Midnight Mass Ending Explained: What Happened And What It Means

Midnight Mass is the latest Netflix and Mike Flanagan collaboration. This Netflix limited series follows Riley (Zach Gilford) as he returns to his hometown. His arrival also collides with the arrival of the mysterious new priest, Father Paul (Hamish Linklater). At its core, Midnight Mass is a haunting tale of religious overzealousness, addiction, and misguided faith. These themes and others led to the heart-pumping Midnight Mass ending.

The Midnight Mass ending, because this is a Netflix limited series, made sure to leave no ambiguity about whether a second season could happen. With that in mind, Mike Flanagan burned it all down. Let’s explore the Midnight Mass ending, what happened, what it meant, and any deeper meanings.

Warning: Midnight Mass ending spoilers ahead. If you haven't watched yet, he Midnight Mass cast is one of the reasons why this Netflix limited series is a must-watch. It’s dark, scary, memorable, and makes you question your own beliefs about the world, religion, and the idea of life and death. Stream Midnight Mass on Netflix.

And for those who have watched already, let's talk about the ending....

Hamish Linklater and Alex Essoe in Midnight Mass

What Happened At The End of Midnight Mass?

Father Paul has forced many of the townsfolk into a life of vampirism. The new vampires of Crockett Island then go on a hunt for new food, turning or killing anyone who didn’t make it to the latest midnight mass. Meanwhile, Erin (Kate Siegel), Sarah (Annabeth Gish), and Sheriff Hassan (Rahul Kohli) realize that they need to burn all the boats so that the Crockett Island residents can’t infect more people.

Later, Bev (Samantha Sloyan) decides to burn down all the homes to force all the citizens to come to the church to escape dying with the sunrise. As everyone starts to arrive at the church, Bev starts to forbid people from entering it.

Father Paul intervenes and tells everyone that they’re allowed in there, but he stops when he sees Sarah pouring lighter fluid all over the church. Earlier in the episode, it’s revealed that Father Paul (aka Father Pruitt) had a secret relationship with Mildred (Alex Essoe) and they conceived Sarah in secret. Father Paul uses this moment to tell Sarah that he’s proud of her, but their moment is cut short when Struge (Matt Biedel) shoots her.

Father Paul attempts to turn her into a vampire, but she refuses. Paul and Mildred then burn part of the church. Sheriff Hassan and Erin try to burn the rest, but Erin is grabbed by the Angel and Bev shoots Hassan.

While being drained by the Angel, Erin manages to cut its wings. After seeing how Bev treats his father, Ali (Rahul Abburi) sets the rest of the church on fire. Everyone goes off to face death as the sun approaches. Meanwhile, Warren (Igby Rigney) and Leeza (Annarah Cymone) are on a boat watching it all happen. Leeza then tells Warren that she can’t feel her legs.

Igby Rigney and Annarah Cymone in Midnight Mass

What Did Leeza’s Final Lines Mean In Midnight Mass?

Many will assume that Leeza saying she couldn’t feel her legs confirms that the Angel doesn’t make it west and burns in the sun like the rest of Crockett Island. However, apparently, this is not the case. In an interview with The Wrap, Mike Flanagan revealed that those final lines were not supposed to confirm the death of the Angel. Instead, they were just supposed to confirm that Leeza no longer had the blood inside her:

We’re not saying he died… Our hope really there was just to say that Leeza’s concentration in her blood had begun to tip back, that she was going to be OK. We didn’t want it to confirm about The Angel, in that way that you can never kill fanaticism, it’ll always kind of come back.

Now, though Flanagan doesn’t want to kill the Angel by saying yes, he indeed died, he doesn’t necessarily completely say that he isn’t dead. It’s left open-ended, which allows viewers to determine it as they see fit. To me, it only makes sense that the Angel has died. It was only a few hours between the final midnight mass and when Leeza and Warren escaped the island.

The Angel’s blood should have still been in her veins. To me, the only way the blood starts to lose its power inside Leeza is if the Angel dies. Kind of like when a vampire sire dies, his children die with him.

Kate Siegal in Midnight Mass

The Importance Of Erin’s Midnight Mass Final Speech

You may have noticed that Erin is the only Crockett Island vampire that viewers don’t see burn. We also don’t see Erin become a vampire, but because she took communion, that’s what happened. Flanagan intentionally doesn’t show this side of Erin. He told Entertainment Weekly that he wanted the audience to remember Erin "as a whole thing.”

Erin also gets to deliver one final monologue where she gives her idea of what happens when we die.

In an interview with the New York Times, Flanagan shared that he “had more of a spiritual reaction reading Pale Blue Dot” than reading the Bible. This love of science comes through in Erin’s death. She talks about death in this magical manner but there is a lot of science that’s used to describe basically how death can be a return to the earth. How life is but a dream, but we’re all part of these particles that help make up the earth.

This also has to do with Flanagan’s belief, which he discusses in the Entertainment Weekly interview, that what matters is how our beliefs shape how we treat each other. I believe that this comes across in Erin’s final speech because she sees us all as part of something greater. We’re only moving pieces in this universe or in God’s plan, whatever you may believe to be how or why the world operates. Our selves are less important than the world as an entity.

Samantha Sloyan in Midnight Mass

What The Major Deaths Said About Each Character In Midnight Mass

The deaths during the Midnight Mass ending reveal who these characters are at their cores--their true beliefs and essentially if they made peace with their lives. Riley dies before the Midnight Mass ending, but his character sets up this 2021 Netflix TV series for its dramatic conclusion.

Riley sacrifices himself to save Erin and the rest of Crockett Island. In this act, I don’t think it matters if Riley redeems himself from his past mistakes, I think it matters that he believes he has finally done the right thing. This is why he sees the woman that he killed, and instead of her haunting him, she smiles at him. I believe this also shows that Riley has always been a good person, he just made some major mistakes because of his addiction.

Bev’s death has the opposite revelation. She makes the choice to do a lot of horrible things before she dies, all in the name of her God and her religion. When death finally comes for her, she is the only one we really see running from it. From my interpretation, Bev doesn't show herself to be a true believer. Because if she was, I think she would have embraced her death knowing that everything she did was good and holy. Unlike Bev, the townsfolk of Crockett Island show themselves to be true believers because instead of crying and mourning the lives that were stolen from many of them, they choose to embrace death together and whatever that means.

A lot about Father Paul is also revealed with his death. Mainly, I think he reveals that religion and God were never his main priority. First by not being a priest who put God first, and then by doing everything for Mildred and Sarah. Father Paul seems to have decided to no longer pretend to be this godly man and in his death, he removes his priest collar and enjoys his few last moments with Mildred.

Kristin Lehman and Henry Thomas in Midnight Mass

Is There Any Hope In The Midnight Mass Bleak Ending?

The Midnight Mass ending is pretty bleak, everyone dies and the town burns down. However, Leeza and Warren make it out alive. The fact that those two survived and can likely start over, gives the series some sense of hope. There is a chance of a happy ending for them.

The fact that the Crockett Island townsfolk also came together at the end gives the show a hopeful note, in my opinion. I think it shows that Midnight Mass is not trying to paint religion in a bad manner. These people aren’t bad people because they’re religious. In fact, most of them are more neighborly because of it. It’s people like Bev and Father Paul who aren’t necessarily bad but do bad things because they use religion as an excuse to justify some of their bad behavior.

I thought the Midnight Mass ending brought the show full circle. It was a fitting ending that got to the core messages of the series. But what did you think? Vote in our poll below...

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Jerrica Tisdale
Freelance Writer

Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.