Midnight Mass: Book IV: Lamentations brings us to the cost of miracles and apologetics. Continuing from the last episode, Mike Flanagan and Netflix reveal more supernatural secrets in Crockett Island.
Father Paul begins a transformation of faith and body. Erin and Riley have their lowest days, coming to terms with their parental baggage. Joe fights for sobriety.
Erin Greene meets with Dr. Gunning, excited about her pregnancy. However, Dr. Gunning seems concerned, deciding to perform an unscheduled ultrasound. Her baby is gone! Dr. Gunning believes Erin is in denial of a miscarriage, supported by Erin’s absolute distress. Where other episodes started dark, Erin takes in this moment in horror. She will later seek a second opinion outside the island, which only undermines her sanity.
Father Paul transforms, coming to terms with his growing need for blood. This parallels perfectly with many of the tested characters, Joe Collie, specifically. However, as Joe Collie fights his alcoholism, Father Paul eventually indulges his blood lust leading directly to Joe’s death.
Bev leads events as Father Paul recovers, canceling Mass and directing the church in his absence. Bev encourages Father Paul as a miracle, additionally weaponizing apologetics to enable his growing hunger.
Dr. Sarah Gunning pursues the miraculous recoveries by testing blood samples and quizzing her mother’s memory. Despite tripping up a bit on her Father’s name, Mildred Gunning seems alert and youthful. After leaving the test samples in direct sunlight, they explode, using that odd split screen that awkwardly blurs the background.
Sheriff Hassan reluctantly allows his son, Ali, to attend Mass but reiterates that they have God.
Riley and Erin bond as Riley finally opens himself up. After promising to return the next night and comfort Erin, he attends AA. Father Paul mentions that Joe is visiting his sister. This doesn’t sit well with Riley, but I will discuss that soon. Regardless, he returns to the rec center to confront Father Paul and finds the monster or Angel. The Angel launches itself forward and attacks Riley.
Frankly, Midnight Mass: Book IV: Lamentations has many strengths, specifically the connection of themes to cinematography, but I was irritated by a plot contrivance. As always, Mike Flanagan brings care to cinematography and connects themes masterfully, but…
The specific plot contrivance, not a plot hole, is Riley’s reaction to Father Paul’s claim about Joe. Astute viewers will remember that Riley and Joe discussed Joe’s sister, who passed away. Due to her hatred of Crockett Island, her children buried her on the mainland. Joe says he finally feels like he could have attended her funeral. If anything, Riley’s conversation supports Father Paul’s claim, visiting her grave to make peace. As minor as this point seems, it creates a shift in Riley’s character as he tells his mother Father Paul lied and confronts him at the rec center, leading to his death.
To be more pedantic, I’m not a fan of that blurry split screen that seems to be a thing in cinematography.
Regardless, the theme of constraint and control is expertly crafted and executed. The above points aren’t things that can honestly disrupt the quality of the episode.
(4 / 5)
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