings a naturally haunted maturity to the role of Claudia. What Bailey Bass scratched the surface of, Hayes delivers, enfolding the agony of wisdom weighing on a body stunted for far too many decades. The two actresses bring something different to the role, and there are places where I miss Bass’s delivery, but Hayes offers that darkness with cool intention rather than crazed affliction, subtly revealing Claudia’s trauma.

Morgan Ward sits at a table
Photo Credit: Larry Horricks/AMC

In that hall where villagers gathered for their protection, I was surprised to see Gilded Age’s Blake Ritson play a British journalist trapped without aid to get home. Since I know him to be a star in the HBO historical drama, I was surprised at his singular episode appearance. However, I think his performance made its mark when push came to shove, and the beloved Romanian village leader, Amelia (Stephanie Hayes), died having been bitten by the monster lurking in the woods.

The makeup team at AMC outdid themselves on the sick fledgling lurking through the forest, preying on soldiers and villagers. I was truly horrified by the beast that fed in front of Claudia and Louis. And then again, with the faded appearance of the ancient Romanian vampiress, Daciana (Diana Gheorgian). From the tangling of her gray/white hair to the glassed look of her eyes.

I particularly enjoyed the touch of historical context and its effect on the vampires. The suffering and hopelessness of the war in the human population soured their blood, and the vampires could taste it and feel the desperation seep into their bones and spirits. I thought the conversation between Claudia, Louis and Daciana had hope, and then it ended so tragically. I was confused by the woman throwing herself into the fireplace, but then I thought about the sorrow of leaving one legacy behind to build another, the will to live that requires, and, after all her children dying, the misery was too much. I understand why this was necessary for Claudia and Louis’s story to move forward.

Claudia needed to witness the death of the ‘old country’ to understand the hope of the new world. This pain created space for Louis in Claudia’s heart again; she needed to lean on him again because she now could see how reliable his love was.

In that regard, “What Can The Damned Really Say To The Damned” is an impeccable transition piece between the tragedy in New Orleans to what is waiting in Paris for them. The closing of one dream and replacing it with another. The last few minutes of the episode are incredibly hopeful, even after what we witnessed in that Romanian mansion.

With the teasing of Armand joining the interview and the inevitable meet-cute we’re to witness next week, I am excited that another perspective is joining Louis’s. I also look forward to seeing what introduction we will get to the Theatre des Vampires. I am particularly excited for this show to get even more gay with Armand’s presence in the interview.

Written by Isobel Grieve

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