In the fourth episode of Midnight Mass, “Book IV: Lamentations,” blood is spilled as the revelation of who Father Paul really is comes to light. Miracles continue to make their way across the town, but Erin suffers a terrible loss.
Let’s take a look at the major events from this episode.
The disappearance of Littlefoot
A routine doctor visit with Sarah ends in some disturbing news for Erin: the ultrasound shows that the baby — Littlefoot — is no longer inside of her. Erin has no idea how this could have happened, because she has no recollection of having a miscarriage.
After this traumatic revelation, Erin and Riley spend the day (and night) together talking about heavy topics like life, death, and everything in between. They touch on her childhood trauma and the heavy weight that Riley carries with him every day. He also tells her about a reoccurring dream that he’s been having since he was in prison — he’s in a boat, floating on the grey morning water in the middle of the bay. But he can’t bring himself to shore … and the dream always ends with the sunrise. When they wake up together the next morning, laying on top of the blankets on Erin’s bed, he tells her that he had the dream again, but she was there with him this time.
Later, Erin decides to go and see a doctor on the mainland for a second opinion. She’s shaken to learn that this doctor can’t find any evidence at all that she was even pregnant in the first place.
The most disturbing thing to come out of all of this is the fact that when Sarah placed the vial of Erin’s blood on the counter after her appointment, it began sizzling in the sunlight and exploded.
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His hunger grows
The reality of what Father Paul has become is really beginning to set in, though he doesn’t quite seem to fully understand it. Beverly, not aware of the vampire aspect yet but on board with the fact that this younger man is indeed Monsignor Pruitt, encourages him to tell the town the truth.
After she leaves him to be alone at his request, Father Paul tries to place his hand in a beam of sunlight streaming through the window, but it immediately begins to burn. When he tries praying, he can’t get through the verses because he’s writhing in pain. Noticing that his rosary has cut his palm open, he tentatively licks the blood from his palm before eventually cutting it open even deeper and drinking from his hand profusely. He watches in amazement as the wound heals afterward.
He waits until the sun goes down to step out of the rectory, but he’s clearly starting to lose it as he begins screaming for the “angel” to come back to him.
Joe manages to get through the day without drinking, and he visits the rectory to talk to Father Paul about it. However, he’s concerned to see him chugging wine directly from the decanter when he arrives. Father Paul tells Joe that he’s proud of him for resisting, because he knows the compulsion, the hunger …
Things go south pretty quickly when Father Paul beckons Joe to give him a hug goodbye. The embrace lasts a few beats too long as Father Paul takes a deep breath, swayed by temptation. Joe pulls away and ends up falling backward, cracking his head open on a table. As his blood begins to pool on the floor, Father Paul drops to the ground and begins drinking it.
Mass is canceled today, folks
Father Paul is almost a half hour late for mass on Sunday, so Beverly heads over to the rectory to see what’s going on. As she takes in the scene, which is Joe’s dead body, a room covered in blood, and Father Paul hunched over in the corner, she’s surprisingly calm. She hardly even falters when he shows her how his hand burns when he places it in the sunlight.
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Beverly cancels mass, and then she brings Wade and Sturge into the bloody fray and tells them to get rid of the body. It appears that she believes all of this was an act of God, compelling Father Paul to do what needed to be done.
The angel of death returns
Father Paul begins to spiral, praying for the “angel” to return. And return it does, striding into the rec center wearing Monsignor Pruitt’s signature coat and hat. (So that’s what Riley saw on the beach that night.) The vampire begins to fill the empty decanter on the table with its own blood.
This scene is soon disturbed by Riley, who had found himself unable to cope with the fact that Father Paul had lied to him during their AA meeting that night. When Riley asked why Joe wasn’t there, afraid that he had fallen off already, Father Paul explained that he had left the island to go and see his sister. That would all be fine, if it weren’t for the fact that Joe literally just told Riley after their first meeting that his sister was no longer alive.
Riley enters the rec center prepared to confront Father Paul for lying, but instead he finds himself ambushed by the vampire (and if you didn’t jump during this scene, you’re lying). As the angel of death begins to feed on him, Father Paul slowly closes the doors to the building.
Other notable moments
- Riley’s dad opens up to him about the resentment that he’s felt for years, and then he tells him that he loves him.
- Annie doesn’t need to wear her glasses anymore, and Ed is doing better than he has been in years. The miracles continue!
- Sheriff Hassan, though he was clearly upset about it, allowed Ali to go to St. Patrick’s for Sunday mass.
- Mildred immediately recognizes Father Paul as Monsignor Pruitt upon his first visit after her return to lucidity.
Questions that remain
- Will Riley survive?
- Does anyone actually understand that this priest is literally a vampire?
- How does the vampire tie into the loss of Erin’s baby?
- What other miracles have made their way across the town, and is this leading to an island full of vampires?
Midnight Mass is now streaming on Netflix. Stay tuned for our episode 5 recap, and check out all of our recaps here.