In Interview With the Vampire’s Latest Episode, the Paris Coven Lets the Right One In

In Interview With the Vampire’s Latest Episode, the Paris Coven Lets the Right One In

In “No Pain,” the third episode of Interview With the Vampire season two, Armand (Assad Zaman) shares the story of the Theatre des Vampires as Louis (Jacob Anderson) expresses reluctance to join—something that doesn’t stop Claudia (Delainey Hayles) from eagerly wanting to be a part of it.

This week we bite into the history of Paris’ vampire coven and Lestat’s (Sam Reid) role in its founding, as well as vampire rules, dark gifts, and more immortal romance. Levan Akin directs “No Pain” from a script by Heather Bellson in Anne Rice’s Immortal Universe of vampire lore, airing Sundays on AMC and AMC+.

Taking a break from the isolating room at Louis and Armand’s penthouse, Molloy (Eric Bogosian) gets a real meal at a posh sushi restaurant in Dubai. There he’s accosted by a man who goes by Raglan James (Justin Kirk), who represents another mysterious party tracking vampires that knows more than Molloy is being told by Louis and Armand. Book fans definitely geeked out a bit here at the character’s introduction and little foreshadowing lines from James thoughout (if you know you know). Molloy thinks he’s not exposed, but after James advises him to be open to communication, he ends up getting hacked by the mysterious figure anyway when he gets back into the penthouse. Talk about a poor firewall, friend! Daniel is immediately sent files of more vampire information that he ever imagined in relation to his interview subjects and himself.

Molloy tries to play it cool and hide James’ helpful info dump via chat box, as Armand arrives before Louis to share an on-the-record history lesson about the Paris Coven’s origins. The soft-spoken Armand is very old, despite his perpetually angelic-looking appearance: in 1556, the Roman Coven he was a part of sent him to Paris to head up its enclave, which lived in squalor deep in the shadows underground. They were run by sects driven through ancient religious laws and gods to keep them in eternal damnation mode under Satan. It got old very quickly for Armand; by the 18th century, when Lestat began to run amok in the city above, flaunting his alluring menace on the unsuspecting living, it drove most of the Paris Coven crazy to see such heretical behavior. But it intrigued Armand.

In order to exert dominance as the Paris Coven’s maitre, Armand reveals himself to the fledgling Lestat and informs him he’s his new master as he exists in their domain and must follow vampire law. So of course Lestat blows him off, with the swish of his cape and his blond bouncy hair, because he does not want to be an obedient, poor, peasant vampire. The rejection only makes the brat Frenchman more hot to Armand, who’s never faced a challenge. Naturally, the coven wants severe punishment for Lestat as they see him break so many more rules including taking a mortal lover. That’s the breaks for letting Lestat run his showman lifestyle—and Armand uses his ancient powers to literally drop his ass and drag him into cooperating with a show of power that switches Lestat’s view on Armand.

The boy wants power and he immediately plans to get it, so he shows up to the coven’s hovel with Christ on a cross (literally) to dismantle the old ways, which is what Armand wanted but knew he couldn’t get away with. He pisses on their rules and old god worship, because to Lestat they’re not there to stop them from being gods themselves. The coven breaks loose into the night; some end up taking to the sun to escape meaningless existence, while others jump into power. Knowing they need to be reeled in, because careless killing endangers all of them, Lestat encourages Armand to begin the coven anew through the Theatre des Vampires, a show where they perform their true identity and take their prey while the living laugh at the fiction they think they’re seeing.

Lestat’s reformation leads to a new age of the vampire, giving Armand the freedom he sought, and he tells Lestat he loves him while Lestat being Lestat only covets Armand’s dark gifts. As soon as he learns them from the maitre, Lestat abandons him and the coven but leaves them the means to continue without him. Lestat’s ghosting and lover melodrama is something Louis is aware of and helps provide insight on when he sits with Armand and Molloy. It would take Armand 150 years to tell someone else he loved them, and you can deduce it’s Louis—oh, the piping hot tea!

Molloy resumes Claudia’s Paris diaries, as she campaigns to join the coven that Louis wants no part of except to see her happy (and also he’s sweet on its maitre). She takes on the tasks of cleaning the theater house as she learns more about the coven, particularly Santiago. The acting troupe’s lead inspires her with his performances and dark gift of making people accept death before killing, and with her Daddy Lestat’s ambitious streak, she wants that power too. So Santiago takes her under his wing because he was also orphaned by a terrible maker, but of course he doesn’t know hers was Lestat—just some rando vamp named “Bruce.”

Lestat’s presence is also felt in Louis’ motivations; like his former lover, there’s an independent streak that prevents him from having any interest in the coven, and that makes him attractive to Armand. The Paris Coven resents that even though all Louis does is enjoy Parisian culture and take up photography, with sporadic human meals, Armand begins to join him on his late-night wandering throughout the city. They fall in love over discourse about good vs. evil and enjoying music at jazz clubs—even with the occasional mental projection of Lestat showing up in Louis’ mind. Last season’s “Come to Me” song reappears in a fun scene as a diss track with Lestat on piano singing to Louis, “You little whore, you only want him because you’re feeling blue,” which disrupts the romantic evening—and Armand reveals he knows his maker is Lestat. Foolishly, Louis tells Armand everything and the maitre reprimands him over breaking so many rules he needs to enforce punishments for. Honestly, the expectation that Lestat would even teach Louis any rules is ridiculous, so when he says Lestat told him “shit” the frustration is understandable. Thankfully, Armand is stupidly sprung on Louis too, so he doesn’t kill him or Claudia immediately as was probably expected.

Louis, of course, does not tell Claudia that his new boyfriend knows the truth; he continues to build a fake story around their history with “Bruce” and bond with her over their shared Lestat trauma. It really mirrors the complex PTSD that survivors of emotional and physical abuse can carry on from loved ones—even after making it out of the situation, it can haunt you, and in Louis’ case this presents as that manifestation of Lestat always following him. In anger, Louis kills a random person imagining them as Lestat and carelessly leaves the body behind. Within the coven, Santiago points out that his own maker was killed for less.

Tensions begin to rise as the coven wants Louis dealt with, even as they embrace Claudia. As they begin to induct her into the coven by reciting the rules every vampire should follow (not knowing she’s broken a few of them), Armand takes Louis through the sewers to finally kill him. Louis is ready for it and asks for Armand to take care of Claudia, but the maitre reveals her being in such a young body will break her in time. Louis doesn’t accept that and begs for the coven to give her a chance, but Armand insists he’s seen it before; over the centuries, vampires in children’s bodies are not able to evolve past their physical limitations. Louis defends her, insisting she’s strong and it wouldn’t break her—perhaps blinded by her love for her. Seeing the damage Lestat has caused, Armand asks if Lestat broke him and Louis says no, but he carries him. The trauma bonding brings them together as do the life and death stakes here. The tension is too much and they kiss, starting a tryst and avoiding all the punishment talk for now.

Interview With the Vampire airs Sundays on AMC and AMC+.

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