Episode Analysis Interview With the Vampire: I Could Not Prevent It

Episode fourteen of AMC's Interview With the Vampire highlights what the show does best, while also providing an example of why this is supposedly the best show no one is watching.

Episode Analysis Interview With the Vampire: I Could Not Prevent It
Image courtesy AMC

Warning: The following contains spoilers for AMC’s Interview With the Vampire through episode fourteen as well as the book. Read at your own risk.


AMC’s Interview With the Vampire episode fourteen, I Could Not Prevent It, finally kills off Claudia and thank God.

Look, I feel bad saying this. I genuinely do. And as always this is no shade on either actress who played her. But I’ve said from her introduction back in episode three that this show could not handle the challenges of her character as she was in the book then made it worse by adding changes to her character that they weren’t prepared to engage with. Throw in a little Nazi loving and it’s hot mess turtles all the way down.

That being said, this was a good episode. So much of what happened is this show doing what it does so damn well. I do want to talk about that. But I also want to talk about what’s become something of a meme in the show’s fandom which is OMG WHY IS NOBODY WATCHING THIS????

(Spoiler alert: Might be the racism!)

I’ll split this into two parts to keep it nice and neat.

What AMC’s Interview With the Vampire Episode Fourteen Did So Darn Well

There’s two things this show does so freaking well. One is knowing how to pull things directly from the books without making it glaring, neon colored fanservice with no other purpose. The other is the concept of the unreliable narrator. In this episode both strengths worked hand in hand.

I’ve talked about it before but in the books the canon answer to what happened when Claudia and Madelene were killed is that there is no one answer. Louis, Lestat, and Armand have wildly different versions of events. Some of this is because Anne Rice herself needed to retcon things when she wanted to write The Vampire Lestat. The version of events in Interview With the Vampire had put Lestat into a narrative corner Anne didn’t want him to be in. No problem! Louis lied and also had a personal bias in his telling, Lestat’s got his own version of what went down, boom! Done!

AMC’s Interview With the Vampire has the benefit of coming in long after the books so it could’ve been very easy for them to say hey we’re picking a narrative for our purposes and going with it. Instead they went for something different which is to lean in to how you never know what version of events is correct at any time. You, the audience, can’t trust any of these guys anymore than they can trust each other.

And I want to give props to the show for how this has been a slow build of earned trust since all the way back in season one. For example, I remembered during the Lestat and Louis fight scene back in the first season that it was strange and almost incorrectly comedic how much of the fight was offscreen and heard only through sound effects. Now we get the reveal that actually that was on purpose. The show was deliberately hiding all of the details so that when Lestat came in with his version the audience, like Louis, would second guess if they knew the full story.

Now if you pay attention you can figure out where the tells are about at least some of the lies. Some parts of the story of the trial and the aftermath are told by Armand in a manner we now know is what he uses when he’s rewritten history and Louis’ memories besides. Another clue is Lestat claiming he insisted to Louis that Claudia couldn’t be made because of the Rules (capital R fully intended). Anyone who knows Lestat for half a second knows that is a god damn lie. To Lestat rules aren’t even guidelines, they’re things to do the exact opposite of simply because you can. There’s no version of Lestat who even bothers to remember what the rules are except to maybe laugh about them.

Which isn’t to say that all of it is a lie though. We can tell that there’s truth seeping through there even if Lestat doesn’t want it to. In his version of events he was lonely. He did make Claudia to make Louis happy (and Louis did manipulate him into making that happen, which is the core of why Louis tells Daniel to go with Lestat’s version of events). So it’s not all bullshit, and we know that yet again we’re not getting the full story.

I do like that in spite of that the show didn’t go full on rewritten history by saying Lestat had treated Louis kindly. I still sigh over the lack of genre understanding by having Lestat straight up be an abusive boyfriend instead of a metaphor for an abusive boyfriend. But since the show decided to go that route at least they’re not walking it back by saying it never happened, or that everything Lestat did was acceptable.

It’s also a difficult tightrope to walk abut I liked how hand in hand with that we heard that to Lestat’s point of view Louis was no prize either. And here too was that smart storytelling. How do we know this has elements of the truth? Because Lestat is saying the same things Armand did about Louis back in San Francisco. Louis manipulated both of them by withholding affection when they wanted it and treating them with vitriol and contempt when it suited him. It’s a great use of a non-linear narrative to have us see Louis still doing that in the future so we know we can also believe he did it in the past.

