It’s been a while since we’ve set foot in Midnight, Texas, but don’t worry: The little Lone Star town is just as full of lovable weirdos and certain-death scenarios as you remember.
Friday’s Season 2 premiere finds Manfred still trying (and mostly failing) to shake off the effects of the demonic possession that allowed him to defeat Colcannar in the Season 1 finale. You’ll have to forgive his friends if they don’t immediately pick up on his odd behavior, because a) this is Midnight, b) they’re too busy getting nekkid with their significant others, c) they’re distracted by the arrival of the town’s new hoteliers and d) he hides it really well… until he doesn’t.
Also? XYLDA IS BACK AND ALL IS RIGHT WITH THE WORLD.
Read on for the highlights of “Head Games.”
CREEK DREAMS | Two months after the whole Colcannar debacle, Manfred walks down Main Street in just his undies and a pair of workboots, dragging a shovel behind him and looking pretty menacing. We watch him dig a hole in the ground, and then he’s back at the house, glowering over Creek’s sleeping form. Suddenly, it’s morning, and Manfred is the one in bed, startling awake from what seems like a nightmare. Creek enters with coffee and a We Need to Talk look on her face.
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“I’m not sure that staying in Midnight is the best thing for me,” she tells him, adding that she’s applied to a writing program and wants him to leave Midnight with her if the program accepts her. He replies with a sound that I will attempt to transcribe here: “ughhshhherhhhhhoooahhh,” which Creek interprets as a “no.” But he rallies, draws her near and promises that “Home is where you are.” She’s relieved, and they go to kiss but she stops it when she notices that his nose is bleeding.
But that’s not blood. It’s more of that black goo we saw leaking from the psychic’s ears at the end of the Season 1 finale. As he wipes it away in the bathroom, he also notices that there’s dirt under his nails and mud on his boots: That dream wasn’t a dream after all.
COUPLES CHECK-IN! | Elsewhere in town, Fiji and Bobo have floaty sex that ends with both of them crashing to the bed in afterglow, something that disgusts Mr. Snuggly when he happens to walk by the bedroom. “You got skills, girl,” Bobo says appreciatively, and I know it’s five minutes into the premiere, but they are so cute and in love and therefore I AM AFRAID FOR THEM.
Over at Olivia and Lem’s place, she returns from a hit, takes off her disguise and puts on her wedding ring. She wakes up her vampire life partner, and they, too, are pretty adorable as they greet each other as “husband” and “wife.” Later in the episode, we’ll learn that he can now sense her thoughts and feelings, courtesy of her drinking his blood in the season finale. And that new psychic connection seems like a great thing when he has a drink ready and bubble bath drawn when Olivia comes home cranky — and it’s an even better thing when he kisses her and then drops out of frame, causing her to make this face (see photo at right).
On a stretch of road outside town, Chuy meditates while Joe goes for a run. Dude, if even angels need to exercise to keep their heavenly bodies in shape, what hope is there for the rest of us? (Apologies if you were at the show’s New York Comic Con panel and already heard this joke, but I’m rather proud of it so I’m using it again.)
WHO ARE THE NEWBIES? | Now let’s get down to spooky business. Manfred is hearing voices that tell him to do bad stuff to Creek and his friends, but he doesn’t mention this rather troubling news when the gang gathers at Home Cookin’. (Side note: I do love a good supernatural friends power breakfast. See also: Angel, Cordelia and Wesley in Angel Season 1. “After an all-nighter of fighting the lurking evil, we get eggs!”)
Olivia brings the informal meeting to order, because they’ve got to discuss the Crystal Desert, aka the hotel and spa being run by Midnight newcomers Kai and Patience. The business’ website refers to Kai as a “healer,” but Olivia is dubious. Throughout the discussion, Manfred is having a hard time concentrating on the matter at hand. But he tells everyone not to worry: The hotel is haunted, and the ghosts are going to drive out all the customers and kill Kai and Patience’s business. “Well, ghosts or not, we are going to that grand opening,” Olivia decrees.
Later, Manfred drives the camper out into the desert, Googles “demonic nosebleeds” — ha! — and eventually figures out that he’s been walking 7 miles outside of town each night to dig eight graves “for your friends,” Xylda (yay!) observes when she suddenly reappears, confirming what he feared: This ain’t good.
The rather posh and well-rested Xylda informs Manfred that she did, indeed, cross over to some kind of celestial oasis (where “rosé all day” is one of the perks!), but she’s back to help him with the dreams that started after his “demon gang bang.” The pair determine that he’s not possessed, but then Manfred has to run: He’s got to be at the hotel’s big event.
BUSINESS IS BOOMING | Everyone attends the grand opening, though a territorial Fiji scoffs at the prices of the various crystals on sale. Patience Lucero comes over to introduce herself, explaining that she and her husband, Kai, were a “spiritual traveling circus” that was looking to put down stakes, and Midnight’s energy convinced them it was the right place to settle.
