Tonight, it’s the big night. It’s the paschal vigil, it’s midnight mass—the Midnight Mass. (The holder Midnight Mass, if you will.) Father Paul Hill will prove to be Monsignor John Pruitt, being reborn in his youth through the blood of the angel. He will distribute poison to the assembly, so that they too may die and be resurrected. He will even show them the angel himself, spreading his wings in all his glory.
Of course, not everyone agrees with this plan.
Total chaos ensues. An orgy of death and violence erupts in the church, as people poison themselves and die vomiting blood, then rise up to kill and consume the few who have stood up to this supernatural, miniature Jonestown. Director and co-writer Mike Flanagan dwells on this for a very, very long time – echoing how he filmed a candlelight procession of faithful singers for over three minutes, long enough for them to sing a entire hymn – and the effect is deeply disturbing, a real violation of the cultural taboo. It’s like watching someone throw a boil from which all evil done in the name of God gushes out like pus.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that Beverly Keane, and not Monsignor John, ends up being the leader of this new vampire clan. As he continues to lie on the floor, recovering from Millie’s gunshot, Bev rescinds his order to keep the church doors closed – so the newborn can receive counseling instead of provoking a massacre, which, too late – and Sturge throws them wide open to end the episode. She has the death of unbelievers in mind and many targets to choose from: Annie and Warren Flynn, Sarah Gunning, Leeza Scarborough, Erin Greene, Sheriff Hassan and all the other poor souls who did not consider themselves part of the herd. in Saint-Patrick.
As for the other characters you might know, Sturge, the mayor, and the mayor’s wife have all gone vampires. The same goes for Ooker and (painful, over his father’s cries) Ali. Henry Flynn tried to escape but was overwhelmed by the living dead. Mildred Gunning was immediately attacked by the angel after shooting the Monsignor in the head; its current whereabouts and status are unknown.
All of this carnage came at the end of a very deliberately plotted and paced episode, in which our characters’ escape doors are closed one by one. Riley left suicide notes for his parents and brother, and for Pruitt, a warning rather than a farewell. But the notes left them with more questions than answers, at least until the church massacre answered all the questions for them.
Erin’s first trip on her return to the island is with Dr. Gunning, the only person she says will listen to her. She’s more right than she thought: Gunning, of course, noted the phenomenon of recent blood samples catching fire in the sun, so the idea of Riley catching fire at dawn makes scientific sense to her. .
But when she goes to see Sheriff Hassan and asks him to investigate the church, suspected of having inflicted this… contagion on everyone, he balks. He joined the NYPD after 9/11 to help serve and protect his country, only to find himself and his fellow Muslim officers, many of whom were quickly promoted due to their linguistic and cultural skills, believed to be double agents. He moved to Crockett Island to get him and his son away from it all. Why invite another inquisition? (It ends up being a moot point at the end, of course.)
So the doctor, his mother and Erin try to leave the island, only to find that the mayor has canceled the ferries for “repairs” and that Sturge is “settling” in the same way any fishing boats he can board. . Then the power goes out. Then, during the procession, the mobile phone tower is closed.
There’s nowhere to go except church.
So there is a horrible, inexorable storytelling logic in this episode, which begins calm, becomes tense, and ends with a spectacular, cacophonous display of soul-freezing violence. As the horror goes, it is Midnight MassThe loudest, scariest episode of, a real breakthrough for a show mostly focused on dialogue and atmosphere so far. The metaphor of how religious faith can prey on the vulnerable and turn people into fanatics is, in a sense, baptized in blood in this episode, fully emerging, its horrific wings at last unfurled. And the final awaits.
Sean T. Collins (@theseantcollins) written on television for Rolling stone, Vulture, The New York Times, and anywhere who will have it, really. He and his family live on Long Island.
To concern Midnight Mass Episode 6 on Netflix