Did Midnight, Texas Introduce TV’s Most Unconventional Relationship?

Photo: Ursula Coyote/NBC.
There are a lot of things that are supposed to feel shocking in NBC’s new supernatural drama, Midnight, Texas. There’s a hunky guy named Manfred (Francois Arnaud) who has fun chats with his dead grandma’s ghost (Joanne Camp). There’s a town essentially built on the veil between the living and the dead. The town of Midnight even has a talking cat. But, none of this feels especially revelatory since Haley Joel Osment talked to dead people first, there’s a whole Devil’s Gate thing in Supernatural, and Salem from Sabrina The Teenage Witch is the only sassy cat I need. But, Midnight is based on a series of novels by Charlaine Harris, whose books also inspired HBO’s live action vampire sex cartoon True Blood. That means there has to be at least one true jaw-dropper in the series premiere. That moment arrives when viewers get a little bit of clarity on local assassin Olivia (Arielle Kebbel) and local blue-eyed vampire Lemuel Bridger’s (Peter Mensah) very surprising sex life.
First of all, we may be tired of the oversaturated Human-Vampire Romance Industrial Complex, but Lemuel and Olivia have absolutely nothing in common with the likes of Bella and Edward from Twilight. Lemuel isn’t an ethereally beautiful fair-skinned vampire babe along the lines of the aforementioned Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) or True Blood viking king Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard). Midnight’s resident vampire isn’t even a sulky, seductive brunette like True Blood’s Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) and The Vampire Diaries' Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley). If there’s a common link between these four undead guys other than their thirst for blood, it’s that they’re all traditionally attractive white men. Lemuel, on the other hand, is a dark-skinned Black man whose vampiric features — i.e. glowing blue eyes and unquestionably threatening fanged teeth — are as clear as day on his face. Usually television wouldn’t allow such a frightening Black man to appear on screen, let alone enjoy a sexual relationship with a young white woman.
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Now that it’s obvious Lemuel and Olivia’s romantic interracial, interspecies relationship is unusual right off the (vampire) bat, it’s time to talk about their sex scene, which takes the kind of turn no one would expect. Earlier in the Midnight pilot, it’s shown Lemuel can use his vampiric abilities to drain humans of more than just their blood. He “leeches” some of lead character Manfred’s energy simply by touching him. As soon as Lemuel starts draining him, the handsome medium turns a frightening shade of blue. That same color disturbingly shows up again when the vampire gets intimate with his lady friend Olivia.
The scene starts traditionally enough, with the assassin standing in only a towel. Except, since this is Midnight, she’s nearly naked in a secret room filled with weapons, complaining about her anger issues. Lemuel approaches his partner wearing nothing but a robe, slips it off, and suggestively says, “Perhaps I can take some of that [anger] from you.” While that euphemism sounds like an offer for extremely tiring sex, it’s not. Olivia sheds her towel and sits down on Lemuel’s lap with her back facing him in a way that is either not-very-sexy-at-all, or far too explicit for broadcast TV. The position ends up being the former, as the vampire cradles Olivia and drains her of her energy, turning her a deep shade of blue. Hauntingly, Olivia smiles in pure ecstasy, finally letting go of some of her pent-up aggression.
Right now, there are a lot of unexpected couples on TV. Game Of Thrones's cutest couple award winners Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) finally consummated their seasons-long attraction, despite the fact that Grey Worm is a eunuch. Jane-y Jones (Naomi Watts) and Dale Cooper-As-Dougie Jones (Kyle MacLachlan) are doing whatever it is David Lynch is forcing them to do on Twin Peaks. And Teen Wolf is absolutely filled to the brim with soapy human-werehuman romantic drama. Yet, none of these series are showing half-supernatural couples draining the life out of each other and implying it's all a sex act. When you think about it, these shows are barely showing interracial relationships — forget about vampiric sex leeching.
I might not be sold on Midnight, Texas just yet — the pilot is hilarious at times it very much does not intend to be hilarious — but I am sold on Lemuel and Olivia.
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