JUST KISS ALREADY!! — Interview with the Vampire S2E2 Review

“Do You Know What It Means To Be Loved by Death”

Louis and Claudia sit in a theater
Photo Credit: Larry Horricks/AMC

The following review contains spoilers for Interview with the Vampire S2E2, “Do You Know What It Means To Be Loved by Death” (written by Jonathan Ceniceroz & Shane Munson and directed by Levan Akin)

So the adventure of Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) and Armand (Assad Zaman) really begins. We finally get to see the meet cute of Louis and Armand. We finally get to see hope return to Claudia’s (Delainey Hayes) eyes. Interview with the Vampire has more energy in this episode.

I am gleeful. The little banter between Armand and Louis is adorable; we’re getting more chemistry from Anderson and Zaman. “Do You Know What It Means To Be Loved by Death” gives the audience humour. I had not expected the introduction of cruising, but it made for a great meeting ground for Armand and Louis to finally cross paths. Everything from the lighting, the music and the nature of Anderson and Zaman’s narration brings a romanticism to the story.

This episode also introduces the Theatre des Vampires, which is brilliantly camp! I haven’t read the books, so I cannot say whether or not Anne Rice is the genius behind the exaggerated cult energy of the performances, but I really appreciated the involvement of cinema; it was an innovative addition to the theatre and padded Armand’s character with creative intuition to his ancient exterior presence. Seeing more of Armand’s past, even framed through Louis’s eyes, gives the character a much more 3-dimensional presence.

A blond vampire on stage next to a man bleeding from the mouth
Photo Credit: Larry Horricks/AMC

As we, too, witnessed a Theatre des Vampires performance for the first time, I was enthralled by it all. The plays are so avant-garde that it makes me crave sitting in a box theatre. The final play caught me unprepared for the tonal shift. The idea that this clan of vampires plays with their food in front of an audience and then feeds on them is gauche yet very French and enchanting for a character like Claudia to watch. The boldness and pride of the clan’s vampire nature draw in Claudia from the get-go, but Louis prefers to distance himself from the troupe for the same reasons.

There was so much hope in the first few moments backstage, and then again, we get a tonal shift. Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid) being a founding member of the theatre was a small shock to me. It certainly ties the American story to the European story, making sure conflict ensues at every turn. The connection, however convenient, does not feel formulaic, but it certainly lands as the ball we’d been waiting to drop all episode.

Daniel Malloy’s (Eric Bogosian) reaction was hilarious; I loved the gag with the soap opera theme song. I found his being triggered by Paris a curiously timed glimpse into the character’s past, particularly how Louis and Armand feed on his emotions to get a rise out of the man constantly prodding them—Louis is especially vicious—yet again, we’re seeing the struggle for power between the three of them.

Between the present and the past, the power dynamic constantly shifts between Louis’ naivete on the streets of Paris and confidence in the dining room with Daniel, Armand’s floundering leadership style, versus his reserved nature in front of Daniel. Yet, the apparitions of Lestat also put his hat in the ring for power, which makes the story an intricate web of connection.

Louis and Armand sit beside each other in Interview with the Vampire S2E2
Photo Credit: Larry Horricks/AMC

Of course, Daniel’s prying into the consequences of Lestat’s presence in Louis and Armand’s relationship is a sore subject for the couple. I admire Anderson’s cold yet reserved anger when he delivers his monologue digging into Daniel’s memories. Bogosian profoundly grapples with an addict’s grief while masterfully botching his character’s charade at rebuttal.

This is yet another instance where I am fascinated by how quickly the narrative slips back into romanticism. Interview with the Vampire has a crafty way of flowing from one extreme emotion to the next. I almost feel overwhelmed by the switch. Nevertheless, I am too enticed by the link between Assad Zaman and Jacob Anderson to be disoriented. Their interactions in the first season were so different due to the narrative’s goal to hide Armand’s true nature, but now the actors are free to explore their chemistry and be playful and flirtatious.

This calming honeymoon phase contrasts with what we saw between Lestat and Louis last season. Sam Reid and Jacob Anderson have an entirely different dynamic, where there is no question about who has the upper hand. The balance between Armand and Louis is refreshing compared to Lestat’s overbearing dominance. As is Delainey Hayes’s child-like euphoria, having found what she was searching for across the “old country”: community. And as I am a cynic, I am well aware that the bombs will start dropping on this happiness Claudia could experience for another century or two. I am preparing myself for heartbreak and disappointment because how could we ever watch a show about gay vampires without something bursting our bubble?

Written by Isobel Grieve

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