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‘Interview With the Vampire’ and the Uncomfortable Disintegration of a Chosen Family

One big tragedy ft. vampires

louis, lestat & claudia in Interview with the Vampire

It’s one thing to see the destruction of a romantic relationship, where you are forced to see how people can drift away from each other. There is, however, a different kind of uncomfortable feeling when a family is falling apart. And when the found family is a trio of vampires, that’s another level of complication, as we saw in season one of AMC’s Interview With the Vampire.

(Spoilers ahead for Interview With the Vampire season 1)

Trigger warning: Mention of domestic violence

When Lestat (Sam Reid) turned Claudia (Bailey Bass), upon Louis’ request, their relationship immediately changed. After floundering as a couple and failing each other, they were suddenly forced to raise a fledgling vampire. Combine all three of their issues and you’ve got a bit of a shitstorm.

Tragic is the best way to sum up the chaos that unfolded. We witnessed their joyful moments, tender moments, and everything in between—until we reached the point of no return when Claudia left in “A Vile Hunger for Your Hammering Heart” (Season 1, Episode 5) to venture off on her own, leaving Louis heartbroken by her absence and Lestat bitter towards said heartbreak. Between Louis essentially falling into a hole of despair and Lestat spinning out, they were headed for a metaphorical car crash. And while Claudia’s return should’ve been a joyous event, it was the exact opposite. It culminated in a violent altercation that was most certainly domestic violence (which we witnessed from Claudia’s POV).

Even as someone who ships Louis and Lestat (Call me a problem if you wish. I’m aware of the toxic elements of this relationship.), I can’t ignore how horribly Lestat treats Louis. And after seeing the whole season, believe me, I’m partially the upside-down smile emoji. Episode 5 was so hard to watch and episode 6 (“Like Angels Put in Hell by God”) wasn’t any better—which marked the aftermath of that horrific event and how it traumatized Louis mentally and physically. I mean, being dropped from the sky to the ground is horrifying to think about, and even Daniel (Eric Bogosian) recognized the toxicity of their marriage.

The family dynamics changed while Lestat was gone (making attempts to win Louis back along the way) and Claudia gained a level of confidence in where she stood, though there was still a fracture in everything because Louis hadn’t let Lestat go (their bond is incredibly deep). And when they reintroduced Lestat into their lives, it was so fucking uncomfortable. Claudia had firmly changed her position from a child to a grown up who didn’t even want Lestat to be her parent anymore, and Lestat continued to lie to Louis and cheated on him. It was just … a lot.

Having watched their lives together disintegrate prior, there was a knowledge that it was going to fall apart. And being a family doesn’t mean you should force yourself to make things work. Interview With the Vampire may focus on vampires, but there’s something so human about Louis and Lestat’s marriage, from the turbulent moments to how badly Louis wants to make it work (even though Lestat actively lies and cheats on him) for himself and their family. Then Lestat dragging Claudia back when she tries to flee. But it’s not enough, and it was never going to be enough in general, ultimately leading to them jumping all the way to plan M for murder by the end of the season.

It’s a sad thing for this immortal fam and the finale didn’t solve the sadness, either.

(featured image: AMC)

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Vanessa Maki is a writer, visual artist & blk feminist. Her work has appeared in Pink Advocate, The Gay Gaze, & many others. For more, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @theblackbuffy.