‘Midnight Texas’ Season 1 Episodes 7 & 8: On Your Feet Or On Your Knees

With the latest two episodes of “Midnight Texas,” Manfred had some real soul-searching to do, literally and figuratively, as he weighed the decision whether to stay in town or cut and run- and he was hardly the only one. Basically, the overall theme here was, if bad news comes calling, do you choose to fight, or do you bail?

Of course, unlike most of the denizens of Midnight, Texas, Manfred is a newcomer, so he has less reason to stay. If anything, he has more reason than some to leave. After all, his girlfriend broke up with him (albeit with good reason, and only temporarily), he’s being tormented by spirits non-stop, and he has someone- or something- trying to kill him at near every turn. Who can blame him for wanting to bail?

Meanwhile, the ever-expanding evil that is being drawn to Midnight is also starting to effect the townspeople as well: Lem is becoming more and more bloodthirsty, the Reverend has to resort to eating meat to quell his urges (he’s normally a vegetarian), Fiji keeps hearing a demonic voice tormenting and threatening her, and, in “Angel Heart,” we finally got to the bottom of why Joe was so intent to keep his man Chuy out of town for now.

As many of us predicted, Chuy was indeed a demon, which made him particularly susceptible to what was happening in town, and not in a good way, obviously. Unfortunately, when Joe’s old partner-turned-nemesis and fellow fallen angel Bowie (Breeda Wool, “Mr. Mercedes”) unexpectedly came to town looking for him, it didn’t take long for things to go from bad to worse, as the angry angel starting beating down anyone who stood in the way of her goal to get revenge on her former co-hort.

The problem was, Joe couldn’t handle Bowie on his own, so, in order to stop her, the town was forced to band together- but even that proved to be not enough, as Bowie’s powers were considerable. This was not exactly helped by the fact that the lifting of the veil between this world and the next was causing every supernatural creature’s powers to be considerably souped-up and somewhat beyond their control.

Naturally, once Chuy got word of what was going down, he came running to save his man- and succeeded. But at what cost? As we saw, while it was all too easy for Chuy to embrace his demonic side in order to defeat Bowie, it wasn’t nearly as easy to turn it off once he had done so, resulting in his attacking the very people he had ostensibly come to save- including Joe himself.

Thankfully, Joe was able to talk Chuy off the ledge before he did too much damage, save to Bowie, but it was clear that Joe wasn’t wrong in thinking the lifting of the veil was bad news for every supernatural creature, and by extension, everyone in general. As such, he opted to leave town, after warning everyone exactly what they were in for- and finally coming clean to Manfred about the role Joe felt he was destined to play.

Of course, Manfred balked at this- who wouldn’t? After all, he was new in town, and he hadn’t exactly fared too well against the evil spirits he had encountered. Indeed, if it hadn’t been for the help he’d gotten from everyone else, he’d have likely been a goner. Hell, even his girlfriend was skeptical, as revealed by the mind-reading Bowie, before she was turned into colorful fireworks, courtesy of Chuy.

As such, he opted to leave town, wondering if Midnight wouldn’t be better off without him- or at least Creek. After all, things had gotten considerably worse since his arrival, so it was pretty easy to blame himself for it, veil be damned. Furthermore, as I mentioned, he hadn’t been able to defeat much of anything without help, so the likelihood of his being some sort of savior was dubious at best, at least in his eyes.

But therein lies the rub, doesn’t it? If calamity comes to town, people have to band together to stop it, or surely, they WILL be defeated. Look no further than the real-life hurricanes that happened recently in Texas itself and Florida for a perfect example. Absolutely, there were casualties, some of which would have been hard to avoid, given the circumstances, but how much worse might it have been if people weren’t there for one another, helping to bail out those in need?

Of course, needless to say, this isn’t real life, it’s fiction, and that means, in all likelihood, the evil here will be defeated- or driven down back to where it belongs, at least in the short term. We saw a perfect example of this in the follow-up episode, “Last Temptation of Midnight.” In this episode, Manfred saw that avoiding his destiny was easier said than done, as fate intervened to stop him from getting very far in his quest to leave town.

In a series of flashbacks, we saw a young Manfred, casually playing with dead children, as those around him, particularly his peers, looked at him like he was out of his gourd, making snarky comments and laughing at how seemingly crazy he was. Of course, we know better- and so did his grandmother, Xylda, who was entrusted with young Manfred after his mother found herself unable to deal with him, his powers having skipped her generation.

It was a nifty way to show how alienating such powers can be, and at such an early age. It also showed how strong the bond between him and his grandmother was- after all, she was the one who raised him, not his mother. So, when she was struck with cancer, it was devastating to Manfred, as if he WERE losing his mother, since, in effect, that’s exactly what she was.

What’s more, Xylda, suffering immensely, opted to go out on her own terms, by taking a handful of pills, rather than suffering for who knows how long, only to die anyway. Making matters worse, after she died, as we know, she was still around, all but haunting Manfred ever since. One could say that this wasn’t so bad, as it allowed him to come to terms with her passing easier, but there was a catch, because there always is in things like this.

As it turns out, and this was something Manfred was all too aware of, once a spirit has made their peace with dying, they can move on to the next plane of being- and Xylda’s time was coming close to being up. The reason being, she finally came clean about a secret of her own: she knew all along that it was Manfred’s destiny to go to Midnight and that he would be instrumental in helping them fight the evil at their doorstep.

