‘Midnight Texas’ Season 1 Finale- Episodes 9-10: All Together Now

On the last two episodes of “Midnight Texas,” everyone came together to battle the mysterious demon that had been plaguing Fiji (Parisa Fitz-Henley) in particular and the town in general, going to lengths to save all concerned, even if it resulted in some unfortunate repercussions. Hey, if it didn’t, there wouldn’t be much point to a Season 2, right?

Nonetheless, the show did wrap up in a satisfactory way that both brought the current plotlines to a winning close, while leaving the door open for more, should the show end up getting renewed. As of this writing, no decisions have been made, but it’s worth noting that the show has a small-but-loyal following that averages around 3 million viewers per week.

That places it firmly in the middle of the ratings of the new shows that debuted this year, ratings-wise, so it could really go either way. It all depends on whether NBC feels the show is worth the price tag. On the plus side, in its favor, the cast is mostly made up of relative newcomers and features no major names, though some are respected fan favorites, i.e. Arielle Kebbel (“The Vampire Diaries”), Peter Mensah (“Spartacus”) and Dylan Bruce (“Orphan Black”).

That means that the show’s budget mostly goes to its considerable amount of special effects, which are crucial on a supernaturally-themed show like this one. For the record, the FX are reasonably solid, ranging from genuinely disturbing (the creature that ripped people’s face off) to occasionally a bit hokey (the demon in the climatic episode was a bit cheesy-looking, TBH).

All in all, though, not bad by major network standards, even if it doesn’t hold a candle to pay cable ones. In other words, the show is strictly mid-level in terms of cost, so it wouldn’t be a budget-buster, should NBC opt to continue. By contrast, the much-more expensive “Hannibal” managed to survive several seasons, though, to be fair, it had a much-more iconic background, being based on a series of best-selling books and movies.

“Midnight Texas” does have the Charlaine Harris thing going for it, who is, of course, the author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, aka “The Southern Vampire Mystery Series,” upon which the hugely popular “True Blood” series was based. While the “Midnight Texas” series isn’t as well known, it was enough to garner the show about a 58% positive rating across the board with critics and fans, as per Rotten Tomatoes, which is better than average, at least.

Whether that will be enough remains to be seen, but until then, this was a solid set of episodes to end things on. In “Riders on the Storm,” we found out more about the secretive Fiji, who, as it turns out, came to live with her Aunt Mildred (Bellina Logan, “Sons of Anarchy”) under similar circumstances as Manfred (François Arnaud) did with his own grandmother, which is to say, both exhibited strange powers that their respective parents did not, so they were sent to live with relatives that did possess such powers.

In Fiji’s case, said powers were that of a witch, only her powers were considerable and had proven unmanageable to her mother, who had gone so far as to have her institutionalized, which went over about as well as one might think. As a last-ditch effort, Fiji was sent to live with her aunt, who sought to teach her how to control said powers. Unfortunately, this proved easier said than done.

In no time, Fiji caught the eye of local Midnight denizen Jeremy (Ryan McCartan, “Liv & Maddie”). This would have been fine had Fiji been better able to manage her powers, as we would later see with Bobo (Bruce), but in this case, it ended in tragedy, as Fiji inadvertently killed Jeremy when the two went to make love for the first time. I couldn’t help but think of “X-Woman” Rogue, who just so happened to be played by Sookie Stackhouse herself, Anna Paquin.

This, of course, fully explains why Fiji has been reticent to involve herself with Bobo for reasons that go way beyond his own white supremacist background, albeit one that was forced upon him as a child and which he very distinctively rebelled against, as seen in previous episodes. It also shows that actress Henley, like those before her, knew exactly what she was doing when it came to the way she approached the character, showing how it pays to have patience with this show.

As I noted in a previous review, what often seemed like iffy choices on the behalf of the actors in question, which I initially attributed to their being relative newcomers in many cases, were, in fact, solid decisions that were in perfect line with what we would later find out about them as the show progressed, showing that one can never be too careful when passing judgment on new shows in particular. Such is the negative side of having to write critiques of new shows like this on the fly, without much time to digest everything.

