Warning: The following contains spoilers for Interview With the Vampire through episode seven as well as the Vampire Chronicles books. Read at your own risk.
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn commissions from qualifying purchases via links to Amazon in this post.
AMC’s Interview With the Vampire is a much better show than it had any right to be. Though there are things it got wrong - very, very wrong in some cases - there are a lot of things it got right. Even when I make my corrections on history, which I will be doing for “The Thing Lay Still” believe me, they get so much more right than other shows would have. Put it this way: when the show was announced I figured it’d be all of five seconds before they started talking about vampires hiding in the underground tunnels New Orleans doesn’t have. It didn’t do that. It wasn’t great about research but it was a lot better about research than most shows would be.
Likewise when we look at things like costumes and scripts while they are not consistently great they are, however, consistently very good. Averaging a B to A- but not an A+, if you will.
But as much as I want to focus on things like smart storytelling, I feel like we can’t ignore the part where this show really shit the bed on racial issues. Is it the full on what the fuck of She-Hulk where any possible quality is ruined by what it got wrong? I don’t know if that’s for me to say. I do think that, unlike She-Hulk, the fact that the show is well done in other aspects is what makes this a harder call.
All of which really gets into talking about episode seven, the season, and what did and didn’t work so let’s get into it. Also yes, I will be talking about Mardi Gras and the other historical tidbits this episode touched on.
Why AMC’s Interview With the Vampire Was Good (And Bad)
I do want to talk about what the show did well, especially on things that were paid off in episode seven. But I feel like it’s disrespectful to not first talk about how this show was punching way above its weight on racial issues. By the end of season one my overall impression is that their idea to cast Jacob Anderson as Louis was not done with any amount of thoughtfulness about what it would mean to turn a white slave owner into a Black man so much as it was acknowledging that Jacob Anderson is insanely gorgeous and talented.
Which I respect! But this has resulted in a season which feels like if it had a slogan it’s “I don’t see color.” Yes, there were some things brought up regarding race relations in New Orleans but other than the occasional comment or scene to say hey, as a Black man Louis didn’t appreciate racism, we didn’t get any sense that, well, Louis was a Black man. Particularly a Black man in the city of New Orleans, which has tons of nuance and history that I’ve already (extremely briefly) covered.
This was then compounded by the introduction of Claudia and how the lack of fully understanding the experience of a Black man in New Orleans was made worse by having no understanding of how also being 14 and female would also affect things. And to me it says a lot that it’s not until this episode, one in which race is barely touched on, that we find out oh there actually was a Black writer on staff this whole time. (Ben Phillippe, to be specific.)
I’m not saying Black writers can only write Black characters or about Black issues. But I am saying when I see a character like Claudia repeatedly doing “Yes, massa” dialogue with nothing to inspire it, my spidey sense tells me this was far more likely a white writer who was happy to give themselves a Quentin Tarantino-esque permission to make a Black character talk that way than it was something honest and rooted in the story.
The fact that Claudia talked that way last week, in an episode written by Coline Abert and Rolin Jones, kinda bears this out. Or at least bears out the part where it’s white writers putting this dialogue into the mouths of Black characters. And let’s face it, Rolin’s been pretty consistent with biffing anything race related in episodes that he’s written. He’s the one who “yadda yadda”ed Jim Crow after all.
Throw in the fact that episode seven reveals that the character of Armand is now being written as Muslim and, if he’s anything in common with Assad Zaman who plays him, Pakistani*, I am sitting here on my knees begging this show to please, please, please for the love of GOD get more people of color and specifically people with the lived experience that you’re trying to use in your writer’s room. You have provably not been able to handle this. Get people to help. Please.
(* I know Pakistan didn’t exist in Armand’s time. I’m just taking Assad’s background as the jumping off point because sadly we know Hollywood doesn’t necessary pay attention to anything besides “brown” when it comes to figuring out what nationality some characters are.)
As long as we’ve brought him up, let’s touch on that Armand reveal.
One of the things that AMC’s Interview With the Vampire has done very well is smart storytelling. They hit notes of trusting in the intelligence of the audience so beautifully that I am going to be that asshole teacher who knocks points off for when they miss it. I fully acknowledge I’m being entirely picky and unfair here. But I’m nitpicking because I love and because the show has proven that it can do better.
