Manfred makes his way back to town on Midnight, Texas Season 1 Episode 8, in what marks the quick end of his extremely brief leaving-town arc.
We also learn more about the resident town psychic’s past with Grandma Xylda, thanks to some well-placed flashbacks. Elsewhere, the gang finds out more about Fiji’s demon and sees firsthand just how the weakening veil is affecting Midnight’s non-human residents, like Lem and the Reverend.
Sadly, “Last Temptation of Midnight” is by far the weakest of the recent run of reasonably-good to very-good episodes.
The week’s villain is not at all compelling, and he spends minimal time actually interacting with the cast. The majority of the time we see the faceless creature he’s just en route to town, collecting bodies and faces as he goes.
His one major move is almost convincing Creek to kill herself, a la that other lady Janice, via his mind control.
Luckily, that doesn’t work out for him.
In spite of all that, the stakes don’t feel particularly high. All in all, this hour feels very much like filler — which is particularly strange, given that it’s so late in the season.
The narrative is split up into several plots that all manage to intersect by the end.
Manfred’s arc in this episode serves to get him back to Midnight as quickly as possible and to wrap-up Xylda’s story once and for all. Manfred’s grandma helps him confront and accept his destiny (as the savior of Midnight). We also get to see that Xylda raised her grandson to hide his psychic gift from others rather than to embrace it.
As it turns out, Manfred can command/control spirits — a nifty skill that will definitely come in handy down the road. Unfortunately, Xylda didn’t teach Manfred to wield that power when she was alive, so he’s sort of figuring out how that works as he goes along.
I don’t find Manfred’s storyline to be particularly compelling, largely because the “Reluctant Hero Saves The Day” arc is one that’s been done to death. It needs something unique to be intriguing, and Manfred is like so many other lukewarm “anti-heroes” I’ve seen before.
That said, “Last Temptation of Midnight” provides a satisfactory farewell for Xylda. Their final goodbye — when Xylda reveals that, by convincing Manfred to return to Midnight and save the day, she can finally move on — is definitely emotional.
I also like the flashbacks, which help to contextualize exactly why Manfred is the way he is. They are, at the bare minimum, far better than Lem’s flashbacks on Midnight, Texas Season 1 Episode 3 (which were honestly terrible — no offense to Peter Mensah’s consistently excellent performance).
Speaking of Lem…
The veil falling begins to affect the old vampire, as well as the were-reverend. For the Rev, it just results in a steak craving for the normally-vegetarian man. But for Lem, the results are significantly more catastrophic.
The Lem/Olivia portions of this episode are easily the best and most engaging. They build on the recent reveal of earlier episodes, that Olivia has no desire whatsoever to become a vampire and stay with Lem forever. She believes that life is meant to end, and she’s sticking to her guns.
But Lem, even before his “dark side” takes over, takes Olivia’s decision as a personal affront. His hurt and anger over Olivia’s decision to eventually leave him, paired with the veil’s effects, cause him to nearly kill/turn Olivia.
The extended fight scene between the 2 is great and well-choreographed — though how silly and ridiculous is it that Olivia suddenly has significantly shorter hair midway through the fight, and that Lem comments on it? Did Arielle Kebbel cut her hair between episodes or something?
I also really feel for Olivia’s sudden terror and trepidation around Lem, after he becomes out of control and attacks her.
For Olivia, he was the one person she trusted and felt safe around. That he turns on her — albeit against his will — is obviously a major issue.
I’m interested to see how this incident impacts their relationship for the rest of the season. Though kudos is due to Manfred for jumping into the fray in the nick of time to dose Lem with Fiji’s mind-clearing potion.
- The special effects for the demon stealing faces is laughably bad.
- Also — not to suggest he had it coming or anything — what was that priest in the opener thinking, approaching a mysterious, hooded, obviously-sketchy fellow in a graveyard?!
- Is Bobo ever going to have something to do other than be protective of Fiji? Like, an actual storyline? It seems as though once Aubrey’s murder was solved, the writers ran out of ideas for him.
- I don’t completely get why Olivia is so against Lem helping Creek by leeching her pain away. Is it really just a jealousy thing? I’m confused.
- Thankfully, Creek and Manfred aren’t just immediately back together, which I feel like would have undercut the emotional maturity of Creek realizing she needs space to grow as her own person.
What did you think of this episode of Midnight, Texas? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Midnight, Texas airs Mondays at 9/8c on NBC.
Want more from Tell-Tale TV? Subscribe to our newsletter here!