The Midnight Club Ending Explained: What Did That Final Cliffhanger Mean?

All the teen characters in The Midnight Club
(Image credit: Netflix)

Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn’t yet watched the entirety of Netflix’s The Midnight Club, because we’re getting into the nitty gritty below.

The 2022 TV schedule was taken down some pretty dark and daunting corridors with the release of Netflix’s spooky The Midnight Club, the latest horror series from The Haunting of Hill House and Bly Manor creator Mike Flanagan and co-creator Leah Fong. An adaptation of Christopher Pike’s 1994 novel of the same name, the series takes place within the Briarcliffe Hospice for terminal youths, and centers on the titular group of teens who meet each night to share haunting and personal tales. And, like any great story, The Midnight Club delivers a hell of an ending.

Below, we’ll take a closer look at The Midnight Club ending, which dropped a pair of major reveals for Heather Langenkamp’s Georgina Stanton and the two elderly ghouls that kept popping up around the massive abode. 

Georgina without her wig in The Midnight Club

(Image credit: Netflix)

Who Is Georgina Stanton Really? 

Throughout the course of The Midnight Club, viewers are meant to have become endeared somewhat to Georgina, who clearly has a lot of patience, love and devotion to give the potentially endless line of teens who temporarily call Briarcliffe home. Langenkamp sells it through and through, to the point where it’s easy to take her side after Ilonka kept going down to the secret basement, especially after the teen allowed the devious Julia “Shasta” Jayne to perform her poison-centric ritual down there. But there were moments throughout the season where the hospice manager’s behavior rang suspicious, and the finale, “Midnight,” made it abundantly clear that Georgina has been keeping secrets from everyone.

The final moments show her sitting down at a dressing table and pulling off a wig, revealing a perfectly bald head, as well as the all-important five-goddesses hourglass tattoo on the back of her neck. So if we can assume that Georgina didn’t randomly get that tattoo from a wild weekend in Tijuana, then it probably means she’s one of three people:

  • Theory #1: Georgina is Aceso. Regina Ballard, the Greek goddess-worshiping founder of the Paragon cult, was seen at one point rocking a completely hairless scalp, complete with the hourglass tattoo. But unless the rituals helped to severely slow her aging process, Aceso is likely way too old, seeing as how she founded the group 60 years prior to the show’s present-day story. 
  • Theory #2: Georgina is Athena. This one is slightly more believable timeline-wise, and would add context to the “G.B.” carving that Ilonka found on one of the trees surrounding the property. (“Georgina Ballard” would be my guess there.) It would make sense for Athena to go in a completely different direction than her mother where Briarcliffe is concerned, and she would have been particularly peeved about Ilonka reading the diary detailing the events of Aceso’s ritual. 
  • Theory #3: Georgina is Athena’s daughter. Making the most sense in a world without eternal life, Georgina could easily be Aceso’s granddaughter, with her own set of beliefs and seemingly beneficial motivations guiding her actions.

Regardless of who she is, really, it’s still not entirely clear what her ulterior motives would be in running the hospice, unless she’s the one siccing that ghastly shadow creature on Briarcliffe’s residents, as it went with Anya. Is it possible that when teens die within the hospice, that their life energy (or whatever) is transferred to Georgina? Is it possible she figured out a different ritual that has a far higher success rate than the ones performed by the Paragon and Julia Jayne? 

Newspaper clipping about Stanley and Vera Freelan in The Midnight Club

(Image credit: Netflix)

Who Are The Two Older Ghosts Haunting Briarcliffe?

Unlike other Mike Flanagan projects that go hard on the haunts, The Midnight Club isn’t filled to the brim with malicious and broken spirits, but rather has two central spooks roaming its halls and causing confusion for certain tenants. Known only as “Mirror Man” and “Cataract Woman” in the credits — as portrayed respectively by X-Files great William B. Davis and Midnight Mass’ Patricia Drake — the two ghosts appeared only during specific times, and to specific people, implying they’re not your average spectres.

As revealed just prior to Georgina’s wig removal, the duo are actually Stanley Oscar Freelan and Vera Freelan, the husband and wife who brought the Briarcliffe building into existence in the late 19th century. The couple clearly have ties to the building overall, and it appears they may not have lived too long after construction was finished, given they already weren’t spring chickens. But what killed them, and why are they still partially haunting the hospice?

Mike Flanagan revealed to CinemaBlend that the bulk of the story for Stanley and Vera would be told in Season 2, if it happens, but that there are hints about the couple’s story throughout the season, as well as in the epilogue of Christopher Pike’s novel, which ties into the author’s recurring themes of rebirth and life cycles. As far as I can tell, these are the two biggest clues that seemingly link up with those ideas: 

  • Clue #1: Stanley and Vera only appear to Kevin and Ilonka. While Anya is the unlucky soul who continues being plagued by the mysterious shadow, Ilonka and Kevin’s hauntings are far more personified. Stanley has a penchant for showing up in mirrors, while Vera largely pops up in the secret basement and in the halls during Ilonka’s old-timey visions. Weirdly enough, the most harrowing thing about their appearances is the music and editing, but not so much their behavior, which isn’t all that antagonistic. Considering Ilonka started having the visions that led her to Briarcliffe months before she received her diagnosis, is it possible Stanley and Vera drew her there for non-malicious reasons? 
  • Clue #2: The Midnight Club novel’s ending. In a scene that echoes other inward-looking moments from Pike’s bibliography, the book in question wraps up on an epilogue set in the distant future, where humanity is split between Earth and the distant planet Treta. The scene centers on a female (Eisokna) set to depart for her new home, along with her new husband (Karlen), but she first experiences a wave of nostalgia that hearkens back to details and events from earlier in the story. Essentially, the takeaway is that Ilokna and Kevin were reincarnated as this future couple, indicating their Briarcliffe journey was but one broken connection amongst other lifelines where they did end up together.

So, how does that play into Stanley and Vera’s existences? I’ll have to get back to you on that one. But one possibility is that Ilonka and Kevin are somehow the reincarnated versions of the industrialist couple, though that would obviously be a weird outcome since their ghosts are still out and about. That could be tied specifically to the house, though, if the spirits are bound to the location by dark magic. Perhaps if Ilonka and Kevin find a way to free them, the ghosts will somehow mesh with the teens, freeing them from their deadly diseases. Or maybe Season 2 will go in a completely different direction, assuming Netflix orders it up.

In the end, Anya’s now-fixed ballerina figurine seems the lone piece of physical “everyone can witness it” proof that someone from the Midnight Club passed on a message from the great beyond. Assuming Georgina didn’t go out and buy a brand new figure to replace the broken one, of course.

The Midnight Club Season 1 is available to stream in full with a Netflix subscription, and that’s the only way we’re going to get answers from a second season, so get to rewatching and telling your friends, family, and the seemingly normal woman who runs the nearby hospice. When you’re done with that, check out all the awesome upcoming Netflix TV shows debuting soon.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.