Case in point: one of the things the show has done beautifully is foreshadowing. Louis mentions enslaved people being hung in Jackson Square and by the end of the episode he’s impaled a racist politician there. Likewise, it is a freaking gorgeous use of foreshadowing to have an episode in which Louis talks about how he had to pretend to be Lestat’s servant which is then paid off by revealing that Louis’ servant was Armand this whole time. Loved it. Absolutely loved it.
So here’s what I didn’t love: they cheated.
The show cheated. Absolutely, 100% cheated. This isn’t an earned twist. I know, I know, I’m being the Grinch Who Stole Mardi Gras here. I know people have been losing their minds about this twist and “OMG ARMAND!!!!!!” and I get it. But here we talk about how stories and shows work so I’m gonna say this didn’t work. It wasn’t a twist, it was a cheat.
What makes classic twists in stories work - your The Sixth Senses and your Fight Clubs for example - is they stand up to scrutiny. All the hints were there but the audience probably didn’t notice them. You watch those movies a second time and realize oh shit, the information was there the whole freaking time.
Armand’s reveal does not do that.
Putting aside that Assad Zaman is 38 and Pakistani instead of 14 and Italian like Armand was (which I’m fine with), there were no clues this was Armand. There were clues that Rashid was more than he appeared, sure. I was on the page of him being some kind of immortal for a while now, as were most of the audience. But, other than name checking a Marius de Romanus painting in episode one, what about anything in the Dubai scenes hinted at Armand? Where were things to hint at his well known history? The show has done brilliantly with folding book references into the story and yet Armand is where they decide it’s not worth it to toss in a line about how he and Louis share a love of theater or something? Really?
It’s a cheat. It’s a cheap trick. The show can’t be all “Ha ha! You never guessed it was Armand!” when it never gave us the chance to. I may as well tell you that you never guessed I’ve got a tiger standing behind me. How could you have possibly known?
(I don’t, for the record.)
Likewise Antoinette wasn’t as great a reveal as she could have been. Now to be clear, I loved the use of her. I loved how Lestat thought several steps ahead by making a vampire who could eavesdrop on Louis and Claudia and I loved that Claudia was clever enough to be even more steps ahead of him. But the payoff of Antoinette’s reveal would’ve been much better if there’d been any chance for the audience to go back and go “Oh shit, I never realized she was right there!” Believe me, I rewatched. Other than a blurry darkness in the window of the pharmacy where Claudia bought the poison there was nothing that could’ve vaguely given the audience a chance of knowing.
Now I don’t grade as hard against Antoinette as I do Armand because at least in her case there’s the issue of perspective, and how if Louis didn’t know she was there we can’t have seen her. I could make some arguments against that (like how we shouldn’t have had Claudia POV scenes in the first place, then) but again this show has never had a the strict narrative POV that a show like Moon Knight did so I’m fine with it.
However, as I say I know the show can do better. So when you’ve given me scenes where yes, you do have to go back and see that Lestat was cleverly hiding his bloody shirt in a bar I’m going to sigh with disappointment if you phone it in later.
But again so much of me sighing is because they did so well on other things. Like the way they folded in the setup of the coffin with the lock on the inside without making it obvious that it would have a payoff later. Or Claudia’s out of character comment that she couldn’t bring herself to burn Lestat actually being out of character and thus worthy of notice.
It’s basically a little like torture for me because I can see them doing stuff so well so it’s nails on the chalkboard for me when they don’t. Also it straight up drives me insane. For example the costuming on this show is so well made that as regular readers know I’ve been going nuts for weeks now trying to figure out what kind of story Carol Cutshall might be trying to tell because surely you don’t have such well put together garments without them meaning something, right? But I kept coming up goose eggs (and as regular readers know if I can’t come up with a story to your costumes it ain’t there).
Turns out that I was right the first time and there really isn’t a story going on with the costumes. Which I wish I’d known six episodes ago before I kept bashing my head in on things like wondering if the lack of meaning was the meaning. But point being this only happened because the costumes were good. Trust me, we all know I didn’t waste two seconds worrying about the costumes over on Loki.
I have so many notes about the costumes that at this point I think it’s going to be a whole article about good costumes vs great (and not so great). But for clarity’s sake I do want to stress that I think Carol Cutshall did a very good job. This was her first historic project and she and her team put a ton of work in. I was in particular raptures over things like the cloth on Lestat’s coat during the party scene.
