Mike Flanagan terrified us with The Haunting of Hill House and Bly Manor, but now he's back with a new goal: to make us believers. Instead of having us believe in ghosts this time, his new Netflix series Midnight Mass is making us believe in heaven and hell. The show takes place on a depressing island where a charismatic priest (played by Hamish Linklater) arrives, offering miracles that could renew the faith of the islanders — at a price.
On Crockett Island, there is no bent-neck lady or lady in the lake to scare us, but there are unexplainable things happening, from dead feral cats to demon eyes glowing in the shadows. There's also enough eerie music and haunting spiritual quotes to never let you forget that something is coming for the quiet island and its devout inhabitants. But mostly you’ll find yourself thinking about what it means to be a believer; a believer in religion, in angels, in devils, and in second chances. (Don't worry — you'll get some relief in the form of a handsome Owen, for all those HanOwen fans out there.)
To help keep track of who is on God’s side, we’re including power rankings for each Midnight Mass episode recap to highlight who is closest to God and the one who has gotten a little too chummy with the devil.
Let the power of Christ compel you — if you dare.
Episode 1: “Book 1: Genesis”
Thanks to the flashing cop car lights, you can make out a Jesus fish bumper sticker on a totaled convertible, which appears to have suffered a head-on collision with a Volkswagen Beetle. Next to the scene, a cop finds a half-empty bottle of liquor as two EMT workers perform CPR on a young woman. Riley (Zach Gilford) looks over at the deadly damage he's done. His head is bloodied. He is despondent on the ground as they continue to perform CPR on the woman. “Is she okay?” he slurs. She’s not. He begins to repeat the Lord’s Prayer and the medic working on his wounds says, “While you’re at it, ask him why he always takes the kids, while the drunk fucks walk away with scratches.”
In court, Riley is forced to face his actions when he is sentenced to four to 10 years in jail for the death of Tara-Beth. The victim's family watches as he accepts the sentence. In jail, he reads over a Bible that features an inscription, courtesy of his mom Annie (Kristin Lehman), from Genesis 39:21. The passage is about Joseph going from a servant of a powerful master to a prisoner for a crime he didn’t commit. His mom includes the passage as a means of comfort because it shows that while life isn’t always fair, God doesn't abandon people. Everything happens for a reason and his mom believes the reason behind Riley's journey will be revealed in time. But Riley can’t shut his eyes without seeing Tara-Beth: she looks like a deranged kaleidoscope with the blue lights flickering off her glass shard-filled face.
Four years later, Riley's out of jail and we’re on our way to his hometown of Crockett Island, population 127. The sleepy seaside town is a little worse for wear. St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, est. 1824, needs a good power washing before it welcomes back Monsignor Pruitt, their local clergy leader. They might also need a few more letters since Pruitt is spelled with a “1” and mass, which resumes on Sunday, has a “4” for the “a.”
As Riley’s little brother Warren and his two friends make their way to the Uppards, the part of the island that has been taken over by feral cats, we see a man dragging a trunk into his home. When he bangs on the case, it bangs back. Before we can solve that mystery, we’re back with the boys who chat about cats that occasionally wash up on shore and Harpoon Harry, a killer who is believed to haunt the island. The boys get their own scare when a twig breaks in the distance, a sign that there might be something out there bigger than a cat.
Riley’s arrival allows us to meet a few other islanders including Miss Bev Keane (Samantha Sloyan), a stern woman who is looking for Monsignor Pruitt. The 80-year-old Monsignor is losing it, according to Riley's little brother, and has been known to wander the island in a fedora and long coat. He’s hard to miss, yet no one saw him on the ferry returning from his pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
One of Warren's friends is the son of a familiar face, The Haunting of Bly Manor's Rahul Kohli. Here, he's the island's local law enforcement officer, Sheriff Hassan, and inexplicably has an office in the town's general store. When we meet him, we hear about the “giant albatross” that a drunken Joe (Robert Longstreet) claimed was following him before Hassan let him sleep off the booze in an unlocked jail cell. An albatross is bad luck, something the fishermen of the town know, but Hassan, who isn’t one of them, doesn’t. It’s a real Sheriff Brody situation as Hassan tries to prepare for an upcoming storm that has him getting pushback from the locals who are stuck in their ways. Worse, is the causal Islamophobia Miss Keane throws at him.
