Interview with the Vampire Season 2 Episode 5 Review: Don’t Be Afraid, Just Start the Tape


Was that the best hour of the series since the Interview with the Vampire Season 1 Episode 1?

It very well may have been, as the foray back to 1970s San Francisco unlocked some core memories for Louis and Daniel that could change everything for them.

Interview with the Vampire Season 2 Episode 5 was a game-changer in many ways.

It set us up for the final few hours of the series, which are poised to be crushing and invigorating.

Daniel’s been battling with faint memories from his time with Louis and Armand in San Francisco for some time, never quite able to fully tap into what they meant and the circumstances behind them.

And he’s been reluctant to broach the topic, but listening to his recordings from that evening spurred him into action, especially when he had the opportunity to get Louis alone.

Daniel’s always been in a unique position.

He’s conducted the interview this season with both Louis and Armand fully engaged because he’s got a front-row seat to the dysfunction and irregularities.

Pessimism is basically Daniel’s calling card, and he’s never fully recovered from the Rashid/Armand duping, which has always put him on edge around Armand and added to his skepticism about his and Louis’s whole dynamic.

And honestly, you and me both, Daniel.

Armand is a deeply insecure vampire, as evidenced by what we’ve seen of him in Paris and the present.

Lestat broke his heart, and the specter of Lestat, both the betrayal and his past with Louis, has left him constantly uncertain.

That was never more evident than when he showed up at the apartment to see Louis seconds away from killing Daniel.

Watching that scene play out was like watching the most beautiful disaster you’ve ever seen.

I’m not sure that’s the most apt way to describe it, but I couldn’t think of anything better.

Louis had lost it. One second thoroughly entranced by Daniel and with the opportunity to speak all these thoughts he’d kept hidden for so long. Free to express and feel the feelings he’d long kept buried.

The next, absolutely lost in his suffering.

It’s crazy that Louis hadn’t spoken Lestat’s name in some twenty years, but it sounded on-brand for the Louis and Armand we know in Dubai.

They put on a display in front of Daniel as the devoted couple who’ve worked through all their past issues with the ex-boyfriend they shared and have reached this place where they’re beyond the dramatics.

They’re the ones in love. They’re the ones who made it.

Lestat was merely a footnote on THEIR road to happily ever after.

Related: Interview with the Vampire Set A Very High Standard With Its First Season. Can The Show Avoid a Sophmore Slump?

Now, we know that’s all a farce. Lestat lives inside that relationship—he always has and will.

But hearing that they didn’t speak his name for two-plus decades proved that they avoided the tough conversations, choosing instead to bury the thing that would always remain between them until it inevitably blew up in their faces.

This series features nuanced and emotional performances by all its leads, making it one of the best on television.

We already know about the beauty that is Jacob Anderson and Sam Reid when they’re given the freedom to exist together in a scene.

There have been some powerful and affecting scenes between Anderson and Assad Zaman, with perhaps their greatest moment here in this hour.

There was an obvious tension between Louis and Armand during this period of their life.

It was almost as if they hit their version of the seven-year itch.

Louis seemed somewhat resentful of Armand in a way, like he was unable to let go of a longstanding grudge, while Armand seemed both disappointed in Louis and a little disappointed in himself for having been in the position he was in.

Their screaming match felt like years and years of built-up rage they’d ignored until it was impossible to keep hidden any longer.

And would you guess what seemed to be the true catalyst to the breakdown? Ah, that pesky Lestat.

Louis: Armand could see I was partial to you. Armand preserves my happiness, even when I don’t or can’t. He had a hunch you might prove fruitful in later times.
Daniel: Okay, sure. Let’s go with that.

Louis was raging against Lestat to the point he even had Daniel riled up on his behalf.

But the fact he couldn’t keep his name out of his mouth, the vampire still VERY much a factor in Louis’s mind, didn’t escape Armand.

The cutting remarks. The mocking. The lowest of blows delivered with such clarity and aim.

It’s an award-worthy scene between two actors who understand their characters wholly and give themselves over to a beautiful script.

Louis hit to the core of Armand when he called him dull, and Armand doubled down on what Daniel had just said to Louis that set him off in the first place while also battering the Claudia-sized hole Louis had carried with him since Paris.

As we found out for real in the climax of the hour (even if we’ve known it all along), Armand’s a master manipulator and gaslighter, similar to the vampire he loathes so desperately.

Spitting at Louis that Claudia never loved him, not like him, was like textbook emotional manipulation 101.

And doing it while Louis was at his most vulnerable?

Related: Interview with the Vampire Post-Mortem: Delainey Hayles Talks THAT Louis and Claudia Confrontation & ‘Lovely’ Fan Reception

It’s such a charged moment between the pair, especially as the fight left Louis, replaced with despair and the agony of what happened all those years ago.

