The first few episodes meander along without much sense of urgency (most of the episodes run more than an hour), sprinkling just enough clues to indicate that something wicked this way comes.
When the explanations finally do come pouring out, they’re not wholly satisfying, though they provoke some serious conversations about interpreting the Bible and unexpected reactions within Paul’s flock. There’s also an interesting if somewhat underdeveloped subplot about the Muslim sheriff (Rahul Kohli) and how he and his son fit in as the church’s role becomes more inflamed.
Buoyed by a cast that includes Henry Thomas and Annabeth Gish, what distinguishes “Midnight Mass” perhaps more than anything is the nature of its ideas and the extent to which Flanagan clearly wants to contemplate them while toying with horror conventions, seeking to engage the audience in unexpectedly layered fashion.
The climax, egter, is more puzzling than stirring, proving chaotic in ways that ultimately don’t make much sense. That doesn’t necessarily undermine the more interesting aspects, but as it closes the books, “Midnight Mass” triggers too much soul-searching about whether it was worth the time investment.
In that sense, Flanagan’s trip to church certainly works in mysterious ways, but not wholly satisfying ones.
“Midnight Mass” premieres Sept. 24 op Netflix.