This is a town that appears to be full of castoffs. Riley’s mom mentions their longtime neighbors left without even listing their home, convinced no one would want to buy it anyway. Others can’t afford to pick up and leave. After “the spill'' three years ago, fishing has become nearly impossible and highly regulated. While the population sign says hundreds, it’s actually just dozens who remain in town, meaning we’ve met most of them in the first 20 minutes of this episode. Why would Riley or anyone else want to make a new start here?
Yet he isn’t the only one who has returned. Erin (Kate Siegel) is also back, working at the school where her late mom used to teach. (A framed photo of Erin and Riley in his room teases these two have a past.) We also learn that the man with the trunk, Father Paul Hill (Hamish Linklater), is new to town and will be Monsignor’s replacement. It’s a temp situation, he assures them, but he already knows a lot about each and every person in town. He’s got his eyes on Riley, but Riley only has eyes for Erin. Both were once prodigal children but life hasn’t been kind. Erin returned after running away to upstate New York. She’s not ready to tell the story of her now defunct marriage, but she says being pregnant with her unborn child she's named “Little Foot” saved her life. We also get some of Riley’s backstory: He made a lot of money in stocks and then a startup in Chicago before the accident. He's also an atheist.
Miss Keane is trying to figure out why the new Father is wearing gold, a color for holy days, when he should be wearing green. He didn’t expect anyone to notice, but we already know Bev is aware of anything that seems off in her town. It’s safe to say something is off with Father Hill. Riley also doesn’t feel whole. “I have nothing,” he tells Erin. “I just exist now.”
Erin thinks he just needs to take things one day at a time. It’s really all anyone can do. But as he waits out the storm later that night (both literally and figuratively), Riley sees a man outside his window wearing a fedora and a long coat. When he goes out to find the man, who he assumes is the missing Pruitt, he runs off, disappearing before Riley can catch up with him. The next morning, Riley sees birds feasting on the bodies of dead cats that came in with the storm tide. Was it a monster or a man Riley saw last night? Let’s guess it was both.
Closest To God: Anne
Riley’s mom prayed every day that her son was away. That is halo-worthy stuff.
Devil’s Candy: Father Paul
Sure, he’s a man of the cloth, but there is definitely nothing holy about that trunk.
Episode 2: “Book II: Psalms”
The seagulls are still picking at the waterlogged cat carcasses as Hassan tries to figure out if this is the result of a disease. Mayor Wade informs him that back in 2002 a flock of starlings fell out of the sky, so a disaster of Biblical proportions is not out of the ordinary for good ‘ol Crockett Island. But Hassan believes a predator got to these cats before they washed up on shore. Could the predator responsible be the thing we saw eating a cat in episode 1, or was it possibly the man Riley saw out in the storm? Was that really the real Monsignor?
Leeza (Annarah Cymone) is clear about her dislike and disdain for Joe, the man we learn is responsible for her becoming wheelchair-bound. But theirs is not even the weirdest encounter: while looking for Windex at school, Erin finds Bev holding a can of poison which she claims to be using to kill off the rats around the town. We then get a bird’s eye view of something flying high above the island, landing with a thud on an abandoned home. Is this the albatross that Joe alluded to in episode 1?
It’s appropriate that the mass we walk in on marks the start of Lent, “the beginning of repentance, making amends for our sins,” as the Father says. Lent marks the 40 day countdown to Easter, which in Christianity is all about rebirth and resurrection. Paul gets emotional while preaching that like Jesus, the island will rise again, and like Jesus’ apostles, the fisherman will find hope following the oil spill that ruined their businesses. It’s clear he thinks he can help, offering his parishioners a reading of Psalm 60: “God, you have rejected us. You have broken us down, you have been angry. Restore us again.”
Psalms, which is the title of this episode, are songs of faith, Paul says, that can lead people out of the darkness. His powerful speech leaves some in tears and encourages Riley to get blessed, even if it is only for his mom’s sake. Dr. Sarah (Annabeth Gish) sees something else in Father Paul, though — a familiarity. She says that the Monsignor used to stare at her. Now she catches the new Father staring her down as if he knows something about her. It’s a clue that the new preacher has some connection to the old one. If he is some younger version of the Monsignor, it would explain why he’s so drawn to those from his church who stopped believing, like Riley, who he speaks to about resurrection and hosting AA meetings in town. Is it possible he’s back in some younger form looking for a second chance to convince them of God’s grace?
