‘The Midnight Membership:’ That Ending Defined, All Your Questions Answered


Horror director Mike Flanagan is the grasp of multilayered ghost tales filled with element. His newest (co-created with Leah Fong), The Midnight Membership, is not any exception. Except for Easter egg references to Flanagan’s earlier works, season 1 of the Netflix collection spins an unpredictable thriller with a satisfying ending. It then leaves us excited for extra with that tantalizing cliffhanger.

Let’s focus on that ending and the way all the most important questions wrap up within the spoiler-packed part beneath.

Warning: Spoilers forward.

Will there be a season 2?

Netflix hasn’t given the official inexperienced gentle for renewal but. Primarily based on different Netflix renewal bulletins, we’d hear one in November. After scoring good viewing figures, teen collection Heartstopper was renewed for 2 extra seasons 4 weeks after its preliminary launch.

This is what co-creator Mike Flanagan has mentioned about future seasons.

“This was designed to be ongoing,” Flanagan mentioned at a Netflix press occasion (through Elite Each day). “We most likely will not know for an additional month or so what Netflix needs to do. However this was very a lot designed to proceed. Pike has many books, and so we have now plenty of unbelievable materials to tug from.”

If the present is not renewed, Flanagan will give followers solutions to lingering questions.

“We did not reply among the larger questions of the season — these solutions exist, however have been meant to be for the subsequent season,” Flanagan mentioned. If there is no second season — “I am going to put [the answers] up on Twitter.”

What are the origins of the Paragon cult?

The origins of the Paragon cult are all recorded in a diary that was stored by the cult chief’s disillusioned 16-year-old daughter,  Athena. Athena wrote that the commune was began in 1931 by her mom, Regina Ballard. After Ballard’s husband died of pneumonia and her son of polio, she started a brand new age well being philosophy — “a naturopathic various to the medical institution.” However this philosophy modified for the more serious due to Ballard’s obsession with 5 Greek goddess sisters all linked to therapeutic. She created the Paragon cult, their hourglass emblem drawn from Historic Greece’s symbols for Earth and air.

Finally, Ballard and the cult delved into historic rituals involving blood sacrifices. However, in 1940, one in all these rituals went badly unsuitable. All the opposite grownup members died from poisoning. Ballard was the one survivor, claiming she collected the unsuitable components for his or her tea. When the police found her, she now not had hair. A tattoo of the hourglass image was seen on the again of her neck.

After the Paragon tragedy, Ballard was despatched to a psychological establishment. Her home remained empty till it was bought by Dr. Georgina Stanton in 1966. Whereas we see present cult chief Julia Jayne go to Ballard within the ’60s, it is not clear whether or not Ballard continues to be alive through the ’90s.

Igby Rigney as Kevin standing in an elevator behind Iman Benson as Ilonka, who's holding a lit match and crouching down over strange markings on a basement floor

Igby Rigney as Kevin and Iman Benson as Ilonka within the creepy basement utilized by the Paragon cult.

Eike Schroter/Netflix

What precisely occurred to Julia Jayne?

It ought to have come as no shock that Shasta (sanskrit for “instructor”) — the all-too pleasant founding father of Good Humor Wellness, a naturopathic firm sourcing components round Brightcliffe — is de facto ex-Brightcliffe affected person Julia Jayne.

Like Ilonka, Julia was additionally recognized with thyroid most cancers within the throat as a young person. She based The Midnight Membership in 1969, then later found Athena’s journal within the Brightcliffe library. She tracked down ex-Paragon cult chief Ballard by impersonating a hospice care nurse, visiting Ballard’s forwarding addresses from the psychological establishment till she discovered her.

Ballard, seeing Julia’s ardour, agreed to let Julia keep along with her for per week, throughout which she taught Julia the methods of the Paragon. She known as Julia her “vivid lady” — the identical title Julia/Shasta provides Ilonka. Ballard and Julia spun a narrative round what actually occurred. Within the police studies Ilonka reads, Julia disappeared from Brightcliffe for per week. She returned in full remission and mentioned, “It was due to this place, that she discovered one thing right here and it cured her.”

In Julia’s artwork remedy — stored in her Brightcliffe file — she wrote down the Dewey Decimal System numbers of the place she hid Athena’s Paragon diary within the library, passing on the data as Ballard did for her. In response to Stanton, Julia’s preliminary restoration comes all the way down to easy, unlikely luck — not the secrets and techniques Ballard gave her. Julia returns to Brightcliffe as an grownup to undergo with the Paragon blood sacrifice ritual as a result of she’s sick once more.