Speaking of things the show built along the way, we’re also getting the wonderful and horrible slow reveal of how Lestat was right and the Theatre vampires are dangerous. Last week we saw how easily they could out manipulate Armand if they needed to even if they were supposedly his obedient underlings. This week we get the reveal that when Santiago told Claudia that there were vampires behind those doors he meant no really there are vampires behind those doors. Not their remains, them. It’s worth noting that while Vampire Chronicles vampires go into a stasis state when they are buried, they are very much still conscious. Each door with a name on it represents a vampire who has been trapped and starving for years. Possibly even centuries. Including Santiago’s maker, who he now has a “Eh, what can you do?” attitude about him being that way. (Notably when Santiago became coven leader he didn’t get his maker out.) They may be pretty, they may be funny, but they are dangerous.

So yes. Not as good as episode twelve’s Don’t Be Afraid, Just Start the Tape, but still a lot in this episode which shows off what AMC’s Interview With the Vampire does best. If it leans hardcore into all this I’m for it.

But this naturally gets to the problematic bits, so let’s go there.

Why Is No One Watching AMC’s Interview With the Vampire?

As I say, certain fans are claiming that nobody is watching this show, it has no marketing, and OMG. I can’t speak to the claim that there’s no marketing. my YouTube algorithm served me up approximately five billion variations on “The cast of AMC’s Interview With the Vampire does the quirky thing our YouTube channel sets up in order to lure anyone vaguely like a celebrity to talk to us when they’re doing a press tour!” before season two even aired. And I’m not looking for it! Believe me, I have a hard enough time convincing YouTube to give me the types of videos I want. I don’t do anything to confuse it more by making it think I enjoy some variation on “Sam Reid and Jacob Anderson answer burning questions about season two without using any words that contain the letter E!”

In terms of not enough people watching the show though, and especially the drop from season one to season two - uh, guys? Maybe it’s the racism?

Look, I’m not in denial that one aspect of the racism is that there is a far too significant segment of any fandom that peaces out the minute they see the cast of a show doesn’t resemble a Klan rally. This happens whether the characters are originally BIPOC or racebent in the case of Louis. But those are the folks who wouldn’t have watched the show to begin with. They’re not the ones who tune in, decide they don’t like what they see, and tune out.

And in terms of what tunes them out, folks, it’s the racism.

Sadly much of the discussion on this I saw during season one was back on Twitter and I refuse to give that site any traffic now. But believe me there were fans pointing out this show was shitting the bed hard on the optics what they did with their Black lead and they did not like it. Sure, not everyone was New Orleans history nerd enough to know that some of the insults were things like erasing the existence of an actual Black woman and saying Louis did everything she did like he was a vampire Forrest Gump. But they could pick up on the inauthenticity of how Louis and Claudia’s Blackness was being handled in general, let alone in more extremes like having Claudia be raped for no reason and Louis beaten to the point that would’ve killed a mortal at all, let alone when the characters were not that far removed from slavery.

And how did they know that? Because these fans were BIPOC themselves.

Now I’m not trying to ignore the BIPOC fans who are liking the show in spite of this stuff. I know the Wired article links to at least one. I haven’t watched that person’s videos, I don’t intend to because again, I’m trying to keep VampChron stuff out of my YouTube recs as much as possible (dance videos, YouTube! Give me dance videos!). I don’t know how they’re reconciling the issues.

But that doesn’t erase the issues. And since I’ve amply covered the issues in all the previous episodes, let’s touch on just this one.

For starters, Louis and Claudia are beaten, have their tendons slashed so they can’t walk away, dragged in front of a sham of a jury who is either mostly white and/or wearing makeup to look even more white, and…. no acknowledgement that this setup would impact the audience watching this on their TV or the characters themselves in terms of what this would remind them of. So much so that when Claudia calls it out she says it’s a stoning. A stoning.

Folks, the words you were looking for are LYNCH MOB.

