Midnight, Texas S01E08 “Last Temptation Of Midnight” REVIEW

Midnight, Texas S01E08 “Last Temptation Of Midnight” REVIEW

0 comments 📅14 September 2017, 22:01

Airing on SyFy UK, Thursdays at 9pm
Writer: Monica Owusu-Breen
Director: Kevin Tancharoen

Essential Plots Points:

  • In a country cemetery, a priest approaches a man seemingly preying. Instead, he’s a faceless demon who cuts the priest’s face off and takes his identity.
  • On the way out of town, Grandma is still trying to persuade Manfred to go back to Midnight. Finally, she tells him she had a vision that he needed to be in Midnight before she died.Manfred is NOT happy.
  • Lem and Olivia are in bed and things are…not fully okay. He’s a little clingy, she’s a little overly cheerful.
  • In town, Olivia runs into Creek at the bar. She’s okay but not much more. The Rev’s there too, having dnner. Meat. Which given he’s a Vegetarian worries Olivia a little.
  • At Fiji’s place, she’s sick and tired of the demon yellng her name. She’s just about to give it a piece of her mind when Janice, one of her clients, arrives. The lady admits she’s been having dark thoughts and Fiji agrees to help calm her down.
  • Manfred is still on his way out of town and getting sick. We flash back to Grandma raising Manny. We see young Manny playing with kids.
  • Dead ones.
  • As the other living children laugh at him, Grandma takes him inside and tries to comfort him while also telling him to stop doing it. She breaks the news that they’re living together now and that Manfred’s mom has left him with remarkable kindness. So it turns out the RV is Manfred’s childhood home.
  • It’s also just broken down.
  • At Fiji’s place the consultation has gone really well. She leaves her client alone for a second and Janice disappears.
  • Bobo sees her walk outside holding one of Fiji’s knives yelling ‘HE NEEDS ME TO DIE’. Fiji yanks the knife out of her hand at the last second.
  • They take her to the church and Janice admits that she heard a voice saying that he wanted her to die. They advise she leave town as fast as
  • possible and once she’s gone, the Midnighters brainstorm what they know; there’s a demon feeding off death targetting Fiji and anyone in town who’s weak, animal or human.
  • And Fiji is DONE with letting it mess with people.
  • After the meeting Olivia goes to see Bobo and gives him some silver bullets. She tells him about the Rev eating meat and that maybe Manfred has the right idea in leaving. Bobo is adamant he isn’t going anywhere.
  • In the middle of nowhere, with no gas, pills or signal Manfred has no choice but to walk to the nearest gas station. A Gas station that’s four hours away.
  • Nearby the demon tricks a trucker into handing over his truck. And face.
  • In town, Lem and Olivia are having dinner. All Lem can see is the veins in Olivia’s neck. They chat to Creek and she asks, carefully and desperately for Lem to leech the pain away. Olivia shuts her down, hard.
  • Things get very very awkward.
  • But not actively dangerous like for Manfred. In withdrawal, suffering from heatstroke and alone in the desert at night Manfred passes out and flashes back to the day Grandma died. She’s happy, fully prepared to pass on. Manfred is in bits as Grandma takes an overdose and dies and…
  • Grandma’s ghost wakes him up. She tells him the vision she had; Manfred at the center of Midnight as the Veil breaks and only he can pull it together.
  • And it’s then that Manfred figures out Grandma isn’t tied to the RV anymore.
  • She smiles, tells him it’s time for him to move on and her too. A trucker pulls up and Manfred looks behind him once, then hops aboard.
  • It’s the Priest’s latest victim. And the ghosts in the back of the truck make that clear to Manfred.
  • The trucker talks about his ‘faith’ and Manfred calls him on everything. A fight ensues, Manfred rips the trucker’s face off and leaps out of the truck, running for his life.
  • In Midnight, Lem and Olivia try and make up. But when Lem pops his fangs and Olivia burns him, it becomes clear that the Veil warping is affecting him too.
  • Fiji is working on a potion to counteract the demon.
  • Out in the desert, the trucker can’t find Manfred and heads to Midnight. He doesn’t see Manfred, surrounded by faceless corpses, in the back of his truck…
  • Manfred, because he’s clever, goes through the corpses and finds a phone. He calls Fiji to warn her and asks how Creek’s doing. Creek, who was left the deeds to her father’s place by him as an apology, doesn’t pick up her phone.
  • Lem and Olivia have a heart to heart. It’s sweet and honest and then…Lem attacks her and she stakes him. Olivia pulls the shot; it’s an inch from his heart. Lem rages as she runs for the panic room…
  • The trucker dumps his corpses in the center of town, including Manfred. He runs for the bar as Creek, distraught over the deeds and her family’s crimes, begins murmuring she needs to die…
  • Manfred and Fiji tackle her and stop her. They need to hit everyone with the potion. Now.
  • Lem kicks the door in and a massively fun fight with Olivia ensues. Lem, in full grip of the demon, wants to turn her because he loves her. Olivia wants to live but can’t kill him. She holds her own with the exuberant fatalism of someone who is ready to die until Manfred arrives and doses Lem. Lem instantly recovers, horrified and guilt ridden. Olivia doesn’t care.
  • Manfred rallies them to go stop the Trucker. It goes South, fast, the ground cracking before Manfred summons the ghosts of his victims to drag the trucker back to Hell.
  • Good news? Everyone lives.
  • Sort of good news? Fiji knows the name of the demon who has ‘chosen’ her.
  • Bad news? They didn’t stop the sacrifice.
  • Later, Fiji is prepping for war when Bobo comes to see her. Bobo, because he’s adorable, vows to not let the demon get anywhere near her.
  • Manfred and Creek have The Talk. It’s grounded and calm and honest and the most grown up conversation they’ve had. They’re not back together, not yet, but there’s definitely some unfinished business. Creek smiles, a little sadly and welcomes Manfred home.


