Midnight, Texas Season 1, Episode 3 Recap: Magic & Science

Photo: John Golden Britt/NBC.
Good news, Midnighters! Creek (Sarah Ramos) has a last name: Lovell. Also, she’s naked, which is good news for those of you who care.
We open in a post-coital moment with Manfred (François Arnaud) as dawn breaks in Midnight, a place where nothing feels as good as going against your father’s wishes. Creek reminds Manfred once again that this is not a real relationship and that her daddy cannot find out about any of it. Which means that a plot about her dad finding out is coming any minute now.
Apparently, Manfred lets Creek walk home alone in the scariest little ghost town in Texas, so naturally she's stopped on the completely deserted streets by a bus full of vampires who just got into town. Lemuel (Peter Mensah) shows up to handle the situation when one of them tries to bite her, but — twist! – this vampire is someone he knows! Welcome to Midnight, Zachariah (Zahn McClarnon)!
After some talk about hopey-changey stuff and Zach’s “nature,” we get down to flashbacks that explain how Lem became a vamp. He was a runaway slave (with a British accent, which goes totally unexplained) named Abraham in the pre-Civil War South. He went looking for Zachariah, a Native American vampire, who changed him. Together, they slaughtered a house full of slave owners and an immortal life of revenge began.
In some exposition at an informal Midnight City Council meeting of our primary cast, we also learn that Lem is an energy-sucking vampire who can kill other vamps, so they tend to stay away. Which is why the townies are so concerned about a bus full of them showing up. Of note: In the Midnight universe, all the things you know about vampire lore do not apply. Garlic and holy water do nothing, and they don’t have to wait for an invite to come into your home. Take that, Bram Stoker! However, sunlight or a wooden stake will still kill them, and silver slows them down.
We also get the first full-on kiss between Olivia (Arielle Kebbel) and Lem, along with a lot of jealousy (and suspicion) on her part. They're TV’s most unconventional relationship! Another revelation: Olivia is not interested in being turned into a vampire. Wonder if that’s the reason their relationship works or is it a point of contention?
Another interesting tidbit: As the Midnighters are arming themselves against the incursion of vamps, we see Creek sharpening the ends of broom handles into stakes. But when her little brother Connor (John-Paul Howard) walks in on her, she hides them. Which begs the question: Is everyone in Midnight unaware of what kind of town they live in? Just this core crew? Or is this some hubris, where the main cast thinks everyone else doesn't notice the strange things going bump in the night? Or is this strictly a protecting-her-teenage-brother move? The Midnighters were right to be skeptical, though, since Manfred finds the local hardware store owner dead from a vamp feeding on him. After some initial taunting, he manages to stab the vamp through the heart with a pencil, thanks to a solid kick.
Joe (Jason Lewis) reveals to the Rev (Yul Vazquez) that he’s a fallen angel, living his life like a normal with the man he loves. Do we think he’s fallen because he realized he was gay as an angel or because he chose to fall and then realized he was gay? Also, it’s interesting that when Joe hesitates to tell him about the fraying veil over Midnight, the Rev solemnly says that he’s a Reverend who will hear confession and keep the secret. Other than Lutherans, I don’t believe Christians usually take confession and only Catholic priests can offer absolution for any sin. So, either the Rev is Lutheran, or he really wants to know this secret and is pulling out all the tricks to get it out of Joe. At any rate, Joe’s real confession is that he and Chuy (Bernardo Saracino) may be leaving town soon to avoid the fight.
When we get the backstory of how Lem and Zach came to Midnight (yes, it was a bloody siege circa the 1950s), we get a big surprise: Xylda (Joanne Camp) was a girl then, and Zach tried to give her to Lem as a gift and she gave Lem the gift of no longer being a slave to blood (his description). She’s the one who turned him into an energy draining, super-powerful vamp and that’s where his bright blue eyes came from. Lem gave Zach and his lady friend the chance to give up a life of killing and blood and when they chose not to, he gave them an ultimatum to leave town. All this nostalgia leads to a showdown between Lem and Zach, of course, while most of the townspeople are squared away in the church, where apparently vampires cannot venture. (Glad we’re not getting all of the vampire rules at once or anything helpful like that.)
Notice how I said most of the townspeople? Yeah, Creek, along with her father and brother, are still sitting at home for literally no reason other than it gives Manfred a reason to rescue them at the last minute, as well as setting up further tension between Manfred and her father. The scene is played off as if her father doesn’t know what Midnight is all about either, but if that’s true then why does the entire rest of the town know to get their asses to the church? I’m calling bullshit on this scenario. They don’t make it, because this surprisingly organized group of vampires are already lined up in the streets like a well-trained battalion, but they do make it to Manfred’s house, which Fiji (Parisa Fitz-Henley) had previously made inhospitable to the dead.
Meanwhile, Fiji and Bobo (Dylan Bruce) are at her (also inhospitable to the dead) house, working on a plan. They’re going to make crystal flashlights that will act as sunlight and kill the vampires when you turn them on and point. Talk about magical thinking. Please let this tip be in the next goop email blast. (And as for Fiji’s comment that magic and science may be one in the same: “Who’s to say?" Uh...Scientists?)
Meanwhile, Olivia was going to turn a spotlight-sized sunlight crystal on, but when she gets hurt, the town’s backup hero, Manfred, has to do it. If you feel like Creek’s dad is doing way too much to maintain his hate for Manfred, you are correct.
Manfred lures Zach in with a deal to give him and his whole crew the same power Xylda gave Lem. The suckers believe it and that – plus a fast-moving fallen angel – is how the Midnighters manage to kill several vamps with one spotlight. Olivia saves Lem by giving him her blood just before dawn, and everyone is alive...for now. There’s a fair bit of foreshadowing happening though: Fiji gets friend-zoned by Bobo, Creek gets a lecture from her dad for sleeping with the psychic, and a blonde woman out hitchhiking gets picked up by someone with flood lights on their truck – never a good sign.
Also, Fiji’s cat talks again at the end of the episode, and that needs to come to a stop. Until next week!
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