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NBC’s latest episode of Midnight, Texas gave viewers a deep look into Lemuel Bridger’s (Peter Mensah) past. Before he became the powerful and wise vampire he is today, the pawnshop worker spent his human life as a slave. The flashbacks, which were necessary for viewers to understand where he was coming from and why he made the life-changing decisions he made, were very difficult to watch and had us reaching for the tissues.
Titled “Lemuel, Unchained,” the episode was written by Al Septien and Turi Meyer. Midnight, Texas Showrunner and Executive Producer Monica Owusu-Breen recalls speaking with Meyer, who was on set during the filming of the scene where Lemuel was chained to a post and brutally whipped.
“He was shaken,” Owusu-Breen says of Meyer. “He said it was awful and heartbreaking to watch. And frankly, that’s how it needed to be. To watch someone, especially a character we’ve come to love and respect, treated in such a violent, dehumanizing way — it should be ugly and painful. I cried during dailies. I hated seeing it. But it also gave us a window into understanding Lem. A man who chose eternal death as a way to be free.”
Choosing his new life empowered the vampire. For a century, he found much pleasure in his vampire life. But as we saw in his introduction to young Xylda, Lemuel still felt like a slave, this time to blood. Monica tells us what she loves about Lem is that eventually the power wasn’t enough.
“A life of inflicting pain and death turned him into the very thing he was running from,” she says. “Xylda’s gift saved him. Let him be human. Let him connect with others. But the truth is — Lem’s life will ALWAYS be limited by the challenges of being a vampire. From the obvious — avoiding sunlight at all costs. To the less obvious — he craves blood constantly. It’s a condition that Lem lives with so that he can be part of this community. And so he keeps his cravings in check. Until he can’t — but that’s another episode. ;)”
Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: Peter Mensah who plays Lemuel reveals that for the torture scene, an expert whip master was brought on who was able to crack the whip and stop just inches away from touching him!
Before “Lemuel, Unchained” aired, we teased that nearly every character on the show has a bad-ass moment. We got to see the Midnighters band together to defeat the vampires that threatened their town. Watching them step up in their own way was pretty amazing! When asked what her favorite moments were, we were not surprised that those were our favorites as well. You know the saying: The family that slays together stays together!
“I love the scene when Connor approaches Creek and she tells him that there’s a nest of vampires in Midnight. When Connor asks if they should be scared, Creek, matter-of-fact tells him no. They shouldn’t be scared. They should be prepared. Then she tells him to get a knife and help her sharpen some stakes.”
“What I loved about that moment is that Creek, who is human, isn’t willing to sit by and let other more powerful supernatural folks come to her rescue,” she continues. “I love that she takes the initiative to protect herself and her family. It’s a small, human moment in the midst of all this supernatural insanity. But it’s a moment that really spoke to that character.”
Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: Monica also loved the part when Creek stabbed a vampire through Manfred’s RV window. She shares that the director of the episode, David Solomon, never told Francois that the vampire was going to appear, so Manfred’s startled expression was real!
Creek telling Connor to grab a knife, and Manfred punching their dad in the face (he deserved it..) were just some of the moments that made us say, “Yassss!” In addition to that, the episode showed us more of the Lovell family, and as Monica reveals, we will learn much more about the family as the season goes on.
“We’ll learn why Creek feels responsible for Connor,” she says. “She’s scared to leave him alone with her overprotective, volatile dad. And eventually we’ll uncover secrets about the Lovell family that even Creek doesn’t know. Secrets that will change everything for her.”
Because the nest of vampires occupied the Midnight gang (Still kinda sad that Pia died, BTW), the story of who — or what — killed Aubrey was put on a brief hold. Monica Owusu-Breen tells us that we won’t have to wait long for Midnight’s local pawnshop owner to have questions about the recent string of murders.
“In episode 4 we will resume with Bobo wanting answers. About Aubrey. About the Sheriff. Aubrey’s murder mystery isn’t over.
“And Aubrey’s murderer isn’t done either…”
Midnight, Texas airs Mondays at 10pm on NBC.