Look, I’m not saying AMC’s Interview With the Vampire needs to actually talk about racism. Please God do not let it because we’ve seen that it cannot handle it without getting a vastly different setup for production than it has now. But if you have Black actors on your show playing Black characters you need people who can speak to that experience behind the camera as well as in front.

(Yes, season one had a couple of Black people working on writing and direction. It was also very obvious their input was the exception and not the rule.)

It’s the CW Flash problem all over again. You can’t just hire Black actors and call it done. That’s how you end up with Grandma Esther’s noodle recipe and me willing to pay cash money to give Candice Patton and Jesse L Martin as much wine/cookies/whatever they want in order to sit down and fucking dish because you know they have a whole lot more stories than they’ve felt comfortable sharing publicly.

(And for the record, what they have shared publicly is pretty bad.)

People could see back in season one that AMC’s Interview With the Vampire wasn’t putting the work in on handling its Black leads as Black. When the character of Claudia is turned into a straight up man eating Jezebel you can’t exactly fault them for not sticking around to see her forced into a minstrel show in season two.

The same thing goes for Claudia’s trial and death. Look, I like that Claudia was defiant at the end. Genuinely love that for her. As a concept I do not object to somebody reading the book and saying you know what? Claudia’s mind and spirit were still sharp. Let’s have her go out with her middle fingers in the air to everyone who wronged her.

The problem is when you put it in the context of the rest of the show. Which is that we never had a Claudia who was a child. We were told she was a child. We had maybe half an episode tops of her acting like a kid on a sugar rush. But then she was presented as grown up to the point where the show had to keep insisting no, really, she’s in the body of a fourteen year old even as she wasn’t treated by the show as such (remember Madeleine? Where apparently we in the audience were supposed to be rooting for her and Claudia to hook up even though Madeleine thought Claudia was fourteen right up until the vampire reveal?)

I get that they had to hire older actresses. I have no objection to that. But how you handle those older actresses is a show choice, and they did it with no awareness of how it looked when Claudia is also Black.

In contrast, let's look at the same moments from last night’s episode as done in Interview With the Vampire the movie. Apologies for the bad video quality but we do what we can with what the internet provides for free.

On paper these are all the same points: Louis, Claudia, and Madeleine are condemned. Louis is bricked up inside of a coffin while the coven vampires make fun of him. Madeleine and Claudia are condemned to the sun. Claudia is even wearing the clothing of an adult woman when this happens.

But what do you notice is a key difference? Claudia is a child and presented like a child. Kirsten Dunst was eleven years old during filming. This made her older than book Claudia’s 5. However, the movie stressed how young she was. She was dressed in children’s clothing. She played with dolls. She didn’t become adult in her demeanor until later. But even then her physicality - the way her clothes fit her, her hair, her makeup - reminded you that she was trapped in the body of a child.

This lasts right up until her death. That beautiful dress that matches Madeleine’s doesn’t hide that Claudia is small and physically vulnerable. Her intelligence can’t do anything to save her when her body is her greatest weakness. And, in death, Madeleine cradles her close and protects her. If the two of them survived to live together as had been the original plan, this would not have been a healthy relationship. Madeleine still saw and treated Claudia as a child. But the tragedy of Claudia was that in life or death that was the best she could ever hope for.

Now take all of that in and compare that to AMC’s Claudia. Yes, as a concept it is cool that this Claudia goes out defiant. But in the context of AMC Claudia’s entire life, what’s the thing that’s missing?

She’s never treated like a precious child.

AMC’s Claudia isn’t just fourteen. She’s far more adult right out of the gate. Other than that brief bratty behavior - something treated as unwanted - she’s never a beloved child. Movie Claudia was spoiled and adored as a surrogate daughter. Even mistakes like killing in the house were looked upon with loving indulgence. AMC’s Claudia was an annoyance right from the beginning.

And I’m not saying AMC's Claudia, or any version of her, doesn't have ample reason to want to annoy Louis and Lestat! I’m just bringing up our word of the day which is optics. Because as a concept Claudia can sure as heck be defiant and strong and lean in to the adult mind in a child’s body. But when your version of Claudia is a Black child, a demographic traditionally treated as more adult and poorly behaved than their white counterparts, maybe spend some time taking a look at the key differences between your Claudia and book and movie Claudia. Maybe ask yourself why your version doesn’t contain a single thing that treats a Black fourteen year old girl as a precious child still experiencing a childhood, however briefly? Maybe ask yourself why the only things you did to show her being vulnerable were sexual assault by a white man and a lynch mob you couldn’t remember to acknowledge was one?

