When a relationship is failing, what's something that can reignite the spark?
Some people go on vacation, while others seek therapy. For Louis and Lestat, they find themselves suddenly parents to a fourteen-year-old vampire, who does reignite some happiness for a short while before it all falls apart again.
Interview with the Vampire Season 1 Episode 4 saw the much-anticipated debut of Claudia, who would change the very fabric of this story forever.
We already know Louis and Lestat love one another dearly. It's a bond they're almost powerless to break, but Louis was ready for it to be over in the closing minutes of Interview with the Vampire Season 1 Episode 3.
Wracked with guilt, confusion, and contempt, Louis took to the streets to try and help alleviate some of the chaos he had started. He finds Claudia on the brink of death and brings her back to Lestat because he needs to do something to assuage his guilt.
There's murder and so much destruction in the streets, but if he can save this girl, at least he can do something right. It's misguided thinking, in a way, especially considering his complicated relationship with vampirism, but at that moment, it seems like the perfect solution to a complicated problem.
Lestat, never one to resist Louis, agrees; thus, this new family begins at a volatile time for the couple.
Claudia: We're a family.
Louis: Yeah. With no secrets.
It's interesting to later hear Molloy call Claudia a bandaid for a failing marriage because that is precisely what it feels like as you see her journey unfold.
This hour is mainly about Claudia and walking through those years beside her, but Louis and Lestat's relationship is always simmering in the background, and this time we get to see it through someone else's eyes.
Claudia is every bit a teenager, and I'm not sure much is known about brain development once you're a part of the walking dead, but I have to imagine your developmental growth dies the second you turn. Claudia doesn't present as a full-fledged child, but she has many childlike qualities that probably will never disappear.
She's erratic and impulsive, which is typical for a teenager. Except a mortal teenager changing and learning about her wants, desires, and needs differs from a vampire ruled by the sun with a penchant for killing.
Naturally, Claudia and Louis bond in such a way that I can't ever see her bonding with Lestat, even though he is her maker. She may share his bloodlust, but at her core, she feels more of a kinship to Louis. She also seems skeptical of Lestat, which tracks with the man we've met.
Lestat keeps many things close to his chest, often deflecting with jokes and anger. Louis seems content to let him be, but Claudia's inquisitive nature feels like it will eventually get to Lestat. If there is one main takeaway I gleaned from this hour, it's that Lestat and Claudia's fragile dynamic will come to a head.
Claudia floats through her early years okay with how Louis and Lestat have presented her to be, in her pleated skirts and perfectly coiffed hair. But the night Lestat takes her to lover's lane, she's awakened in a way that sets her on that collision course with unsuspecting Charlie, who suddenly becomes a tragedy on Claudia's road to discovery.
From what Claudia shares with us, Louis and Lestat kind of let her roam free. She has some early hiccups and clearly doesn't have her impulses under control, yet she's able to go out alone at night, even though a few digs from a group of ignorant women almost send her into a fit of rage.
They put a lot of trust in Claudia, that's hard to understand. I know that years are passing, and they must feel she can control herself and follow the rules they've set out, but because we don't see that, it feels jarring with how much space they give her.
Especially when from our perspective hearing her thoughts, it feels like she's teetering on edge in a lot of ways.
Poor Charlie winds up being at the wrong place at the wrong time when he meets Claudia for the first time. She instantly becomes infatuated with him, a nice guy with a calming presence. She's falling for someone for the first time, and, unfortunately, she must learn this first lesson in a brutal way.
Louis does warn her about the consequences of their actions, but it's one thing to hear something like that and another thing to live it.
The moment she got in that carriage with him, the writing was on the wall because she hadn't proven herself able of resisting the urge. The blood pumps through her ears, and she gives in, even though it's obvious she never goes into the evening intentionally wanting to hurt Charlie.
It all reinforces one of Lestat's biggest lessons about breaking free from the control of humans. And it's a somewhat brutal lesson because, with so few vampires, you must come to terms with that loneliness if you're never meant to form long-lasting relationships with the living.
There is definitely something from Lestat's past that's turned him into the vampire he is, and it goes far beyond just him being alive for so long. Has he suffered grief, loss, and pain throughout his years? I'm sure, but does that excuse his at time abject cruelty when trying to get his point across?
Remember this. His face as it melts. This is why we never get close to mortals because sooner or later, they end up dead.Lestat [to Claudia]
Charlie's death seems to spark something in Claudia, and that's not a shock. We all know how tragic first love can be. And she killed hers!
The scene of her wildly oscillating between crying, laughing, and almost ripping her hair out was a neat way of showing the mental toll vampirism can have on someone so young, impressionable, scared, and confused.
She puts her arm in the light to feel something beyond the thoughts trapped in her head.
- Molloy, in all his cantankerous glory, having a hidden file where he questions everything, including Rashid, is super on-brand. One of these hours must delve more into Molloy and that initial meeting because it's an integral part of this story.
- Grace has had enough of Louis. It's sad to see how the deterioration of that relationship and link to his human life is almost completely severed.
- Louis will eventually have to choose between Claudia and Lestat, isn't he?
- The whole scene at the funeral party was the type of comedy this series does really well. It's a little morbid, totally inappropriate, and adds a little levity. The hours are very dark, but these little moments work amidst the sea of despair.
We're flying through this first season, and I'm curious how you're finding the series overall with only a few hours left. It's started strong, and they've kept that momentum moving as they expand the stories in new ways.
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section, and watch Interview with the Vampire online right now so you can join the conversation!
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.