“If we don’t want him to come back, we live our lives cards up with love for each other.”
The watershed moment.
Every show worth its salt has it sometime during a season’s run. No matter the genre, it’s a turning point for the characters that propel them through the remainder of a season. More often than not, this pivotal moment occurs right around the nexus dividing the first half of a season from the second half.
“No More Mr. Nice Kai” is that watershed moment for Season Two of Midnight, Texas.
With only three episodes left in the new year, the Midnighters have been tap dancing on that invisible line of no return where their sins lay in the shadows. It takes the presence of the demigod Basil, a trickster, to shine the proverbial light on the town’s secrets in order to watch it burn. Manny and Patience’s affair is exposed, as are Joe’s lies to both Chuy and his newest ‘friend’, Walker. While Lem and Olivia have their own heart-to-heart that negates any fun Basil would have at their expense, Lem does make the move to retrieve his powers once more. And then there’s Kai…
Though the episode is named for him, Kai isn’t the focus one would assume. After discovering his wife’s infidelity, the calm veneer Kai usually careers is shattered and the hints of an anger beyond his discoveries is glimpsed. Whether this is just about a man heartbroken by his wife’s forays with another man or part of a deeper chasm of rage tied to his ancestral magic (and the head in the cage) remains to be seen. But Kai wasn’t the only one showcasing a different side.
The infidelity theme continued when Joe hooks up with Walker in the back of the demon hunter’s van. Thanks to Basil, Walker discovers the truth about Chuy’s origins and it doesn’t take much for the demon to recognize that Walker and Joe have been doing more than just killing monsters together. Despite having very few appearances this season, Chuy has always displayed a zen-like quality; most of this is in part to his need to maintain control of his inner demon, a control he loses when confronted with Joe’s betrayal.
Truth and secrets are the driving factors in “No More Mr. Nice Kai”, a reminder that the secrets people keep, even those done so to spare someone’s feelings, often cause more trouble than that which you are trying to avoid. Secrets are prevalent in society, some justifiably so but when speaking about close, personal relationships, being truthful with one’s partner is the cornerstone to building something that lasts. It’s not always easy—especially in genre shows when the rote line of “I was just trying to protect you” is spat out by the hero when his or her secret is discovered. When the truth arises that way, it can kill a relationship though, if the people involved are able to, can forge the bond to something even stronger. In regards to our Midnighters whose relationship fidelity has been compromised, how things turn out for them is up in the air.
Throughout all the chaos, Fiji has become something new. Taking the vows so that she is now a Child of Theophilus, the once loving and selfless witch has morphed into someone we don’t even recognize. As her friends struggled with the situations Basil created (albeit due to their own dishonesty) Fiji revelled in it alongside the demigod who recognized her 180. It’s almost as if the ritual released (suppressed?) her soul, amplifying her selfish and narcissistic personality traits. She successfully dupes Bobo into believing her behavior was nothing more than having trouble adjusting to her new powers but the truth is there to be seen—this is no longer the Fiji we all know and love. In her place is something powerful, dangerous that doesn’t give a damn about the people that were once her friends.
It will be a major shock when the Midnighters find this out for themselves.
- Creek’s return was a major part of the episode and though her interactions with Manny tied in with the overall theme, it’s what happens to her at the very end that deserves its own spot her. While her return was part of Basil’s plan, her leaving Midnight was a boon for the show creatively. Not only does the chemistry of Patience and Manny carry more weight, Creek’s return and subsequent murder only solidifies this as that turning point for the season. It’s a shock for Manny (and us viewers) when he comes face-to-face with her ghost and becomes even worse when she’s burned away, unable to identify her killers. This will be a powerful motivator for Manny though everything about it screams of something bigger and badder in the shadows.
- While the Patience and Manny affair has worked, thanks in part to the pair’s chemistry, the Joe/Walker tryst doesn’t work quite as well. From a character standpoint, Joe cheating on his partner of more than a thousand years with a guy he’s only known for a few weeks? There’s nothing wrong with the Walker character—he’s fine in his recurring role but with the rushed (and forced) attraction of the two, this plays off as nothing more than an unnecessary plot point being used to generate conflict. Despite that, Chuy’s reaction almost makes up for the lack of depth to the Joe and Walker dynamic. Moreover, it makes me wonder why they haven’t used the character more this season.