Huh. You know, for a story that ended with as many people dead in the end as this one did, it somehow managed to pull off an uplifting ending. Of a sort.
Midnight Mass has basically been an examination of spirituality. Who is and isn’t really a spiritual person. True, it ends with all but two characters from the series dead. Most go up in flames when the sun comes out. Most of the ones who go up in flames actually do so as a community, realizing the error of their ways while singing a church hymn. The ones who don’t find solace in other ways. The Angel, presumably, doesn’t make it to safety as Erin sacrificed herself to take the thing out. She manages to cut holes in its wings because the dumb thing can’t stop drinking her blood long enough to try and stop her.
Yeah, that’s the big vampire weakness it turns out: they can’t stop themselves from drinking blood when they see it oozing all over the place.
Erin, it should be noted, doesn’t come back as a vampire from the looks of things, but she was out in the open when the sun came up, so it probably doesn’t matter.
If anything, the end seems to suggest that the people of the island didn’t really change who they were just because they were suddenly undead. Annie slits her own throat to slow down Bev and Sturge long enough for the others in her now-burning house to escape, and she does come back. She finds her husband Ed, neither of them had managed to kill anyone, but they decide to greet the sun together, hence the church hymn. That causes the other undead for the most part to join in.
To get there, though, it finally came down to the people of this town to realize that Bev Keane doesn’t have their best spiritual interests at heart. She uses religion as a cudgel, still judging people when the undead stumble back to the church after killing almost everyone else on the island. Most of the houses are burning, leaving only the church and Bev’s precious community center still standing. One man who comes back is a confused fellow, one who had always been nice to Sturge but never went to church. He doesn’t understand why he just murdered his wife and watched while his kids were likewise slaughtered by the others. And Bev basically decides he has to wait outside too. Sturge, arguably Bev’s staunchest supporter even as he came across as a mere patsy, in the end invites the man to the fellowship at the end of the episode while the others who aren’t there do their own thing.
That includes Pruitt and Mildred. Sarah was their daughter, and it looks like she never took the communion wine because when she’s shot spilling gasoline all over the church, she just dies. Pruitt, it seems, really just wanted a second chance to make a family with Mildred. He would have given up his collar for her. Indeed, his last moment in the episode shows him taking it off as he and his beloved hold their daughter’s corpse and watch the sun rise. Heck, Pruitt was the one who actually started the church fire because, no matter what happened, he never wanted what did happen to happen.
And, following Hassan’s mortal shooting by Bev and her racist rant at the dying sheriff, Ali is the one who lights up the community center. No more shelter for the undead. Father and son go off to pray in the Muslim way where Ali meets the sun and Hassan bleeds out.
The only survivors are Leeza Scarborough and Warren Flynn out in a rowboat. Leeza loses the ability to feel her legs again, so the Angel probably didn’t make it to safety.
However, credit to Mike Flanagan for making the final scene of the remorseful townsfolk actually expressing something like Christian solidarity in the end a moment where I could forget that they were killing people only a half hour or so earlier in the episode. And, in an immensely satisfying moment, the only character afraid to die and trying to dig a hole to protect herself was Bev Keane, finally showing her true colors as someone who wanted control and life, afraid to meet her maker and find out what she had truly earned.
So, yeah, maybe this wasn’t perfect, but the ending was about as close to it as it could have been.
9.5 out of 10 “That ain’t no angel, you boobs!” moments from me.
OK, what now for Fridays? Well, the first Friday show I ever covered was Vikings. That finally ended, but now there’s something like a sequel series on Netflix, already renewed for two more seasons, so I think I will check out Vikings: Vahalla next.
It might be interesting to see what someone other than Michael Hirst can do with that time period.