Slayed The House, Fangs Out. Real Rashid, I’m Deceased: Interview with the Vampire S2E3 Review

“No Pain”

Louis and Armand on the street
Photo Credit: Larry Horricks/AMC

The following review contains spoilers for Interview with the Vampire S2E3, “No Pain” (written by Heather Bellson and directed by Levan Akin)

I know many find flashback episodes on par with “It Was All a Dream…” episodes with how much time they may take away from the current story. This strategy for storytelling halts the progress just enough to keep you on the edge of your seat for more while offering more profound insight into lore, backstory or character motivations.

I have a feeling we may be in for a couple of these-style episodes in Interview with the Vampire Season 2. But I don’t think that’s detrimental to the flow of the story. “No Pain,” Episode 3, is exquisitely done, especially as the flashback only interrupts the current narrative for about 20 minutes. We get a little more from the ever-evasive Armand (Assad Zaman) about his past, how he came to Paris, and the founding of Theatre des Vampires and then continue to follow Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) and Claudia (Delainey Hayes) in their journey.

How Armand’s monologue romantically frames Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid) is yet another revealing tell that we have not seen the end of Louis’s maker. The gentle fascination from Armand’s coven to Lestat’s life in Paris marks Lestat as an innovator, a rogue and an aspiration. This contradicts the manipulating devil from Season 1, yet I think that is the point. Lestat is meant to be seen as a mystical complex character in the middle of a great web of tales. There is no Vampire Chronicles without him; there is no Interview with the Vampire without him. Inevitably, he is the main character with a presence seen or unseen in every room. And Sam Reid carries that essence effortlessly throughout his every appearance.

It is remarkable how these three men—Reid, Anderson, and Zaman—have so much chemistry and tension between them. There is no moment where I do not believe them to be providence entwined.

Three men sit around a table
Photo Credit: Larry Horricks/AMC

It is refreshing to watch an American TV show like Interview with the Vampire be so unforgiving with its representation of culture—how much of the story is told in French, and how true that would be to reality with century-old beings living in Paris. Too often, English is used when other languages should be spoken for the sake of realism and historical accuracy. And before anyone comes for me, yes, I know that Interview with the Vampire is a fantasy; vampires are not real, and therefore, you might question the point of realism in such a magical environment. Yet, all visual media, regardless of genre, should be more willing to stay faithful to language in regions where the narratives occur.

However, I was surprised when an outside operative approached Daniel Malloy (Eric Bogosian) at the sushi restaurant. I did not suspect that Interview with the Vampire would involve that kind of realism where a society of Vampires would be tracked and monitored by a government. Yet, why not, when so much of the narrative is thought out with our logic and world in mind?

It’s fascinating how quickly Interview with the Vampire addresses one theme to the next to the next. We are brought to contemplate the use of cinema in live theatre, the complex nature of society following the occupation of Paris, the use of language on screen and suddenly, the vulnerability of mythical creatures in an age of data collection and constant surveillance—perhaps a allegory for the ultrarich in their exact position.

I am constantly stunned by the depths of the material in this show.

Two men in the street
Photo Credit: Larry Horricks/AMC

Real Rashid (Bally Gill) is eating Daniel up. We love to see it. Comedically, Interview with the Vampire is stretching its legs with dark humour. Every so often, we get the cute quirks, casual banter, and sly delivery from a character that draws a small laugh, refreshing us from the daunting story surrounding it.

Ben Daniels has always been creepy to me; his casting as Santiago is perfect. Daniels has somehow managed to offer some softness to Santiago’s mentorship of Claudia, yet he is still incredibly menacing. Santiago’s devilish mistrust of Louis unsettles the audience as we wait for the shoe to drop on Claudia and Louis’s complicity in Lestat’s supposed demise. Yet, we know that the story cannot be done yet. There are constant moments when Louis’s story could come to an end at the hands of Armand, Santiago and the Theatre des Vampires, but mercy prevails, and we are still waiting for that ultimate conflict.

My emotions were run amuck by this episode. It was so up and down. I was holding my breath in the final minutes of Interview with the Vampire Season 2 Episode 3, “No Pain.” So much happened, yet the story still sits on the same teetering cliff as each episode thus far has left me craving and astonished at the greater depths with each installment.

Written by Isobel Grieve

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