Manfred is there for all of two minutes before he vividly imagines drowning The Rev in the lobby’s decorative pool, so he bails. Then Kai comes out among a procession of devotees, walks on water and seems to heal a man in a wheelchair who says he wants to be able to walk at his daughter’s wedding. Everyone claps, and The Rev looks like he’s impressed, but Fiji and Olivia are suspicious.
Remember the bar where Bobo’s racist friends used to drink? He bought it, so the Cartoon Saloon is the newest hangout for the Midnighters. Joe’s a bartender. Lem is the bouncer. “I still can’t believe you took a watering hole for Nazis and turned it into Cheers,” Fiji says adoringly when she shows up to give her boyfriend a key to her house. (He accepts with great enthusiasm.)
In the corner, Manfred drinks himself into a stupor and then calls the cops on himself, ensuring he’ll get thrown in jail, which will mean he can’t hurt his friends after he goes to sleep. The plan seems to work… until he wakes up in his own bed, Creek is nowhere to be found, and there’s blood all over the sheets. He freaks out — but she’s just at work, and the blood is likely from a cut on his hand.
GONE BABY GONE | While reading Xylda’s uncle’s journal in the trailer, Manfred sees an entry that describes what’s happening to him. So he and his grandma summon the uncle, who explains that possession can leave a demonic residue that eventually takes over his brain. The solution? Kill yourself before you kill anyone else, says the ghost.
Not long after, Manfred breaks into the pawn shop and steals a whole bunch of weapons. And when Xylda starts encouraging him to kill Creek, he dejectedly realizes that he’s hallucinating. “It’s too late, isn’t it?” he asks. Answer? Yep.
HELLO, COWBOY | Over at the Saloon, a demon gunning for Joe jumps him when the angel takes out the trash. The demon has friends, and Joe is taking a beating, but he suddenly gets a helping hand from a stranger in a cowboy hat. As the man fights by Joe’s side, eventually besting the demon bullies, he introduces himself: His name is Walker Chisum, he’s human, he knows who and what Joe is, and he’s got a kickass demon-heart-grabber-gadget thing.
Did I mention that Walker is handsome? Because he’s handsome.
KAI EX MACHINA | Home by herself, Creek notices black blood on some towels in the bathroom. She snaps a pic and texts it to Fiji, adding “Something’s wrong with Manfred.” But before she can leave, she runs into her boyfriend in the living room. He’s got a knife. He’s being mean. And pretty soon, he’s got her tied up and knocked out in the back of her car.
He then tricks Olivia into helping him look for Creek, whom he claims is missing. But when they drive out to the spot where he dug the graves, the hitwoman notices black, demon-y veins on the back of his neck and tries to wrestle him to the ground. Manfred bests her, dragging her unconscious body to one of the plots and dumping her in. Back at the car, the trunk is now empty. “I’m claustrophobic, you d–k!” Creek yells, slamming the shovel upside his skull. There’s a tussle for the car keys that ends with Manfred choking Creek, and it’s looking bleak until Lem appears, leaching Manfred until he passes out and drops his girlfriend. In case you were wondering, the vampire was summoned by his psychic connection with Olivia — who’s fine, by the way — and the three of them somehow get Manfred back to the Saloon and tied to a chair.
By the time everyone else shows up, Manfred is raving and black-bleeding from the eyes. Fiji’s magic isn’t making a dent in the demonic cancer’s spread; when the true Manfred surfaces for a moment, he tearfully begs Creek to kill him before he hurts someone. Then The Rev shows up with Kai and Patience in tow.
Kai approaches Manfred, saying, “Be at peace, brother,” and places a hand on his head. Everything goes silent for a moment, then Manfred looks up at the ceiling and vomits a spectacular geyser of gross black goo. Kai kinda kisses him (yeah, I don’t know), drawing the last of the poison from Manfred’s body, and that’s it: Manfred belches, and he is healed.
GETTING AHEAD OF OURSELVES | Everyone — even Olivia — is grateful to the newcomers. But when Manfred gets home, he finds Creek packing. “I’ve reached my limit with Midnight and with you,” she tells him, saying she’s got to make a new start… alone. Manfred sadly tells her he loves her. “Then let me go,” she responds.
Over at Fiji’s place, things are a lot happier. “You’re my soul, Fiji Kavanaugh,” he tells her. “And you’re mine, Bobo Winthrop,” she says. But as the camera pulls back, we can see that all of the plant life in the house withers and dies as they kiss. Uh-oh.
Back at Crystal Desert, Kai approaches a painting that we saw him talking to earlier. But this time, the painting opens up to reveal a skull (not human) in a cage. “I will avenge you,” Kai promises the head.
Now it’s your turn. Grade the premiere via the poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts on the episode!