The Two Danas
Episode 2 of The Midnight Club starts with the attention shifting over to Anya. She awakens from a bad dream to find Ilonka already awake, sat the desk with the lamp on. She can’t sleep, clinging to hope about this treatment and believing she’s come to the right place.
Anya keeps her bitterness to herself… until later in the episode when it comes spilling out in a flurry of bitter anger. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.
A chat with Dr Stanton brings Ilonka round to discuss Julia Jayne again. She looks visibly spooked and rattled when asked, shaking it off as something that happened “long time ago”. Stanton also claims that patient files are confidential. She goes on to mention how Julia was misdiagnosed, which is how she was healed. Oh, and she also doesn’t know anything about the cult who were inhabiting Brightcliffe before her. And from the shifty eyes and the way she’s speaking, she’s 100% lying!
During group therapy, the kids open up about their issues. Dr Stanton is there and reminds them there’s no such thing as a superficial or lame answer. There are tensions between Anya and Ilonka though, with the former pointing out that Ilonka’s in therapy and needs to get with the program. Ilonka takes it on the chin until they head back to the room.
Ilonka tells Anya that she’s just trying to get to know her and didn’t mean for any animosity between them. She bags up her herbal remedies and heads off into the woods. Once there, she runs into a woman called Shasta, who knows a lot about names and Ancient Greeks too. “I hope to see you around, bright girl.” She says, and galivants off into the woods once more after their little chat.
As for Ilonka, she picks a bunch of flowers but notices a strange symbol carved into the tree that looks an awful lot like an hourglass. When she eventually heads back to the group, she’s just in time for mass origami. There are a number of paper cranes but as Spence begins quipping about their work, the guillotine he’s working with suddenly drops and cuts him badly.
Everyone is freaked out and that’s mostly because Spencer has AIDs. When Ilonka finds out, she’s taken aback and not sure how to react. Anya immediately jumps on Ilonka’s wide-eyed face, which reminds her of the outside. “We don’t do that here.” She says and heads off in anger.
Stanton is the one to catch up with her though, offering some words of wisdom. When she leaves, there’s a strange shadow in the corner of the room, followed by a black cloud that masses in the bathroom. It forms into a figure that suddenly opens its eyes to reveal murderous red. It’s a flickering nightmarish image, but a reminder that there’s something lurking inside Brightcliffe.
That night, the group convene for their midnight society, (I will stop with the Are You Afraid of The Dark quips now, I promise!) with Anya the one to tell a story this time. She recites the story of Dana, a perfect girl who grew up in Ireland and got a scholarship to a big Ballet company. Bill was worried about Dana, knowing that perfection comes at a cost.
In true Black Swan fashion, Dana finds herself conflicted between two sides of her persona. The first wants her to gorge on delicious cheeseburgers and let loose and party. The other wants to try and be like the other girls and pursue being the best dancer ever.
That night, The Devil waltz up and offers a perfect solution. A doppelganger. She can have her cake and eat it at the same time. That way she can have the best of both worlds. “I’m not so great at putting things back together,” The Devil chuckles and reminds her that this deal is permanent. It can’t be reversed if she chooses to go ahead with this. And go ahead she does. She shakes the Devil’s hand and the deed is done.
The Two Danas know exactly what each other are going to say, and since we’re on the subject of Midnight, it’s just like the episode of Doctor Who called Midnight as they talk in-sync. Dana 2 (the new one) takes a pager and they go their separate ways; one a partygoing, pill-taking maniac and the other studying and continuing with her dancing. The thing is though, as both Danas can feel exactly the other is, when Dana 2 ends up having sex with a musician, Dana Prime ends up feeling the exact same thing.
Of course, all deals with the devil have their consequences and that comes from Dana Prime’s audition. With Dana 2 becoming addicted to heroin and spiralling out of control, Dana Prime completely messes up on every single move and she breaks her ankle up on stage.
With Dana 2 learning how to block out Dana Prime, the only way to end this nightmare is for Dana to kill her doppelganger. And in a tunnel and her dad’s gun in hand, the two Danas both end up firing at the same time.
The Devil is there to see Dana in hospital, where the surviving one wakes up with her leg gone and a reminder that she gave a vehicle to express “This is the you that you chose.” The Devil mocks. Since then, she’s wrestled with this…but which Dana survived? Of course, as this Dana is actually Anya in the story, it’s hard to know whether this is genuinely her story or fiction.
That night, Ilonka breaks into Stanton’s office with Kevin and manages to get hold of Julia’s file. However, the lights switch on, prompting Ilonka to hide round the corner while Kevin feigns having pain which is why he’s out after curfew. When Ilonka walks forward, she somehow ends up in a surreal film-footage style vision. A picture breaks open and from it, hundreds of spiders spill out.
That strange old lady from before is back and holds her arm, claiming she’s hungry. After screaming, Ilonka returns to the hallway of Brightcliffe in our present timeline.
The Episode Review
So it seems like every episode is going to take on a new story off the back of this mystery in the 1994 timeline., While on paper this seems like a neat idea, unlike the meta story last chapter, we get a moral tale about not making a deal with the devil. It’s not particularly scary or horrifying, but it does break things up in a nice way.
This is probably going to be Flanagan’s most divisive show, although there’s definitely a lot to like with this one. The characters in particular are all interesting and make you want to know more about heir history and how they ended up in the house. Cheri seems like she could be a key part in all this, while the imagery – specifically the glowing red eyes in Anya’s room – works well to keep things tense.
You can check out our full season review for Midnight Club here!