If Episode 1 of Interview with the Vampire served to introduce Louis and Lestat and their immortal bond, Episode 2, “After the Phantoms of Your Former Self”, served to introduce their tempestuous relationship. The Louis who narrates his tale to Daniel Malloy isn’t much of a vampire, choosing not to hunt but rather to take small drinks from willing familiars or drink blood stored in bags. How he came to be the Louis in the present day has nearly everything to do with how his relationship with Lestat ebbed and flowed and this episode provides the earliest inklings of how things will progress.
From Louis’ first, awkward kill in the episode’s opening half, Lestat’s nature as a killer begins to come into contrast with Louis’. Though Lestat tells his pupil that murdering his victims will get easier over time, the truth is that Louis never took to it as his mentor did. Over the course of the episode, Louis becomes appalled first with himself after finding himself tempted to drain his sister’s baby and then later with Lestat who views his kills as an expression of his inner artist. Their debate over how to properly dispatch their food ends in Lestat screaming at Louis, imploring him to embrace his new powers: “you’re a killer, Louis!” While these words are among some of the more famous from Anne Rice’s novels to be quoted in this episode, rather than put Louis on the course Lestat hopes they will, they set him instead on the one that makes him evolve into the present day version willing to tell his story to Malloy. Louis and Lestat’s love-hate relationship drives so much of Rice’s novels and it seems that the series is willing to spend time developing it, rather than rushing it, meaning the payoff down the road should be all the better.
By spending so much time developing the relationship between the two leads, the episode left itself little time to do much else. A little world-building early on (Louis explains to Malloy that one of his paintings is by Marius de Romanus, one of the world’s oldest vampires) and a subtle hint to just how strong Louis is for having been made by Lestat (his trip into the sun, while painful does little damage) stand out, especially to those familiar with Rice’s works. But beyond that, the episode does exactly what it seems it was intended to do: put the drama between Louis and his maker on full display, setting up a season’s worth of conflict.