Midnight, Texas: Last Temptation of Midnight

"Oh, God."
"Wrong deity."

Oh, Midnight, Texas. What am I going to do with you?

I've already talked at length about the show's structural problems, so I won't necessarily repeat myself here. Just know that the same issues appear in this episode.

The face-stealing demon was really, really cool and intimidating, and was beaten ridiculously easily. Seriously, why is this a pattern? How hard is it to make your villains last more than a minute in a fight? It completely ruined the tension in the episode, ending in a fizzle rather than a pop.

Beyond that, this episode was made up of some really great moments that were undercut by a lack of logical reasoning. I'm really glad that Fiji got her mojo back and decided to actively fight Colconnar instead of simply weathering it. But if she knew how to combat the behavioral effects of the Veil weakening... why didn't she do that sooner? I bet that Chuy would have loved to be sprayed by the potion. Or Manfred's sickness. It appeared and disappeared for no apparent reason. It's probably a sign of him rejecting/accepting his destiny, but it wasn't laid out well enough so that that would be clear to the viewer. Or even Olivia's jealousy over Lem draining Creek. I had thought that Olivia didn't want Lem to do so because she was worried that he would get out of control. Not because of jealousy. We've seen Lem drain other people before, like Manfred, and it's been fine. It doesn't make logical sense.

One moment that I thought was a very big missed opportunity was Manfred's semidelirious trek through the desert. With an episode title like "Last Temptation of Midnight," I was expecting some kind of biblical confrontation between Manfred and Colconnar similar to Jesus' temptation in the desert by the Devil. The parallels were certainly there. Instead, we got a flashback to Xylda's suicide. Don't get me wrong, it was a very touching scene. But the aftermath, Xylda magically being able to leave the RV and Manfred immediately deciding to go back to Midnight, just felt too easy. My idea would have been more fun.

There were some scenes that managed to stand on their own. As soon as Fiji mentioned that Janice was targeted because she was sad and vulnerable, my mind immediately went to Creek. I'm glad that she ended up being targeted, simply because it made sense. You have this traumatized, grieving young woman staying in a house that's haunted by a demon. Of course she would be affected by it!

Alright, I can't really put it off any longer. Lem and Olivia. I'm having a hard time writing about their scenes. While they were without a doubt my favorite part of the episode, they also made me deeply uncomfortable. As I've been thinking about it, I'm fairly certain that that was an intentional move on behalf of Midnight, Texas.

Their fight was the culmination of a lot of things. I never considered that Lem would be hurt by Olivia refusing to become a vampire and saying that she would end the relationship instead. But it makes a lot of sense. I don't know how long they've been together, but it's obvious that he loves her. A lot. Enough so that he is more than willing to spend eternity with her. At the same time, it makes a lot of sense why Olivia wouldn't want to live forever. She carries a lot of pain around with her, a lot of bad memories. It's only natural that she would want that all to end at some point.

Their fight was very well choreographed. You get the feeling that Olivia had been preparing for the eventuality for a while now. It was tense, exciting, and had a real sense of stakes. The part that made me uncomfortable was the very clear parallel between what was happening between Lem and Olivia and what happens in abusive relationships. Lem was perfectly willing to turn Olivia against her will, despite her repeated pleas not to do so. In the moment, Lem didn't care what she wanted, and was certain that she would be happy with his decision once she was also a vampire.

And yes, I know, the Veil. Lem would never do that otherwise. He was incredibly remorseful the moment he got Fiji's potion. But the same thing can be said about things said or done during a drunken rage. It's still a deep, dark desire that that person holds in their heart.

Regardless, I'm glad that this wasn't all swept under the rug and instantly forgiven. It was momentarily tabled to go deal with the demon, but our final scene wasn't Lem and Olivia talking. There was no closure to what happened. No reconciliation. And as much as I love the pairing, I do hope that this event has some real consequences. That it has weight and impact on the story, because it deserves to.

Random Thoughts

I did like Olivia's new haircut.

The Rev is a vegetarian. I'm fairly certain that we knew that already.

Manfred is out of pills, but I doubt that that will be an issue going forward. And I'm... okay about the fact that he can control spirits. We've seen hints of that all along with them commanding spirits to stop possessing him and whatnot.

If Lem turned someone into a vampire, would they be a normal vampire, or would they have his energy draining powers too?

The face-stealing demon was very, very cool. Gruesome, but cool.

For a moment during the flashback, I thought that Manfred was going to tie Xylda's spirit to the RV somehow. I guess that it's a good thing that that didn't happen.

Bye, Xylda. You've been fun. I hope that you find peace in the afterlife.

Quotes:

Xylda: Well, I'm not gonna lie to you, Manny. I'm disappointed.
Manfred: You're also dead. You don't get a vote.

Creek: Salad for you. A for-appearances-only beverage for you.
Lem: Thank you.

Manfred: So, um, are you religious?
Demon: I have faith. No like those fools on the radio. Paradise isn't heaven. They're looking in the wrong direction.
Manfred: Yeah, well, the other direction's hell.

Manfred: I know that you're only telling me this because you're planning to kill me and rip my face off.
Demon: You do have a nice face.

I'll be very curious to see if Midnight, Texas gets renewed for another season. I don't think that the ratings have been that good. I'm not sure if I'm hoping for a renewal or not. I would miss the characters, but not the plot.

An Honest Fangirl loves superheroes, science fiction, fantasy, and really bad horror movies. And sometimes she writes about them.

2 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I was looking forward to reading what you thought about this one, Fangirl.

While your points are all good ones, I thought it was the best episode so far, and it was the first time I could see myself watching this show longterm. Maybe it was the extended Olivia and Lem fight, that I swear made me think of Buffy and Angel. (That pale blue shirt went with his electric eyes. He's amazing to look at, and I think Lem is a much better character than the one Peter Mensah played on Sleepy Hollow awhile back.)

I was really touched by Xylda saying goodbye to Manfred, too. I'd gotten the impression that she had lied to him about being tied to the RV, that she had just stuck around until he had accepted his role fighting evil in Midnight. And his ride in the truck with all of the faceless bodies creeped me out, which was another first for me with this show.

I'm not certain that they've done a good enough job establishing this series for it to be renewed. They've got some good actors here playing interesting characters in an unusual setting, but they need to do soooooo much better story-wise. All of which you also said, Fangirl. :)

An Honest Fangirl said...

I think that I would put "Lemuel Unchained" as their best episode so far. (I haven't seen last night's episode yet, so my opinion may change in a few hours.)

But I agree, Billie. This was a very good episode, but the lack of logic and the ongoing issues with the story structure are becoming harder and harder for me to look past. I think I'm becoming a little less forgiving as time goes on. I still look forward to every episode, I just want the show to do better. There's just so much potential here, but they're not quite reaching it.