In “The Ruthless Pursuit of Blood with All a Child’s Demanding,” we finally meet the iconic character Claudia. Played perfectly by Bailey Bass, this child vampire appears to bring her adoptive fathers together at first. But as her unchanging body can’t keep pace with her growing and curious mind, she will go from an amusing curiosity to a dangerous predator — and their idyllic family life will begin to fall apart. Read on to see what happened in this week’s episode of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire!
As Daniel discusses his latest project with his editor (leaving out the vampire part, naturally), Rashid arrives to discuss the day’s agenda. While Louis plans on resting, he has decided to give Daniel access to valuable archive materials: Claudia’s diaries. As Daniel begins to read, we are transported back to the fateful night where Louis rescued Claudia from the fire. What follows is an episode almost entirely from her perspective rather than Louis’, casting everything in a different light.
After the fire, Claudia is badly burned and near death. She hears Lestat and Louis argue about her fate, with Louis begging Lestat to save her by turning her into a vampire. Lestat recognizes that Louis’ desire goes beyond saving this child — he wants a daughter to complete their family. To placate Louis and keep him from leaving him as he’d planned before meeting Claudia, Lestat completes Claudia’s transformation. As everyone knows, failing romantic relationships are always made better with the arrival of an undead child!
Claudia decides to “make the best of it” considering her entire family is dead and she has no other choice, throwing herself into vampire life wholeheartedly and with the innocence of a child. Louis and Lestat explain the rules to her as Lestat grumbles about how Louis and Claudia can communicate telepathically now. They vow to be a family with no secrets from each other. Claudia, who was raised by a poor and abusive aunt after the death of her mother, is thrilled to have all the finer things in life along with two doting fathers.
Daddy Lou and Uncle Les were rich! They had nice clothes and a nice auto carriage … and a funny way of being nice to each other.Claudia
On their first hunt, Claudia’s thirst for blood is insatiable, with Lestat realizing that her youthful metabolism is now permanent (whoops!), along with her teenage theatrics. She devours a police officer easily and with very little regret, to Lestat’s delight. She goes back for seconds moments later, with Lestat and Louis sharing a sigh.
But soon they fall into a comfortable routine, with Claudia sleeping in Louis’ coffin and writing in her diary every day. Her childlike questions to Lestat about who made him and where the other vampires are spark arguments between he and Louis, with Lestat assuming he put her up to asking. They even go coffin shopping for her, where a confused undertaker looks on as a squealing Claudia climbs into a soft, pink model. Her happiness dooms the poor undertaker as he asks follow up questions, and Lestat is forced to kill him, but in the end Claudia gets the perfect new bed she desired. Having her own space means that Louis and Lestat can sleep together again, which Claudia observes.
On the river fishing with Louis and catching fireflies, Claudia asks why Lestat keeps so many secrets. Louis tells her that Lestat is much older than they are, and that sometimes older people don’t like talking about the past.
Claudia: How does love work between two men?
Louis: It works like … I don’t know. It works like love.
Claudia asks if Louis still likes women, and when he says he used to pretend to and that Lestat still does, she follows up by asking if Lestat is seeing other women when he sneaks off alone. Louis shares the compromise they have reached regarding Lestat’s “extravagant” kills while cautioning her about such methods herself. He confides in her by revealing that he was the indirect cause of the fire that nearly killed her because of his own “extravagant” kill. He doesn’t mind that she drains humans, but he urges her to remember that she has the choice to deliver a quick and painless death to her victims.
Cracks in the Façade
In the present, Daniel finds Rashid praying. He won’t answer any of the journalist’s questions about his own life with an evasiveness that intrigues Daniel.
Rashid: How is your reading coming along?
Daniel: Well, for a killing machine, I kinda like her.
Daniel dives into the next diary, which shows happy scenes as the years begin to pass (“You wouldn’t believe how the time flies when there’s people to eat and money to spend!”) , and Claudia mentally grows into a young woman while remaining in the body of a 14-year-old. This doesn’t bother her too much at first. Neither do the arguments between Lestat and Louis, with her noting that she can get between them and “make it right.”
