Spoiling The Plot Of The Best Netflix Show Of All Time, In A Desperate Attempt To Get You Watching It

By Henry Hards | Published

Back in 2021, right when people should have been at home willing to watch anything and everything, Netflix released what is still the streaming platform’s greatest show of all time. And yet, the series was watched by almost no one.

Critics who saw it praised it, and writers like me tried desperately to convince everyone to see it. There was a problem, though. Part of the show’s genius is in the way it develops slowly, starting out as one thing and gradually becoming something else.

That means while we journalists and social media users were out there trying to convince people to see it, we assiduously avoided spoilers of any kind, fearing that might ruin your enjoyment.

The problem with that tactic is that without delivering spoilers, it’s hard to explain why someone might want to watch. So predictably, pleas to stream from critics and the few who did watch ended up falling on deaf ears.

It’s been a few years now, and I’m ready to take another run at it. The spoiler-free approach didn’t work, so now I’m going in the opposite direction, and I’m going to tell you everything there is to tell about the brilliant, game-changing Netflix series Midnight Mass.

Midnight Mass on Netflix

I’ll be relaying Midnight Mass’s plot in an episode-by-episode format. So if you get to Episode 2’s explanation and you’re hooked, you can stop reading and stream the show before you spoil any more of it for yourself.

Or, maybe you’ll want to read every detail before streaming Netflix’s best-ever show. It’s your choice, but here’s everything there is to know about what happens in the Netflix mini-series Midnight Mass.

Episode 1: “Book 1: Genesis”

Midnight Mass
Riley Flynn returns home in Midnight Mass

Episode 1 of Midnight Mass hits you like a freight train with a sledgehammer. We’re introduced to Riley Flynn (Zach Gilford), a former hometown boy now marred by a DUI conviction that claimed a life.

After four years in the pen, he’s back in Crockett Island, a small place forgotten by the modern world. His return is like throwing a stone into still water; ripples abound. His family’s still there, trying to embrace him despite the shame.

Here comes Father Paul (Hamish Linklater), a young priest who’s substituting for Monsignor Pruitt, an elderly priest who’s mysteriously absent from the Island’s one and only church. Father Paul is the new game-changer in town.

People get intrigued; some skeptical, some dazzled by his fresh energy. He delivers a sermon that leaves the town buzzing, injecting a new vibe into the air of Crockett Island. And oh, there’s a weird stray cat too, not your average feline, more like a harbinger of things to come.

By the end of the episode, a sense of impending metamorphosis envelops the island. Father Paul becomes the fulcrum, and the stray cat is found dead. No one knows it yet, but the island is perched on the precipice of a descent into chaos.

Episode 2: “Book 2: Psalms”

Father Paul
Father Paul in Midnight Mass

As if by celestial clockwork, Episode 2 turns the wheel of fate another notch. The island experiences strange phenomena; birds plummet from the sky, and folks start whispering about biblical plagues.

Father Paul keeps stealing the spotlight, healing a girl named Leeza (Annarah Cymone), who’s been paralyzed from the waist down. It’s like watching an alchemy of religion and unexplainable events.

The Riley-Bev dynamic thickens. Beverly Keane (Samantha Sloyan), an ultra-conservative religious local, stands out as a figure you’ll either loathe or grudgingly respect.

Her actions aren’t just devout; they’re borderline fanatic. She euthanizes the town’s dog, ostensibly to save it from an “epidemic.” Yeah, she’s that kind of character, teetering on the edge of morality and tyranny.

As the episode wraps up, Father Paul is clearly not what he seems. Monsignor Pruitt is still MIA, but Father Paul’s miracles and bizarre actions make us question: Is he a divine conduit, or something far darker? The sense of foreboding thickens, almost tangible in the salty island air.

Episode 3: “Book 3: Proverbs”

Erin and Riley walk and talk

Episode 3 goes for the jugular with Father Paul’s first Midnight Mass. He serves wine that isn’t just wine—it’s a catalyst, transforming the mundane into the miraculous.

After consumption, even the curmudgeonly Joe Collie (Robert Longstreet), the town drunk, appears to sober up. Clearly, this isn’t ordinary Sunday church service.

Meanwhile, Riley’s relationship with Erin (Kate Siegel), a childhood sweetheart and a single mother, adds a touch of normalcy. They share past memories, dream about what-ifs, and find solace in a town filled with latent dread. Their dynamic stands in contrast to the unsettling trajectory of the island’s fate, like a lighthouse in a darkening sea.

The episode signs off with Father Paul succumbing to some form of ailment or withdrawal. He appears vulnerable, shaking the confidence of even his ardent followers.

There’s no more denying it—something unearthly is interwoven with the island’s newfound religiosity, and it comes with a cost.

