Sunday, October 9, 2022

REVIEW: 'Interview With the Vampire' - Louis Sees the Despair of Lestat's Rules in 'After the Phantoms of Your Former Self'

AMC's Interview With the Vampire - Episode 1.02 "After the Phantoms of Your Former Self"

Louis learns vampire rules from his companion Lestat, discovering differences between the pair.

"After the Phantoms of Your Former Self" was written by Jonathan Ceniceroz & Dave Harris and directed by Alan Taylor

Lestat has no idea what it means to be a Black queer man in the early 20th century. And yet, he is drawn to Louis as a magnetic presence that stands out at the time. Lestat fears loneliness. That's his greatest dissatisfaction as a vampire after hundreds of years. He hunted Louis like his many other victims. However, he didn't bring him back to his mansion to kill him. Instead, it was to seduce him into this life and develop a partnership of souls. Louis was absolutely entranced as well. He notes that so many times throughout the telling of this story. Lestat was so enigmatic as a figure that Louis couldn't say no to him. Louis says this is the final time he will note how irresistible Lestat was. That shows how he has already shaped so much of this story in his head before telling it to Molloy. He knows the contours of a life lived with endless possibilities. It's frustrating when Molloy's rational questions disrupt that rhythm. They are necessary to get to the truth of the matter. In 2022, people are far more aware and empathetic towards the intersectionality of life. And yet, Louis still sees a correlation between his coming out as gay with killing for the first time. It's a startling admission. One Molloy wants to understand properly. Those two identities shouldn't be conflated in order to showcase a more fully realized person. This is the path Louis has walked in all its complexity. He could be incredibly insightful in some areas and blissfully oblivious in others. He declares he hasn't killed anyone since 2000. However, he still employs people who worship him as a god. That was the superiority complex Lestat wanted him to understand all those years ago. Louis struggled detaching himself from his human connections. He couldn't walk away from his family or business. He had to remain a part of their lives. He had to provide for them. So many possibilities exist for him. The only downside is not going out in the direct sunlight. That's the one drawback of this transition. At first, his body has to quickly adapt to the creature he has now become. Upon doing so, he sees a world in all its majestic beauty. That is Lestat's perspective all the time. In hindsight, it's the same high an addict craves. That rush of excitement is exhilarating. Louis can hardly control himself. Lestat notes how careful they must be. They have to be precise with their kills to ensure they don't alert humans to their presence. Louis now wants the world to know about the existence of vampires. He needs it to be depicted in all of its despicable glory. This isn't a life anyone should take lightly. Louis has endured a great deal of loss. And yet, he still sits atop the world with people doing whatever he orders them to do. He may no longer be a killer but he exerts so much power over those willing to bend to his will.

Lestat's influence is felt throughout all of this. He too has his own vices when it comes to loving humanity. He saw music as a shared connection with Louis. They go to the opera to bask in that wonder all the time. They approached the performances with more perspective for the profound ideas the authors were trying to detail through their work. This art stands the test of time. It relies on people to properly convey that majesty. Lestat refuses to let anyone darken that masterpiece. His retribution against the tenor reveals the power and control he wields. He believes it's silly for Louis to always be taking about race and sexuality. Those concepts have no bearing in a world where they stand above the whims of humans. Louis is still very much a part of that world. He is judged for who he is. That scorn is present within his family as well as the community at large. He can't break free of these relationships because they have been conditioned into him as what he should always strive to maintain. And yet, he almost kills his nephew because he lacks control. He can no longer be of service to his family. He still prospers as a businessman. He opens a club he completely owns. No one can put him down with their prejudices. He is stronger and more capable than everyone else. Lestat is his equal. They have a partnership. That's a desirable ambition. It's still a toxic dynamic. Lestat refuses to believe that Louis was disrespected. He doesn't understand the relationship race plays into the social interactions of the world. It's still complicated throughout many interpersonal dynamics. Louis chooses to remain attached. He never feels forced to do anything. Lestat invites him in. He takes him up on the offer. The world is simply trapping him in a new way. His perspective has shifted. The conversation is still very much the same. It's playing out through different dynamics. An objective observer can see that and challenge the very notions of innocence and complicity. Louis wants to make Molloy feel comfortable throughout this entire process. And yet, Molloy shares intimate moments about his life through the scope of this conversation. The mirror is pointed back at him to reflect the choices he also made. He has arrived at this moment just like Louis. They are wiser than before. The control they hope to flex over the situation may still be nothing more than an illusion. Death reveals the beauty of life in Lestat's mind. Louis doesn't wish to harm humanity in that way. The draw between the species is forever linked. Vampires can't hide from one another. Their minds send out messages. Those can be heard and understood. The isolation remains transparently real. Louis has his own servants now. It's not an act simply to cover up what the relationships truly are. He lives in that truth while Molloy just has to sit back and observe it all as it happens.