He seems to have convinced Erin, who is back in the same house, sleeping in the same bed, working the same job as her late mother, who struggled with alcohol addiction. She’s trying to change, but she’s still an outsider. It’s a club that includes Sarah, Riley, and Joe, whose dog Pike is poisoned by someone — likely the poison-carrying dog-hating Miss Keane. She’s the most religious person in town, but she’s also the most diabolical as Riley explains to Father Paul in their meeting. Bev urged the island to take the settlement after the oil spill and then encouraged everyone to give that money back to the church, which really meant it went into her hands for the rec center where he now sits.
Riley has found power in forms of recovery that don’t focus on God. He’s more interested in learning to identify his addiction and controlling it on his own. Riley sees his addiction as a monster that he fed in hopes of keeping it at bay. But that didn’t work, and instead made the monster stronger until it eventually took over. He makes clear that he, not the monster, is to blame for what happened. It’s also clear he hasn’t forgiven himself for that night. He hasn’t forgiven God either. “He kind of let it happen, didn’t he?” Riley says of his drinking. The saying “God works in mysterious ways” is a cop out to him because nothing good came out of his drinking. So no, he doesn’t think suffering is a gift from God. Still, Father Paul asks him to consider that there is something good to be found in the bad, we must choose to see it.
Even as Paul tries to have Riley see the light, a darkness is slowly spreading across the island. Erin sees a dark figure with glowing eyes outside her window and then sees spotting while going to the bathroom, something the doctor warned her of. The figure then pops up at Dr. Sarah’s mother’s window. “That face,” she says in horror, claiming she saw her late husband’s face. Finally, the entity ends up back at the abandoned house where it feasts on a local drug dealer.
The episode ends with Father Paul looking to perform a miracle as if to show Riley how powerful God is. It seems cruel at first, forcing the wheelchair-bound Leeza (Annarah Cymone) to walk to him for Communion. But somehow she stands and starts to walk, shocking herself in the process. For his next trick, Father Paul might just make Riley a believer.
Closest To God: Sarah
She’s not a true follower, but the doctor’s kindness, compassion, and care for everyone in town, even Pike, is sure to make the Man upstairs a fan of hers.
Devil’s Candy: Bev
She may act like a holy roller, but poisoning a dog could earn you a one-way ticket to H-E-double-hockey-sticks.
Episode 3: “Book III: Proverbs”
The miracle man is giving his own confession. The following morning, Father Paul is going to sin. He’s going to lie about Pruitt’s whereabouts. The Monsignor is not recovering on the mainland, but he will say he is for the town’s own benefit. This confession, we soon see, came the day before he helped Leeza walk again. Of course, Bev, even while awestruck by this miracle, notices something is wrong with Father Paul. When he walks back to the rectory to compose himself after Leeza’s first steps, she follows, hearing him wretch up blood. She also sees a photo on the wall that stops her in her tracks.
Leeza is now with Dr. Sarah trying to explain how she walked. Her parents believe it’s a miracle, but the doctor isn’t willing to make that proclamation. She wants to do more tests and see if this advancement could be used to help others. Leeza’s parents are apprehensive to send her to the mainland, explaining they’ve been bankrupted by looking for answers via the healthcare system. They don’t want to second guess a gift from God, but they also can’t afford to.
Riley has time to question it though. He can rationalize that it was a misdiagnosis, but that doesn’t explain how Paul knew she could walk. But Paul knows his spiritual answer won’t suffice: He could just feel it. Others are feeling the effects of Paul too: Sarah’s mother’s hip is better, Riley’s mom doesn’t need her glasses, Ed’s back is healed, and suddenly Leeza is running. The island is coming back to life one cured ailment at a time. Yet Riley still can’t shake the visions of Tara-Beth. Is Father Paul infusing the Eucharist with some miracle-compound? Well, whatever it is, it’s gotten butts in the pews.
Paul tells the packed church that God gives mysteries that can’t always be explained, not miracles. He can’t even explain them himself, including his own medical problems like fainting during a sermon, which may frustrate people (maybe even the show’s audience).
Flashback to his confession, and he’s telling the story of Saul becoming the Apostle Paul after speaking with Jesus. On the road to the miracle’s location in Damascus, Monsignor wanders off for the last time and finds an ancient ruin. It’s a light that draws him in — or maybe it’s just the light the doctor is shining in Father Paul’s face? Timelines are getting blurred now, and we’re back on the island. Sarah tells him he’s dehydrated, and he tells her he’s proud of her. A compliment that seems like it’s a long time coming, despite them just meeting recently.
