These Gays, They’re Trying To Kill ME! — Interview with the Vampire S2E5 Review

“Don’t Be Afraid, Just Start the Tape”

Eric Bogosian in Interview with the Vampire S2E5
Image Courtesy of AMC Network Entertainment LLC

The following review contains spoilers for Interview with the Vampire S2E5, “Don’t Be Afraid, Just Start the Tape” (written by Hannah Moscovitch & Jonathan Ceniceroz and directed by Craig Zisk)

Another day, another flashback.

Daniel (Eric Bogosian) remains at the head of the table between Louis (Jacob Anderson) and Armand (Assad Zaman). He sits in the seat of power as he circles the ever-shifting memory of Louis and Armand’s commanding need to hide any evidence of manipulation.

I haven’t read Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire or the rest of The Vampire Chronicles, so I’m not in on the canon war between Armand and Lestat. However, I have seen some fans on social media discuss that Armand is not what he seems and that Lestat is Louis’ endgame.

Thus far, I have found Armand charming. However, the intervention Daniel leads with Louis takes them both back through 1976, the fateful evening of the first Interview with the Vampire, and Armand takes on a whole different light.

Luke Brandon Field as Young Molloy - Interview with the Vampire _ Season 2, Episode 5 -
Photo Credit: Larry Horricks/AMC

In fact, I see every character in a different light after watching Interview with the Vampire Season 2, Episode 5, “Don’t Be Afraid, Just Start the Tape.” It wasn’t just the young Daniel Malloy (Luke Brandon Field) who had an addiction, but Louis as well. You can tell by how he behaves and the pleasure he takes from this meeting with Daniel. The chaotic energy he brings to the interview in 1976 and the potential implications as to why he wanted his story on record in the first place.

Luke Brandon Field has a brilliant presence and well-studied portrayal of a younger Eric Bogosian. There was also evidence that Field brought in some of Christian Slater’s flair from the 1994 adaptation of Interview with the Vampire, starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. It’s in the way that Field holds his body and his posture.

The single episode arc of Louis in S2E5 is well directed, sweeping back from past and present. Jacob Anderson speaks with arrogance at the beginning of the episode, but as the story progresses, that confidence slips from Louis. The character is confronted with the unreliability of his mind and the possibility that he is not infallible but manipulatable.

Jacob Anderson as Louis De Point Du Lac - Interview with the Vampire _ Season 2, Episode 5 -
Photo Credit: Larry Horricks/AMC

I would never have expected Louis to try to kill himself, and I would never have expected Armand to take away that memory. Their relationship is toxic and infected with the remnants of Lestat (Sam Reid) and Claudia (Delainey Hayes/Bailey Bass). The two take to drastic lengths to hurt themselves and one another. The reflection is not just of memory, immortality and grief but manic, desperate actions as a result of abuse, trauma and human emotions.

Would Armand leaving Louis to his death be a mercy, a willingness to accept the end of a torturous cycle? Was it selfish of Armand? Was it selfish of Louis? Did Daniel deserve his treatment? Those are the million-dollar questions, are they not? Or is it the sifting through the memories that is the lesson? Are some things better buried, or are we better off knowing?

After rewatching Interview with the Vampire Season 2 Episode 5, “Don’t Be Afraid, Just Start the Tape,” I still don’t know what to make of it. In the end, I still cringed watching this chaotic episode. Assad Zaman is cruel, calculating, and angry, a fascinating display of range with his switches from emotion to emotion, trying to collect his thoughts in reaction to the rejection and jealousy he feels.

Assad Zaman as Armand - Interview with the Vampire _ Season 2, Episode 5 -
Photo Credit: Larry Horricks/AMC

I praise the performances and understand the necessity of exploring the backstory of Daniel and Louis’s first meeting. However, I’m not entirely sure what to make of this episode’s overall impact on the rest of the series. We see the crueller side of Armand, but haven’t we already seen that? Is Armand’s false claim to empathy what tells us he is terrible for Louis? Armand’s hypocrisy when comparing himself to Lestat? I don’t know. I’m also no expert on dom/sub relationships, but it looks more and more like Louis and Armand’s relationship is based on the foundation of masochism. Then, there is the compulsion to lie constantly—to each other, to themselves.

And this one incident impacted the character Daniel’s entire life. A bystander in the war between two lovers feeling scorned by the other. What are we to make of it? After everything Daniel learns about those days he spent tied to a chair in San Francisco, he will inevitably choose to stay to see the interview through to the end.

I wonder how the dynamic between these three men will shift in the coming episodes. How can we be shown so much, and nothing changes? Well, wouldn’t that be a relatable reality check? How often have you seen someone’s true colours and decided to stay? We are all perpetrators of our own misery.

Written by Isobel Grieve

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