Episode 4: “Book 4: Lamentations”

The truth revealed

The narrative gears shift with the brutality of a sledgehammer in Episode 4. Things take a morbid turn when Riley experiences something unthinkable; he’s compelled to attend a private Mass with Father Paul, only to be killed and resurrected as a vampire-like entity. Forget your average Sunday sermons; this is a religious experience no one saw coming.

Meanwhile, Joe Collie, the man seemingly “cured” by Father Paul’s sacrament, goes missing. It’s not a typical vanishing act; he becomes a blood meal for the newly-converted Riley.

The tension is sliced with a scalpel, each revelation more shocking than the last. You can sense the characters grasping at straws to maintain a semblance of normality, but that ship has sailed.

Father Paul’s transformation into a charismatic yet ambiguous figure reaches its peak. He confides in Beverly, revealing his true identity as Monsignor Pruitt. Rejuvenated and obsessed with ‘saving’ his flock, he unveils his grand vision. It’s a utopia, but the price tag reads like a horror story.

Episode 5: “Book 5: Gospel”

Midnight Mass
Erin witnesses Riley’s self-immolation

Episode 5 hits you like a tidal wave of revelations, the biggest of which is the appearance of a flying vampire—our so-called “angel.” Father Paul reveals the creature to a select few, and it becomes the nightmarish focal point of the sacramental blood scam.

The mysterious wine isn’t your typical vintage; it’s the blood of this dark angel, and it’s the catalyst for all the supernatural phenomena plaguing Crockett Island. The line between miracles and monstrosities blurs to an even murkier shade of gray.

But let’s not forget Riley’s confession. The poor guy, now a reluctant vampire, bares his cursed soul to Erin.

In a sequence layered with dread, he offers her a terrible choice: stick around and face the vampiric hell swallowing the town, or leave and save herself. This is followed by his own self-immolation, ignited by the sun’s unforgiving rays, as if rejecting the unholy transformation set into motion by the flying vampire.

Simultaneously, the age-reversing miracles are now impossible to ignore, thanks to the angel’s blood. Residents like Annie Flynn (Kristin Lehman) experience transformations that challenge the limits of both science and faith.

Father Paul, still masquerading as Monsignor Pruitt, lays his cards on the table, brazenly announcing his vision of eternal life for his flock, albeit under his vampiric supervision. Crockett Island isn’t just transforming—it’s on the brink of becoming a dark sanctuary for the undead, a mirror reflecting the twisted reality introduced by the flying vampire.

Episode 6: “Book 6: Acts”

Vampire in Midnight Mass
The vampire revealed as an angel

The sixth installment turns the anxiety dial up to eleven. The town’s transformation is almost complete, a twisted cocktail of the miraculous and the malevolent.

Those who refuse Father Paul’s “gift” find themselves isolated or worse, dead. It’s not just spiritual warfare anymore; it’s survival, plain and simple.

Erin is now the town’s last beacon of sanity. As the island descends into madness, she’s hell-bent on revealing Father Paul’s unholy secrets. She confronts Beverly, and it’s like watching a volcanic eruption, two indomitable forces in a face-off that epitomizes the town’s moral polarity.

With a gut-wrenching twist, Bev takes control of the church, forcing Father Paul into a crisis of faith. This is no longer just about eternal life; it’s about power, control, and the terrifying realization that paradise can look a lot like hell when seen through a different lens.

Episode 7: “Book 7: Revelation”

Midnight Mass
Midnight Mass ending in fire

The final chapter in Midnight Mass brings down the hammer of reckoning on Crockett Island, but amidst the inferno, there are embers of survival.

Father Paul’s plan to incinerate himself and his vampire flock backfires as Beverly Keane and her minions foil the suicide-by-fire, turning the entire island into a blaze. The apocalypse isn’t just near; it’s here, baptized in flames and brimstone.

In the midst of this chaotic curtain call, two souls emerge unscathed: an alter boy named Warren (Igby Rigney) and Leeza. They commandeer a boat, escaping the island’s self-inflicted damnation.

While everyone else grapples with their fiery fates, these youngsters embody a sliver of redemption, their boat ride almost like an exodus from a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah. They witness the final fiery death of everyone and everything they’ve ever known.

Father Paul and Erin share their final, deeply human moments as the island they knew disintegrates around them. Their conversation becomes the soul of the episode, a tragic but earnest exploration of faith and humanity, while somewhere in the water, Warren and Leeza sail towards an uncertain future, making them the only inhabitants to dodge the island’s divine—or perhaps demonic—reckoning.

Midnight Mass Is Brilliant And A Must See

That’s it. That’s everything there is to know about the best streaming product Netflix has ever produced. If that hasn’t convinced you to begin streaming Midnight Mass then I don’t know what will.

The mind behind Midnight Mass is none other than Mike Flanagan, the same guy who gave us horror gems like The Haunting of Hill House and Doctor Sleep. Those were nice work, but this is his masterpiece. it’s hard to imagine Flanagan, or anyone else topping it.