Last year, NBC premiered a new fall series, Midnight, Texas, to awaiting audiences. The supernatural show, based on the books penned by Charlaine Harris (author of the True Blood series), started off with a bang when viewers were introduced to Manfred Bernardo, a medium on the run. He finds himself in the town of Midnight, Texas and soon realizes his attempts at laying low were all for naught.
In Midnight, there’s angels, demons, witches, vampires, assassins, and all sorts of things that go bump in the night. And like any other Charlaine Harris book, it starts with a murder.
In anticipation of the Midnight, Texas Season 2 premiere, I’ve decided to do a little re-watch with a “Scare-o-Meter” (“Yawn” = 1, “OK...” = 2, “WTF” = 3, “Holy Ish” = 4, “Peed My Pants” = 5) rating of the episode as well as a quick review of just how crazy things got in each episode.
Take a look at how Episodes 1-3 were broken down below!
Season 1, Episode 1: “Pilot”
Scare-o-Meter: Holy Ish (4)
“Pilot” kicks off on a super scary and fun note, introducing the audiences to Midnight protagonist Manfred Bernardo — a gifted medium with gravity-defying hair. The show starts out with Manfred being possessed by the spirit of a client’s dead (and unhappy) husband. The show keeps the momentum going when Manfred receives a chilling call from Hightower, a man hellbent on exacting vengeance for a con Manfred and his now-dead grandma, Xylda, played with seemingly high stakes.
At the insistence of his ghost granny, Manny heads to Midnight, Texas where he meets the hodge-podge of core residents including angel Joe the tattoo artist and his husband, Chuey, the nail tech; Lemuel the energy-leeching vampire and his killer-for-hire girlfriend, Olivia; Bobo the secretive pawnshop owner and his witchy peasant-skirt wearing bestie, Fiji; and finally, Creek Lovell, the waitress who almost immediately takes a liking to Manfred.
On his first day in Midnight, Manfred learns quickly he’s not the only “freak” in town and is propositioned by Bobo to find his missing fianceé, Aubrey. Manny turns down the job only for Aubrey to pop up the next day — dead and bloated by the lake. The episode turns into a “whodunnit” which can only be solved by Manny communing with Aubrey’s bloated spirit, however, when he attempts to speak with her, his house is overrun with spirits and demonic voices. Unable to get any answers, the cops take away poor Bobo, which triggers lovelorn Fiji to show her casting abilities when she levitates the cop car carting Bobo to jail. At that moment, the town — including Manfred — vows to help free their friend.
This episode definitely gets the “Holy Ish” rating for being high-energy and quick-paced with a bit of horror, a splash of murder mystery, and a revenge plot you’re longing to know more about.
Season 1, Episode 2: “Bad Moon Rising”
Scare-o-Meter: WTF (3)
Keeping with the pace, this episode kicks off in medias res — smack dead in the middle of Manny and Creek running for their lives from an animal with no explanation why. Cut to 24 hours prior and we learn several things:
1. Bobo is a lot tougher than his name and facade implies as we see him beat a group of neo-nazis to a pulp.
2. Everyone is really protective of Creek, who is really, really into Manny.
3. Aubrey was married to a member of the “Sons of Lucifer,” a neo-nazi group and possibly killed by one.
4. Manny’s house is absolutely infested with evil spirits, and it's apparently more than the usual as it shocks a few of the Midnighters.
5. Manfred isn’t able to pinpoint Aubrey’s killer but gives Sheriff Livingston about her murder through a possession. They find the gun and a clue that clears Bobo of charges.
6. Reverend Emilio is a weretiger (Charlaine and her weres, what can we say?).
Jumping back into the attack, the Rev-Tiger is accidentally released onto the town by a Detective Gomez, who lets her suspicions of the Midnighters lead her being mauled to death by the were. The Rev-Tiger attacks Manny, but he’s able to escape with just enough energy to get flirty with Creek in his Winnebago. All is resolved when the gang follows the Rev-Tiger to an open field and Lem is able to leech some energy from him before he can strike again. The next morning, the Rev tells Olivia his weretiger hunger was out of control this time around, which means the town is going haywire.
Released from prison, Bobo heads home, but Sheriff Livingston won't do the same as the SOL rig his car to explode. At the end of the episode, Chuey and Joe chat about the end of world and Joe surmises it’s Manfred’s job to stop it from happening. Heavy.
This episode wasn’t as crazy as “Pilot,” however, it got a “WTF” rating for jumping all over the place. We were introduced to a new type of were and given more clues into Aubrey’s death while dancing around the fact that Bobo isn’t as innocent as he seems. It also revved up the romance between Manny and Creek but gave tons of foreshadowing that their romance won’t be an easy one — especially since he’s the supposed savior of mankind.
Season 1, Episode 3: “Lemuel Unchained”
Scare-o-Meter: WTF (2.5)
“Lemuel, Unchained” is an episode all about Midnight’s own Django, Lemuel.
A group of vampires (not as sexy as the True Blood kind) head into town and cause a little shake-up with the residents. It’s revealed the head of the coven, a Native American vamper named Zach (Zachariah, played by Westworld's Zahn McClarnon) is not only a friend of Lem’s but his maker. Yup, this episode is a character-building epi for Lem.
Pieced together through flashbacks, we learn Lem was once a slave who ran away from bondage and came across Zach in the desert. He was turned that same night and went back to his former “Massa” and bled them dry. However, as decades passed, Lem grew tired of his life as a blood-sucker and sought death by sunlight. While making a home for themselves in Midnight, Zach made a last-ditch effort to sway a sulky Lem by giving him a young girl to drink. This girl turns out to be Manny’s grandma, Xylda, who gives Lem the gift of leeching energy instead of blood. Zach is beyond angry by this abomination (the irony of it all) and it causes a rift between him and Lem that sends him and rest of the coven leaving Midnight for good. That is, until present day.
Though Zach claims he’s in Midnight to make peace for his actions in the past, he’s really there to ask Lem for his leeching power — and reclaim the town. Lem’s not into it, but he’s poisoned by Zach and is sentenced to death by his former friend. Thankfully, Olivia’s instincts about Zach and his coven have caused her and the entire town to be on guard and they’re all prepared for the showdown that ensues. Fiji puts her wholistic hoodoo to work and Joe uses his angel power to burn the vampers to a crisp. All kinda goes back to normal — whatever that means, except the human feedbag who came with the vampires is abducting, adding the body count of dead women in Midnight.
To be brutally honest, this episode was a bit of let down after watching True Blood for years. With an entire episode devoted to vampires, one is expecting fun, sexy danger, but things were a bit tame, which I understood — after all, this is network TV. In spite of that, “Lemuel, Unchained” definitely could’ve packed more of a punch when it came to the scare factor, but it was great to see how Manfred’s family was connected to the town. And it was even nicer to see an escaped slave get revenge on his former “Massa” ‘cause… slavery.
Overall the first three episodes of Midnight, Texas proved the show had tons of potential which we will delve into for the better — and worse — in Part 2 of the of the Midnight, Texas Season 1 rewatch and scare-o-meter.
Be sure to watch the Midnight Texas Season 2 premiere on October 26 on NBC.