Midnight‘s breakneck speed hasn’t slackened for an instant this season but it never loses sight of the characters at its heart. For all the show’s faceless corpses and evil truckers, the stuff that works here is all character-based and surprisingly mostly Manfred-based. It’s not that Francois Arnaud is bad, he’s not, at all but Manfred has always been a reactive figure rather than a leader. This week we find out why, and this week he starts to change.

The two best plots here are Manfred’s flashbacks and Olivia vs Lem. Getting context on Manfred’s past does a great job of grounding him and making us understand why he is like he is. Manfred’s a good guy but that’s more by nature than nurture and one of the episode’s saddest moments is his Grandma realizing that. Joanne Camp has been great as Xylda throughout the season but this episode she really cuts loose and it’s wonderful. The clear love she has for her grandson shines through in every scene and Granny’s death sequence is really sweet and poignant.

Lem and Olivia’s plot is anything but sweet but is certainly poignant. Lem’s pain at the thought of losing Olivia tipping over into obsession is creepily handled and execute and the moment where things go south is genuinely disturbing. What’s arguably more so is the feral joy that Olivia clearly has at finally getting to fight her boyfriend. At no point during that contest does she expect to get out alive but she never stops working and the action actually helps her character immensely. Olivia has planned for this for a long, long time and every move she makes, and Lem makes, is one she’s prepared for. That’s impressive. The fact it doesn’t do any good is chilling.

There’s a sense of elements coming together here as Manfred accepts his calling, Grandma moves on and the first shots in the war are fired in earnest. It’s a credit to the show that this all comes through the characters’ actions and even more of a credit that there are no easy answers. Lem and Olivia don’t make up and neither do Manfred and Creek. Instead, for all their supernatural abilities, the inhabitants of Midnight remain eminently mortal flawed and likable people. And now, at last, they’ve got their general and a name for their enemy. Time for the endgame.

The Good:

  • Francois Arnaud and Joanne Camp broke our hearts in Grandma’s death scene.
  • Likewise the revealk on how alive the kids Manfred was playing with were.
  • Also top marks for implying that Manfred euthanized Grandma without saying it out loud. We really hope the show never gives a solid answer here. It adds a welcome ambiguity and sadness to him.
  • That Olivia/Lem fight is joyous. We love that even under the terror and rage, Olivia is enjoying finally getting to cut LOOSE.
  • Also we especially liked her beating him up with a silver tray. Nicely done.
  • Tito & Tarantula on the RV stereo! Manfred and Grandma have EXCELLENT taste.
  • ‘Pain ends. Memories end. It’s the natural order of things.’
  • ‘You need to be a better man than I raised you to be.’
  • ‘Right now my destiny is VEGAS.’

The Bad:

  • That opening scene is abrupt and HORRIBLE. A little warning would have been appreciated.

And The Random:

  • Monica Owusu-Breen is of course the showrunner and has worked on numerous other shows including Alias, Brothers & Sisters and Lost.
  • Kevin Tancharoen has directed for Flash, Supergirl, Iron Fist and others. He’s also directed the Fame reboot and the excellent Mortal Kombat: Rebirth. His sister Maurissa Tancharoen is also a genre mover and shaker and she’s been doing great work for years now as one of the show runners on Agents of SHIELD.

Review by Alasdair Stuart

Read all our reviews of Midnight, Texas

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