Humanity’s been grappling with with that big question for millennia, and a single conversation likely won’t crack it. But Riley tries, delivering a monologue about the body’s atoms “scattered across the goddamn cosmos” and becoming one with everything, his speech underscored by plaintive piano.
The character is reaching beyond his grasp in order to deliver emotional catharsis and meandering into well-meant cliché. So, too, is the show. Flanagan’s third limited series for Netflix, taking Catholicism as its subject, lacks the crispness and rigor that has often distinguished his work. And though it engages with potent ideas, the ultimate impact of “Midnight Mass” is softened by a lack of follow-through. It