- Midnight Mass -The Ending Of 'Midnight Mass' Will Give You Major 'The Haunting Of Hill House' Flashbacks
The Haunting of Hill House premiered on Netflix way back in 2018, but fans are still debating that ambiguous ending to this day. Did the surviving members of the Crain family really live happily ever after or are they all trapped in the Red Room for eternity? If you're still puzzling over that question, just wait until you see the final moments of Midnight Mass.
Mike Flanagan's latest Netflix series isn't connected to Hill House in a tangible sense. Aside from the shows sharing a number of the same actors, and both touching on the themes of addiction, family, and loss, they're very different beasts. For one thing, Midnight Mass only features one sort-of ghost. Instead, its monster of choice is vampires (and people... mostly people, actually).
It's a show about faith, religious zealotry, and family all set against the backdrop of an island that's slowly dying thanks to pollution and global warming. The once bustling community is now down to just a little over 100 residents, many of whom are only there because they don't know where else to go. It's a sad place, but it doesn't boast the sense of Gothic foreboding that Hill House exuded.
And yet, Flanagan manages to bring both shows to strikingly similar conclusions. The writer-director actually gave away the ending of Midnight Mass in an Aug. 9 tweet when he wrote, "But this show is about something else as well... faith itself. One of the great mysteries of human nature. How even in the darkness, in the worst of it, in the absence of light — and hope — we sing."
Indeed, the residents of Crockett Island do sing as they await the sunrise that will turn them all to dust in the wake of them drinking a potent cocktail of vampire blood and rat killer at the behest of their spiritual leader, Father Paul. When faced with certain death, the community sings a hymn, and awaits their fate, but there's just one little problem: The so-called angel responsible for convincing Father Paul he was doing the Lord's work is seen flying away in the distance. He's injured thanks to Erin "clipping his wings," but there's no definitive answer about whether or not the ancient creature outran the sun, creating a Red Room 2.0 situation for Flanagan fans.
The Ending Is Open To Interpretation
Just as people were left wondering whether or not the Crains truly escaped Hill House, there's some doubt about whether the people of Crockett's sacrifice was enough to save the world. Leeza and Warren, who are the only two people to survive the night, ponder whether or not the angel escaped as they watch their hometown burn. Warren doesn't think the angel can beat the sunrise, but he doesn't know for sure. And if the creature does survive, then does that mean it stands a chance of finding more followers on the mainland?
The people of Crockett die in order for the vampiric virus to be contained, but by leaving the original vampire alive, there's a chance they didn't stop the world from succumbing to a bloody apocalypse after all. Still, the final scene in which Leeza reveals she can no longer feel her legs suggests the creature is dead, and the healing power of its blood died with it, but there's just enough ambiguity to spawn plenty of theories.
Both Endings Offer Up Poetic Explanations About What Happens After Death
Flanagan is clearly fascinated by the question of what happens after we die. In Hill House, he tackles the question from the perspective of a grieving family. In the end, Nell gives her brother a moving speech about how she'll never truly leave him. "There's no without. I am not gone. I'm scattered into so many pieces, sprinkled on your life... like new snow," she says.
Things get a bit more philosophical in Midnight Mass. As she takes her final breath, Erin suddenly understands that she's just one small part of a much bigger picture. "I remember every atom of my body was forged in a star," she says. "This matter, this body is mostly empty space after all, and solid matter? It's just energy vibrating very slowly, and there is no me. There never was."
Ultimately, The Haunting of Hill House and Midnight Mass don't exist in the same universe. But that doesn't stop them from feeling like echoes of one another. From the ambiguity of the endings to the big finale speeches about the meaning of life, Flanagan keeps the spirit of the Crains alive in the residents of Crockett.
Images: Eike Schroter/Netflix; Netflix