‘Interview With the Vampire’ Stars on Armand’s Betrayal, Madeleine’s Transformation & That Major Twist

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[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Interview With the Vampire Season 2 Episode 6 “Like the Light by Which God Made the World Before He Made Light.” It also contains discussion of suicide.]

Interview With the Vampire Season 2 Episode 6 delivered one of the series’ most enthralling romantic moments juxtaposed by one of its greatest tragedies, setting the stage for what Jacob Anderson tells TV Insider is “a brutal hour of television” in next week’s penultimate episode of the season.

After Armand (Assad Zaman) feared “mutiny brewing” among the Théâtre des Vampires in Paris in Episode 4, Episode 6 revealed in its final moments that he secretly made a plan to save himself from their wrath by selling out Louis (Anderson), Claudia (Delainey Hayles), and her new companion Madeleine (Roxane Duran). After kissing Louis on the cheek while on a double date with Claudia and Madeleine, whom Louis turned into a vampire with Claudia’s help earlier in the episode, Armand stood in the café doorway and remained as still as the humans he had frozen in time as Santiago (Ben Daniels) and the rest of the coven abducted Louis, his daughter, and her immortal companion.

The trio awoke beaten, bloodied, and disoriented on stage at the theater where a matinee performance was taking place, and they were the stars of the show. They’re each on trial for the attempted murder of Lestat (Sam Reid) and the murder of Antoinette Brown (Maura Grace Athari from Season 1). Notice how we said attempted murder. Yes, Lestat is alive, and he’s right downstairs. Book readers knew this was coming, but hopefully those new to the story were surprised.

In Dubai, Armand called this his one act of “cowardice,” the only time he’s ever failed Louis. What wasn’t a betrayal, he said, was wiping the memory of Louis’ suicide attempt in San Francisco from Louis and Daniel’s (Eric Bogosian) minds. According to the ancient vampire, Louis asked him to three days after they abandoned young Daniel (Luke Brandon Field) in a drug den. The act of asking was seemingly erased as well.

When asked about this reveal, Anderson turned the question around and asked me, “Did you believe that he asked him to do that? How did you feel about that?,” implying he himself questioned Armand’s story. My answer was yes, but that I believe there is still something left to be revealed.

“It’s interesting that people will come down on different sides about that, whether they believe Armand or not,” Anderson says. “Maybe there are things later on that might recontextualize how people feel about that moment.” He adds, “Armand, he’s very vulnerable” in this episode and beyond, “but he’s also the gremlin.” (Louis called Armand a “gremlin” in their explosive fight in San Francisco in Episode 5, just moments before Louis’ suicide attempt.)

How could Armand do this? Zaman tells TV Insider that he’s desperate for Louis’ full attention, implying Armand may secretly harbor resentment for Claudia.

Delainey Hayles as Claudia in 'Interview With the Vampire' Season 2 Episode 6

Larry Horricks / AMC

“Throughout Paris we see the flowering of this romance between Armand and Louis, but there’s a shift when the element of Claudia is tugging into their relationship,” Zaman says. “There is a third person there. When things get really tricky for Louis and Armand, Armand needs full attention. He needs that full attention from Louis and that full love because he’s so desperate for it.” Zaman says that in his character’s mind, Louis “can’t give” that love “because he has someone else in his life that, to Armand’s eyes, takes that attention away.”

“There’s a lot of insecurities in Armand in terms of where he fits in this hierarchy of people in Louis’ life, and his sense of value of himself is very much related to how others perceive him,” Zaman continues. “In Paris, he needs to preserve that as much as he can. In Dubai, he finds that the only way he can preserve it is by preserving Louis. His idea of himself is through the way Louis sees him.”

Zaman says that Armand “will go to extreme lengths” to prevent the actions of the coven, but the question is, what actions are he trying to stop? By stepping out of the café and immobilizing the humans, we know Armand knew at least some of the coven’s plan and was in some way OK with Louis being abducted. Whatever he knew and whatever happens next, Zaman says “nothing’s been resolved” between him and Louis in the 77 years since.

“Everything’s just been shoved under the carpet,” he says, noting that Loumand is like “so many relationships I have witnessed, and maybe sometimes been in, where things are just not talked about and shoved into the carpet until the carpet’s full, until you have no choice and they often come out in explosions like we see in Episode 5.”

“We may see another explosion going into the next episodes when things are revealed,” Zaman adds, noting that Armand is “scrambling” in Dubai. The constant probing from Daniel makes him feel threatened and vulnerable because “Armand has never considered looking to his own memories or his own past to see patterns in behavior.” He explains: “Often people who are desperately sad and missing something in their life aren’t able to be introspective because the trauma that they may have suffered is so raw that they fear that looking back will put them back into that place again. It’s just too painful. So, I think everything he does is just forward thinking.”

“We don’t know in the show how much he’s divulged about the Children of Darkness and his life before Louis, before the theater, with anyone else except he does it with Daniel,” Zaman notes. “That’s his defenses crumbling in that moment, even though he thinks he’s in control because he’s controlling the narrative. It’s inevitable that sometimes your true self can come through in those moments and they just build and build and build.”

Assad Zaman as Armand in 'Interview With the Vampire' Season 2 Episode 6

Larry Horricks / AMC

Armand threw a wrench into Claudia and Madeleine’s romantic bliss with his choice in Episode 6. Before that, “It’s a deep exhale for Claudia, meeting Madeleine,” Hayles tells TV Insider, “which is a surprise to her.” These lovers are a match made in vampire heaven, as proven by the stunning scene where we see Madeleine’s memories play out while she accepts the dark gift. One of those memories is a vision of Claudia beaming in sunlight, a depiction of how Madeleine’s love for Claudia manifests in her inner world. Hayles explains why these two work together so well as a couple.

“They see something in each other where they’re both being ostracized by the community, and they’re flocking towards each other because they’re both offering each other solace,” she says. “Claudia offers Madeleine escapism, and for Claudia, Madeleine offers her security in a way of come as you are.”

Tragically, their love story has been interrupted by the trial and the return of Lestat. For the first time this season, we see the very much alive Lestat de Lioncourt, not the Dream-stat of episodes past. Reid lays it out plain for TV Insider: “He does not want to be there.”

“[Lestat] told Claudia and Louis the vampires in Europe are much worse, and he did not want to go to Paris at all, ever. No, no, no,” Reid says. “But here they are back in Paris, and he does not have good feelings about Paris.” Much of those bad feelings are because of Armand’s presence.

“We don’t know all of the details about Nicki [Lestat’s first love shown in Episode 203], but Armand’s with another one of his exes, and it didn’t turn out well the first time,” Reid explains. “He’s not in a good mood. But this is also a memory being told to the audience, or told to Molloy by both Armand and Louis. So, two people who have complicated feelings about Lestat. Now you get to have a mesh between the two.”

As for what’s in store in the trial next week, Reid can’t say much. But he can confirm that Lestat and Santiago “give each other a run for their money.” Lestat may be the only person in the world who could make Santiago look tame. Santiago believes himself to be a leading man, “but Santiago’s got bottle blonde hair,” Reid says with a playful scoff. “Why do you think he dyed his hair blonde?”

All joking aside, the stakes couldn’t be higher heading into Season 2 Episode 7. Brace yourselves.

Interview With the Vampire, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC, Streaming Sundays on AMC+

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