Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Midnight Texas, Season One, Episode Five: Unearthed

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I'm just going to admit it, Midnight Texas has really started to grow on me, despite my reservations due to the fact that it's based on a series by Charlaine Harris.  Midnight Texas knows that it's cheese but still tries to infuse each episode with some drama.  It alternates between the serious and the camp quite well. So far, each episode has been about delving into backstories as a form of characterisation. In Unearthed, Bobo and Manfred are forced to deal with their pasts.

It begins for Manfred when a rock is thrown at his door. Manfred steps on his front porch to find a Manfred in box, containing a note to be at a certain location at a specific time. That's right, after all of his running, Hightower has finally found him. Xylda's advice is that Manfred simply skip the meeting. Running is what Manfred has always done but that was before he entered into a relationship with Creek. Manfred suggests to Creek that the two of them run and hide but Creek isn't about to leave her father and her brother.  Unwilling to leave Creek behind, Manfred decides that it's time to face Hightower at last.  Creek encourages Manfred to seek out the help of his neighbours but Manfred is determined to go it alone.  Creek heads to the pawnshop and sells a bunch of antiques to Bobo for 15K to pay off his debt.  Bobo picks up on the fact that Manfred is in trouble and suggests that Manfred take a gun with him. 

Bobo doesn't offer to help Manfred because he has his own problems to deal with. Earlier in the day, the biker gang drove through town and set his pawn shop on fire.  Fortunately, the town acted quickly to save the building, in the process saving Olivia and Lem's life.  It turns out however that the fire was simply a distraction so that the biker gang could kidnap Fiji.  It's Mr. Snuggles who delivers the bad news.  Fiji is taken to a building site, drugged and hidden underground. Bobo quickly gets together the ransom to free Fiji but before he can deliver it, Lem arrives at the pawnshop wanting to know what the hell is going on.  Bobo is a little resistant but when Lem points out that whatever the problem is almost got he and Olivia killed, Bobo decides to reveal his past. 

It turns out that Bobo is the son of well to do white supremacists.  When he was 17, his father took him along for a ride and he sat in the car while his father set a church on fire.  From that night on, Bobo decided that he wanted nothing to do with his family and so he stole their cache of guns, gold, and cash and left.  He's been hiding in Midnight ever since and has become something of an urban legend. Bobo figures out that the leaders of the Sons of Satan must have figured out who he really is.  Given the danger, Lemuel decides to tag along, despite Bobo being told that he has to go alone.

Manfred arrives at the location Hightower picked at the appointed time and runs into Olivia.  While Manfred was busy selling his family treasures to Bobo, Creek enlisted Olivia's help. Manfred's so incompetent that he still has the safety on his gun.  Manfred tries to send Olivia away but Olivia feels that she owes him for saving Lem from vampires. When Manfred and Olivia meet up with Hightower, he uses telekinesis to take Olivia and Manfred's guns away, forcing them to take cover. Once the guns are empty, Manfred tries to confront Hightower but it seems that Hightower is in no mood to make peace because he figures that Manfred owes him a lot more than money. It turns out that Manfred agreed to marry Hightower's daughter Violent in return for 100K but and Xyla stole the money and left Violet alone at the alter. A few days later, Violet committed suicide. Hightower wants vengeance  for the loss of his daughter which he blames on Manfred and he uses his powers to toss broken glass at Olivia and Manfred, forcing them both to flea.

Bobo drives to the meet with the Sons of Satan and Lemuel is hiding under the vehicle. Bobo hands over the cache of weapons and cash and is beaten for his trouble. Now that Lowry finally has his hands on Bobo, he's not about to let Bobo go. What's interesting is that Lowry repeatedly accuses Bobo of killing his wife, even though Bobo denies having anything to do with it.  Bobo is taken to see Fiji and Lowry delights in talking about Bobo's white supremacist past and his part in the church bombing, before leaving Bobo and Fiji locked together.

Manfred comes clean with Creek and Olivia about his past and Creek suggests that her father and brother were right and that Manfred is nothing but trouble. Manfred however is determined to make things right. Manfred and Olivia manage to trap and chain Hightower, who predictably is right pissed about this. Manfred gives Hightower some time to calm down before trying to reason with him.  Manfred reveals that the curse that Hightower placed on him and Xylda worked - leaving Xylda dead and him broke, after spending all of the money they stole on medical treatments.  Xylda's death however is not enough to satisfy Hightower because Manfred is still able to see Xylda and interact with her. Manfred offers to talk with Violet on Hightower's behalf, suggesting that it will bring Hightower closure. 

