Sunday, May 19, 2024

REVIEW: 'Interview With the Vampire' - Louis and Claudia Find a Coven in 'Do You Know What It Means to Be Loved by Death'

AMC's Interview With the Vampire - Episode 2.02 "Do You Know What It Means to Be Loved by Death"

Armand joins the interview. He and Louis tell Molloy how they met.

"Do You Know What It Means to Be Loved by Death" was written by Jonathan Ceniceroz & Shane Munson and directed by Levan Akin

Louis and Armand have been together for over seventy years. That's longer than the three decades Louis spent with Lestat. They remain in love in the present day. They finish each other's sentences. They present as a united front to regain control of the interview from Molloy. Louis has such conflicted and tortured emotional connections to the story. He wants all of it to be told. It must be preserved for history. He was also being forced to confront the ugly reality of what his past was. It's not the romanticized notion he built up in his head. He has chosen to forget the pain of some moments. Memories have faded away. Reckoning with that darkness is overwhelming. Armand doesn't have the same combative relationship with the past. He joins the interview to guide Molloy onto the path they want him to explore. Their story must be taken seriously. It can't become a joke. It should serve as a cautionary tale of what this life as the dominant species has been. They've lurked in the shadows for a long time. Yet plenty of people have been complicit in that darkness along the way.

When Louis and Claudia arrive in Paris, they don't know a coven of vampires was just a few blocks away. Louis had no interest in exploring the theater despite it being known as the Théâtre des Vampires. The art form served as a reminder of Lestat. Louis wants to move on with his life. However, he has no true ambition. He's not driven towards a goal. He only exists through his relationship with Claudia. She is his sister. They have survived many tragedies together. They also have wildly different reactions and expectations to being a vampire. Claudia yearns for a sense of community. Louis remains confused. He doesn't behave like others in the pact. He's tentative about embracing their animalistic instincts. The stories told at the theater are weird. The only thing that matters is the final performance where a human is actually killed. That's the peak of drama. The intensity builds until that inevitable conclusion erupts. All the vampires feed. The rest is purely performative. It's toying with humans who are so small-minded they couldn't fathom the reality of the situation.

Of course, all roads still lead back to Lestat. He apparently was a founding member of the Théâtre des Vampires. Claudia spots his portrait hanging backstage. That's completely ridiculous to Molloy. It's a telenovela twist. One that showcases how the story of these vampires truly isn't any different from the life of humanity. Vampires assert themselves as the superior species. They hunt humans because they are weak and vulnerable. They make for excellent prey. They provide life to vampires. Their sacrifice is noble. The vampires have conquered death. Now, they get to play with those yet to see what it means to expand their worldview. Yet Molloy views the vampires similarly to humans. They are just trying to fill their lives with meaning. Claudia wants community. Louis needs purpose. Every twist they detail is absurd. Armand insists the world of vampires is insular. Everyone has met everyone. They have probably had sex at some point as well. It's freedom from life's restrictions. Some choices still matter more than others. It's all a portrait of what this life means for those who walk it. Molloy can connect to that story. Sure, he mocks its simplicity. It still makes for a compelling chapter.

Louis and Armand want to detail their initial attraction to one another. Louis and Claudia didn't know they had to make contact with the local coven in order to honor their ways. Instead, their presence in Paris only created problems. They had to be cautious and protected with their kills. Any actions they took though could lead to the discovery of all vampires. That wouldn't be good for any of them. Five months passed with no contact. Then, Armand made his move. Fear radiated. Louis didn't know how this vampire would react. Armand invites the siblings into his world. Armand isn't one of the onstage performers. He doesn't operate one of the technical aspects behind the scenes either. His business card refers to him as the creative director. He watches from the balcony. Louis looks to him for understanding of this world. Claudia is mesmerized by the performances. She praises the actors. She adores how they lure the audience into acceptance despite the worries at the top of the show. Every night she returns eager to see more. Meanwhile, Louis falls asleep. He isn't captivated. He isn't drawn to the coven. He has a connection with Armand. That spark ignites despite how separate it is from the rest of the coven.

Louis still lets his thoughts slip out as well. He isn't as skilled as Claudia is in blocking that intrusion. When he thinks about Lestat, Armand knows the truth about their maker is much more complicated. He doesn't push for clarity. He simply delivers a warning about how the other vampires behave. They are much more tribal. They revere the one who made all of this happen. Armand leads them on the hunt. Their excitement builds the longer they wait. They are ready to feast. Armand even puts on a show of explaining why the victims are deserving of this fate. No one questions it. Instead, they invade to take what they want. Louis and Armand are left outside. They talk while the chaos erupts in the background. It's a phenomenal sequence. One that highlights the intimacy of the characters in the foreground. It never escapes the horror and depravity happening elsewhere. That is the dichotomy of life for vampires. Louis can never quite give the simple explanation for his motives. Everything has to be much more complicated. That's how he needs to view the world. He still needs reassurances from others. He must hold himself higher. That still makes him susceptible to their influence. Molloy operates in a similar way. He's thrown off simply by an invasion into his mind by Armand. That's all it takes to make him the naive reporter once more. That's what Louis and Armand want. They want no pushback from telling their life story. Yet they also have a habit of making everything more dramatic and tortured than it has to be. They made these choices and have to stand by them. They can't try to justify them in some absurd way. Molloy wants that truth. Louis and Armand are reluctant to give it.