Midnight, Texas S01E09 “Riders on the Storm” REVIEW

Midnight, Texas S01E09 “Riders on the Storm” REVIEW

0 comments 📅23 September 2017, 15:39

Airing on SyFy UK, Thursdays at 9pm
Writer: Al Septien & Turi Meyer
Director: Greg Beeman

Essential Plots Points:

  • Fiji wakes up to the sound of someone yelling her name. She confronts a masked figure in the street who goads her into attacking him by saying she brings death to those she loves. The other Midnighters can’t see him even and Fiji almost roasts them when she projects fire at him.
  • Later, the others are trying their best to console her. She doesn’t want anyone hurt by her and carefully doesn’t mention that the man she saw claimed she would give herself to Colconnar.
  • Creek stays with her. She wakes the next morning to find Fiji hasn’t slept and insists she isn’t tired.
  • We flashback 10 years to Fiji arriving back in Midnight for the first time in years. She’s greeted by her Aunt Mildred who welcomes her home even though Fiji is…less than pleased about being back.
  • It turns out that Fiji has had some serious problems. Her therapist calls them ‘rage blackouts’ but her Aunt is convinced it’s because Fiji has the same abilities she does.
  •  Back in the present, Joe and Manfred are talking strategy. Joe reveals that the last person to close the veil when it tore was a local Shaman called Catori who was killed doing so. Manfred’s response is surprisingly practical. ‘Let’s dig him up. Dead bodies I can work with.’And then Joe points out the sandstorm barreling towards town…
  • Manfred goes to the restaurant and tells Creek about it. He tells her to evacuate and asks her to go with them. Fiji is not okay with it but agrees to go.
  • Joe, Manfred and Rev are digging in the church basement. They talk about Creek and the Rev tells Manfred he’s overthinking it. Outside town, Creek crashes her car in the storm.
  • And in town the balaclava-clad man Fiji had a vision of appears in the middle of the sandstorm.
  • Creek tries to fix her car while in town Bobo and Olivia stand guard over Fiji. Fiji tries to push Bobo away but because he’s genuinely adorable, he just doesn’t buy it. Fiji stares at an odd trunk in the corner of the shop and…flashback.
  • The trunk, it turns out, has dark magic inside it. Dark magic Fiji is not yet ready for. Instead her Aunt walks her through how to make plants grow using her emotions.
  • It goes very VERY well. So much so her Aunt needs a new greenhouse roof and counsels her to control her emotions.
  • In the present day, Fiji sees the man from her vision outside. He disappears but Bobo and Olivia head out, guns in hand and engage…something.
  • In the basement, the other boys find the remains but there’s nothing left. No bones. No clothes. No nothing. Then they hear gunfire.
  • Sand wraiths are everywhere and when the boys make it back to Fiji’s they find Bobo’s been hurt.
  • Fiji tends to his wounds and apologizes. He smiles and says ‘There’s nowhere I’d rather be.’
  • The others are regrouping. Manfred suggests they get somewhere safe and regroup. Olivia’s not okay with it but they have no other choice.
  • Creek gets her car running.
  • Fiji can’t find Mr Snuggly and panics. Bobo agrees to look for him and Fiji flashes back. Another midnighter, Jeremy, chats her up.
  • In the present, Olivia enjoys dragging Lem to the bus a LITTLE too much while Manfred goes to get Mr Snuggly. He’s about to be cornered by wraiths when Creek rolls up and rescues him.
  • As the small convoy rolls out of town, Manfred and Creek good-naturedly bicker about why she came back. Mr Snuggly growls ‘get a room’.
  • In the past, Fiji and Jeremy are getting very close. She talks about her horrifying past at the institution and how much she’s made her peace with. They kiss.
  • Aunt Mildred warns  her to guard her emotions especially as she enters into a relationship but Fiji isn’t buying it.
  • The convoy breaks clear of the sandstorm. And the sandstorm FOLLOWS them.
  • Bobo tells them they need to hole up somewhere without windows and he has an idea. They get off the main roads as the sandstorm closes in on them again. Brilliantly, Bobo takes them to a tiny, windowless bar in the middle of nowhere. As they go in, the masked man appears again.
  • Fiji admits that the storm is chasing her and the others ask why. Finally, embarrassed and pushed, she admits she’s a virgin. And Virgin Witches, especially adult ones are as powerful as they are rare.
  • Fiji is MORTIFIED and asks for some time alone.
  • In the past, Fiji and Jeremy celebrate their three-month anniversary and have sex. Everything is going great until Jeremy begins to burn internally. He screams and spasms and…dies. Fiji tries to revive him but he’s dead.
  • In the present, Lem and Olivia talk. She tells him she loves him but once Fiji is safe, she’s out of there. Lem is heartbroken, even though she admits she stayed as long as she did because of him. Lem thanks her for letting him spend the last few years with her.
  • Manfred is crushed that he can’t help them, even after Creek tries to build him up. Suddenly, he puts it together;
  • Fiji’s more powerful than he is by a huge margin.
  • And true leaders DELEGATE.
  • Fiji and Manfred combine the gypsy magic of his ancestors with the dark magic of her own past.
  • The good news it, it will work. The bad news is, it will require a sacrifice.
  • A life.
  • The Rev instantly volunteers, still crushed over how many people he’s killed. Olivia points out she’s done the same thing and then Mr Snuggly takes the stage and tells them to take him. He’s old, his bones ache and he’s spent the last seven years without Mildred.
  • The other Midnighters take a talking semi-immortal cat in their stride pretty well all things considered.
  • The ritual begins and a cloud of black smoke erupts from Fiji’s mouth and envelopes Mr Snuggly.
  • The cat does NOT die.
  • Manfred does.
  • Olivia frantically tries to revive him as Fiji backs away in horror. But it’s too late. He’s gone.
  • Creek refuses to leave his side. She’s convinced he’s coming back to her and she’s ready to pick up where they left off.
  • Manfred arrives in Midnight. He’s alone, its winter and he’s greeted by Catori, the Shaman that closed the Veil last time. He asks about Xylda, and the Shaman chides him to ask his real question.
  • ‘How do I close the Veil?’
  • He leans in to whisper the truth as, in the real world Fiji leaves to confront the masked man. She asks how he knew. And he unmasks.
  • It’s Jeremy.
  • He tells her that if she goes to him willingly the others will live. If she doesn’t, everyone will die.
  • In the bar, Manfred sits straight back up. He knows how to close the Veil. And that’s when they realize Fiji has gone…


