Midnight Mass season 1, episode 4 recap – “Book IV: Lamentations”

September 24, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Netflix, TV Recaps
4

Summary

“Book IV: Lamentations” presents many mysteries, and builds to a ballsy conclusion.

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4

Summary

“Book IV: Lamentations” presents many mysteries, and builds to a ballsy conclusion.

This recap of Midnight Mass season 1, episode 4, “Book IV: Lamentations”, contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words.


As a father of two, I’ve attended my share of ultrasound scans, and they’re always nerve-wracking. You just never know. But what you certainly don’t expect is to be told that the baby you’ve been carrying for months, that you’ve felt kicking inside you, is no longer there. Gone, as though it never existed. When Sarah makes this discovery, Erin is perplexed. Sarah assumes, understandably, that she miscarried and blocked out the experience in her own mind. That’d make sense. But Erin hasn’t been anything other than rational. And at this point, very little that’s happening on Crockett Island makes any sense at all.

Midnight Mass season 1, episode 4 recap

With the discovery that Father Paul is really Monsignor Pruitt having had his youth returned to him by the blood of an angel, Midnight Mass has reached something of a turning point, stepping over the boundary between the grounded and the supernatural. The show itself has, anyway. For the townsfolk, especially the inner circle of Bev, Wade Scarborough, and Sturge, it’s important to keep up appearances for now. Father Paul’s — I’ll keep calling him that — miracles are all well and good, but the fact that sunlight burns him now is a bit worrying. He can feel God moving inside him, he claims. But is it God or something else?

Ed and Riley share a difficult, complicated conversation about regrets and resentment in this episode, and I found it charming watching the older man, stuck in his ways, try to explain his feelings to his son. As a blue-collar guy, he wasn’t interested in Riley’s stocks or tech start-up. He resented him, resented him for looking down on his father’s humble trade, and when the hit-and-run happened, he used that as an excuse to continue resenting him. And since he thinks that Annie is a saint, everything that Riley has done, every mistake he has made, must have been his fault.

This conversation is the most purely human moment in an episode that has vials of blood exploding in sunlight and elderly women with dementia continuing to de-age by the day. Well, this and the conversation Erin has with Riley after telling him about losing her baby, her “Littlefoot”. She tells a story about how her own mother once made her hold birds while she clipped their wings; she said that her own were clipped the day Erin was born and made no secret of her resentment towards her daughter. She drank. The abuse started. After Erin left, she met and married a man who was basically a substitute for her mother. Another drunkard. Another abuser. When she found out she was pregnant, she left him and returned to Crockett Island. In exchange, Riley tells her about his recurring dream, in which he sits in that lonely boat in the middle of a wide-open bay, awaiting a sunrise he can never progress beyond, a new shore he can never reach. Erin asks him to pray with her and he agrees. She begs God for mercy on both of them.

Later, both Riley and Erin exchange lengthy monologues about what they think happens after death; expect these to be clipped up and do the rounds on social media before the weekend is out folks. Erin’s definition of Heaven — “You are loved. And you aren’t alone.” — is particularly striking, and you can buy into her idea that the concept of God, of faith, is really just that shared connection, that sense of belonging to something larger than oneself.

Father Paul also obviously believes in something larger than himself. After drinking his own blood from a cut in his hand caused by his rosary, he visits Mildred, who in her newly aware state recognizes him immediately. Later, he has another minor breakdown, screaming after the angel, demanding to know its whereabouts, and turns to drink. Joe, who has himself been struggling to stay off the booze, catches him self-medicating. Joe, of all people, recognizes Father Paul from the newspaper picture and says he could be Pruitt’s son. Father Paul, something evidently having come over him, grabs Joe tightly, holding him against his will. Joe struggles, and when he eventually breaks free he falls and cracks his head on the way down. Blood pools everywhere. As he quietly shushes Joe, Father Paul begins to lap it from the floor.

Bev later discovers this scene — Joe dead and Father Paul faintly delirious, not quite realizing what he has done, or at least why he did it. She orders Wade and Sturge to clean up the evidence and justifies Joe’s death as the will of God. A reluctant Wade is told he can’t accept God’s will when it comes to healing Leeza if he can’t also accept it here. Bev has truly mastered the art of manipulating these people. She cleans Paul up. Joe’s body is wrapped in a carpet and dumped in the water.

Elsewhere, Erin and Riley wake up together after their prayer session. He explains she has infiltrated his dream — this time, they were on the boat together. Speaking of which, she’s heading to the mainland for a second opinion on the whole miscarriage thing, but she receives worse news while she’s there — that, biologically speaking, it seems she was never pregnant in the first place.

When Riley meets with Father Paul for his usual AA meeting, he realizes something is up when Paul tries to explain Joe’s absence by saying he has gone to visit his sister on the mainland. Of course, Riley already knows she died recently. So, instead of going to meet Erin that night, he returns to the rec center to confront Father Paul about the deception. But he doesn’t find Father Paul alone. The angel has returned and is filling the vessel with “sacrament”, blood from his own veins, as Father Paul is dope sick from the lack of it. When the angel sees Riley, though, Father Paul lets out a simple, “Oh,” as the creature tackles Riley and begins to feed.

You can stream Midnight Mass season 1, episode 4 exclusively on Netflix.

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