Netflix’s Midnight Mass
“Book VI: Act of the Apostles”
Directed by Mike Flanagan
Written by Mike Flanagan, James Flanagan, & Jeff Howard
* For a recap & review of “Book V: Gospels,” click here.
* For a recap & review of “Book VII: Revelation,” click here.
Riley is nothing but dust in the wind as Erin’s left in the boat by herself, forever changed. Will she leave Crockett Island behind as he’d hoped? Or is she headed home in spite of what she’s learned? Ed and Warren are waking up to notes left to the family. Father Paul has no idea that his fellow vampiric angel hasn’t gone out to spread the gospel but instead has sacrificed himself to a different cause.
And regardless of what’s happened Erin’s gone back to the island. She goes to see Dr. Gunning and asks for help, telling Sarah everything that’s happened over the past night. The doc mentions “Ignaz Semmelweis.” She talks about Semmelweis who, before germ theory, started the practice of washing hands, only to be chastised by other scientists, leading to a breakdown after which he was confined to an asylum. Also, Dr. Gunning’s been running tests and noticing strange things, like the burning blood in her vials. So she understands crazy stuff, and demonstrates it for Erin. On top of that, Mildred keeps on getting younger and younger all the time.
Father Paul can somehow tell Riley’s gone, he senses it. He sees it as “a gift” being rejected. Bev tries to be realistic about everything. She wonders who Riley might’ve talked to throughout the night before burning up in the sun, like a Judas poisoning “the ears of the faithful.” She wants Father Paul to share the truth with their congregation. Oh, my. At the same time, Sarah, Mildred, and Erin are talking about what’s really going on around the island. Dr. Gunning mentions that Erin’s blood has reacted the same way as her mother’s blood did, and that others in town probably have the same stuff running through their veins. Erin thinks this is probably what resulted in her disappearing pregnancy. All those prayers and all that Communion, all for a bit of angelic vampirism. But, can it be reversed? Really dig how Midnight Mass is intertwining Gothic religious horror with science.
At home, Father Paul receives a visit from Ed, who wants to talk about Riley. The concerned father thinks his oldest boy’s delusional. He has no clue where Riley is, either—obviously. Ed thinks his son probably killed himself and needs to know if the priest understands what was going on, especially since Riley wrote “crazy stuff” about Father Paul. Well, the priest gets to do damage control here, telling whatever lies he needs to so the actual truth will remain concealed, and getting his hands on those letters. God works in mysterious ways? Sure. Some angels are also just horrific assholes.
Erin abruptly reveals to Annie that Riley’s dead. That doesn’t register with Annie, who lashes out. At the store/station, Dr. Gunning tells Sheriff Hassan about the strange things happening on Crockett Island, that there’s “a contagion” being spread via St. Patrick’s. She wants the cop to do something and investigate, yet it’s a shaky claim to go on. The sheriff talks of being twenty-one when 9/11 occurred. He went to a mosque, being non-religious at the time, to donate blood. Later, he went to train with the NYPD. He made it all the way to working on big cases with the FBI. Except he became part of the system he hated, and soon as he started complaining he was turned into an enemy within the ranks, all that police racism aimed back at him now. That’s basically how he eventually ended up on Crockett Island; that and his wife’s death, anyway. Through the jigs and reels, this story’s a way for Sheriff Hassan to convey his discomfort with investigating a Catholic church, particularly considering Bev’s already a racist shit.
At the dock, Sarah, Erin, and Mildred find out the boats are off for repair. That thwarts any plans of getting off the island today. Helps to have Sturge down there, in on the angelic vampire stuff, and Mayor Wade taking care of everything behind the scenes. The women are highly suspicious, not to mention Sturge keeps pushing the Easter Vigil tonight, making sure everybody’s going to attend.
The power at the station goes out so Hassan calls Sturge, who’s well aware that the power’s out, as he and Mayor Wade prepare for the vigil. No power only makes Dr. Gunning, Mildred, and Erin more concerned about what’s going to happen tonight at Mass. Yer Erin insists she’s going to the vigil, because Riley believed she could somehow help, no matter what’s about to occur on Crockett Island. Even Ali is headed to Midnight Mass this evening, and he invites his father to go, too.
Bev and the Scarboroughs start to lead the church congregation through the streets with candles and singing hymns. The crowd gradually grows, as Erin and the Gunnings join everybody, albeit with incredibly caution. The whole town’s dark, except for the candles glowing. Sturge has made sure the cell service is cut, as well. Perfect conditions for more angelic vampirism to lay siege to Crockett Island!
The congregation soon arrive at St. Patrick’s, where they file inside by candlelight. Father Paul begins Mass with everybody attending. He says they’re beginning “a new era” tonight. He kicks things off with a confession about Monsignor Pruitt, revealing the truth that he is Pruitt. He speaks of meeting the angel, though acts like it wasn’t a fucking horrific experience. He’s brought “the angel of the lord” with him to bless them all now. And he urges that there’ll be a little fear, before they get to the other side. Sounds more like a Jim Jones speech than anything else.
Next, a demonstration. All that Compound 1080 Bev used to poison rats and dogs is now in a Communion chalice, from which Sturge is ready to drink for his faith. And when Sturge starts to spit blood, everybody’s shocked, especially Dr. Gunning and Sheriff Hassan. He foams and spits and convulses until he’s dead. But Father Paul insists to wait a moment, that Sturge will be resurrected. Sheriff Hassan tries to leave with Ali, only the demonic angel vampire blocks the way. Everybody’s stunned by the angel appearing before them and revealing its wings. Then Sturge resurrects to complete the show. Quite the Mass! Now the real Jim Jones shit gets started. The Scarboroughs hand out communion poison to the whole congregation and Father Paul asks them all to have faith. The sheriff again tries to leave and Ali won’t go, so he pulls his gun but a few people wrestle him into submission. The poor man has to watch his son drink the poison. Many other children do, too. And the mass suicide gets going.
“There is a price to be paid for everlasting life”
Everybody in St. Patrick’s is drinking their poison, convulsing on the floor, spitting blood. Only a handful of folks choose not to drink. Mildred decides to use Sheriff Hassan’s gun, shooting Father Paul in the head. This angers the angel and it swoops Mildred out of there, into the dark night’s sky. Father Paul will be fine, eventually. But where has the demonic angel taken Mildred? Worse, what’s going to happen to Sheriff Hassan? They’ll “need food soon,” says Bev. That’s when all the dead congregation wake up with an insatiable hunger for blood. And most of them can’t resist their newfound temptations, plunging the church into chaos.
Sheriff Hassan and a few others get to safety while Ed and more who didn’t drink the poison wind up getting their blood sucked. They end up in the back room with Bev, hiding her slimy ass away from the violence outside. Bev rants about a “world without death” until Erin puts a bullet in her, then the surviving group rush out the back of the church, knowing the undead of Crockett Island won’t be busy too much longer. Bev wakes up undead soon and joins the others in the church, where the bloody massacre’s finished. She’s taken charge of things with Father Paul currently indisposed. For everything else? “Let God sort them out.”