Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Midnight Texas, Season One, Episode Three: Lemuel, Unchained

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In a clear act of rebellion against her father, Creek and Manfred finally get it on. Creek makes it clear to Manfred that they don't have a real relationship and that her father cannot find out about the two of them. We've seen that while Midnight might be a safe place for supernaturals that it's not necessarily a safe space for humans but despite that Manfred has no problem letting Creek walk home alone. Quite unsurprisingly, Creek is accosted on her way home by a group of vampires who've just arrived in town.

It's Lemuel to the rescue.  It turns out that the new vampires are lead by Lemuel's creator Zachariah. Lemuel is quick to vouch for Zachariah and his crew, especially when Zachariah declares himself to be a much changed vampire. Midnight Texas has a fairly large cast and we're still getting to know who these characters are and what their supernatural abilities are. Lemuel Unchained is a chance to explore Lemuel's backstory.

It turns out that Lemuel was a slave.  In the flashback, we are treated to Lemuel being tied to the whipping post and scourged.  I'm not going to argue that the whipping of slaves wasn't commonplace but this feels gratuitous, particularly because Lemuel doesn't seem to suffer any ill effect and begins to plot his escape. I've really had enough of black torture porn in the media, especially when there's no context other than entertainment value. Lemuel manages to escape to the desert and meets up with Zachariah. At this point, all Lemuel wants is freedom and he's willing to pay any cost to have it.  Zachariah turns Lemuel into a vampire and together they return to the site of Lemuel's captivity and feast on the slave owners. Lemuel slakes his hate with the blood of those who owned him. 

In the present, the residents of Midnight don't necessarily feel secure, even though Lemuel has vouched for Zachariah.  It's time to gather at the church, a place it seems that the residents don't really utilise much. In a bit more info dumping, we learn that nothing we know about vampires applies. This means that vampires don't need an invitation to enter a home, and that garlic and holy water are useless.  Vampires however can be killed with a stake through the heart, or being exposed to daylight and that silver bullets hurt. Okay, now we know the ground rules. 

At the bar, Lemuel is in full blown reunion mode with Zachariah.  What could vampires possibly reminisce about beyond blood and violence? Olivia, is not pleased with the goings on, particularly when a female vampire gets a little to close for comfort to Lemuel.  Determined to lay her claim on Lemuel, Olivia lays a kiss on him. Maybe Olivia and Lemuel are closer than they appear. Olivia may not want to be turned, but she's not above jealousy. 

After getting a lesson in Vampire 101, Manfred tries to get a hold of Creek. Unfortunately, when Creek's father sees whose calling, he declines the call. Manfred decides to leave the sanctuary of the church to ensure Creek's safety. 

Creek is at home sharpening stakes when her brother walks in.  Creek immediately tries to hide them but is forced to reveal that vampires are in town and that the stakes are just a precaution.  On his way to see Creek, Manfred stops off at a hardware store only to find the proprietor dead. Unsurprisingly, the vampire who fed on the store owner is still hungry and decides that Manfred is his next snack. Manfred is able to kill the vampire with a pencil and a sharp kick. Okay, I call bullshit on the idea that a pencil could be used to penetrate a human body so deeply without breaking and falling to pieces.  

Joe goes into confession mode with Emilio regarding his true identity. We learn that Joe is a fallen angel and is now content to live his life with the man that he loves.  Is anyone else dying to know exactly why it is that Joe has fallen? It better not be because he's gay. Joe tells Emilio about the danger facing Midnight because he plans on leaving town with Chuy and feels that someone should know about the true threat the town is facing.

It's time for the second flashback of the episode.  It's now the 1950's and Lemuel is in Midnight with Zachariah.  At this point, killing people has lost its thrill for Lemuel and he no longer sees humans as food. In order to bring Lemuel out of his funk, Zachariah gifts him with Xylda.  Rather than feeding on Xylda, Lemuel takes her back to his room and instructs her to wait until dawn before sneaking out. When it becomes clear to Xylda that Lemuel is no longer happy, she offers him a chance to feed on something other than blood.  This is how Lemuel is able to subsist off of energy and why his eyes are blue.