Joe is also met with a familiar face in Leeza who shows up at his trailer to tell him about that day he shot her. She didn’t feel it, but the not feeling was what scared her most, even more than her dad’s howls. “I hate you,” she tells him. And yet, she is willing to forgive him. She has been healed and she’s decided to pay it forward, allowing Joe a chance to heal too. “The only thing standing in my way was hate,” she tells him. “The only thing standing in your way is you.”
The only thing standing in Miss Keane’s way is Hassan, who makes a fair argument against reading religious scripture in a public school. He’s not upset that his son is reading passages from the Bible, but he knows that if he gave out the Quran in school, Miss Keane would be in a tizzy. In response, she manages to give the most self-righteous sermon one has ever heard. Like Erin, I had a hard time hearing her negate every good point Hassan made, using her faith as a weapon to tear the community apart instead of bring them together.
The mysteries abound on this show, but the biggest might be why anyone sticks around this island. Joe’s reason? “It just felt too easy to leave,” he says, as if he thinks he didn’t deserve to get out, but now that he’s attending AA and working towards forgiving himself, he might actually be able to start over. Both he and Riley are looking for change but can’t seem to find it, which is why Riley says life probably doesn’t get any easier for them. But maybe if they keep trying, they can become different people. That hope is something Joe can work with.
Hassan, on the other hand, is not as willing to let his son go to St. Patrick’s. Hassan’s Muslim faith ties back to his late wife. When he hears of miracles it’s insulting. Why would God cure Leeza, but not his wife, who, while suffering with pancreatic cancer, continued to honor Him? Faith is “not magic,” he says. But what do we call those glowing eyes that he sees outside his son’s window? Like Erin, he’s not a believer. Are they being punished for questioning the island’s blind faith?
Father Paul is also being punished in a way. He seizures, throws up metallic blood, and then dies in front of Bev and Wade. “Darkness,” we hear Paul say, continuing his confessional story about Pruitt in the ruins. Monsignor manages to see a familiar pair of glowing eyes in the darkness until he strikes one match too many and is met with a winged creature that sucks the fear and pain out of him. While this monstrosity seems evil in nature, Monsignor believes it was an angel who restored his youth. The man we see exit the ruin is Father Paul, who is really the young Monsignor.
His trunk stores the angel who he thinks can help others become anew. But this angel might have a dark side—or a cruel sense of humor. Just when you thought Father might be dead, he awakens. The miracle causes Bev to slip and call him Monsignor. That photo that had her in awe earlier this episode? Well, it was an old newspaper clipping that featured a photo of a young Pruit, or should we say, Father Paul.
Closest To God: Leeza
Forgiving the man who shot you and left you paralyzed might be the most godly thing anyone’s done on this show so far.
Devil’s Candy: Father Paul
I don’t think that’s an “angel” who turned him into his younger self. He might have been bamboozled by Beelzebub.
Episode 4: “Book IV: Lamentations”
Erin is getting a routine sonogram and chatting about the parts of pregnancy she’s looking forward to most when Sarah starts to look nervous. It’s clear something is wrong, but she doesn’t want to frighten Erin. Erin senses her unease and asks if she can see the baby. The thing is, there’s nothing there. It’s as if her baby has disappeared from her womb without a trace. Sara tells her she must have miscarried, but Erin knows she didn’t. We know she didn’t either, but that doesn’t mean we know what happened.
Father Paul is also having trouble explaining what is going on. “I feel everything that is happening here is a matter of faith, not science,” he tells Bev, who is all too happy to care for the resurrected man. (She’s more Kathy Bates in Misery than Florence Nightingale.) He believes that he can feel God moving inside him and is frightened by it. He wants to be alone to pray, which Bev allows, but she lets him know she won’t keep his secret forever. She wants the town to know of this miracle that defies all scientific explanation. She wants them to know that an angel of God restored him. But we see that his left hand burns when he sticks it in the sunlight. The restoration was flawed.
Science also doesn’t explain why a vial of Erin’s blood boils in the sun. Nor is there much explanation for why Erin’s mom would cross stitch Bible verses from Lamentations, a book that is all about the destruction of Jerusalem. Erin chalks it up to self-pity and her resentment over becoming a mom. Her mother felt that motherhood clipped her wings and kept her from flying free. Her mom’s bitterness and abuse led her to run away — yet, she couldn’t get away from her mother and ended up marrying a man just like her. It was the baby that forced her to leave him, to save herself. She’s now left wondering, What was it all for?
