Let’s start at the ending. The final 10 minutes of Book III: The Proverbs, saved what was a very average episode of TV. The speech filled hour concluded with some answers to some key questions and a reveal that I would really love to take credit for as a prophesier myself.
Through a classic allegory of the cave type tale, we find out exactly what happened to Monsignor Pruitt. Father Paul is Monsignor Pruitt, and he became so through very curious means. The elderly Pruitt, who was more sick than the people of Crockett would accept, wandered into the desert on his exodus to the holy land. While aimlessly walking, a sandstorm arrives and the holy man must escape into a lost cave. The ruins are holy in nature, and they are not abandoned.
The eerie eyes were in the cave, and those eerie eyes belong to…A VAMPIRE??? I have to say I really called this. I was raising my hand in triumph.
The creature takes a bit out of Monsignor Pruitt’s neck and the blood begins to flow. As the old man is dying, he simply whispers, “Angel”. However, the sweet embrace of eternity is not what conclude’s Pruitt’s story. The creature, a vampire, but probably an Angel really, gives his blood too Pruitt and a miracle of itself happens.
The morning following the encounter, Monsignor Pruitt awakes and find himself younger. Much younger. Monsignor Pruitt is Father Paul. They are the same. The blood given to Pruitt/Paul gives him new life. Paul wakes up and bows down to this creature of the night. It would appear, that he is its servant. Paul literally brought it over in a crate and set it free upon new land were it can feast; a land of life surrounded by water, the opposite of the desert.
We also know why Father Paul changed his name to what it is. St. Paul was originally known as Saul, and his story took took a turn toward christ when he saw a powerful vision on the way to Damascus. Saul then changes his name to Paul and dedicates himself to God. In Midnight Mass, we don’t know if that creature encountered in the cave is truly a a catholic character.
There are tales of bad angels and such during Christianity. Anyone who watched the CW show Supernatural is not foreign to this idea ever. Will Midnight Mass go this way? I think so. Everything has trended toward the religious side, but wherever it goes I have faith in Mike Flanagan.
We should also note that during the end of the episode we see Father Paul literally die, but then come back to life. At the start of the episode we are shown how Father Paul got ill and coughed up blood after getting Leeza to rise from her chair. At the end of the episode it’s just much worse. Blood is pouring from the pores of his face. If we are being honest, it looks a lot like the death of Pike. Rat Poison. We also saw Bev putting it away earlier in the episode.
Wonder if the creature that has been going and killing folks ate some of the poison, or ate something with the poison and passed it along to Paul when feeding him blood still?
ALSO! Theory! The wine that Father Paul was pouring out of the flask for communion (which Warren witnessed), are we sure that was wine? Was it the blood of the “angel” which is wine? Turn this blood into wine?
Okay, onto different pastures. While Book III was the slowest moving episode thus far, plenty of other things happened that deserve mention
The start of episode three pinned the idea of science versus religion. The mayor and his wife brought Leeza to see Dr. Sarah Gunning following her rising moment. Gunning is stunned and asks the family to go to the mainland to get more tests for more understanding, but Leeza’s parents are not for it. They don’t want to look a miracle in the mouth, they want to accept it for what it is.
Later in the episode, we have Sheriff Hassan talking with his son Ali about religion. Ali wants to go to mass to be part of the community, but Hassan is against it. Their conversation swerves into the idea that religion is not magic. You can never assume a miracle doesn’t come without a price or reason. Ali doesn’t want to believe that because he wants believe in the hoopla of the town. Science vs. religion. Reason vs. belief. Logic vs. faith. Classic religion based shows problem.
The argument for science and logical thinking is being challenged on a daily basis on the island because miracles keep occurring. Ed Flynn’s back pain is gone, and more amazingly, Mildred Gunning is somehow beginning to remember and push back her dementia. All these things happening are hard to cement in logical thinking, so the rational vs. irrational belief systems will be pinned against on another once more.
One of the many individual speeches this episode came when Leeza went to go visit drunk Joe at his trailer. Her walking ability is continuing to improve, as is her courage. Leeza talks to Joe, rather talks down to him, and tells the drunk how she really feels. She forgives him but still hates him. The best part of this season is the acting put on by Robert Longstreet as Joe Collie. When he opens the door for Leeza, it looks like he has seen a ghost. The horror on his face is what the audience is feeling during the show itself. The honesty is punching him in the gut, and it eventually convinces him to attend the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with Riley and Father Paul.
My gut reaction is that Joe does not last very long. He had a redemptive chat with Riley talking about his past, how lonely he is and how he feels trapped on the island. The sympathy card has been played, which means that his time for a true character arc will be sucked out by the evil angel/vampire thing.
Book III: The Proverbs was the least entertaining of the three thus far, but the ending was its saving grace. The story unfolded a little, but the characters began to unfurl like a roman scroll. The motivations behind the malevolent forces are coming to light, but the residents of the island are still in the dark, shaded by their unrelenting faith.
Here are just some more thoughts I had about Episode Three:
- Part of Sheriff’s reason for not believing in true miracles is that his wife, and Ali’s mother, died of pancreatic cancer. He raises the point of how the good people don’t get the help they deserve. Very similar to the cop talking to Riley at the start of episode one falling the crash that sent him to prison.
- Mike Flanagan told the audience the Father Paul was Monsignor Pruitt early in the episode when a profile shot of the Father lingered after he left the frame on a portrait of Pruitt hanging on the wall.
- Father Paul is changing as a person. He calling Riley out for his bullshit in AA was not something he would have done in the first episode.
- It was genuinely shocking that Father Paul did die in this episode, and I really enjoy how they didn’t leave the death and resurrection to hang for the next episode. They had it happen and resolved it. Not aiming for the giant cliff hanger.
- The Proverbs was more on the nose in terms of its religious allegories than the previous two episodes. Direct shots of Monsignor Pruitt’s own version of stages of the cross and Father Paul’s rebirth was very literal in showing the wood carvings. The blood coming out in the last stand is a classic exorcism, religious movie experience.
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