I also want to shout out that some of her work was undercut by the show itself. For example, you may recall me constantly wondering why oh why was Louis constantly in dirt brown clothing? Well turns out he wasn’t. Carol was putting him in yellows and golds to symbolize him shining bright against the background of New Orleans. I have deep sympathy for the frustration she must’ve felt seeing how the filters and coloring on the final product completely erased what she was going for.
But again this gets into a much longer discussion. Point being that, on the whole, I think AMC’s Interview With the Vampire was very good but it can be better. Hopefully now that they’ve got this foundation underneath them they can build on that to fix the weaknesses in season two.
The New Orleans History Behind “The Thing Lay Still”
So, Mardi Gras!
Get comfy, we’re going to be here a while.
I want to stress that I get the need to write a story over a need to be accurate. The show wanted a party scene and a Mardi Gras ball is the epitome of New Orleans culture for such a thing (and is a damn sight better than other options they could’ve gone with). So I’m not faulting the show for putting story ahead of facts. I’m just going to balance their story by giving you the background.
Mardi Gras is New Orleans’ biggest holiday. There are many events which bring tourists into town (Southern Decadence, Essence Festival, and even Halloween thanks to Anne Rice and Billy Martin making New Orleans such a gothic haven).
Mardi Gras in particular, though, is baked into New Orleans culture. It shapes the schedule of the year. Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold are on everything and I do mean everything.
The history of Mardi Gras as a concept goes back to Medieval Europe and concepts like carnival. Basically the whole thing is tied to the Catholic calendar (remember how I keep telling you that New Orleans is Catholic? New Orleans is extremely Catholic). In the Catholic calendar you have Lent which is a period of fasting. As such before Lent there’s been centuries of tradition where you have a big blowout to eat all the food you’re not going to be allowed to have.
Let me stress that one for you: Mardi Gras is always a Tuesday.
(I have to stress this because people ask, and ask, and ask…)
The name Mardi Gras comes from “Mardi” which is French for Tuesday and “Gras” which is French for fat, as in big as in the size of the food you’re about to consume. Hence why it’s also called Fat Tuesday because sometimes translations aren’t that complicated.
Now the thing you might have noticed is that I did not say Mardi Gras starts on a Tuesday, I said Mardi Gras is a Tuesday. That’s because Mardi Gras season starts on the Epiphany, which is always January 6.
Much like the pronunciation of Iberville, a great way to reveal that you’re not up on how things work in New Orleans is to do things like say Mardi Gras is the only day in which things happen.
The way that it works in New Orleans is that the Christmas decorations (like that tree in Rue Royale) go down on January 6 and the Mardi Gras decorations go up. Mardi Gras season has begun. People will start eating King Cake and throwing parties all in a lead up to Mardi Gras itself. Many of these parties are held by Krewes as fundraisers and, frankly, high society functions.
Now the show is correct that in 1940 Mardi Gras fell on February 6. It’s also correct that that’s pretty early in the year for Mardi Gras. Ideally Mardi Gras lasts for about three months because that’s what helps bring the most money into the city. In fact February Mardi Gras are considered the worst because they compete with Valentine’s Day sales so stores tend to lose money in those years.
But, given that they were talking on New Year’s Day, Claudia should’ve been pointing out that Mardi Gras season was about to start in five days. And, as such, there were ample opportunities for them to throw a party.
For the purposes of story, however, I get why the party in question works better as one of the biggest parties of the season. However, the idea that our trio could waltz into the office of a single Krewe official and bribe him into making Lestat King is just… oh sweet Jesus it does not work that way.
Mardi Gras courts, particularly in the oldest and most famous Krewes, are deeply entrenched in society and status. It takes years for people to get that position and it’s with a great deal of money and political jockeying. This isn’t a matter of getting one Krewe official to change his vote. This would’ve pissed off many highly powered and influential families in New Orleans. They definitely wouldn’t have been rewarding this behavior by accepting a party invitation after, especially since the post parade parties are thrown by the Krewes.
Put it this way: imagine a billionaire bribed his way into not only entering the Olympics with no qualifications, but made sure he won all the gold medals by also bribing the judges, then invited all the athletes to skip the closing ceremonies in order to come to a party he’s throwing at the local Hilton at the same time. People won’t be showing up, trust me.
But again: it’s story. I get it. We make allowances for this in the same way we make allowances for the ridiculous idea that those costumes they wore on the float (which were gorgeous) could have been made in a mere few weeks, all that hand beading included.
