Source: AMC

Review: 'Interview with the Vampire' Returns for a Sharp Second Season

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 3 MIN.

AMC's "Interview with the Vampire" is back for an eight-episode second season that retains the operatic sweep of Season 1 but has an even sharper bite.

This reinvented story uses the Anne Rice novel as source, but suggests that time, cunning, and maybe even a little supernatural mind manipulation caused the first version of the interview – recorded on a series of cassette tapes in 1973, in San Francisco – to depart from the truth. Now half a century older, Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson, "Game of Thrones") has welcomed journalist Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian) into his high-tech apartment in Dubai for a followup – a new interview that will correct the record and fill in the gaps... and, hopefully, end in a less violent way than that first conversation did, when Louis freaked out and put the fangs on the much younger Molloy.

Season 1 adapted the first half of Rice's novel, following Louis' seduction by the suave French vampire Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid), their passionate affair as supernaturally gifted immortals, and their gradual descent into long-term couple syndrome: Bickering, discontent, resentment, even vicious fights, and yet an inability to tear away from one another. Even the creation of a vampire "daughter," Claudia (played in Season 2 by Delainey Hayles), cannot mend the rifts – though it does give Louis a whole new reason for living.

Season 2 picks up in the wake of Louis and Claudia's escape from New Orleans and the grip of Lestat. After drugging Lestat, slashing his throat, and leaving him to rot in the city dump, the two have fled to Europe in search of older generations of vampires. (There are evidently very American vampires, and they seem to be less than trustworthy.) But Europe has been riven by World War II, and the Eastern European countries Louis and Claudia travel to – hotbeds of vampirism, if the myths are to be believed – are now swarmed by Russian "liberators" whom the locals hate and fear. Even when Louis and Claudia do find a couple of old world vampires, they are disappointed: It seems that ennui, carelessness, and humans wising up have contributed to the near-extinction of vampires in the forests and steppes of Eastern Europe.

Enter the siren song of Paris, where the two immortal wanders end up next. It's here that Louis takes up photography (a hard art to master at night), Claudia meets an intriguing new friend in the form of dressmaker Antoinette (Maura Grace Athari), and a coven of theatrical bloodsuckers led by the vampire Armand enter the picture...

The very Armand, that is, that Louis revealed to Molloy in Dubai, in the year 2022, at the end of Season 1. Armand and Louis have been together ever since those post-WWII days, but the story of their partnership, and the tale of Claudia's fate, become the focus of Louis' recollections. When Louis and Molloy both realize their memories are not lining up with how things must have happened, though, they start to view Armand in a less than trusting light – all while Molloy begins to contemplate his post-interview future, wondering what alliances he might make to ensure he survives.

Rice's original novels were inspired by the gay subculture she observed, and the complex emotional dynamics of exes, current partners, and lost loves – not to mention, for some, a necessary veil of secrecy, whether in the homophobic past or the increasingly homophobic present day – all ring true, in ways poignant, authentic, and even humorous.

Part thriller and part romance, "Interview with the Vampire" boasts some of the best, most surprising, and most intense writing on television, and the cast prove themselves up to the task of bringing their dialogue to resounding life. Bogosian's lines are sarcastic and hilarious, but those of Lestat – now a figment of Louis' guilt-ridden imagination (...or is he...?) – are their equal, and you can't help hoping that, as happened briefly in the 1993 movie starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, a face-to-face meeting between interviewer and storied first love is going to take place. (Something wittier than Tom Cruise's bitchy one-liner would be nice, if it happens.)

Can there be life for this series beyond Season 2? With 18 books in the Anne Rice "Vampire Chronicles," and with the show's writers demonstrating an ability to marry the source text with their own vividly imagined, new ideas, it's not just within the realm of possibility; it's something to be desired.

"Interview with the Vampire" Season 2 is streaming now on AMC.

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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