Interview with the Vampire Season 1 Episode 5 Review: A Vile Hunger for Your Hammering Heart

Television

This is a tough one to unpack.

For an hour that is pretty compact in its storytelling, Interview with the Vampire Season 1 Episode 5 is complex, sad, and disturbing in its depiction of this particular part of Louis’s story. And it’s very intense, especially those closing moments, which see a high level of violence on a series that never shies away from the realities of brutality.

But this is Louis’s story, and now Claudia’s as well, and to tell it is to give the unfiltered truth, right?

I started to think about the idea of an unreliable narrator as we dove deeper into this hour and learned about Claudia’s adventures away from home. She has no reason to lie in the pages of a diary she has no way of knowing will eventually be read by various probing eyes. But could her perception of certain events be tainted?

Everything we know about Lestat comes from Louis and Claudia’s point of view. Where one romanticizes him one second and vilifies him the next, Claudia stays pretty firmly entrenched in the villainy camp.

Lestat’s fatal flaw is his arrogance. He’s above everything and everyone and unable to truly see beyond the narrowed scope of the world he inhabits.

He loves Louis but refuses to truly see him for who he is. Instead, he looks down upon him, shows him no respect, and refuses to alter his thinking even when presented with the idea of losing him.

Claudia has clearly spent her time in that house analyzing their dynamic, evaluating her life, and sinking into some form of depression. Escaping at night to kill, chronicling her victim’s last words, and taking a bodily souvenir all feel like not just rebellion but masking her anger and fear.

The fight she has with Louis and Lestat before she leaves is as real as we’ve ever seen Claudia. And nothing she says is particularly wrong.

Who am I supposed to love? You two have each other. Who’s my Lestat? Who’s my Louis? Not humans. What human would want me?

Claudia

Louis and Lestat turned her against her will, and now she’s forced into this life where she has to live in a way that’s so foreign to her, and she has to do it without anyone by her side. She has Louis, sure, but Louis has Lestat. As dysfunctional as their relationship is, Claudia knows that she’s on the outside looking in.

And why doesn’t she get to have her own Lestat? Why doesn’t she get to love someone for eternity and walk through the decades with them?

There’s an interesting parallel conversation going on during this hour as we learn more about Claudia and we see the discussions between Louis and Molloy in the present day.

Molloy doesn’t seem to have any patience or sympathy for Claudia, while Louis still harbors a great deal of guilt as these memories remind him of Claudia’s early days.

I’m not really sure it’s about whether or not you need to feel bad for Claudia. You can acknowledge that she was dealt a bad hand, with limited guidance, while also recognizing that she’s a killer. Both things can be true.

You’re not excusing her killing spree but giving a voice to how she was dropped into this world that requires the killing of something with a heartbeat to stay alive with almost no understanding.

From what we could see, Louis and Lestat were never the best teachers, and their hands-off approach probably did more harm than good in the end.

It’s nice to hear Louis recognize that Claudia was born out of remorse. She wasn’t a mistake, as Lestat so callously proclaimed, but her creation did come from a selfish place. And now Claudia lives this lonely, confusing, and maddening existence alongside two men too wrapped up in their drama to pay her any mind.

Claudia’s decision to leave then makes sense for her, even if she’s getting in over her head. Is she dangerous? Yes, but she would continue to be dangerous in New Orleans. 

And her college tour actually seems to help her in the long run because when she returns home, she’s in a much better place than the two older vampires, who’ve been leading the recluse life and letting all their resentments build up over the years.

Bruce’s introduction feels like a way to introduce the other kinds of vampires we’ll meet as the story continues. He’s brash and aggressive, snapping back at her when she doesn’t comply with what he wants. Their interaction seems to push Claudia to return home and confront Louis, in particular.

You’re not my Louis. You can’t be.

Grace

Louis’s struggles during the Depression are directly tied to himself and Lestat. He carries tremendous guilt, and it seems to stay affixed to his shoulders, constantly bringing him back to Earth. And he spends those years without Claudia thinking about her and letting his anger toward Lestat build and build.

Lestat is sitting across from Louis, willing Louis to return to him because his body is there, but his spirit and heart left along with Claudia. And if we’re being honest, it went long before that.

It’s why Lestat returned to Antoinette, someone who gives him what he no longer receives from Louis.

Louis seems so resigned to his relationship with Lestat that he doesn’t even fight back when he learns their arrangement is still going on. Louis is so tired and witnessing the one good thing he thought he’d been able to do slip further and further away from him.

Louis and Lestat’s relationship was born out of chaos, and while there were moments of reprieve, they could never entirely escape that chaos. And Claudia only heightened all the dysfunction pervading their union.

She would never be their daughter because that’s never what Lestat wanted. Share Louis? Not on his watch.

But the acknowledgment that she could be Louis’s sister, a person who can stand beside Louis, love him, know him, and appreciate him in ways Lestat could never dream of, is such a profound thought.

And it’s what leads Claudia out of the shadows and back to that house.

The end of the episode is challenging to watch. It’s violence at its most heightened level, and while they keep much of it off-screen, choosing instead to focus on Claudia’s reaction to it doesn’t make the scene any less uncomfortable.

Years and years of pain, anger, and bitterness come out in this huge display of violence, which tracks all over this home they’d created and neglected so often over the years.

It’s a rough watch, and you can see it coming from a mile away with every word Claudia speaks, especially those Lestat can’t hear. What is Lestat’s greatest fear? Louis leaving him. And it’s a reality so near that he strikes back in the only way he knows how by asserting his dominance.

First with Claudia, then with Louis, in a gross display of strength and cruelty.

Their ascension into the sky is once again Lestat above someone, in this case, Louis, whom he’s never seen as an equal—looking down into his beaten face and demanding something of him.

Lestat wants Louis to love him how he feels he deserves, but in what ways does he love Louis? In what ways has he proven his love for Louis?

Louis doesn’t even give in to Lestat’s request, just wanting out of his hands, perhaps for the last time.

The ending is such a perfect and incredibly gut-wrenching depiction of their connection: Louis, bruised and battered, limbs thrown every which way, while Lestat hovers above the ground, calm, put together, and unrepentant.

It was always destined to end this way, wasn’t it?

Extra Thoughts

  • Molloy presents as somewhat robotic, so his slapping Louis after Louis’s anger had him physically attacking Molloy was a display of anger that was welcome. He does have emotions beyond sarcasm and disgust.
  • Grace officially burying Louis is a short but brutal scene. Louis has never been able to close the door on his human life fully, and Grace had to do it for him. I adore Grace, though, and I hope that’s not the last we see of her.
  • Louis is alive, of course, but it will take him a long time to recover. And I hope we get to see that time and his immediate thoughts in the aftermath of that event. I understand the need to skip years, but we need the fallout in this case.

With only two episodes left this season, it feels like we’re on a collision course toward total destruction.

Hell, we may already be there.

Please let me know in the comments what you thought about this hour, and remember you can watch Interview with the Vampire online so you don’t miss any conversations!

Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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