Likewise we make allowances for the made up Krewe of Raj which is very much not a thing. Now maybe there was a Krewe of Raj at some point, I’m not ruling that out. There have been tons of Krewes that have come and gone over the years and Raj is as good a name as any. But it’s clear from the show what they mean is the Krewe of Rex.
Let’s back up. Mardi Gras is a satirical holiday. Even though it’s paid for by high society people - at least with the bigger and more famous Krewes - the idea is to poke fun at things. Calling the social clubs “Krewes” is part of it. The silly spelling is the point. Likewise many of the Krewes pick names that either play on the winking idea that the names are these mythical and historic concepts (Krewe of Isis, Krewe of Muses, Krewe of Oshun to name a few) and others go beyond the wink for deliberately silly names (Krewe d’Etat and Krewe of Chewbacchus for example).
Though not required, Krewes generally have some sort of theme to them to at least give a guideline for who would be appropriate to join. For example, the Krewe of Orpheus, which Anne Rice belonged to, was themed around musicians, writers, and other entertainers.
So, as a concept, Lestat’s idea for a “Let them eat King Cake” float is actually not that bad. It would’ve been perfectly on theme for most Mardi Gras parades as spot on satire and parody. Except for how it’s the Krewe of Rex.
The Krewe of Rex is the parade of Mardi Gras. Now there are many parades. Typically the parades start weeks before Mardi Gras itself and if you’re looking to experience Mardi Gras as a tourist without the drunken assholes ruining it for you, I cannot recommend enough that you should go two weeks before Mardi Gras itself for all of the fun and none of the vomit everywhere. (The Thursday before Mardi Gras through Mardi Gras itself is the worst and the time period most dreaded by locals for how awful the crowds are. And I mean awful as in horribly behaved, not just in terms of how many people are packed into the French Quarter.)
While each Krewe has its court, Rex is considered the highest of the high. It’s the court of Mardi Gras, and the Rex parade is considered the capper for parade season as it is the final parade on Mardi Gras itself.
Well - the final parade anyone gives a shit about. More on this in a second.
But the thing is, Rex runs in the morning. As in 10 am on Mardi Gras. As in when there’s a huge bright burning thing in the sky that’s not so great for vampires.
Now there are parades that run at night, it’s just that Rex is very much not one of them. Rex’s parade ending at noon is a key moment in Mardi Gras. The rest of the day’s schedule, including those final balls (and Rex’s ball itself) is based off of that timeline. In other words, they’re not moving it to after sundown just because some jackass with money who’s not even part of the Krewe wanted to take a float for himself.
Honestly as I write all this out I’m realizing the far more believable move would’ve been for Lestat to make his own Krewe and parade. Yeah it would’ve been hard to pull off in a month but, in much the same way we can allow ourselves to believe those costumes could’ve been made in a month, we could also believe that Lestat rented unused parade floats sitting in warehouses, hired workers to paint them up to his liking, bribed a government official to give him the permits for the parade route, and then used those same workers to man the floats while he, Louis, and Claudia put on their show.
It also would’ve been thematically appropriate because it’s kind of been done before. Or, well, in the future if you’re living in 1940 but in 1998 the absolutely the wrong side of twee named Krewe of America attempted to give it a go.
(Hey remember how I keep mentioning that New Orleanians didn’t take kindly to Americans? Consider that a protip if you ever try to come up with a name for a Krewe. The resentments are still there.)
Anyway, the Krewe of America decided to try to buy into Mardi Gras and while it had its parade, sure, the locals weren’t having it. The fact that it was scheduled after Rex ran was pretty much the same kind of insult as Louis being told to move uptown of Canal street. The only people who watched were the tourists, nobody coveted their throws (try getting your hands on some Tucks toilet paper if you want to risk your life for a coveted throw, and if you don’t actually know someone on Krewe of Zulu you are never getting your hands on one of those coconuts), and people barely noticed when the Krewe finally dissolved.
So if Lestat had made his own Krewe I think it would’ve worked. Not only would it have been more plausible but it would’ve worked for him as a character to decide he’s going to do his own spectacle and that people would have morbid curiosity enough to watch it.
Anyway, getting back to Lestat’s performance, the problem is that he was doing it with Rex which is Very Serious Business. Of all the Krewes its one of the ones that leans more into dignified than parody. Which you can kind of understand given its place as the Krewe of Mardi Gras, the old one, the capper, and so on. On the other hand if Lestat was in modern times someone like Krewe d’Etat would’ve adored it.