And then maybe stop wondering why some people don’t feel super keen on watching this show.

Look, I like this show, I do. I’ll tune in with bells on if we get a season three, not just because all signs point to that being The Vampire Lestat season. But you cannot sit here and surprise Pikachu face over why some people aren’t into it. Not without acknowledging that maybe you’re part of the problem as far as being oblivious to how badly this show has treated race.


As always, things that don’t fit anywhere else.

  • Bless Roxane Duran’s heart since it’s not her fault. But sweet Jesus I was glad we barely heard from Madeleine in this ep. I’ve already covered all the issues with the way this show asked us to root for a Nazi sympathizer so no need to retread that ground. Instead I’ll talk about the one good thing which is that I thought it was a fair characterization to swap out Madeleine trying to protect Claudia from the sunlight like she did in the movie to this Madeleine immediately trying to get Claudia to protect her. This Madeleine is a selfish piece of shit, so that felt on brand.
  • One might debate why would Lestat dramatically remove his coat while perfectly backlit in a moment before he got on stage and thus nobody but us at home could see him. One would, if one was completely unaware of who Lestat is as a person. He is absolutely that bitch.
  • Related, this season has done so much better at showing off how charming and intoxicatingly chaotic Lestat can be. I think because we’re flat out getting to see it instead of having Louis insist on it. This is possibly naïve of me but I’m holding out hope that in a season three we’ll find out the choice to turn Lestat into an unintelligible background droning noise when he was supposedly saying the most seductive things was a deliberate one. It’d be nice if that had been laying the groundwork for more unreliable narrator reveals and not, as it came off, like they went “Shit! We don’t actually know what he’d say that would be that interesting!”
  • I know this quote is several books ahead but I feel like it was a missed opportunity not to have Lestat use “On my honor as a bloodthirsty murderer” when he was swearing in at the trial.
  • Props to Jacob Anderson for hitting all the acting challenges put in front of him for this episode. From having to be on his knees (hopefully with some kind of padding under there!), covered in fake blood, and reacting to Lestat’s testimony in the background to the warped, meaner version of Louis that Lestat said proceeded the fall from the sky. He had to present so many versions of the same character and it was great every time.
  • Loved watching Santiago have to grit his teeth and deal with how Lestat serves cunt better than he does.
  • Louis and Armand are facing each other again during this part of the interview, but there is still space between them whether it’s on the couch or at the table. Again this show is great with the small details when it cares enough to pay attention.
  • If I had to nitpick the episode outside of the previously mentioned optics, it’s that the trial lasted too long. If you have to have your characters in character start to “Blah blah blah” it the actual answer is to edit it down. We’ll see how things get handled next week but my current suspicion is that this ep might have been better to mash up the trial and Louis reacting to it. But if nothing else I feel like five to eight minutes could’ve been shaved off with nothing lost.
  • Interesting to see how they had Lestat explain the difference in the timeline in this show compared to the books. In the books he meets Louis much sooner after he was turned - Lestat’s own mortal father is still alive, for example. On the one hand this does tie in to why Lestat was in such old fashioned clothing when he arrived in New Orleans. On the other the way events were presented does mean certain key aspects of the books are missing. I’m curious if those parts have been written out or if Lestat was simply skipping details he felt weren’t relevant to the story he was spinning. Hopefully a season three will clarify.
  • I’m also curious to see how things like the sold painting, Raglan James, and the Talamasca in general are going to be handled in next week’s ep. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine for these purely being threads laid down to be explored more in another season. I’m not saying they have to come to a climax in the season two finale. Just that I’m curious to see where it goes because right now those are on the list of things that haven’t gone anywhere yet.
  • Of note, the episode titles for this season were known in advance up to this episode. Next week’s ep remains a mystery. We’ll see if that’s because the title was a significant spoiler or if nobody got around to giving the heads up.

And that’s all I’ve got. See you next week!

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