Why God allows suffering is something Riley has been struggling to understand. Watching Erin grieve allows him to open up about his recurring dream: he’s stuck in the middle of the sea without a paddle. He can’t get to the shore to start a new life. All he gets is a sunrise, but he never can see further. He believes it’s a sign that he can never leave the island. He’s utterly hopeless. Yet when Erin asks him to pray with her, he does. She asks for mercy and begins to say Our Father, Riley joins in only for us to reconvene with Father Paul, who is also repeating the Lord’s Prayer. When he unclutches his rosary, his hand begins to bleed. Like a vampire, he sucks his own blood.
Feeling well enough to leave the rectory, Father Paul goes to see Sarah’s mother, who, now of sound mind, recognizes that he is the Monsignor. Now you see why he was so interested in seeing her. Maybe it’s just an unwavering bond between two old friends, or maybe it’s something more. What we know is that the wine he’s been giving her is a special concoction (The angel’s blood? His blood?) that is helping to restore her health. Or so it seems. .
Riley understands why it is nice to believe in a higher power. Religion offers an explanation for the unexplained like where we go when we die. Riley believes that our final moments of life are like “the dream to end all dreams.” He imagines a future in which his life has meaning, and where he isn’t a murderer, but a giver of life. Erin dreams of her unborn child in heaven where she finally wakes up to find true happiness and love. For Erin, that is heaven, knowing you are surrounded by those you love. Riley finds comfort in her vision, so much so he ends up dreaming a different dream that night: Erin is with him in the boat.
Father Paul is in his own personal hell. Despite how many times he recites the Guardian Angel Prayer, his angel just won’t seem to show up. Joe does though and sees the photo on the wall. Bev knew right away something holy was going on with the Father, but Joe believes it’s something biological. He guesses that the Father is an illegitimate son of the Monsignor. (Apparently there were rumors he wasn’t exactly celibate back in the day.) As Joe goes to leave, Paul brings him in for a hug that is off from the start. No one should be doing that much smelling of one’s neck. The creepy embrace causes Joe to crash into the corner of a desk, cracking his head open. Paul laps up the blood and feasts on his brain.
It’s Bev who finds him the next morning covered in Joe’s blood. She doesn’t flinch at this horror scene, but she is put off by the sight of his skin burning in the sun. She knows that means he’s more devil than angel. Still she’s more than willing to help him get rid of the dead body. Following blindly doesn’t make you a good Christian, but Bev would make you believe wrapping a decomposing body in a carpet will get you closer to heaven. She believes if God instructed Paul to do what he did without any remorse, then they should just carry on following the Lord’s every impulse.
Unlike Bev, Erin is looking for an explanation for her lost baby. The doctor on the mainland says there is no evidence that she was ever pregnant, and speculates she imagined the pregancy . Science can’t explain what happened to her, but there’s nothing wrong with questioning God’s plan. Asking questions is how Riley catches Father Paul in a lie. He says Joe isn’t attending AA because he’s visiting his sister, but Riley knows she died.
Riley goes back to the rec room to confront the preacher about Joe, but when he sees Paul with the Angel in a fedora. The creature is emptying his blood into a pitcher — the “sacrament” Paul needs to keep living and he’s willing to do anything for it. Next thing, Riley’s on the ground.
Closest To God: Erin
Convincing Riley to pray with her feels like the move of a saintly woman.
Devil’s Candy: Father Paul
If he doesn’t lay off his special Angel juice, he may never come back from the dark side.
Episode 5: “Book V: Gospel”
Riley hasn’t been home in two nights and his dad is a little worried. Obviously, we know he should be. But his mom is happy for him, assuming he’s with Erin, who is also wondering where he’s gone. When she texts him, we see his phone sitting in a puddle of his own blood.
Sarah’s mom Millie, however, is thriving from the blood sacrament Father Paul has been giving her. She looks 30 years younger and her daughter looks horrified and confused. The latter is how the rest of the town looks when she shows up for morning mass, which is now scheduled for the evening. Vampire Paul can’t be out in the sun, but the town doesn’t know that yet. All they see is the miracle of the thoroughly de-aging Millie.
Hassan is being reamed out by Bowl’s mom, who isn’t happy at the insinuation that her son, who sells weed to provide for his family, has been killed by a client. She makes a good point though; for a town that claims to be so pious, they don’t seem to care about her missing son. “Islanders always know,” she says when Hassan says he’s been talking to his mainland acquaintances about his whereabouts. “When something like this happens, we’re all supposed to be the same,” she says.