I suspect the reason why they went with Raj instead of Rex is because they changed so many aspects of when and how Rex’s parade operates. Either that or they didn’t have permission to use the name Krewe of Rex. The Krewe names are trademarked and Rex has defended theirs in particular so it is possible. But I will say, in a similar fashion, the use of Raj when they so clearly meant Rex kept hitting my ears like somebody going “Yes, we do all love Papsi soda, don’t we? That well known rival to Cake-Cola, that Papsi.”
With regards to Lestat’s display, King Cakes are a traditional Mardi Gras food. I’m going to put a head scratcher here because Rolin Jones, in an interview I’ll link down in Lagniappe, said that king cakes weren’t a thing in 1940 and, uh, Rolin king cakes have been a thing since the Middle Ages. Also it’s pretty much universally agreed that king cakes made it to New Orleans around 1870.
Possibly what Rolin meant is the current iteration of king cakes with the bright purple, green, and gold colors? Alternatively he got his dates wrong and thought king cakes were being hit by rationing even though that didn’t start in the US until 1942?
But the idea of a king cake, as I say, goes back to the Middle Ages. You eat it in honor of Three Kings Day which is also the Epiphany. There’s different recipes for the cake but generally they’re more… I don’t want to say plain because again that purple, green, and gold icing puts that to lie. But in terms of the cake itself throughout history it tends to be a more bread like, sweet but not too sweet cake than, say, a birthday cake would be. These days king cakes are a yeasty dough rolled up around a filling. The filling (typically jams or cream cheese) is what makes the cake part more sweet and then, as I say, there’s that icing, often with colored sugar on top.
All forms of king cakes would have something inside of them to be found. In olden times this would be things like a coin or a dried bean, and in New Orleans this evolved into a tiny plastic baby. Regardless of what or when, whoever got the cake slice with the item was the winner. Depending on the time and tradition, the prize might be anything from good luck to being crowned “king,” and so on.
In New Orleans king cakes get served starting around January 6, sometimes a little earlier but generally starting with the Epiphany, and as part of the parties for Mardi Gras season - both official Krewe parties and unofficial at home parties people have because surprisingly king cake actually tastes good even though it does not look or sound like it would. With these the “prize” for finding the baby is that you get to host the next party.
A bit of local amusement is that when king cakes are brought into the office the “prize” is that you’re now responsible for buying and bringing in the next king cake. And I can tell you from personal experience you have never seen human beings able to slice pieces of cake micron thin until they’re the ones in front of the last of the king cake trying desperately to have a piece without getting stuck with the baby. (Here, in what I’m sure would be Ask a Manager approved advice, is when good bosses try to slip in and get the baby themselves so that none of their direct reports are stuck with it.)
Anyway, I tell you all this so you can understand why Lestat would have a baby as part of a “Let them eat King Cake” float. Why the cake would look like a giant wedding cake, though, I have no freaking idea. You don’t pull babies out of wedding cakes. This is the cake equivalent of saying everybody eats soft shell crabs by pinching the head and sucking the tail - that’s not crabs, that’s crawfish.
I get that it’s a Marie Antoinette reference but in that case if you’re going for a poor interpretation of the joke by saying king cake but not having king cake, then at the very least decorate that sucker in purple, green, and gold instead of white and pale pinks. The use of those colors dates back to 1872 thanks to our old pals at Krewe of Rex. If you’re doing colors other than that you are absolutely looked at like you’re pulling a “How you do, fellow New Orleanians?”
Related, one notable exception that the show biffed is the red, white, and blue bunting on the parade stand. That did happen but not until after the United States entered World War II (which happened in 1941, for those of you keeping track at home). Mardi Gras parades were first cancelled, then the next year were pivoted to fundraisers to support the war effort, so then they used red, white, and blue. In 1940 that was not a thing, as you can see in this photo of a parade from that year where even in black and white you can tell they’re not using patriotic decorations. It wasn’t a thing for the parades and it would very much not be a thing for Rex especially, since they’re the ones who made purple, green, and gold the official color scheme of the holiday.
(Fun fact: the homefront during World War II is another area of history I know a shit ton about. Considering that many signs are pointing to that being relevant information for season two of this show boy are y’all in for a treat! Pretty much the only thing we’re missing here is a deep dive on the history of how to do laundry and considering we’ve got tons of flashbacks to Lestat, Armand, and possibly even Marius’s life in our future let’s keep our fingers crossed, huh?)
