Sunday, October 2, 2022

REVIEW: 'Interview With the Vampire' - Lestat's Seduction of Louis Proves Inescapable in 'In Throes of Increasing Wonder'

AMC's Interview With the Vampire - Episode 1.01 "In Throes of Increasing Wonder"

Louis de Pointe du Lac meets the vampire Lestat, an his life unravels in otherworldly ways.

"In Throes of Increasing Wonder" was written by Rolin Jones and directed by Alan Taylor

Louis de Pointe du Lac and Daniel Molloy were sloppy the first time they sat down for an interview. That was nearly 50 years ago. They've gotten older and wiser. It's tempting to return to the premise because it still promises the biggest story yet to be uncovered. Daniel is more skilled and acclaimed. He's also more disillusioned by the world. Louis is wiser too. However, he's jaded by the isolation and lack of intimacy his stature actually brings. He wants this story to be told. He approaches the situation with a newfound perspective and willingness to engage. He doesn't have complete control. That's the sad reality of this whole affair. Daniel's first question is centered on how long Louis has been dead. He believes that's the natural starting point. He needs to know when Louis became a vampire. That's the transformational moment of his life that beats everything that came before it. It's not a simple answer though. Louis needs to detail the journey building up to it. He understands with complete clarity what his relationship with Lestat de Lioncourt once was. He didn't have that freedom in the summer of 1910. At that time, he was simply trying to do his best in a world that wanted to inflict as much suffering onto him as possible. He had responsibilities to uphold. He had to protect and provide for his family. His brother, Paul, shamed him for how he made his money. Louis found success in selling sex throughout one little corner of New Orleans. He had the ability to prosper. That was in sharp contrast to everywhere else in the country. People still look at his skin color and judge him. They value him less. They never view him as an equal and deserving of the same success. He's good enough to be recommended for jobs because he's trustworthy. And yet, he's not deserving of the same stature that others enjoy in society. He has the ability to walk through a couple of doors and be accepted in various rooms. People still have so much scorn and judgment for the audacity of him to walk through this space alongside them. It's not some defiant act on his part either. He's simply searching for a way to survive and thrive. He must embrace whatever is necessary to keep this life sustainable. He couldn't hope for more. And then, Lestat gripped him firmly. He became fully entrenched in his life. From Louis' perspective, it was all about being seen and celebrated. In reality, it was yet another white man wanting something and claiming it as his own no matter what. The attraction and seduction are very palpable and real. It's even something Daniel could understand. It's the same way he feels about this story despite his compromised health. He needed to get it right. He has the opportunity to do so now. Louis shares the tragedy of his story. It's a painful reflection of the era and the promise of freedom elsewhere.

Plenty of people find Lestat charming and engaging. So much of this story leans on the audience becoming entranced too. It never loses sight of just how toxic his relationship with Louis is. That is always at the forefront. It's also insanely easy to fall into the temptation. One moment Louis is proclaiming Lestat as the devil. And then, he is right back to being seduced by his words. Lestat knows how to command the room. He does so effortlessly. He walks around with that privilege. That's nothing new for him. Louis' life is intriguing. Lestat wants to know why Louis endures all this suffering. He doesn't exactly have a choice. Plus, he and his family find plenty of moments to be joyful. That's on full display during Grace's wedding. In that moment, Louis and Paul are no longer fighting. Instead, they've fallen back into their tap dancing routine. They put on a show to the amazement of everyone who has gathered. It's a joyous experience. It then ends in tragedy as the sun rises the following day. Peace only lasts for a moment. Horror then creeps back in. Paul fought his demons for a long time. People appreciated how he always spoke his mind no matter what. His family tried to protect him. He made life difficult. He was still loved. When he dies from suicide, no one wants to believe it. Louis experiences the moment firsthand. He's powerless to stop it. Paul lives in fear of the devil who has invaded his brother's life. He must correct it. He understands how his family can move on from all of this. He envisions a future without him. That's peaceful. It doesn't require him. Louis carries the blame because the two were always fighting. He had to have done something to provoke this reaction. Louis isn't believed. He's not allowed the time to grieve and reflect on how he failed his brother. Instead, Lestat's invasion of the mind returns. Lestat provided Louis with a safe space. They could explore their connection freely. It came at the expense of so many people. Lily died because she was ultimately expendable. She was lured in to make Louis feel more comfortable even though his attraction was never with her sexually. He wanted that perception and appreciated the conversation. With Lestat, the rest of the world faded away. Louis had to be consumed by him. He presented a world full of possibilities. Louis could embrace his true self. He was no longer the outcast destined to never belong in society. Louis could never risk that before. And then, Lestat displays his gruesome powers. Louis runs to the sanctity of the church. However, he must submit to Lestat's will. It's intoxicating too. The blood drains from one life and flows into another. It's poetic and heightened. It comes from a lifetime of thinking of the perfect way to describe the experience. It still produced a life where the last sunrise Louis experienced was on the day his brother died. That lingers despite the century that has passed. Louis yearned for a life of full and complete expression. Lestat offered that. No other choice was present. This had to occur and Louis had to be at peace with that. He was devoured and destroyed. His life transformed. That's just as important as everything that comes next through the transformation into vampirism.