The Midnight Club – Season 1 Episode 1 “The Final Chapter”
The Final Chapter
The first episode of The Midnight Club begins in Sacramento in 1994. It begins with a signature Flanagan monologue. Ilonka recounts stories and the significance of their stories in society. It’s actually Ilonka’s graduation speech that she rehearses before her mirror.
Ilonka is off to a college gathering where she reveals that she doesn’t drink alcohol. While her pal Lauren is tearing up on the dance floor (or the living room floor?) she gets to meet Brian who is a student majoring in literacy.
Ilonka is a bit of a fanatic about stories. She is known to rant about stories to Brian about how wonderful Mary Shelley is. When she starts vomiting blood She heads for the bathroom. She spots an unusual person in the mirror who is stalking her.
What’s the problem? It’s true that Ilonka is diagnosed with thyroid cancer. This means she’s going to need operations… And she may not be able to make it through the semester. Because she skipped an entire year but was able to be accepted into the semester, Ilonka is confident that she can beat this.
Then, nine months later, Ilonka is undergoing chemotherapy. Her hair has fallen out, and she is able to learn about college via Lauren. It’s her birthday, too, and she gets the worst news from her doctor. Ilonka’s condition is fatal and she may live to see an entire year, but beyond that, there is no telling.
Ilonka is online and brings an organization that can assist Brightcliffe Hospice. According to the news articles from the past that a woman named Julia Jayne was actually cured of cancer after visiting the. When conventional treatments at the hospital are ineffective, Ilonka convinces her father to allow her to stay at Brightcliffe. “Cancer Sleep-Away Camp” as Ilonka calls it.
As we enter, we find about Brightcliffe Hospice has a rich background. This was an intermediate home during the depression and an adolescent commune known as The Paragon in the 1940s. There’s a lot of historical significance to this home and for Ilonka it seems that she may have some connection to the place. It’s also… Jesus Christ is an elderly lady who has terrible eyes right there!
Ilonka is unable to sleep, but when she comes back to consciousness, she’s taken to see doctor Georgina Stanton. There’s a speech written about how we people view cancer. She will also discuss the way in which terminology depicts an armed struggle but for Brightcliffe the patients, each day that they live is a win.
When Tim and Georgina discuss while they talk, one of the children, Spence, shows Ilonka around. While doing so, Ilonka meets Natsuki, Sandra, Anya, Cheri, and Anesh. Through Spence Ilonka discovers that the elevator of old seems to be able to think on its own, moving between floors at night. Where is it that it goes? The morgue is the only thing located at the bottom of the building.
Ilonka chooses to remain to discover a pentagram underneath the mattress and also find out about Rachel the girl who was a witch and the person responsible for that pentagram. However, she’s also dead. According to reports, she informed Anya she was being snatched by a shadow that felt like it was touching her shirt. The shadow wouldn’t let her go “again”, and the following day she was dead. The cause or not is anybody’s speculation There’s an unavoidable curfew for children too.
In the late at evening, Anya sneaks off and takes the elevator downstairs, with a cup in her hands. Ilonka follows. While doing so she observes children gathered in the same space. She sneaks in to watch from a distance while the kids drink alcohol and begin getting ready for the latest episode.
The kids are able to share stories and have a little ritual before they go to bed. It’s not like throwing magic dust in the flame (Shout to all fellow Are You Afraid of The Dark fans!) But instead, we hear Natsuki telling a creepy tale. The story ends with a jumping scare and then Spence appears and says that it is a lazy form of storytelling.
It’s a wonderful meta-event within the series, one that frames the horror in a self-referential way. There are several non-stop jump scares that occur, but one will eventually lead to Ilonka being discovered and be a part of the group. Well, kinda. The only way to truly be part of the group is to share the story…and not to make a Natsuki Jump scare you! The group also tells her to drink and eventually, she takes a sip of wine.
The story that Ilonka picks is one about Julia Jayne, the woman she was reading about in the paper. It’s not clear if she’s telling the truth or embellishing details to make it more frightening. Whatever the case, she relates the tale of how Julia was missing for several months, only to show up suddenly. When asked where she’d gone she casually states that she didn’t leave the house and that her tumors were gone. Before she leaves she recites a series of dates for different patients that appear to be in the form of dates. Their death dates.
Following this, Ilonka goes on to explain how she’s conducted the research for the house and has many diverse stories about people who are believed to be treated. This gives her an “in” to this group. However, her real goal is to find a solution. She would like to heal and continue living her life Why not?
The Episode Review
Mike Flanagan is back with his new series and the episode begins with a subtle, yet definitely intriguing start. The concept of dismantling the horror genre the way this is done through the stories, in the end, is undoubtedly the most interesting part.
There are the usual monologue riffs in this however it’s not as lengthy as Midnight Mass was. There’s definitely plenty to enjoy about this album at this point, though the whole nighttime gathering is like that of the Midnight Society scenes in Are You Afraid of the Dark and even the lengthy tale of welcoming someone new to the group, and then having them take turns to share stories.
It’ll be interesting to know what direction this show takes in a more episodic style following this, with different stories every chapter, or if there’s a larger story that will tie everything in is up in the air. If this is a hint of the future, then it’s going to be a fascinating experience to watch.
CommentsSo empty here ... leave a comment!