Seeing what came next was so jarring and terrifying, seeing Louis hit his breaking point, years and years of trauma, mixed with heightened emotions and, of course, the rush of almost draining a man full of drugs, culminating in him trying to take his life.

It’s so unexpected and devastating, and give all the flowers to the makeup department for Louis’s charred body, which was just so well done. It was almost as if you could feel the pain through the screen every time he moved his body.

Louis’s walk into the sun took all the fight out of Armand, who was then back in clean-up mode, and you could tell he was so tired of it.

Just exhausted and utterly beaten down by the events of that evening and the last however many years.

Armand’s always carefully in control, at least on the outside, and he was still in control, killing a neighbor to preserve the secret and always ready as ever to get rid of Daniel when the time arose.

This was such a showcase hour for Zaman, who did masterful work as Armand danced around the apartment from room to room, dealing with warring emotions, from fear to contempt to stubbornness to reluctant acceptance and back again.

Daniel would not give him the answers he wanted because he was not the crux of the problem.

Daniel was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Louis had been using San Francisco to escape from dealing with something he never properly dealt with: Paris.

Now, Armand’s reaching out to Lestat was unexpected but actually a brilliantly twisted move because I think he knew exactly how it would play out.

He tortured both himself and Louis for the few moments it would take to hurt Lestat even further.

Louis lies through his teeth when it comes to Lestat, and he always chooses Armand.

Channeling Lestat to seemingly comfort Louis when he was in so much pain just felt like another power play and an opportunity for Armand to show Louis that he’s right in front of him, caring for him, loving him, and trying to do right by him.

On the surface, it could almost pass for being sweet, as Louis can pretend he’s Lestat’s biggest opp, but we ALL know that’s not the whole story. It’s a lot more complicated than that.

Armand giving him a chance to contact his maker right after he walked into the sun could be perceived as a nicety to Louis, but that’s certainly not what it felt like.

If you want the insanity back. If you want an escape from this prison of empathy I’ve locked you away in, all you had to do was ask, Louis.


He wanted nothing more than for Louis to reject Lestat and see Armand as the man willing to endure something so painful (and hearing the man who deserted you after you confessed your love to them say I love you to someone else in your head IS painful) to help Louis.

Again, I’m saying this on repeat because it bears repeating, but Zaman is SO good.

He repeats Lestat’s words back but can’t bear to repeat ‘I love you’ even while Lestat’s desperate in his mind.

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I can’t even imagine what Armand felt when he heard that, but alas, everything worked out the way he wanted, with Louis lying again and their relationship still tenuous but intact.

While the flashbacks played out, Louis and Daniel were re-living those days as their memories slowly returned to them, and they put the pieces together.

Daniel’s been suspicious of Armand since forever, but his suspicions were always just that, suspicions.

He should have felt validated when he clocked Armand as a memory-fogging madman, but he mostly looked sad for himself and Louis.

The absolute perfection of Armand walking back into the penthouse with some pep in his step and those Lady Gaga sunglasses, completely unaware Louis had just clocked him, was pure cinema.

And watching him try to play it cool while he parroted back the exact words Louis uttered earlier, further justifying what Louis just realized was the icing on the cake.

What does Louis do now? What else does he question?

Does Armand talk his way out of it? How does it impact how he views the past?

If Armand scrambled Louis’s memories once, how many other times did he do it?

The tension! The drama! The anguish!

And we still have to return to Paris.

Extra Thoughts

  • The way Armand tried to talk Daniel to death by making him feel like death was the right way out for him was so creepy but so well done. Another showcase of Armand’s supreme power and the influence he so readily yields.

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  • To think all these years, Daniel kept the words he thought some poor stranger bestowed upon so near and dear to his heart when it was Louis all along? The two have been connected in ways they were forced to forget.
  • Lestat didn’t actually hear Louis tell Lestat he was purely his maker and nothing more, but can you imagine if he had?
  • Speaking of Lestat, correct me if I’m wrong, but was this the first hour with real confirmation he’s “alive” and out in the world somewhere?
  • Daniel offering himself up to Louis while high and seeing vampirism as a gift was fascinating, as it contrasts the Daniel we see in Dubai. Also, him trying to be Louis’s Lestat and Claudia? No wonder Louis snapped.

There are only three episodes in Interview with the Vampire Season 2, and that’s just a depressing thought after an hour like this.

Things will only get more heartbreaking, and I’m not sure if we’re ready for it.

I surely am not.

While we wait for what’s next, jump into the comment section and let me know what you thought about the San Francisco hour!

Whitney Evans is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lover of all things TV. Follow her on X.

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