Titled ‘Is My Very Nature That of a Devil’, the episode offers a unique examination of the joys and tortures of Darwinian extremism. “They came from monkeys, we came from them, we should be better than them,” Louis argues. But his mentor does not need morality to sustain his existence. This is what sets Anne Rice’s vampires apart from most other renderings, they are non-discriminatory in their taste and provide the best argument against superheroes. When Louis suggests killing only those who need to be killed, Lestat asks, “Who are we to decide?”
As fascinating as a supernaturally powered gay black vigilante feeding on evildoers amid the segregation of New Orleans’ Storyville section would be, Lestat is right. He should know, he’s the least calculating culprit in the entire state of Louisiana as his partner continues to feed on stray cats instead of giving in to the supernatural. The battle between good and evil is better fought internally than against an army of murderers. Vampires, victims and vigilantes, oh my. Even the V for Vendetta director manages to parse his vowels.
Marvel’s hybrid superhero Blade, a vampire, would consider himself lucky not to have to contend with Louis’s many arch-enemies. Regardless of his special acumen, the enterprising provider of the white investors of mortal sins will never consider him equal, and his family considers him the stray sheep. “Here comes the ghost,” Louis’s niece calls out when he comes to visit. “The devil walks at night,” says his mother (Rae Dawn Chong), and that’s the hardest assessment.
The newly-turned vampire still loves his sister Grace (Kalyne Coleman) and his mother, but the family tortures him over his choice, nature, and what they believe to be a sin against nature. Louis’s sexuality is demonized as much as his vampirism by the people he loves most. The ones he will survive, well, in death.
Lestat promises a world of never-ending fun, and sees no reason to put limits on instincts. This only adds to the underlying tension of strained relationships. Jealousy is played very well by both Anderson and Reid, who come up with it from different angles. Lestat doesn’t taunt when he shows off, he sees it as an invitation, even with the smell of the alpha male on his breath. And yes, we often see the vampires breathing very heavily. Louis’ meeting with his young soldier friend in the woods is about as hot as series television can get. It’s even better because the stone is cold-blooded.
At the other end of the spectrum is a very cool, hot jazz scene, a piano duel between the regular pianist of the Azalea club, Jelly Roll Morton (Kyle Roussel) and Lestat, a classical pianist with a mean left hand. This colors its sinister allure. He turns a minuet into a smoking vamp with a vicious turnaround, but his motivation is not narcissistic. He’s doing it for Louis, not for himself. Louis pays it forward, clearing the air about the origins of early jazz nugget ‘Wolverine Blues’ and letting us know that Lestat can fill or clear a room with equal ease.