‘Midnight Mass’ — the third project of Mike Flanagan for Netflix after ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ and ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ — is an undeniably dense show that explores themes like existence, faith, death, afterlife, sobriety, love, and islamophobia, and yet, it’s astoundingly binge-watchable. The story revolves around the Catholic community living in the remote Crockett Island, where life undergoes significant changes following the arrival of the new and enigmatic priest Father Paul (Hamish Linklater). His zeal and earnestness draw people back to the church. And when real miracles start happening all over the island, the faith of most residents goes through a complete overhaul. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Midnight Mass.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.
Midnight Mass Recap
The show begins as Riley Flynn (Zach Gilford) returns to Crockett Island or “Crock Pot” (as the residents lovingly call the island) after serving four years in prison for killing a young girl while driving under the influence of alcohol. Before the accident, he was a wealthy and up-and-coming entrepreneur living in Chicago. But now, he is a convicted murderer out on parole who has nothing but nightmares to torment him for the rest of his life. People of the island are well aware of what he has done, and immediately after his arrival, Riley becomes a social pariah.
Riley is not the only resident who has been forced to return to Crockett Island. Erin Greene (Kate Siegel), Riley’s childhood sweetheart, had left the island to escape from her emotionally and physically abusive mother and married someone who was a version of the said mother, equally unkind and abusive. Now, she is back, living in the same house that she once shared with her mother and working as a teacher at her mother’s school.
Crockett Island has a sparse population of 127. The most significant local industry is fishing, but a few years back, an oil spill catastrophically affected it. Many residents whose families have lived on the island for generations have since left. For all intent and purpose, the community on the island is on the slow march to death, and every member of it knows it. Sheriff Hassan (Rahul Kohli) moved to the island with his son Ali a while ago, hoping to deal with the passing of his wife and wanting to give his son a normal boyhood away from the racism and islamophobia of the city. But those things predictably find them even in this forgotten corner of America.
The stage seems to be set for a savior to arrive. And that’s what Father Paul becomes for the locals. He claims that the diocese has sent him as a replacement for their elderly preacher Monsignor Pruitt after the latter fell ill during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He quickly wins over most members of his congregation with radical interpretations of the scriptures and passionate sermons. And that transforms into a full religious fervor when the miracles start to happen.
Leeza (Annarah Cymone), the teenage daughter of Mayor Wade (Michael Trucco), suddenly gains the ability to walk again after spending several years in a wheelchair due to a tragic incident. Riley’s mother, Annie (Kristin Lehman), discovers that she no longer needs glasses, while his father’s (Henry Thomas) back stops hurting. The most remarkable changes happen to Millie, the mother of the settlement’s doctor: Sarah Gunning (Annabeth Gish). Her dementia goes away, and she gradually becomes decades younger.
It is revealed that Monsignor Pruitt got lost in the desert in the Middle East. During a storm, he found a cave, inside which he encountered a vampiric creature who drank his blood and then fed him its own blood. The following day, Pruitt discovered that he was young again. He then returned to Crock Pot with “the Creature,” earnestly believing that it’s an angel and he could change the people’s lives with its help.
However, not everyone is convinced even by the display of actual and tangible miracles. Riley, who has become an atheist during his time in the prison, continues to question the veracity of the miracles. He gets turned into a vampiric being by the Creature but chooses to expose himself to the sun and die in front of Erin so she would know what she and others are facing.
In the season finale, the transformed mob led by Bev Keane (Samantha Sloyan), a religious zealot and Father Paul’s aid, goes around the town killing non-believers. Father Paul repents his actions. Erin orchestrates the Creature’s demise, and Leeza finds a way to get off the island with Warren (Igby Rigney), Riley’s brother.
Midnight Mass Ending: Why Can’t Leeza Feel Her Legs Any Longer?
Leeza began using a wheelchair after Joe Collie (Robert Longstreet) accidentally shot her while being drunk. Her parents have since nearly bankrupted themselves trying to find treatment for her. So, when at Father Paul’s urging, Leeza starts to walk, the family begins to think that God has performed the miracle through their preacher. In the subsequent days, Mayor Wade and his wife become deeply involved in hiding the truth about Father Paul from the other members of the congregation.
This continues even after they witness Father Paul becoming horrible sick sometimes, drinking blood, and getting burned whenever he is exposed to sunlight. They and Bev convince the other parishioners to attend mass at midnight. They know that the well-being of their daughter is tied to Father Paul and act as his accomplices without any reservations. Like everyone else in the congregation, Leeza drinks the Creature’s blood, believing that it’s wine representing the Blood of Christ. The blood of the entity seems to have the property to repair damage to the cells. Her spinal injury is healed, and Leeza discovers that she can use her legs again.
Leeza and Warren are among the very few people who don’t die during the suicide/massacre on Easter. As a result, they don’t undergo resurrection or become vampiric beings. So, the following morning, when the light of the dawn turns almost everyone into ashes, she and Warren remain unharmed on their boat. This is when she tells Warren that she can’t feel her legs, implying that something has happened that has returned her body to the previous stage. This is most likely related to the Creature, which was last seen fleeing from the island, trying to win a race to the mainland against the sun. The sun has apparently caught up to it and freed Leeza from the influence of its blood.
Are Father Paul and Dr. Sarah Connected?
It is revealed in the final episode that Monsignor Pruitt is Dr. Sarah Gunning’s biological father. No one except Pruitt and Millie knew the truth, not even the latter’s husband. They kept it a secret all these years, resolutely snuffing out any show of romantic feelings for each other. Returning as Father Paul, Monsignor Pruitt regularly visits Millie to host a personal mass for her, feeding her the Creature’s blood. And soon, Sarah notices that her mother is now aging backward. By the time of the final episode, Millie appears at least as young as Father Paul.
As the rapid mob of vampiric beings goes on a rampage, Father Paul finally recognizes his folly. He admits to Millie that he brought the Creature to the island to get another chance with her and Sarah. He tells her that if she had asked him, he would have gladly left the church. Millie responds by saying that they would have destroyed four lives, including Sarah’s and her late husband’s, if they had done that.
Although Father Paul gets to tell Sarah the truth about their relationship before she is fatally shot, she refuses to drink his blood, accentuating once more for Father Paul the utter destruction his good intention has caused. Like the rest of the transformed islanders, Father Paul and Millie subsequently wait for the sun to rise. Their dead daughter’s body lies motionless beside them. Father Paul takes off his priestly collar, choosing to be with the woman he loves in the final moments of his life.
Is the Creature/Angel Dead?
Yes, the Creature or the angel is most likely dead. The last time the audience sees the Creature, it’s desperately trying to fly away from the island. In her final moments, Erin stabs the bat-like wings of the Creature multiple times, creating several holes in the thin membrane. So, when it tries to fly away, it discovers that it can’t fly as easily or swiftly as it used to.
It tries to find a shelter on the island before dawn, but with all the homes having been burned down, it has no choice but to try to fly to the mainland — which is 30 miles away — before the sunrise. As mentioned above, it most probably loses the race against the sun and turns into ash. His demise is implied when Leeza tells Warren that she can’t feel her legs.
Read More: Is Midnight Mass Based on a True Story?