It also goes a long way to explain why this demon is so inclined to go after Fiji- as we discover, she’s a virgin, and if you know anything about occult lore, then you know how important that is in certain circumstances, i.e. the ever-popular virgin sacrifice. Fiji takes it upon herself, once she realizes the danger the demon’s obsession with her poses to her friends and the town in general, to offer herself up to said demon in the aptly-titled finale, “The Virgin Sacrifice.”

Her plan is to intentionally use her powers to kill said demon, being as how she knows that she’s capable of killing someone by simply attempting to have sex with them. However, it’s worth noting that the demon seems aware of this as well, as evidenced by his having a re-animated Jeremy approach Fiji to make the deal in the first place, thus implying that he knows good and well the effect her powers can have on someone- but perhaps only a mere mortal, not necessarily a demon.

As such, it makes Fiji’s plan inherently flawed, which doesn’t escape the notice of Bobo, who suggests a secondary plan that will render the demon’s intentions moot- the two should have sex instead. I know. Just like a guy to suggest having sex in a horror show is the ideal way to survive! Of course, these are no ordinary circumstances, so we’ll let this “Cherry Falls”-style idea slide.

Besides, from what I understand, in the books, Fiji actually has to have sex with someone right in the middle of town on the street in full view of everyone! I can see where that would be problematic on a network show, to say the least, so, in comparison, this was actually a happy medium: Fiji has sex with Bobo, but behind closed doors, lucky for Henley. If this were HBO, she might be in for some kinky stuff, but this is NBC we’re talking about so she gets off easy, literally and figuratively.

Naturally, this counteractive plan does not go unnoticed by the demon, who is none too happy about it. Fortunately, Manfred has a plan of his own, the direct result of his talking to a shaman, Catori (David Midthunder, “Longmire”) in a fugue-like state that led everyone to believe he was dead for a while, including Fiji, which led to her hasty decision to offer herself up to a demon in the first place.

Manfred’s admittedly dubious plan is to “absorb” as many demons as he can from the pawn shop to combat the demon in question. You see, there are any number of objects in the pawn shop that are “possessed” by demons, or more precisely, trapped by them. Manfred’s plan is to offer them freedom from their ad-hoc prisons in exchange for helping him defeat the demon at hand. They agree and we’re off to the races.

Though the plan comes up short at first, one last demon, given to Manfred in the heat of the moment by Lem (Mensah), finally does the trick and the demon is at long last defeated for good. At this point, as per their agreement, the demons leave Manfred’s body and descend to Hell, back where they belong.

But what of that final demon? Last I checked, he or she didn’t agree to anything, and from the looks of things the morning after, it may not be done with Manfred, given his ear bleeding out of nowhere. This, of course, is likely set-up for the next season, if there is one. The possibilities for new shenanigans don’t end there, either, as we see a new face in town in the person of Melanie Pratt (Challen Cates, “Big Time Rush”).

She arrives just as the show ends, informing the people in town that her benefactor has purchased the local hotel and plans to remodel, in hopes of making Midnight into a tourist trap. Ruh-roh! That can’t be good! Of course, one assumes Midnight’s reputation precedes it, so I can’t help but think there’s more going on here than meets the eye. Maybe the new owner wants to play up the fact that Midnight is a literal ghost town- to say nothing of vampires, were-tigers and so on and so forth.

Or maybe they have more sinister plans in mind, perhaps akin to that of the notorious serial killer H.H. Holmes. Maybe a little of both. We’ll just have to wait and see next season, if there is one. If not, as I understand it, this plotline is featured in the books, so you can always crack open a book for a change, if you don’t want to wait and find out for yourself. Although, there’s no guarantee that the show might not do its own thing with this storyline the same way it did with Fiji’s.

In addition, the show also reveals that Madonna (Kellee Stewart, the “Hot Tub Time Machine” movies), Olivia’s friend, is in cahoots with her elusive father, whom Olivia has steadfastly avoided the entire season. A large part of Olivia coming to Midnight in the first place was to evade her father, but now we know he knows exactly where she is.

