Friday, October 1, 2021

REVIEW: 'Midnight Mass' - Darkness Swells As Everyone Makes Sacrifices for the Greater Good in 'Book VII: Revelation'

Netflix's Midnight Mass - Episode 1.07 "Book VII: Revelation"

Night falls on Crockett Island as a tight-knit group of rebels take refuge where they can and forge a plan to control the chaos.

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 season finale of Netflix's Midnight Mass.

"Book VII: Revelation" was written by 
Mike Flanagan and directed by Mike Flanagan

Pruitt brought the angel to Crockett Island in order to heal Mildred. That's his own selfish motivation. He wants to save the woman he loves. He wants a chance at a second life with the daughter he never knew. That's the shocking twist revealed at the top of this finale. Sure, it provides a different explanation for everything that has happened over the course of the series. However, it operates as such because the story needs one to suddenly see the error of his ways while another doubles down on her blind faith. Neither Pruitt nor Bev are good people. But they fundamentally believe in a God who is forgiving. All of that introspection occurs after the devastation has consumed the entire island. This community is awakened in the middle of the night by neighbor targeting neighbor. Bev unleashes the flock onto the town. She does so without offering any insight into the bloodlust that now consumes them and the ability to select the chosen few who deserve everlasting life. It's all carnage. She targets people viciously on this path as well. This was an orchestrated attack meant to sway everyone into seeing this as the only righteous path. Pruitt was shot in the head for his corruption of the sacred text. This episode reveals that he has never been pure as a priest. He has faced temptation. He has succumbed to sin. That shouldn't damn him for all eternity. And yet, that information is weaponized by Bev who idolizes the man who brought the miraculous to her. That was all the confirmation she needed for the path she has devoted herself to for a long time. No one could ever dissuade her now. She has more power on her side. She can burn the entire town down if she wants to. She believes the church and the recreational center will always stay standing. They have avoided countless catastrophes over the years. Those places are sanctuaries. They are open to whomever wishes to come. But when Bev presents her ark to the people, she decides who is worthy of safe passage. If a person didn't spend their time in church before being turned, then they aren't worthy. That doesn't line up with the teachings she professed. It's just her inflicting her own prejudices onto others. She continues to condemn others. Sheriff Hassan is always a terrorist who has targeted her way of life. He is doing the noble thing. He wants to stop the spread of this vicious disease before the whole world is consumed by it. The lone survivors can no longer survive as individuals. They must act in service to the greater good. Sarah and Erin believe Warren and Leeza made it off the island. Their fates are precarious for some moments. They are ultimately the only people who survive the destruction. All of the sacrifices are made to preserve their futures. They may have interacted with the corruption of this community. However, they never gave themselves over to the dark impulses. It's still a choice presented to everyone. They each have to determine how much they are willing to sacrifice. Religion does offer some peace and comfort in the final hour before their deaths. That too has been a philosophical bent of this story. The messages of religion can easily be twisted and corrupted. Their original meaning can be ignored. Even in doubt, it provides clarity to a select few. Ed and Annie never kill to satisfy their cravings. Ali tosses the flame to burn the last remaining building. Erin cuts through the angel's wings to prevent its escape before the sunrise. It's haunting to watch and listen to as Erin details the beauty of memories she is experiencing upon dying. It's a realization that all of her energy is returning to the great majesty of the universe. She is becoming one with God. It's beautiful and awe-inspiring. It's a moment of peace. Ed and Annie share that with the scared crowd ashamed of their actions. They have no hate in their hearts for them despite the different choices they made. Pruitt and Mildred embrace their daughter. Sarah chose not to undergo the transformation after she was shot. That was the instinctive reaction Pruitt had to it. Death was what she was willing to give to prevent this darkness from infecting the world. It's all perceived to be victorious as well. The only confirmation is Leeza's declaration that she can no longer feel her legs. The bodies of their friends and family burn in the sunlight. That action is seen. The threat is believed to be over as a result. And yet, life returning to what it was before Father Paul started preaching is the only thing left for Warren and Leeza. That's the only clarity they may receive as their home is engulfed in flames. It's startling and traumatic. Not every moment is earned in this finale. Everyone seems to have such easy access to fire, gas and various weapons. But it had to build to a defeat against evil. That's the conventional assumption of how this story could end. It's how it actually does. And yet, it provides insight and clarity into the need to find peace despite the many horrors witnessed and committed by each person. That can be hard to reckon with. Bev fights until the very end. It's still too late for her. Many are killed because of her delusion. They antagonize her for that. They each find ways to cope and come to terms with this sudden turn of events too. That shows the strength of their humanity and faith even when others seek to manipulate it. It's only in those final moments when everything is suddenly clear. It shouldn't have to come to death for that grace to be found. That is so often the case though. It's the bleakest terms imaginable for humanity. But it also provides meaning to the life lived along the way in this grand expanse of a universe.