Thursday, September 30, 2021

REVIEW: 'Midnight Mass' - Father Paul and Bev Present a Choice to Their Flock During Easter in 'Book VI: Acts of the Apostles'

Netflix's Midnight Mass - Episode 1.06 "Book VI: Acts of the Apostles"

A fervent Bev calls for faith on the night of Easter vigil. Sarah reveals the results of a troubling experiment - along with a sobering hypothesis.

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 VI: Acts of the Apostles" was written by 
Mike Flanagan, James Flanagan & Jeff Howard and directed by Mike Flanagan

Can anything be done to stop people who believe in the righteousness of their plight? Erin was told to run. That's the clarity Riley gave to her in his final moments. She is left traumatized. She returns to the island as a full believer. That also means coming to terms with the assault done to her. The sharing of the communion led to the loss of her child. That hits her to her core. It's all just a working theory she and Sarah can create though. They want to approach everything rationally even though it's all fundamentally insane. They don't want to be dismissed as crazy. They don't perceive each other that way. Riley combusted in front of Erin and Sarah has seen blood samples go up in flames. They understand that this infection is spreading. And yet, they have no proper channels to stop the spread before it infects the entire island. It's already in the bloodstream of so many. Sarah can theorize that it will eventually filter out. That's not certain. Plus, that's dependent on time and the willingness to rid oneself of this blessing. Free will is removed from the island entirely. Wade cancels the ferries that reliably come to the island twice a day. Sturge has locked down all the boats and cut off the power and phone lines. This community is more isolated than it already was. Plus, it's inevitable that they will all end up at the church. Part of that comes from the understanding that the building is the place to go when disaster happens. That was established in the very first episode. That's the history of this place. The church is always open. Well, that's true until Father Paul needs it locked down to force his flock to kill themselves. That's the bleak transformation of this place. It's more apparent to the outsiders. It's been a gradual curve of acceptance for those who have attended mass regularly. Mildred knew this no longer resembling the faith she once practiced. Sheriff Hassan sees the peril of this faith. And yet, they all end up at midnight mass. That's the only place to be. It's where this story has long been headed. It comes with Father Paul sharing the truth. He reveals himself as Monsignor Pruitt. He was the benefactor of a miracle. In turn, he has returned to share the same blessings with his community. He believes in the inherent good of this cause. But again, no free will is allowed into the conversation. Instead, Pruitt is distraught over the sudden and tragic loss of Riley. He could feel that loss. That proves that these creatures are connected to one another once the transformation completes. That too presents as a loss of singular identity. It's no longer about one person's relationship with God. It's now entirely about sacrifice in the name of the greater good. Pruitt and Bev have convinced themselves that they are important. It's their responsibility to bestow these gifts onto others. One way or another, their parishioners will be turned. They can either choose to drink poison and be resurrected. Or they can be fed upon by the bloodthirsty vampires without full control or awareness of what they now require. It's a brutal slaughter. People are desperate to escape the chaos. The doors are locked. The angel has arrived to attack anyone who prevents this sacrifice. Now, it's fascinating to watch which characters freely drink the poison and which make up the group trying to run away. Leeza has been the benefactor of a perceived miracle. She can walk once more. That has strengthened her resolve. And yet, she is terrified. Her parents can't guide her through this process because they can completely delusional. They have the benefit of seeing it first hand. They witnessed the horror of Father Paul's death. The mass hopes to provide a similar moment of enlightenment. But again, it's a sacrifice that no person should be asked to make. And then, Ali wants to do it. His father tries his best to drag him away. This choice comes across as more typical teenage rebellion instead of anything resembling faith. The latter is how it's presented though. Ali is choosing to be with God. He is rejecting the religion his father endears so much. Sheriff Hassan has been cruelly beaten down by the world for so much of his life. He wants to lead with dignity. He is still forced into a gunfight. People expect him to be the law. And yet, they only care for their version of justice. He can't abide by that. But he survives. Ed sacrifices himself so that many can escape. Bev stands in the way for a moment. She too is turned. She is taking over this cause. Pruitt was shot in the head. He recovers. Mildred was carried away. All of this is pure chaos. It doesn't make sense. It's still a matter of life or death. People try desperately to offer redemption. Erin and Sarah want to save as many lives as they can. They have lost so much in all of this as well. However, people have already been conditioned into viewing all of this as rational. And so, the poison is consumed. The army has grown. It's more powerful. People can no longer escape this reality. It's contained on the island. One way or another, people will be turned. It's inevitable as Bev sees it. She no longer wishes to be caring and nurturing for those confused. This is God's will. It must be done. It's completely in service of their delusional ambitions. The people involved don't even carry out the mass that is meant to symbolize this holy day. Instead, it's simply a profession of their own miraculous understandings. Their faith has become tangible. As such, that propels them forward as it presents as pure confirmation for their actions. They were tempted and gave themselves over. And now, the world is left to suffer.