What other way would there be to end the first season of this bloody bonkers show than with a masquerade ball? We’ve been on quite the journey my fellow creatures of the night and I’d have been disappointed to see it end in any other way. I’m not sure how much of it makes sense but that’s how I like my Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire. Extravagant gory and all over the place. We’re told we’ve only heard half the story and indeed AMC has already signed on for a second season which is great because The Thing Lay Still presents a lot more questions than it answers. Starting with: What are the vampire rules around here anyway?
Claudia who can keep Louis out of her thoughts if she chooses apparently has wisely decided to keep him out of her murder plans. And Daddy Lou strangely incurious about Lestat’s impending assassination just goes with it. He doesn’t even raise an eyebrow at how easily she appears to manipulate Les into going along with her ideas. Louis puts up just one very weak fight — he doesn’t want to fully give in to Lestat as she instructs — and this turns out to be the one time ever that Louis is right and Claudia is wrong. No duh Louis can’t go through with killing Lestat Claudia. That’s why you kept the plot a secret from him to begin with.
From the outset I think we all knew that Lestat was not going to actually die the only real question was how would he survive. Still even with this conviction deep in my television-obsessed bones I have to admit the cross-double-cross twist had me going for a second. I love watching a supernatural scheme unfold — especially when it delivers both the catharsis of a flawless execution and a surprise backfire in the end. The fact that this episode delivers not one but two whodunnit-style monologues unraveling the secret plot? I’m in heaven. The Thing Lay Still reminds me and I swear to God I mean this in the best possible way of the just-barely-foiled plot to kill Mikael on The Vampire Diaries. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Molloy asks at the top of the episode how exactly one kills a vampire and Louis’s emphasis on the Don’t Drink the Blood of the Dead rule clues us in on Claudia’s planned method of execution which is to poison the bait. But it’s not yet clear where she’s going with her insistence on a farewell Mardi Gras bash before the gang has to hightail it out of New Orleans for good. The townsfolk have finally noticed there’s something amiss with their ahem f*g pederast satanic trio so they’re planning to leave anyway. Claudia convinces Lestat that they should leave on a high note — host the big Mardi Gras party themselves lure away a select few with promises of immortality then feast on their prey — the better to mock the human inferiors. Sounds great! The mayor finds their pitch sufficiently creepy to hand them the Mardi Gras celebration reins which for some delightful reason includes Lestat in drag on a parade float where he pretends to eat a babydoll.
The dress code at the after-party is 18th-century full beat and Lestat and Louis scandalize their guests by kissing passionately in the middle of the dance floor. Oh Louis. He is not at all over Lestat. Anyway while Louis mingles and tags chosen victims with special boutonnieres Claudia is setting up the pieces of her 7-D chess board. It’s one of those hot twins Lestat wants to eat she tells Louis. She’s already poisoned him so he’ll be good and dead by the time they serve him up to Lestat. Once Louis has finished passing out tickets to the bloody massacre it’s time for phase two. Which is the bloody massacre. A squelching screeching squirting romp of a massacre. By the time it is over Claudia and Louis have propped up the poisoned twin on a chair and presented him to their true victim. Immediately Lestat seems suspicious and not just because Louis so clearly looks like he just got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. I’m sorry my love *smiles nervously.*
Antoinette also in drag out of nowhere: Laudanum. Arsenic.
Plot twist! Turns out Lestat did technically kill Antoinette he just also turned her into a vampire. Not only that he invited her to the ball and she’s been listening to their plots the whole night! The fangs leap out and Antoinette shoves Claudia’s face into the poisoned kid’s neck to make her drink the dead blood while Lestat tries to sell Louis on his mistress as a replacement. But then the dead kid wakes up! What!
Plot twist again! Lestat begins vomiting and Claudia launches into her villain monologue. She knew Antoinette was there the whole time. Actually Claudia knows that Antoinette has been listening in on their plans from the very beginning — outside the apothecary window where she bought the arsenic in the streetcar behind a tree near the park bench when Louis tells Claudia to leave — cleverly disguised by wearing a top hat. This kid wasn’t poisoned at all Claudia reveals. She poisoned the mayor who disrespected Lestat earlier in the episode knowing he’d want to kill him. Always the petty slights with you Uncle Les.
Claudia leaves Louis to make his final good-byes/finish the job which he does with all the high melodrama the moment deserves. Both tender and grotesque Louis sobs and the strings swell as Lestat tells him he has loved him with all of himself. Louis slashes his throat and then stares at the horror that was Lestat. They could not bear to burn his body with the rest of the victims Louis laments and so they rolled him up in a carpet and threw him out with the trash while still in his coffin. Sniffle.
But here Molloy absolutely has to jump in to call bullshit. You’re telling me Claudia loved Lestat too much to burn him? Gimme a break. The real story was Louis threatened to kill her if she did. And what’s with all these missing pages from Claudia’s diary? And hey does this mean Lestat’s body was taken to the dump which is just chock full of edible rats a sickly vampire might subsist on? It’s another plot twist! Louis never killed Lestat at all! Molloy is a very clever observant journalist.
He’s so clever in fact that he also notices that there’s something up with Rashid. Hey man our grizzled but still sharp interviewer notes how come that linebacker-sized fella nearly fainted after Louis drank from his neck but your skinny butt didn’t flinch? We have arrived at our final twist. Louis didn’t just inception Rashid into Molloy’s memory he was actually there. Which must mean … that’s right Rashid confirms from several feet in the air. He’s a vampire. He’s a vampire who’s so old he doesn’t even burn in the sun. His name is Armand and Louis declares proudly like he’s introducing him to his dad he’s the love of his life. The end.