She urges Hassan to talk to Joe, who is also “missing” as the sheriff soon learns. Erin is the first to go looking for Riley. She knows something is wrong because he said he would come to her house. She repeats this when making a missing person’s report with Hassan, who is sensing a pattern. There are three possible missing persons on an island of a hundred or so. Two of whom were apparently at the Father Paul-led AA meeting before they went missing.
At his Good Friday service, Father Paul talks of Christ’s suffering being the price of eternal life.
“What is otherwise horrible is good because of where it’s headed,” he says. “Welcome to God’s army. We’re going to do great things.” By the end, it appears he’s gotten some soldiers, willing to follow him into battle, but Millie knows that what he is saying is blasphemy, and tells her daughter to never return to the church. “That is not my church,” she says. “That is not the man I knew.”
Riley is also not the man Erin knew. When he shows up at her door in the middle of the night, he reminisces about the night before she ran away, which sounds a lot like his dream. They go out in a boat and watch the sun come up, seemingly recreating the dreamlike memory. While they’re out there, he tells her about what happened to him, and we get to see how Father Paul brings him back to life, telling him death isn’t part of God’s plan anymore. You can argue Paul is now playing God by choosing who lives and who doesn’t (Joe, Bowl). Riley is like Paul now, unable to go in the sun, but also unable to die.
Father Paul believes that’s why Riley came to him last night at the very moment the angel was there. He had a calling, but Riley dispels that notion by explaining why he was really there: to confront him about Joe’s sister. He apologizes for that, but also explains that Joe had to die because he was too far gone. “Joe Collie was called home,” is a nice way of saying he murdered him.
Paul believes the urge to drink blood they now share is God moving through him, telling him to kill without any guilt, just grace. He has even found a Bible passage to explain why it’s OK if he kills. He is doing His will, a soldier of the Lord. The priest believe he and Riley are the same since they both have killed before. Riley argues that his accident wasn’t some act of God, but an ordinary tragedy.
Father Paul tells him that he, unlike Riley, feels no guilt for killing Joe. And after some back and forth, Riley admits he is jealous of the priest’s ability to move forward. But Paul believes that the accident did happen for a reason. It was so he would return to the island and be resurrected and find the courage to rid himself of his guilt. He thinks God has chosen Riley, which might be why Paul fed off of Riley’s blood. Bev, who is standing nearby for this whole conversation, sees him as the second coming. As sad as he is to admit, he finds peace in it. Paul believes this is his redemption, that he will eventually give himself over to God. “It is a gift,” he tells Riley,” “and God will tell you who to share it with.”
Bev wonders if they should keep him in the rec room, but Paul wants him out there spreading the Gospel of what has happened to him. What we see is his eyes are glowing, like the ones we’ve seen peeping around town. He feels the urge and ends up at Erin’s door so you may assume his plan is to change her. But no, he took her out there so she would see why she had to run away from the island and Father Paul. As the sun comes up, he tells her he loves her, always has, and repeats over and over “I did my best.” He closes his eyes as the sunlight hits him and he sees Tara-Beth sitting across from him. She reaches out to grab his hand, just as we hear Erin’s screams as she watches Riley combust.
Closest To God: Millie
She has been given a second chance, and she might use it to take down Father Paul.
Devil’s Candy: Father Paul
Yeah, this guy and all his talk about “God’s army” has definitely lost it and he’s taking Bev and the rest of the island with him.
Episode 6: “Book VI: Acts of the Apostles”
There is only ash in Riley’s sea. Erin looks angelic as she grabs the oars and begins to paddle back to the island, as Riley feared she would. She goes straight to Sarah for help, who, while admitting Erin’s story is crazy, believes her. Crazy is sometimes the only sane explanation — especially right now on Crockett Island. Sarah can believe Riley caught fire in the sun because her de-aging mom’s blood keeps combusting in the sunlight.
Father Paul could sense that Riley was gone when the sun came up. He’s angry that Riley wasted the opportunity, but Bev thinks it’s a sign that not everyone can be trusted with this gift. She even talks about going after those Riley may have spoken to, afraid they’ll give their secret away — a clue that there is a war happening and the lines are being drawn. In Bev’s mind, you’re either following the homicidal miracle priest or you’re a Judas, which is why she wants the Easter vigil to be a moment where they reveal who the Father really is.