(Except I’m not.)
One last key thing to note about Mardi Gras is that it ends at midnight. I mean ends. Not “you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here” type ending but it is capital-O Over. Reason why? Because once midnight hits it’s now Ash Wednesday, as in the first day of Lent, as in the day in which celebrations are now forbidden by the church. They do not fuck around with this. If you are out partying when midnight hits you will get hit with actual fire hoses to get your drunk ass off the street.
Once again: the city is Catholic. That midnight hour is dead serious, no vampire pun intended. They didn’t have any clocks out that I could see so no way to tell if the show incorrectly had the party going on too long, but it’s still a useful thing to note. Many of my grey hairs come from things that try to celebrate Mardi Gras but set the day of Mardi Gras as the start of the celebration, not the ending. Doesn’t work that way. Extremely does not work that way. January 6 through Mardi Gras itself. Period.
Finally, though it’s not only used for Mardi Gras, Latrobe’s is a real location that is used for Mardi Gras balls and other events, and it does in fact have a whispering gallery.
As always, things that don’t fit anywhere else
- How much did they spend on the food budget for this show? Seven episodes in and we’re constantly seeing Daniel eat something. I haven’t seen this much devotion to meals since Janice Poon’s last TV gig.
- “Come to coffin” instead of “come to bed” was a little try hard, to me.
- Likewise Lestat name dropping Those Who Must Be Kept not only for no reason but especially when he’s been established as keeping secrets from Louis and Claudia made that moment fall on the wrong side of Leo Pointing Meme as far as book references go. It was there purely for the sake of fannish reaction and not story. Though on the plus side that’s pretty much the only time the show made that mistake so on the whole I’m still going to use this series as an example of how these kinds of references should be done.
- The show’s handling of what makes Lestat an asshole is so strange to me. For example, Claudia continuously calls Lestat out on being racist. Except… he’s not? Don’t get me wrong, book Lestat is. Part of the reason he and Louis lasted as long as they did in Louisiana is because they started out living on Louis’ plantation where there was nobody there to notice them except Louis’ slaves. Book Lestat had zero problem with the concept of slaves, slavery, or treating these Black people as sub human because of it. Likewise when he popped up again in the 1980s, as I already mentioned, he was cheerfully spouting Regan style talking points about Welfare Queens. But here in the show we have never once seen Lestat treat anybody who isn’t white as being inferior because they’re not white. Yeah, he insults Claudia’s intelligence but Lestat insults everyone’s intelligence. So when Claudia gets on his case about being racist towards her it comes off more as a non-sequitur than anything else. She doesn’t lack for sins to be dinging him on.
- Likewise while I buy that Lestat would notice the fine stylings of Hugo Boss and maybe not use his inside voice when pointing it out, the implication that Lestat would be meh about the Holocaust is also not a thing. I’m not saying he’d be Captain America-ing his way through Nazi Germany, but he wasn’t antisemitic either. Given the rise of antisemitism these days, it doesn’t sit right with me that it’s being attached to his character like it’s just another aspect of him being a sexy bad boy, especially since there wasn’t anything in the books that suggested it. (At least as far as I recall in all the books leading up to Vittorio. If this got established in the later, more religious novels, please feel free to correct me.)
- (Also while I know the knowledge of the Holocaust didn’t start hitting the United States until roughly 1943 you cannot convince me that’s a fine line of detail this show was aware of and using on purpose.)
- Ursuline Ave runs perpendicular to Rue Royale. It runs for a long while so simply living on Ursuline doesn’t make the guy their neighbor, but I assume he meant one of the blocks nearby. Possibly even one close to the convent of the same name.
- I was disappointed that Lestat’s reaction to diseased blood had no payoff. I was waiting to find out that one of Claudia’s 3D chess moves was to have feinted with the poison only to do something like use someone recently diagnosed with cancer to weaken Lestat enough to be killed. Instead the guy was used to indicate people had interest in the three of them which… we already knew? I get that it was meant to spark the fountain of youth idea but you didn’t need the guy to establish that, there were plenty of other things already doing it. The diseased blood reaction was the new information and that went no where. Wasted opportunity if you ask me.
- Based on appearances I suspect they filmed Claudia buying the poison on location at the New Orleans Pharmacy museum.
