Monday, September 27, 2021

REVIEW: 'Midnight Mass' - Monsignor Pruitt's Journey to the Holy Land Offers Transformation for Everyone in 'Book III: Proverbs'

Netflix's Midnight Mass - Episode 1.03 "Book III: Proverbs"

Miraculous times leave residents stunned as Leeza pays Joe an important visit. A shocking confession reveals what really happened to Monsignor Pruitt.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Midnight Mass.

"Book III: Proverbs" was written by Mike Flanagan & James Flanagan and directed by 
Mike Flanagan

In the Hold Land, Monsignor Pruitt's monstrous encounter inspires a newfound religious awakening. He has devoted his life to his faith. His community has pitched in to help make this journey to the holiest of grounds. People chose to be willfully blind and ignorant though. No one wanted to admit to the dementia that had taken ahold of Pruitt. Everyone was aware of his mental decline. However, they refused to accept that could interrupt with his service as a soldier for God. He was a vessel through which God spoke to them. He offered salvation and redemption. As such, people placed their hopes and dreams onto him. Not everyone on Crockett Island is a believer in Catholicism. A fierce debate even occurs here about religion being brought into the public school. Bev believes she is right and more devout than anyone else in this community. She can do no wrong so long as she is spreading God's word. She is ignorant and refuses to believe that another perspective is just as valid. Of course, she also gets a peak behind the curtain. She is focused on Father Paul in a way others are not. She is his servant. She seeks to stand by his side and offer him whatever support he requires. She isn't furious about the deceit revealed here. Instead, she celebrates it as miraculous. The entire town should rise up and cheer as well. It's on public display. Their faith has been rewarded. Miracles are happening in a sleepy community that everyone was willing to write off as dying. It's coming alive once more. Leeza can walk again after being shot. Ed can dance with Annie instead of the strain in his back being unbearable. Mildred gains her strength once more until she presents as fully lucid to her daughter. These miracles don't always happen in Father Paul's presence. However, he serves as the connective tissue for everyone in this community. The audience sees the private moments of these characters. They are brought together by this service. But they are also being deceived. Father Paul confesses that to God early on in this hour. He believes it's a lie he must tell for the greater good. He is about to embark on a service that is even greater than anything he has previously done in this world. It's all because of his systems of belief. His world has been shaped by his faith. Even when Monsignor Pruitt is lost and confused in the desert, the imagery of God guides the way. He is attacked by a vampire in an unearthed cavern. All he sees is an angel. And yes, the show juxtaposes those visuals in a way where they could be coopted. A transformation alters Monsignor Paul. He returns to being a young man. He must take up the identity of Father Paul in order to aid the transition for his community. In reality, he is hoping to share the blessings of the creature he found and instinctively believes must be holy no matter what. And yes, it's clear to see how Father Paul can provide spiritual guidance to those who seek it out. He understands that Riley can offer Joe a perspective about recovery that no one else can. In fact, Riley and Joe even welcome the idea of change. That's how they view this process. Joe is even acceptive to the beauty and grace that can potentially await him in this world. He no longer has to be the town drunk who crippled the mayor's daughter. His life has purpose. That's a scary prospect. One that only highlights how much time he has already taken away from himself. But now, he has hope. Riley helps provide that perspective. That's a gift. It's freeing. Father Paul helps facilitate that conversation. But the community also seeks to put him on a pedestal. It's easy to believe in a miracle instead of questioning it. People want to believe in the fantasy of a compelling story. It's more convenient. It doesn't have to disrupt their lives. They don't have to think too deeply. They just have to give power to one person who they believe is special in some way. Sarah wants to confirm Leeza's sudden recovery. She wants to help her patient as best she can. It's not doubting the miracle. It's simply seeking out conformation that something unknowable has happened here. But this community attacks any who have questions. Everyone in the room is terrified when Father Paul collapses. Him suddenly coming back to life offers a similar terror. It's miraculous too though. Some have noticed Father Paul's shifting attitude. His behavior does attract some attention. But it's also hard to make the leap to the monster that is at the root of this despair. And so, it is welcomed into this community. Father Paul only sees the good. Bev praises all of it as well. Meanwhile, the lost souls of this island are simply trying to reckon with what life is. Some have been helped by the events of the series so far. But the monstrosity that has lurked on the edges is about to strike in a fierce way. That too must be stated. Faith is derived by people believing in it and offering it power. Sheriff Hassan denies the way Catholicism views the world and defines God. He has to in order to justify his late wife's suffering. It's a betrayal when his son seeks out more simply because of the events of this town. Questioning is healthy and beneficial. In this case though, the mistakes and obliviousness of some are certain to doom even more.