Do not read if you have not seen the season 2 premiere of Midnight, Texas
Directed by Tim Andrew, Written by Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder
Midnight, Texas returned with an episode titled “Head Games.” In a press room interview, Eric Charmelo, one of the series showrunners, promised that there would be more salacious elements, more drama, and more conflict on the show this season. The premiere episode delivers this in spades. It opens with Manfred (François Arnaud) walking down the middle of the main street of Midnight in the dead of night, dressed only in his briefs and boots, dragging a shovel. Manfred’s somnambulistic wanderings are a result of what he did to save the town at the end of Season 1.
The episode title refers to what Manfred is going through after he ingested the demons last season to save the town and the world from Colconnar. The infestation of demons had Manfred initially believing that he was having nightmares before he realized that he was actually sleepwalking. It really isn’t so much the sleepwalking that is bothering him, but the fact that he is digging graves in the middle of the night for all of his friends in town! He is also daydreaming about murdering them.
This sets the stage to finish off the storyline of last season (Colconnar) and start the new storylines for Season 2. Charmelo and Snyder use the proven method of introducing conflict by having Manfred refuse to confide in his new friends and girlfriend about his ‘demon cancer” affliction. It is causing him to bleed black blood from his nose and ears as well as his discoloring his hands. The truth would go far for Manfred but he is afraid of what everyone will think of him. It’s sad that he has never learned to trust people because it would save him so much heartache. Arnaud brilliantly captures the fear of Manfred and his desperation. His evil Manfred is a joy to behold.
The rest of the townspeople are blissfully unaware of the growing menace in their midst as they settle into their version of normality. The relationships are blossoming as Lem (Peter Mensah) and Olivia (Arielle Kebbel) enjoy the fact that they can share thoughts. Fiji (Parisa Fitz-Henley) and Bobo (Dylan Bruce) are making up for lost time as they bring new meaning to wedded bliss. Joe (Jason Lewis) and Chuy (Bernado Saracino) are totally happy.
One of the most interesting aspects of the changes to Midnight, Texas is that the audience is privy to the intimacy of the relationships. Charmelo promised there would be more salacious elements; both he and Snyder deliver. The men are frequently seen shirtless and the lovemaking is shown. The scene with Bobo and Fiji is reminiscent of the weightless couplings seen in science fiction films. But, there are new players in Midnight, Texas.
Into this mix comes the new owners of the hotel, Kai Lucero (Nestor Carbonell) and Patience Lucero (Jaime Ray Newman) as well as a demon hunter, Walker Chisum (Josh Kelly). The audience first sees Patience and Kai at the grand opening event for the hotel. Kai makes a grand entrance and immediately establishes his bona fides as a mystical person when he walks on water. He subsequently heals a wheelchair-bound man in the same water! Even after this supernatural demonstration, only Rev. Sheehan (Yul Vasquez) is convinced that Kai is the real thing.
Olivia remains suspicious of the new couple since there appears to be no logical reason for them to be in such a desolate location if one considers their new age calling and Kai’s ability. She even goes to the hotel spa for a treatment before surreptitiously leaving the treatment room and exploring the private areas of the hotel. Olivia discovers Kai talking to a painting of a mysterious woman. This is one of those moments which will eventually reveal so much about Kai and Patience
This episode also introduces the demon hunter, Walker Chisum (Josh Kelly), who saves Joe from a group of demons who jump Joe after the bar closes. After destroying the demons, there is an immediate chemistry between Joe and Walker. The fight with the demons reawakens the part of Joe that was created to kill these creatures. It gives him that adrenaline rush that he has been missing.
Eventually, Manfred and his friends have to deal with the “demon cancer” when it takes over Manfred. He kidnaps Creek and Olivia and takes them to his excavated graves. Fortunately for them, Lem is connected to Olivia and senses her danger. He arrives and knocks out Manfred. Personally, I think it would have been better to have Olivia beat Manfred since she is an assassin.
Fortunately for Manfred, there is a cure. Kai is able to force the demon residue out of Manfred as well as absorb and disgorge the remaining residue. Manfred is cured but there are consequences. Creek decides to go to Austin without Manfred because he lied to her about the effect the demon residue was having on him. His friends are still his friends but nothing is ever what it appears to be in Midnight. Is Kai really a faith healer? Why would someone with his abilities settle in Midnight? What about everyone else in town?
Meanwhile, Bobo and Fiji are so caught up in their marital bliss that they miss the signs that there might be a downside to their love. The audience witnesses an example of this when the plants in Fiji’s home spontaneously die after Bobo moves in with Fiji. Clearly, there will be negative repercussions to their relationship.
In the final scene, Kai opens a secret compartment behind the picture of the mysterious woman. Behind the picture, the viewers see what appears to be the head of a demonic creature in a cage. Kai’s final words to the head are that he will avenge the creature. I think we can assume that Kai is not a good person but what about Patience?
Charmelo and Snyder have kicked up Midnight, Texas several notches. It is more salacious (think True Blood), there is more conflict, and the storylines are darker but there is still humor and love. I think that they have hit the correct mix in the Season 2 premiere. However, I want to caution the viewers that you really cannot tell where the story is headed at this point. There is so much more to be revealed. To continue this discussion, join us on the Friends of Comic-Con Forum.