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Midnight Mass: A Dark Mystery Worthy Of It’s Name

Written by Mike

Midnight Mass takes place on a drab, dull island most likely off the coast of Maine. On the island is a small fishing village with just over one-hundred residents named Crocket. Crocket is the quintessential small town; everyone knows everyone, there is a “town doctor”, and the one cop, the sheriff, has just a small office in the back of the local grocery store.

The story starts by introducing us to Riley Flynn as he returns to Crockett, his home town, after serving time in prison for killing someone while drunk driving. As the audience we follow the perspective of Riley as he adjusts to returning home and dealing with the stigmas of the town’s people and his own feelings of guilt and failure. Things really start to get going when a new priest comes to the island to temporarily fill in for the local clergyman who has fallen ill while out of town on a trip. With the priest’s arrival, comes new life to the church and even miracles, but also odd occurrences and sightings around the island and possibly… some dark mystery.

There are seven episodes ranging from sixty to seventy minutes. The first half of the series is completely shrouded in ABSOLUTLEY exhilarating mystery that unwinds at a slow and deliberate pace. The “setup” finishes right at the halfway mark of the series with the mysteries being revealed to the audience. From there, the show switches gears from mystery/horror to thriller as the characters begin to figure things out and we head toward the finale. Throughout the show there will be little hints as to what the big reveal is going to be and if you pay attention, you may just figure it out.

Much of what happens in each episode either directly or indirectly centers around the local catholic church and is very character driven. Throughout the first act the two lead characters Riley and father Paul (the new priest in town) heavily carry the show. Father Paul is a kind hearted man who seems to have wisdom beyond his years, but also remains much more grounded and relatable than your average catholic priest. Toward the end of the show, you see how his good intentions have sadly led him into a situation that he did not mean to get into. There is a mystery surrounding the character and his motives, but you can clearly see that he is a genuinely loving man.

Riley is a troubled man carrying the guilt of his past mistakes. This character is very depressed, but also working to be a better person and resolve his inner conflicts. You will feel a connection with the character as you empathize with him and hope that he can find happiness and peace. An interesting aspect to Riley’s role in the show is his newfound friendship with father Paul; Riley is an atheist, but is also open-minded and respects the good work that Paul is trying to do for him and the town. They have many deep conversations at AA meetings hosted by father Paul through the church.

This brings us to Erin Greene. Erin is Riley’s love interest and childhood friend that had also left the island and made some mistakes in her past leaving her pregnant. As the show enters into its second act Erin takes a more central role in driving the plot and seeing the show to its conclusion. She is much more at peace with her life than Riley and is also a lot more down-to-earth than some of the other church-going characters.

The last character that I want to tell you about is Bev Keane. Now, the show does not have a traditional antagonist, but what it does have is Bev Keane. Bev Keane is a local teacher that is highly active in the church. She works as an assistant to father Paul throughout the show. Keane is the town’s holier-than-thou type character; she puts up a façade of respectful words and pleasant smiles, but clearly believes that she is better than almost everyone. Every stereotypical small town story has a Bev Keane, and it most likely will not take you long to hate her as much as everyone else in the town does.

The first thing that I want to say in conclusion is that this show was casted and acted as near to perfection as I can see possible. There is no character that I could imagine being played by another actor so I must applaud the actors and the casting director. Almost all the actors are lesser known (even if they do have a good amount of experience). It is always refreshing to not only see new faces in lead roles, but to see those new faces knock it out of the park.

I cannot really get too much into the details of the show without spoiling it, but I can say that the mystery in the first and second act way overshadows the conflict and resolution of the third act. I also thought that the conclusion of Riley’s story arc was completely underwhelming, and a huge disappointment compared to what they could have done. Having said all of that, I am going to give Midnight Mass a rating of Above Average on my five-point scale (Excellent, Above Average, Average, Below Average, Bad). It is a must-see if you have Netflix and, although I think that they could have done a better job with the finale, it is still a very intriguing and mysterious story with interesting characters that you can connect to.

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