Since the beginning, Mike Flanagan’s work has explored the idea that when the natural world falls short, people often seek solace in the supernatural. But in “Midnight Mass,” he said that a cult forms when a group of people believes that an extraterrestrial force can help them when neither technology nor human interaction can.
Fascism is ingrained in cults; despite their outward calmness, cult members engage in harmful and even violent behavior. This is symbolized in “The Midnight Club” by the Paragon Society and Julia Jayne (Larsen Thompson/Samantha Sloyan).
Even while they encourage Ilonka (Iman Benson) to do the same, Ilonka’s (Iman Benson) increasing attachment to the members of the club’s namesake makes her more democratic in her approach to the supernatural.
The reason Ilonka is becoming so close to the youngsters in the Midnight Club is that every night at midnight (thus the name), the members gather to share stories and recite their promise to return to the living if they ever find proof of an afterlife.
The stories are largely made up. Still, they shed vital light on the protagonists’ deteriorating mental states. The legends play a supporting role in the story, but they don’t directly relate to the supernatural claims made about the town of Brightcliffe.
Because of these tales, Ilonka is inspired to learn more about the Paragon (a sect that once resided in Brightcliffe) and implement their practices in an effort to save her companions.
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How Does the Midnight Club End?
Shasta (Samantha Sloyan), a naturalist who exploited the unique area around the Rotterdam Home hospice to brew and sell her teas, became friends with Ilonka (Iman Benson) throughout Season 1.
But at the season’s end, Shasta’s true identity was exposed. The woman who cured herself at Rotterdam Home was actually her—Julia Jayne, the subject of Ilonka’s investigation. Julia was with Aceso, the leader of the Paragon cult when she attempted to perform a ceremony to extend everyone’s lifespan.
After hearing that, Ilonka decided to abandon her friendship with Dr. Stanton (Heather Langenkamp) and instead support Julia.
Julia, Ilonka, and a few of her followers broke into the Rotterdam Home basement to try to reenact the ceremony that ultimately proved fatal. But right as the rite was about to begin, it was disrupted once more.
When Dr. Stanton learned what was going on, he intervened to stop Ilonka from ingesting the potion Julia had prepared for her. That was a brilliant move on your part. After drinking the potion, two of Julia’s followers fainted and had to be taken to the hospital.
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After Julia ran away, Dr. Stanton finally came clean. Julia had never used magic to cure herself, in Dr. Stanton’s opinion. In the end, luck was the only reason Julia improved. After Julia’s string of burglaries and her plot to poison Ilonka, Dr. Stanton became convinced that Julia was once again ill and urgently seeking a return to the “magic” she had found.
Dr. Stanton thinks the Paragon cult is made up of sick people who will do anything in their search for relief, no matter how outlandish it may sound to the rest of society.
These concepts are cancer, Dr. Stanton warned Ilonka. A person’s age and intelligence are irrelevant once they figure it out. We are all vulnerable in some way.
The next day, Ilonka apologized to Dr. Stanton for the incident and said she would be leaving the workplace to return home. But that wasn’t Ilonka’s only turning point in her development.
When Ilonka visited her father, she handed him the preneed paperwork he’ll need to arrange for her funeral. Ilonka knows she is dying and is trying to enjoy her remaining time on earth.
It wasn’t just her that made some significant progress. Kevin (Igby Rigney) thought it was time to wrap up his serial killer narrative. By the end, Kevin’s sense of guilt for disappointing his loved ones became central to the story.
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His other pals didn’t approve of that resolution, so they took matters into their own hands. The Midnight Society’s swan song merged their previous tales into one massive ode to Anya (Ruth Codd). Was I making any sense? Actually, no. But, it was delicious.