On a positive note, after threatening to leave, in the end, she opted to stay and even got married to Lem, after he saved her life using vampire blood to heal an injury sustained during the battle with the main demon’s minions. But will her ingesting vampire blood have repercussions? Lem implies as much before doing it, but what they are we don’t know as of yet.

If it’s anything like Kebbel’s former show, my guess is that, if she dies with vampire blood in her system, then she herself will become a vampire, which is exactly what she didn’t want. Count on that decision coming back to haunt her in Season 2 as well, though, to be fair, she likely would have died otherwise. (They sort of glossed over her miracle recovery at the hospital!)

That’s plenty of material to make for an interesting Season 2, but at the same time, if it does end here, then it also had just enough closure for the characters for viewers to not have much in the way of complaints. I can live with that. What say you?

Overall, I thought this was a surprisingly well-considered first season that rewarded close viewing and came together nicely in the end. While this long-term approach might have scared off some viewers along the way, given that the show dipped in the ratings after a strong showing at first, in the end, it was well-worth it for those who stuck with it, IMHO.

On the plus side, the show does seem to have a small-but-loyal following already, as evidenced by its strong, vocal presence on Twitter and the like. They, as did I, seem to have particularly liked that the show was pretty color blind, save when it was important to address it- such as Bobo’s background- and that it was very much LGB-friendly. No TQIAPK as of yet that I know of- though I wasn’t even aware of anything beyond the “T” and “Q” until recently- these acronyms are getting OOC, people! (That would be “out of control”- See? I can do it, too!)

Be that as it may, I did like that no big deal was made out of the show’s various mixed-race relationships and that one of the couples was gay males- and a demon and an angel, no less! Then again, if you liked “True Blood,” or Harris’ books in general, this sort of thing probably wasn’t that big of a deal for you in the first place, given that they are the same way, and if anything, even more explicitly so.

However, this may have been a big turn-off for some as well, given how divided our country is right about now, so it might have actually worked against it, especially if the show ends up getting cancelled. Personally, I have no problem with any of it, and I’m just a boring, straight white male. Or should I say SWM? Lol. (Just making jokes- settle down, easily-offended peeps- no need to call the SJWs to order.)

I thought the first season of “Midnight Texas” was a lot of fun, and I liked that it “solved” a lot of the mysteries early on and didn’t drag things out for an overtly long time. A lot of shows do make that mistake, and it costs them.

I can’t help but think the main problems against the show, though, were a combination of impatient viewers used to binge-watching that wanted their answers sooner than later, those who prefer their supernatural shows be more uncensored and those who opted to use the summer to play catch-up with other shows instead of investing in new ones. Such is the fate for non-cable-based, non-reality shows these days, I guess.

Will NBC take a chance on the show for a second season next summer? Should it? I think so, but we’ll see. On the plus side, I really enjoyed this season for what it was, and if it was no “True Blood” on the whole, I don’t think it was really trying to be. What would be the point? That show already exists. This was its own thing, and I thought it was pretty engaging and fun overall. What more can you ask for in a summer show?

  • ptjackson

    I liked this show. At first I was not going to watch it, then I tried it, and in the end, I was fully on board. In some ways it reminded me of Grimm – in fact the final demon could have come directly from that show – heck, maybe it did in design – one way to save money!

    I found this show entertaining, and adequate for a summer show – light viewing like a summer novel to read at the beach! I hope they do get a second season!

    • Mark Trammell

      I was hesitant, too, mainly because it was on network TV, which seemed dubious, given the source material. And it did start out a bit on the poky side, but it came around and got good around the middle and finished strong. I just hope the relatively small viewership didn’t end up sinking the show altogether, as I, too, would like a second season. It’s definitely not too far removed from Grimm, though, and is absolutely the horror equivalent of a summer beach read, agreed!

      • ptjackson

        I’m hoping that since it was as summer series the expectations are not as high as for a fall show. 😎

        • Mark Trammell

          Let’s hope!