AMC has kicked off the Immortal Universe, the network’s live-action adaptations of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witches novels, with Interview With The Vampire from showrunner Rolin Jones. In an episode packed with intimacy, violence, and dynamic performances, the first series in this new Anne Rice universe was not only a strong start but a perfect one. Now, with Interview With The Vampire Episode 2, “After Phantoms of Your Former Life,” we see the changes in this adaptation come to poetic fruition as we see Louis (Jacob Anderson) and Lestat (Sam Reid) grow deeper into a romance and their temperaments grow starker in contrast.
This episode is all about Louis relearning life and the dependency that this dark gift has created in him. Yes, he is dependent on the blood and the high of drinking it, but also, it’s his growing dependency on Lestat. Lestat is rebuilding Louis by throwing him into the deep and pulling him back when needed to make sure that he increasingly needs Lestat’s hands and experience to pull him back.
But Interview With The Vampire Episode 2 also explicitly explores the inherent queerness of Anne Rice’s work by exploring how Louis’s rebirth also included a way for him to accept his sexuality. Instead of just making the pair the vampire boyfriends we have all known them to be coded as the series is taking the time to explore what it means to have Louis accept his queer identity as much as his new life as a vampire. In addition to accepting his queerness, Louis’s new vampire state also allows him to process his rage against the racists around him. While Lestat sees the transgressions that Louis is subject to as small, for the new vampire, he finally has the power to claim the respect he deserves. Love and rage are central to what Louis is processing but at the same time, we see him begin to process his fear.
Hating the dark gift of vampirism is central to Louis’s character and here, we get to see his suffering begin. First, we see the high of being reborn and then we see him crash against the shore with his morality mangled as he tries to hold onto the shreds of it, Lestat trying to loosen the grip. We have just begun to see the layers of Louis’s complex identity and struggle begin to unfurl as he recounts his story to David, ensuring that the audience of the interview knows that he isn’t a murderer now – he’s changed.
Anderson once again captures the complex swirl of emotions of ecstasy and fear that encapsulate Louis’s early vampire days. But even with all of the blood, which is expertly spurted throughout the scenes thanks to fantastic practical effects, the story keeps romance at the center. Lestat hides every manipulation in the guise of love.
This episode holds love and learning through an exploration of a new life together. Anderson’s performance captures a beautiful longing for his lost humanity and a thrill of being powerful. On the other hand, Reid’s performance captures the emotions of a mentor watching his new student fail so that he can correct him, a lover finally pushing away loneliness, and a maker looking to capture and contain his new child.
And both performances, Interview With The Vampire Episode 2, beautifully showcase the push and pull of Lestat and Louis’s dynamic. Lestat tries to assert his power in their relationship only for Louis to reject the play and assert himself. They fight and they bicker but they also love. They resolve their fights, and they each learn from each other. But Reid’s Lestat never loses his edge, leaning into the brat prince that we see throughout the Vampire Chronicles. We see moments of chaos that come out in his anger only to be put out by his love until he loses control again.
Interview With The Vampire Episode 2 continues to showcase that the changes made in this adaptation were done with a thoughtful and dynamic focus. It’s not about flipping a switch on the character with a change, but thinking about how that change is executed through the ripples it causes in the rest of the character’s growth and story.
Instead of just making Louis Black, they’ve detailed what it means in the context of the 1910s and in his dynamic with Lestat. The series doesn’t just make Lestat and Louis an explicitly queer romance instead of coded, but it explores what that means to a man who has had to bury that part himself for survival and is suddenly encouraged to embrace it. Every change is purposeful and expertly executed to capture the beauty and grief that have always been present in Rice’s vampires.
The intricacies captured in the characters are also mirrored in the set, effects, and costuming of the series. In Interview With The Vampire Episode 2, viewers get to enter Lestat’s townhome and see the advances and secrets that lie behind its trick walls. The presentation of Lestat’s home leaves nothing neglected. Hidden buttons reveal a seductive coffin room behind a bedroom panel. Levers that close windows to keep out the light.
Everything in Lestat’s chateau is perfect, methodical, and decadent, just like the character himself. Additionally, we get to see expanded effects work on what happens to vampires when the sunlight hits their skin. Ash flowing off the body slowly instead of an instantaneous burst into flames. It’s a beautiful burning that when placed next to the pain that Louis feels because it feels like more than one moment in time.
Interview With The Vampire Episode 2 expands Lestat and Louis’s relationship beautifully and painfully. It also further proves that care and reverence are put into every element of bringing Anne Rice’s most famous couple to life. There is a reverence for New Orleans, the changes, the characters, and to the story as a whole. It’s beautiful to see an adaptation so unique from the source still capture it so perfectly and I can’t wait for more.
Interview With The Vampire is streaming now on AMC+ with new episodes premiering Sunday on AMC.
Interview With The Vampire Episode 2 — "After Phantoms of Your Former Life"
Interview With The Vampire Episode 2 expands Lestat and Louis’s relationship beautifully and painfully. It also further proves that care and reverence are put into every element of bringing Anne Rice’s most famous couple to life. There is a reverence for New Orleans, the changes, the characters, and to the story as a whole.