But their peace is shattered with the death of Louis’ mother. At the wake, Grace and Levi are cold to Louis, especially when Claudia’s adoption comes up. They want the house, and since Louis technically still owns it, they need him to sign it over to them. As Claudia pouts about wanting to go home, Louis icily says he’ll draw up the papers as they leave. It’s his last real tie to humanity.
Lestat takes Claudia hunting, and she notes that while Louis is her favorite, she and Lestat share similar tastes. He has saved this particular hunt as a special treat.
Lestat: This is what the meat calls a “lover’s lane,” and by my estimation no blood is sweeter. Young people, swollen with passion, denies spirits by this senseless Prohibition, park along this lonely stretch to contemplate that most mysterious of mathematical equations: how one plus one, becomes one.
Claudia: They come out here to do math?
Claudia doesn’t understand Lestat’s insinuation, but she’s excited that she gets one couple to herself while he gets the other. When she gets closer and sees her assigned pair passionately having sex, her curious nature and the hormones trapping her in perpetual adolescence collide. She stares at them, fascinated, before the woman spots her. In an instant Claudia drains her lover as she runs away directly into Lestat’s arms.
Woman: There’s something over there, something evil!
Lestat: [chuckles] Ah yes, well, she’s with me.
He drains her, then reminds Claudia that it’s important to subdue both targets at the same time. But Claudia barely pays attention, wanting to experience love and sex for the first time.
Love At First Bite
She dresses a bit older than usual and goes out hunting, confident and happy with her new clothes. A group of teenagers make fun of her for dressing older than her age, which Claudia hears through her sensitive ears. She hisses, scaring a horse as a young driver jumps in front of her. His name is Charlie, and it’s an instant crush. He drives her home as she swoons in the back seat.
For the next few nights, Claudia makes sure to be on her balcony when Charlie drives his employer home. He sends her flowers and takes her on an ice cream date, delighting her even as she has to fake her enthusiasm for the actual dessert. He’s reluctant to call it a date at first, believing her to be too young for him, but Claudia proves she’s 19 by recalling neighborhood details. They start kissing in his car, but soon Claudia’s lust for blood (and her lust for Charlie) overwhelms her. She drains him by accident and is devastated to discover he’s dead.
She begs Lestat to turn him into a vampire as he coolly tells her it’s far too late. Louis tries to comfort her, but Lestat stops him, wanting to teach Claudia a lesson about getting too close to humans. He forces her to dispose of Charlie’s body and watch while it burns. Louis tries to tell her that her grief will pass and that she has them, but she screams that she doesn’t want them as she runs into the house.
Slipping Through My Fingers All the Time
This incident with Charlie haunts Louis, as Daniel discovers when the vampire visits him in the reading room. He asks why these diaries weren’t available at their prior interview, and Louis pointedly notes that Daniel has daughters too. If he came across their diaries detailing his every failure as a parent, would he go around sharing that with a random journalist? Daniel concedes the point, and it’s clear that Louis bitterly regrets what happened as he can quote word for word from the paragraph Daniel left off on. Louis believes Charlie’s death marked where the family’s happiness ended since their fragile peace was destroyed, with Daniel remarking that Claudia had been “a Band-Aid for a shitty marriage” up until then.
Louis: A vivid writer, isn’t she? With a singular style.
Daniel: Yeah, it’s Anne Frank meets Stephen King.
Louis admits that she probably felt that way as Claudia overhears Louis and Lestat fighting about Charlie and how Lestat treated Claudia. Her simmering anger at being trapped in a child’s body begins to boil as she self-harms by putting her arm in the sunlight. Her murderous streak has been unleashed as she tells her diary, “I’m just getting started.”
Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET, with the series also available on AMC+. AMC+ subscribers also get the subsequent week’s episode early.