- What was the point of the lollipop? Claudia’s grown into an evil plotting mastermind but we should remember she also shoplifts and litters? Like… okay I guess. Not the most interesting fact about her but sure, let’s spend time on it anyway.
- On the topic of Claudia’s 3D chess moves, her plan would’ve come off better if it wasn’t for how it was Louis who was insulted enough by the politician to mark him for an invitation to the murder party. Claudia mocking Lestat for being easy to bait with petty slights doesn’t work when this dude wouldn’t have been there except for Louis having the exact same issue with being insulted. (And, arguably, in Louis’ case it’s not a petty slight at all and is instead justifiable anger). I get that if Louis hadn’t marked the guy Claudia could’ve done it herself to make sure he was there but the point is that’s not what they showed. It’s your script! The reveal of Claudia’s diabolical plan doesn’t work if you’re the one undercutting it! Let her have her Oleanna Tyrell moment! She’s earned it!
- If you had closed captions on it let you know that Antoinette’s voice was the first one Louis heard at the party. That didn’t ruin the surprise of her reveal, though, it built anticipation for it.
- I cannot stress enough how much I hope this show does not take much from Armand’s backstory in the books. First of all, because the history of Armand came at one of the heights (if we can call it a height) of Anne in her phase of repeatedly writing about underage children seducing adults and thus doesn’t need to be used at all. Second, the show which has proven it can’t handle the idea of race and slavery when it comes to Black people has earned zero confidence in its ability to write about the same thing but also underage characters who are Muslim.
- Granted the actor playing Armand is in his late 30s and Daniel, though calling him a rent boy, never seemed to actually mean boy so hopefully all signs are pointing to them getting rid of the underage part. Just toss the sex slavery right into the trash with it and we’re fine.
- While I’m on board with Rolin Jones’s point (mentioned in the linked interview below) that the brief mention of Louis and Armand’s time together is ripe for exploration but... my dude. C'mon. You know who does have a shit ton of pages about their relationship in the novels? Daniel and Armand. You’re brushing past and possibly even erasing the two of them to present Louis and Armand as the hot pairing? Honey. Do not bullshit a fanficcer. You had your shot to make your personal OTP canon and you took it. I mean respect, seriously, but c’mon.
- Once again did any of that get into your mouths?
- Production designer Mara LePere-Schloop talked about bringing the locations to life. I appreciate how she, like me, nerded out about how Gallier House was technically advanced for its time and was thus an inspiration for how Lestat might tweak the house to his needs. I side-eye the characterization of Anne as a universally beloved protector of old buildings when by the end her reputation was a touch more on the side of greedy rich woman buying properties for herself with little care for the history nor the people who already used them but considering whose names are listed as producers on this show I can’t blame Mara for going with the propaganda version.
- (Also again just gonna point out the “grass skirts” and “sacrifice a watermelon” quote from one of Anne’s relatives in that article as evidence that race relations were not exactly a strong suit with Anne and her family. Just saying.)
- The promised interview with Rolin Jones where he talks about the finale and possible plans for season two.
- AMC’s decision to air episodes one week in advance on AMC+ has been interesting to observe from a fannish perspective. I get that on paper this was a way to get people to buy the service, but in reality what that meant is that dedicated fans got their hands on torrents before the episodes actually aired or were allowed to be talked about in the media (believe me, I kept double checking when I should be posting these articles because of it). This resulted in disjointed fannish conversations and especially resulted in episodes repeatedly being spoiled on social media because people assumed any access to the episode made it fair game, even if it wasn’t the official air date. I’ve met fandom before so I hold no hope that there’s going to be anything curtailing people who are going to post spoilers without warning, but I do hope AMC tightens up that lead time by at least a couple of days to cut down on the confusion.
- You may ask hey: is the idea of Mardi Gras Krewes where I got the inspiration for the names of the paid membership levels you can join either here or over on Ko-Fi to help keep this site running and get access to Bonus Content? And I will answer by saying yes, yes it was. How well spotted of you, reader who provided me this great opportunity for shameless self-promotion.
- (Seriously, though, the support does help, so thank you!)
And that’s all she wrote. Or that’s all I wrote. I’m going back and forth on a deeper dive into the costumes but that may depend on my ability to get my hands on some photos for example purposes. Keep a good thought there. Otherwise thanks for joining me!
CORRECTION: When writing these articles Assad Zaman's correct age and background were not known. His parents are originally from Bangladesh and he was born in 1990. Thank you to nat over on Instagram for the heads up!