As such, the minute Manfred finally accepted his fate, it was time for Xylda to shuffle off this mortal coil for good. She will be missed, as, dead or not, Xylda was easily one of my favorite characters, as I’ve stated in previous reviews. It was cool getting to see her as she once was, though, before losing her. I liked the scene in which she put the fear of God- or at least the Devil- into those kids, after they were taunting young Manfred.

However, she needs to work on her timing, as, no sooner than she left, Manfred was picked up by a psychotic demon with a penchant for removing people’s faces and putting them on its own, thus assuming their identities. It was sort of like that movie “Fallen,” only way grosser. As I mentioned with NBC’s “Hannibal” in my last review- though not without some controversy- this show isn’t above pushing some boundaries of its own, in term of violence.

Fortunately, Manfred was able to evade capture and bailed, but was smart enough to double back and sneak a ride back to Midnight with the creature, after realizing via his powers that it was where it was headed as well. Of course, he had to do so on a pile of dead bodies, but hey, whatever works. I don’t know how far Manfred got out of town before his RV broke down, but the smell alone couldn’t have been great.

The creature’s plan was to sacrifice all its dead to a specific demon- the very same one that had been tormenting Fiji, and had now taken to preying on those who were down and out and feeling suicidal, even without all that was going on- and that certainly included Creek. You try finding out that your brother’s a serial killer and that your father covered it up for years, and on top of that, your boyfriend bailed on you, and not get depressed.

Manfred was all too aware of this, which was precisely why he knew he had to get back sooner than later. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, and the fact that, with help of the souls of the damned he was able to conjure up, he was able to stop the creature and drag it to Hell, it was all too late, as the demon in question was able to claim the sacrifices for its own, anyway, which means it’s only getting stronger.

At least the town knows what it’s up against now, and can research the demon accordingly. To the library! Does this town have a Giles? Whatever the case, Fiji was at least able to concoct some potion or the other to help quell the enhanced feelings of being suicidal in Creek and another woman, as well as to help stifle the feelings of being homicidal in Lem, the Reverend and others as well.

Lem in particular got pretty feisty with Olivia, and not in a good way, becoming obsessed with turning her into a fellow vampire, after she announced her intent to leave town when things got too hairy. Lem’s increasingly violent behavior did not go unnoticed by the wary Olivia, who thankfully, made moves to protect herself from a situation she rightfully saw as only getting worse.

Unfortunately, things got a damn sight worse than she predicted, as eventually Lem full-on attacked her after she rejected his advances one too many times. This led to an exciting, knock-down, drag-out fight between the two which showed off Olivia’s considerable moves, including, at one point, her essentially walking completely upright and sideways across a wall and back down again to her feet to evade Lem, which was super cool. Buffy, watch your back!

Thankfully, Fiji stepped in before things passed the point of no return with her potion to stop Lem, but did that incident spell doom for the two of them as a couple? Nothing says break-up time like your significant other trying to kill you- or at least turn you into a vampire without your consent. As we know from other sources, most recently “Preacher,” that rarely turns out well for anyone. Although, interestingly, actress Arielle Kebbel did make for a cool vamp on “The Vampire Diaries,” so you never know.

The episode ends with everyone banding together and doubling down on fighting the evil that is trying to overtake their town, but will they succeed? One assumes, or we wouldn’t have a show anymore, but it should be interesting to see how they get there. Thus far, the show has gotten increasingly better as it has gone along, blaring through some subplots and taking the time to work through others, ensuring that there’s rarely a dull moment and that things stay pretty interesting from episode to episode.

Even better, the show has slowly-but-surely shed light over time on all of the main characters, making you care about them so that their fate matters moving forward into the season’s endgame, whatever it may be. Obviously, there will be a showdown of sorts, likely between our main cast and this demonic Big Bad, but, once again, I suspect it will be only the tip of the iceberg, or we wouldn’t have a show.

The citizens of Midnight might defeat this particular demon, but I’ve no doubt there’s plenty more on the horizon, should the show be renewed for another season. My guess is that they will defeat the current threat, but likely with at least one casualty, but the whole “veil-lifting” thing will ensure there’s plenty more to deal with in the future, if NBC does opt to renew it. Ratings have been iffy, though, so nothing’s set in stone. Hopefully, we’ll at least get enough closure to make the season relatively self-contained, if worse comes to worst.

As it stands, though, I’ve enjoyed the season so far, despite a rough start and what appeared to be shaky characterization early on. As those of us who have stuck with it know, however, it got better, and as its progressed, the writing, acting and characterization has improved considerably. Ditto some of the special effects, reaching a gruesome high in the latest episode. I do think the show deserves at least one more season already, but we’ll see.

For every show that NBC takes an extended risk on, like the aforementioned “Hannibal,” there’s a sea of others that didn’t make the cut, like “Emerald City” and “Dracula,” for instance. Granted, those shows also weren’t as good as “Hannibal,” either, so NBC may not have been in the wrong to cancel them, but I do think there’s enough good in “Midnight Texas” to make it worth saving. Besides, with “Grimm” no more, the network needs a solid genre show, anyway, and this one could do the trick.

What do you think of “Midnight Texas”? Are you looking forward to the final two episodes? Do you hope the show gets renewed? Any predictions on how the season ends? Who do you think will die, if anyone? (My money’s on the Reverend, and possibly Chuy, assuming he returns, which I think is a safe assumption.)

Make with the comments below- you know the drill. Join me next time for a review of the last two episodes, and an overall look at the season. Until then, thanks for reading!