Realising that things have gone south, Lemuel gets out of his hiding place and goes on the attack. The bikers think that they can handle one man, but of course, they don't know they are dealing with a vampire. As the battle rages above ground, it becomes increasingly difficult for Fiji and Bobo to breathe. Fiji uses her magic to trap an air bubble for them, as Bobo tries to apologise for the whole mess. Lemuel goes straight on terminator, biting his way through the Sons of Satan.  Lemuel manages to save Fiji and Bobo before they run out of air. 

Hightower takes Manfred to Violet's body which is still creepily dressed in what would have been her wedding dress.  The body is positioned in front of glass, which allows Hightower to threaten Manfred that if he doesn't get the end result that he wants he will kill him.  Manfred reaches out to Violet and when she arrives, Manfred starts to talk to Violent about why she hasn't moved on. It turns out that it's because Violet's still holding onto anger at her father.  When Manfred refuses to tell Hightower that Violet wants him to rot in hell, Violet takes over Manfred's body. No one on Midnight Texas is going to win an award for acting and François Arnaud's performance as Violent cements my belief.  At any rate, Violet in the body of Manfred lets her father have it and evens starts to choke Hightower.  Manfred manages to force Violet out of his body, saying that he doesn't want to hurt anyone anymore. Hightower is absolutely broken by his daughter's reaction to him and reminds Manfred that he was promised closure. Hightower raises his hand and uses his magic to pierce his own body with the glass he had intended for Manfred and dies. 

With the Sons of Satan out of the way, Bobo decides to stay behind and blow up the money and the weapons.  Before Bobo can act, he is confronted by Lowry, who somehow managed to escape Lemuel.  Once again, Lowry accuses Bobo of killing his wife. A fight breaks out between the two men and Bobo wins when he manages to stab Lowry in the chest with a knife.  Bobo then blows up the cash and weapons.

Later, Lemuel has had his wounds bandaged by an irritated Olivia. Olivia is not pleased that she wasn't informed about Fiji's kidnapping and that Lemuel went without backup.  When Olivia starts to point out that Lemuel could have died, he reminds her that he's a vampire and adds that he loves her too. Yeah, I smiled at this and so did you.

Bobo pays Fiji a visit to check and see if she's doing okay.  Fiji is all cleaned up and clearly wary. Bobo tells her his story in full and explains that he didn't reveal his past because he didn't want Fiji to think badly of him. A stunned Fiji replies that she thought she knew who he was. Bobo tries to explain that she knows him better than anyone but that doesn't seem to comfort Fiji, who asks for some time to sort her feelings out. 

Creek shows up at Manfred's to spend the night.  Because of the feelings of Creek's brother and father, this is something that she was unwilling to do before. Now that she's seen that Manfred is truly reformed, she's decided to finally stand up to her father and demand her independence and right to choose.

Five episodes in, we've already got the backstory of most of the characters. I would however like to learn more about Joe and Chuy in particular though. Now that we have a good sense of who we are dealing with, it's time that Midnight Texas move onto dealing with the fraying line between good and evil, rather than flirting with it by having an armadillo burned up. 

Having Bobo be a reformed white supremacist is an interesting choice given the times that we are currently living. I loved that most of the Sons of Satan met their death at the hands of a black man.  I'm good with white supremacists being vampire food. I don't think that the story went far enough in terms of Bobo's redemption though. Yes, he was raised to hate people of colour and chose to leave after a church bombing but how exactly did he reach the point where he could now be romantically interested in a WOC and have a MOC as a good friend?  The journey is just as important as the destination.  

I'm glad that Creek finally stood up to her father but it shouldn't have taken Manfred proving that he's a changed man to accomplish this. Creek should have stood up to her father from the beginning because she has a right to autonomy over her own body and that her father policing her sexuality is downright incestuous. Now that Creek has finally laid down boundaries however, I hope we've seen the last of the policing. 

Several times through Unearthed, Lowry accused Bobo of killing Aubrey.  At first I thought that Lowry was covering because he accused Bobo in front of the Sons of Satan but when he did it again when they were alone, I realised that Lowry while a disgusting person, isn't responsible for Aubrey's death.  This of course leads to the question of who actually killed Aubrey? Clearly, we've not reached the end of this mystery.