Midnight, Texas S02E01 "Head Games" Review

Peace is often short-lived in the town of Midnight, Texas. After the heroes of this highly underrated supernatural-fantasy series defeated a demonic threat in the season one finale, this premiere episode wastes no time jumping back into the action. Manfred struggles to cope with the after-effects of being possessed by multiple spirits in order to defeat Colconnar, as his nightmarish sleep-walking takes on an increasingly forboding tone and he once again has visions of his grandmother's ghost. With only ten episodes per season, "Midnight, Texas" is a show largely free from the baggage of filler content. Every character action and plot development is purposeful. There are numerous strengths worth discussing in this gem of a show, but we've narrowed it down to just three from the season two premiere to convince you of why it is a must-watch for every Friday night.

Out With The Old, In With The New

With former series regulars Yul Vazquez (Reverend Emilio Sheehan) and Sarah Ramos (Creek Lovell) set to depart from the show, a space has opened up for new characters to fill the void left in their absence. One character that debuts is Walker Chisum, an openly gay demon hunter that helps Joe fight off some demons in a brawl outside a bar. All of the lead characters have displayed a desire to live a quiet, peaceful life in Midnight that would keep them out of trouble or danger. But with the introduction of Walker we see the opportunity to explore the action-oriented side of Joe. With all of Joe's strength and abilities, there is plenty of room for him to be a mighty foe for any supernatural evils that would threaten the tranquility of Midnight. While season one may have teased at Joe's power and formidability, season two is embarking on this deeper exploration of his character which can allow the audience to better understand him and what he is truly capable of.

The most notable addition to the show is married couple Kai and Patience Lucero. Kai's introduction is highly well-executed for how it subverts expectations and keeps the audience on their toes with the twists and turns regarding whether he is good or bad. With countless stories of cult leaders spouting false promises of the ability to heal and hiring actors to con new followers into believing these claims, Kai's first scene is one that plays on the baggage that viewers bring to their viewing experience which guides how they predict this character will be based on premise alone. But over the course of the episode, the show intelligently ebbs and flows in characterizing him. Kai saving Manfred from possession instills a sense of hope that he may not be so bad after all, only for the incredible twist in the episode's final scene that Kai has a head in his closet that he talks to, promising vengeance. Now that is how you end an episode!

Love Will Keep Us Together

One of the greatest reasons that fans have become so attached to "Midnight, Texas" is how strong a heart it has. Whether the connections are romantic or platonic, at it's core it showcases the importance of fostering a strong support system. The fact that these lead characters are able to become a family despite their vastly different backgrounds (vampires, psychics, witches, etc.) serves as a source of hope to the audience that no matter what they may have been through or what they feel they lack in their current relationships, it is possible to find a place to belong.

In season two, we see that Bobo has converted a bar that previously belonged to Nazis into a more welcoming establishment. The shocking revelation that Bobo had been brought up in a white supremacist group has fostered greater development and growth in his arc on the show. Not only has he left behind this darker chapter of his life, he has found love with Midnight's resident witch, Fiji Cavanaugh. Dylan Bruce and Parisa Fitz-Henley have brought to life a beautiful, captivating love story. The honesty with which they portray this relationship makes it all the more upsetting when an unknown force is teased at that will threaten their connection. The actors and show-runners have stated in various interview that Fiji's family magic originates from dark magic and that a curse on her family is what will be threaten her relationship with Bobo. Without the audience being invested in this romance, the threat would not feel so significant. The central theme of fighting for love stays constant in Midnight, but the manner in which it is threatened is what shifts across the seasons. This exemplifies how the show maintains a consistent identity while keeping the stories fresh.

Here's... Manfred!

François Arnaud delivers the stand-out performance of this episode, with his possession story offering up some truly masterful filmmaking. From the body horror, makeup, special effects, and scoring, every detail is carefully crafted while his raw power as an actor serve as the driving force for not only his own story but the episode as a whole. Manfred had always been an important figure for the viewers to relate to. As the newcomer to Midnight in season one, he learned about the town and it's residents just as the audience did. Arnaud's arc as a man possessed by the demons of his past actions is made all the more powerful not only because it came from doing something selfless to save his friends, but because of how visceral his performance is. It's a performance comparable to Jack Nicholson in "The Shining," given their story similarities of men who terrorize their loved ones. But while Nicholson's performance is a linear downward spiral into madness, Arnaud had the added challenge of bringing a broader emotional range. The back-and-forth transition between his possessed self and his real self fighting to break through while tied to a chair and begging the woman he loves to kill him before he can hurt anyone else is one of the most poignant moments of the show to date. When a character is pushed to their absolute limits, it gives a unique insight into not only the one being watched but the audience themselves, as they too can ponder how deep a sacrifice they would make for the lives of the ones they love.

"Midnight, Texas" airs on Fridays on NBC at 9/8c.

Watch the "Midnight, Texas" season 2 NYCC panel here:


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