Sarah finds a scientific explanation for what is happening: a blood disorder called erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) that makes people sensitive to light. She suggests that people could be ingesting something that is causing it. We know that they are: the angel’s blood. Erin’s blood also combusted in the light because she’s been taking communion at church. Sarah thinks that could explain Erin’s miscarriage. If the variant fights off anything foreign in the body, then a fetus would constitute as such.
Before he sacrificed himself, Riley left letters for his parents and his brother explaining what happened. Paul brushes it off as just delusions of a man who was suffering. Still, the letter Riley wrote to “Monsignor” rubs Father Paul the wrong way. “Remember we are dust, and to dust we shall return,” Riley wrote, a very literal warning to the preacher.
In hopes of saving Riley’s family, Erin tells his mom that her son is dead. She does it so nonchalantly that you understand why Annie doesn’t believe her. Hassan also isn’t sure what to make of Sarah’s findings that there is a “contagion being spread intentionally” through the church. It’s not an easy assignment for the Muslim sheriff, who has been othered by the town, but it starts to feel rather necessary after Sarah, Erin, and Millie are told the ferry to the mainland is in the shop. Bev and the others are trapping everyone on the island so they don’t miss the vigil. Erin plans to go for Riley. He sacrificed himself to show her what is happening at the church, she has to be there to help — or at the very least to witness whatever is going on. After his son tells him that there is some big miracle happening at the vigil, Hassan decides to attend, too.
Watching the congregation sing their way to the church feels very Jonestown Massacre as Father Paul, in the same gold robe he wore the first day we met him, reveals that he is the Monsignor back to restore them, too. He encourages them to drink the Kool-Aid, which is rat poison. Sturge does what the Father says and dies in front of them. As a horrified Hassan goes to leave, we see the angel blocking the door. Suddenly, Sturge jolts back to life.
Bev and Paul’s other followers start passing out cups of poison. Hassan pulls his gun in hopes of stopping this mass suicide, somehow becoming the crazy one. Pulling out that gun doesn’t stop his son, Ali, from drinking the poison. It’s a horrifying scene until Millie grabs Hassan’s gun and shoots Father Paul in the head. In an instant, the angel charges her and takes her away. Paul will heal, we know this, but Bev is once again yelling about people destroying miracles.
The poisoned islanders begin to wake up and they’re hungry, which means everyone in that room is now food. A brawl starts within the church and a few—Hassan, Erin, Sarah, Annie, Leeza, Harrison—are able to escape to the rectory. This is now a new world, one without death, where the gun Erin is holding does nothing. Alas, she shoots Bev in hopes of getting a headstart on their escape.
When Bev does wake up she sees Father Paul and the other new eternals waking up. The priest had a plan to acclimate the newbies, but Bev isn’t interested in doing that. In her opinion, all that killing was meant to be. “Let God sort them out,” she says of those who chose not to be reborn for the cause. She’s ready to spread the Gospel and we should all be terrified.
Closest To God: Millie
The only one in this town who seems to truly understand the Bible’s teachings.
Devil’s Candy: Bev
Is anyone really all that surprised that she has taken things too far?
Episode 7: “Books VII: Revelation”
The crickets are chirping, the church door is open, and Millie is gasping for breath. She can’t die, Father Paul made sure of that with the blood wine he’s been giving her during their private masses. Her eyes glow like the others and she sees Father Paul/Monsignor sulking at the altar of the church. He wanted to give the island eternal life, but instead the resurrected are feeding on their neighbors. If you’re not one of them, they’ll make you one of them.
The survivors — Erin, Hassan, Sarah, Annie, Leeza, and Harrison — are holed up in Sarah's house trying to figure out how to escape. Harrison has a canoe that could get them to the Uppards, but Erin believes that the reason Bev and the others didn’t sink those boats is because they plan to go to the mainland to feed next. If just one of the resurrected gets off the island, it could be catastrophic. They are no longer fighting to protect themselves, they’re fighting to save the world.
As Erin begins to lay out an escape plan, a Molotov cocktail flies through the window, courtesy of Bev. She wants Erin, but Annie goes instead to give her a piece of her mind. “You aren’t a good person,” she tells a crestfallen Bev. “God doesn’t love you more than anyone else. You aren’t a hero. And you certainly, certainly aren’t a victim.” When Bev insinuates that Annie’s bad parenting is why Riley was a murderer, Annie just smiles and lets her know that God loved Riley just the same as he loves her. After insulting her, Annie cuts her own throat knowing Bev won’t be able to resist the urge to feed and her friends will have more time to get away.