The endgame is well and truly here. This episode embodies everything that’s made the show work so well to date, as each Midnight resident gets a moment in the spotlight. Everyone from the Rev to Mr Snuggly (!) gets some nice spots here and all of them are tied back into the fundamentally affectionate approach the show has to its characters. These people are outsiders, killers, monsters and renegades. But they’re also a family and you really see that this episode.

You see it primarily through Fiji, as Parisa Fitz-Henley takes center stage. With Colconnar closing in we get a deep dive into Fiji’s history and a chance to see just how far she’s come. Fitz-Henley is great as the younger, spikier, angrier Fiji and her relationship with her aunt, played wonderfully by Bellina Logan, is really sweet. There’s a sense of this being the start of Fiji’s story and there’s clearly more to tell even though what we get here is completely satisfying. Like the show has done before, it gives context and limit to its character supernatural abilities and in doing so makes them all the more sympathetic. Fiji’s entirely accidental, truly horrifying first sexual experience could so easily have been played for laughs. Instead it’s played as this deeply felt social wound she’s carried for years, the guilt wrapped around horror and shame and a careful retreat into her own head. It gives Fiji damage without rendering her down to just that damage. And in genre fiction especially that is extraordinarily rare.

Fiji and her relationship to the coming apocalypse are the dramatic and emotional heart of the show but there’s a lot more to enjoy here. Creek starting to push back against the asumptions Manfred makes about how competent she is and a heartbreaking moment with Lem and Olivia are the standouts. However, the reveal on Mr Snuggly is possibly our favorite so far. The magnificently ornery old cat is one of the show’s most expensive characters but he’s always fun and never more so than he is here.

Action packed, character heavy and even handed this is about as good a penultimate episode as we’ve seen. Roll on the big finale.

The Good:

  • The Midnighters’ reactions to Mr Snuggly speaking (see above) are hilarious.
  • Bobo being the first one out of the door is Peak Bobo. Completely adorable. Utterly loyal. Just a teeny bit squalid as his choice of hiding place showed this week.
  • Parisa Fitz-Henley is GREAT this week. She shows us two very different versions of Fiji and an unflinching look at the center of who she is. It’s brave, difficult acting and it holds your attention all the way to the end.
  • Mr Snuggly is probably the best written cat we’ve encountered this decade. The fact that he’s been with Fiji for 7 years but still misses Mildred, and is cheerfully up front about that, is great. Cats are amazing. Cats are assholes. Mr Snuggly is a great cat.
  • The moment where Manfred realizes he can’t save them because Fiji is better qualified and instantly goes to her for help is one of our favorite ever things. It doesn’t make him any less heroic, in fact it makes him even more so. Good work, everyone.
  • ‘Xylda left me all my ancestor’s demon killing journals?’
    ‘Are they ALL in Romanian?’
  • ‘You’re complicating it. You love her? Be WITH her.’
  • ‘Is this payback?!’
    ‘If it was payback you’d be naked!’
  • ‘Now I know I’m not crazy. Just magic.’
  • ‘So this is Death.’
    ‘This is Death.’
    ‘I like it. It’s peaceful.’

The Bad:

  • Less a bad more an observation. Should the show get the second season it richly deserves, we really hope Manfred in particular will stop underestimating Creek. She’s nobody’s victim.

And The Random:

  • Al Septien & Turi Meyer are producers on the show and have also written for Smallvile, Hawaii Five-O, Salem and others.
  • Greg Beeman has directed movies like Bushwhacked and License to Drive. His TV work includes Smallville, The Defenders, Lucifer and many more. However, it’s his work on Eerie, Indiana that will secure his place in Valhalla as far as we’re concerned.
  • Bellina Logan is great as Aunt Mildred. She’s a prolific actress best known for her long stint on ER as Nurse Kit and her role as Fiona on Sons of Anarchy.
  • Ryan McCartan is an actor and singer who has previously appeared in The Middle, Royal Pains and most recently played Brad in The Rocky Horror Show Picture Show: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again.
  • David Midthunder plays Catori. He’s another prolific actor best known for runs on Longmire and Into the West as well as small roles in Transformers: Age of Extinction and one of our favorite recent horror movies, the under-rated Banshee Chapter.
  • Joe Smith, who voices Mr Snuggly, is a prolific actor and voiceover artist. Most notably in genre terms, he was part of the voice cast on Epic Mickey and was the voice of the MX-43 androids in the much-missed Karl Urban/Michael Ealy cop show Almost Human.
  • No seriously, DID MR SNUGGLY MAKE IT OR NOT?!

Review by Alasdair Stuart

Read all our reviews of Midnight, Texas

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