Happy with his metamorphosis, Lemuel heads back to the bar to try and convince Zachariah to join him but Zachariah loves killing and he loves blood far too much to even consider giving it up.  Fed up with Lemuel's remorse nature, Zachariah orders two of his lackeys to attack Lemuel, who responds by turning the lackeys into ash with a single touch. Now that Zachariah has seen the power that Lemuel has, of course he wants access to it but Lemuel declares that he's missed his chance. Lemuel orders Zachariah and his vampires out of Midnight. 

The townsfolk have largely gathered in the church which leads me to believe that at least a good portion of them are aware of the supernatural in their midst.  It however does not square with Creek's initial instinct to hide the stakes from her brother.  Manfred arrives at Creek's to play hero and of course, Creek's father orders him out of the house.  With no time to play games, Manfred simply punches Creek's father, rendering him unconscious.  Unfortunately, as they race back towards the church, the vampires take notice of the van, causing Manfred to attempt to run a few of them over.  Of course, this is when Creek's father awakens and for some reason, he's surprised that there are vampires in Midnight. Midnight Texas needs to decide whether or not the population is aware of the supernatural or not. Unable to make it to the church, they decide to take refuge at Manfred's because Fiji has made it inhospitable to the dead. 

Fiji and Bobo are safe in her home because she's also made it inhospitable to the dead.  Bobo however is not content to simply hide out and suggests that they go on the offensive using Fiji's magic. Fiji manages to Macgyver a crystal into emitting the same UV rays as the sun.  Fiji and Bobo share a hug over their success.  Things are getting kind of steamy.

Back at the bar, Zachariah makes his pitch to Lemuel about remaining in Midnight and Lemuel turns him down, ordering him to leave town. Zachariah declares that there's no hard feelings and pours a drink from his special blood stash. Why oh why isn't Lemuel more suspicious? Lemuel downs the drink as Zachariah watches and of course it weakens Lemuel and makes him unable to defend himself. Olivia manages to fight off an attack and escape but she's injured. Lemuel is taken to a room and the curtains are opened so that when the sun rises he will die.

With Olivia out of commission, it's up to Manfred to find a solution that works.  Manfred lures Zachariah and his vampires into the center of town by promising to make them all like Lemuel.  While Zachariah is distracted, Joe flies to the bell tower with Fiji's rigged sunlight.  Just as Manfred's deception is revealed, Joe unleashes the light, burning Zachariah and all of his lackeys into oblivion. Manfred is shocked with the speed of Joe's movements and rather than explaining that he's a fallen angel, Joe simply brushes him off.

Olivia races to Lemuel's side but is unable to break the manacles that Zachariah wrapped him up in.  Lemuel cannot free himself because he's too weak.  Because the situation is desperate, Olivia breaks a window so that she can use the glass to cut her wrist.  Lemuel greedily drinks Olivia's blood until he regains enough strength to free himself and flee.

Later that day, Fiji is working in her garden and she's warned to clean up a bit by her talking cat. Okay, I think that the talking cat needs more screen time.  Bobo has come for a visit to discuss the intimacy of the hug they shared.  It seems that Bobo wants to explain it away as a result of their close friendship.

Safe from all threat, Lemuel tells Olivia that he never meant to taste her blood. Olivia is all needs must about the whole thing.

Creek's father keeps up his overprotective streak and demands to know if Creek is sleeping with Manfred.  Creek of course lies and claims that she isn't but that doesn't set her father at ease because he's convinced that Manfred will lead Creek down a bad road. Does anyone else think Creek's father's hate of Manfred has passed the point of ridiculousness now. He has proof that Manfred saved the town and still he's not good enough for Creek. Also, the policing of Creeks sexuality is beyond gross at this point and needs to stop.

Finally, rather randomly, a hitchhiker is making their way towards Midnight and she is picked up by someone driving a truck.  The hitchhiker ends up becoming a snack for the vampire.