Book II: Psalms
Episode 2 of Midnight Mass begins back on Crockett Island following the horrific cat massacre. Sheriff Hassan directs traffic, keeping the residents away from the beach for the time being.
Hassan takes control of the situation, deciding they need to burn the deceased cats to avoid any sort of disease from spreading. Ed agrees, although there’s undoubtedly an air of uneasiness surrounding this entire event.
While Riley attends therapy, Father Paul conducts another sermon and does the rounds, trying to fill in Monsignor Pruitt’s big shoes. As day turns to night, the ominous sound of flapping wings returns, matched by a dull thud as someone – or something – lands inside an abandoned building.
This darkness is an interesting motif that’s carried across to the next day’s sermon, given it’s Ash Wednesday. Paul is passionate, believing that Jesus will resurrect the island and bring bounty aplenty.
Crockett Island has more than religious sermons though, as an Easter Festival goes ahead, complete with music and stalls. In the wake of this, Paul sits with Riley and encourages him to ditch the AA meeting on the mainland and stay on the island. After all, he could set up his own chapter to help. Not only that, he reinforces that Pruitt isn’t going to be showing up anytime soon.
Things take a turn for the worst at the festival though when Joe’s dog, Pike, suddenly doubles over after being poisoned. Joe is absolutely convinced this is a deliberate act, and thee toxicology confirms as much. When Hassan finds out, he confronts Bev. She was talking about rat poison earlier in the week and her nonchalant attitude to Pike dying doesn’t look good. Is she responsible?
Meanwhile, Riley and Paul have their first session. Paul is convinced that alcohol isn’t good or bad, pointing out that Jesus turned water to wine. As they discuss this, Riley opens up and admits that he killed that girl while drink driving. He points out the higher power that could be out there, refusing to do anything to help people in real need. He’s brutally honest, going on to monologue about the absurdity of believing misery and sacrifice is a gift from God.
Elsewhere, Erin hears creaking around her house which is followed by an ominous dark figure lurking outside. She’s not the only one seeing things though, as Sarah’s Mother, Mildred, sees something outside that apparently peeked right up at the window.
In the morning, service goes ahead at the church. Father Paul finds himself constantly watching Leeza though, encouraging her to rise up from her chair and take the Body of Christ. And just like that, she rises up and manages to step across the room to take it. A miracle? Or something much darker lurking in the shadows?
The Episode Review
After a strong opener, Midnight Mass produces a slower chapter this time around, one that doesn’t really have any horror until the final 10 minutes. Instead, most of this episode centers on the different characters around town and showing how loyal – or distrustful – they are.
From cats to dogs, this show has not been shy about showing animals being killed and for some that’s going to be a difficult one to watch. Still, it does look like there’s something sinister out there. Given the loud flapping wings we’ve heard, it could well be a winged beast. It seems Mike Flanagan has been watching Jeepers Creepers!
The one stand-out moment from this show though comes from the conversation between Riley and Father Paul. It’s a fascinating chat between the true believer and the disillusioned, verbally sparring about their beliefs in a compelling manner.
The ending does hint that the show is about to ramp up the horror so let’s hope that’s where this slow burn is going.