Father Paul admits to Millie that he wanted to bring the angel to Crockett so he could stop death from happening. Specifically, he wanted to stop the deaths of Millie and Sarah, his illegitimate daughter. The two had wasted so much time pretending they weren’t in love that he saw the angel as their second chance to be a big happy family. But Millie always understood that they weren’t meant to be, growing old side-by-side, but not together, fading away as God intended.
Bev wants to watch the whole island burn. She believes that Revelation, the final book of the Christian Bible, which includes the vision of the four horsemen of the apocalypse coming to Earth to start a cosmic war, is playing out in front of her eyes. It’s written that only Jesus and His army of angels can destroy all the forces of evil. Bev quite literally believes that those who have chosen not to be resurrected are the evil who will be consumed by a “flood of fire” and “St. Patrick’s will be the ark” that will allow them to start a new world.
We’ve been told that the resurrected’s hunger for blood is all-consuming, but Ed puts that myth to rest telling Annie she can resist the urge to hurt others. You can choose to be a good person just as Erin, Hassan, and Sarah do by lighting the last remaining boats on fire so the others can’t escape. It’s a death sentence and they know it.
Paul now realizes that he got the whole eternal life thing wrong. He made it all about him, when, in actuality, it is always about God. His fear convinced him he could play God and now he’s created a monster in Bev, who is planning to pick and choose who she thinks is good enough to survive the night.
Bev can recite scripture so easily, but she doesn’t live by any Christian principles. She’s very Old Testament in her decision-making to punish those who she feels aren’t religious enough by closing the doors on them. Father Paul knows that a church’s doors should always be open for those in need. Still, he doesn’t stop Sarah from covering it in gasoline, using the moments before she lights it on fire to tell her he’s proud of her and wishes he had gotten to know her. She wishes she had, too. And just as she goes to leave, she’s shot by Sturge. Paul tries to give her his blood, to save her, but she spits it out, uninterested in being immortal. As Paul carries Sarah out of the church, Millie pushes over a candle, lighting the church on fire and finishing the job that her daughter couldn’t.
Hassan was tasked with burning down the rec center, the last building standing, but is shot by Bev before he can light it up. Erin becomes their last hope to burn down the rec center, but is taken by the angel before she can. It’s actually Hassan’s son, Ali, who ends up destroying the building. He’s seen what having eternal life means and he’s not interested. Hassan is shot again by Bev, but not before getting one last zinger in, a Bible verse that particularly stuck out to him: “He makes the sun rise on the evil and the good.”
Erin has always been good and her last good deed is cutting the angel’s wings with the knife she had taken from Sarah’s house. It can still fly, but it won’t get far enough to hide from the sun. As Erin starts to fade away, she flashes back to her conversation with Riley about where we go when we die. In her final moments, she’s narrating her death. She’s remembering her life and realizes that there is no longer an end or a beginning, just now. It’s this realization that leads her to understand God and his infinite power. “It’s simply a dream that I think is my life, every time,” she tells Riley, admitting she will forget this dream just like all the others. “There is no time. There is no death. Life is a dream. It’s a wish that is made again and again into eternity, she says. “I am that I am.” With one last breath, she is gone.
Erin makes peace with her death in those final moments and, as the sun begins to rise, the others on Crockett Island begin to do the same. Annie and Ed lead the resurrected in a sing-along of the hymn, “Nearer, My God, To Thee,” which was said to have been sung on the Titanic before it sank. Ali and Hassan pray together, while Monsignor and Millie share one last kiss to lead them into the afterlife together. Ironic that they weren’t able to be together in life, but will have each other in death.
In her final moments, Bev attempts to save herself, digging a hole in the sand to escape the sun, but she can’t escape it. None of them can. Harrison and Leeza are the only survivors, watching it all play out from the canoe we saw Harrison use to get to the Uppards in the first episode. How innocent that all seems now. As the ashes of the resurrected fall like snow, Leeza tells him that she can no longer feel her legs. She sounds almost thankful.
Closest To God: Father Paul/Monsignor
In the end, he realizes that he is not God, which makes him an important ally for the big man upstairs.
Devil’s Candy: The Angel
I much prefer my angels with halos. Sorry, not sorry.