Samantha Sloyan as Shasta, holding a walking stick and smiling in a forest

Samantha Sloyan performs the mysterious Shasta.

Eike Schroter/Netflix

What’s Dr. Stanton’s true id?

Simply when there is a sense of acceptance and calm inside Brightcliffe Hospice, Dr. Stanton reveals within the closing cliffhanger scene that she — like most of the different most cancers sufferers — is bald and wears a wig. Besides, when she takes her wig off for the night time, a tattoo of an hourglass will be seen on the again of her neck, similar to Regina Ballard.

Is Dr. Stanton a part of the Paragon cult?

Identical to the various tales advised in The Midnight Membership, you’ll be able to interpret the which means behind Dr. Stanton’s look in a number of methods.

It is fairly doubtless Stanton was as soon as a believer within the Paragon’s strategies, even when she would not at the moment observe them. She was undoubtedly conscious of the Paragon, having acquired their books and teachings after buying the home. Perhaps Stanton tried to make use of the Paragon ritual on her sick son, Julian.

However Julian is seemingly now not alive, so the strategy did not work. In a dialog with Ilonka after Julia breaks in, Stanton labels the Paragon’s methods as “sick.” Now not a believer within the Paragon technique, she hid her connections to the cult. Perhaps she’s nonetheless bald as a result of she too was recognized with an sickness and has accepted that the one cause she’s nonetheless alive is due to luck. “The factor about Julia and different folks I’ve met over time is … they cannot settle for that they have been simply fortunate,” she tells Ilonka.

Perhaps, after her son died, Stanton fostered real good intentions behind beginning the hospice, offering a spot the place the terminally unwell can “concentrate on residing” whereas giving herself objective within the course of.

A girl standing behind hooded figures screaming in a basement

Sandra (Annarah Cymone) is not the one one to have ominous visions.

Eike Schroter/Netflix

Is Dr. Stanton good or dangerous?

There’s one other means to have a look at Stanton’s intentions.

Regardless of all the pieces Stanton has mentioned about caring for her sufferers as a health care provider, she may nonetheless be utilizing the Paragon’s strategies. Why else has she stored the basement in the identical state because it was through the time of the commune? Perhaps Julian continues to be alive in some kind. To maintain him alive, Stanton has been utilizing the home and its particular properties — that is why she goes to nice lengths to maintain Julia and the brand new Paragon cult out of the image.

On this studying, Stanton’s cause for founding Brightcliffe Hospice might need one thing to do with utilizing the sufferers as sacrifices to the gods — or the ghosts.

Who’re the outdated ghosts?

Within the closing cliffhanger scene, the digicam pans throughout a framed newspaper clipping from 1898 within the Washington Journal. It features a image of industrialist Stanley Oscar Freelan and his spouse, Vera Freelan, the unique house owners of the home. They give the impression of being fairly darn just like the 2 ghosts who hang-out Ilonka and Kevin, named within the credit as The Mirror Man and Cataract Lady.

On this scene, Stanton listens to the identical outdated music that performs each time Ilonka travels again in time. The music — Come The place My Love Lies Dreaming — consists by Stephen Foster and was printed in 1855. The outdated newspaper clipping says that the New Freelan Property was completed in mid-1898 and that it is “really a marvel of structure.” (This contradicts Ilonka’s analysis — she says the home was in-built 1901.) Perhaps this musical connection is meant to counsel that Stanton is much older than she seems and that her longevity has one thing to do with this “marvel” of a home.

Is Stanton feeding the Brightcliffe youngsters to the ghosts?

One other idea is Stanton might need some type of take care of the resident ghosts. On the seashore in episode 5, whereas celebrating Amesh outliving the day he was speculated to die, Natsuki speculates that Stanton began Brightcliffe to siphon off the sufferers’ life pressure into different vessels. Spence additionally factors out that they do not know the place the our bodies of ex-Brightcliffe youngsters go.

In episode 9, Ilonka says that the ghostly outdated girl with the cataracts “retains speaking about how she’s hungry, she’s ravenous.” Natsuki then shares that her mom advised her a narrative a couple of “factor,” an “eater of years” or “the years eater” which regarded like an outdated girl. It was present in locations the place folks have been going to die and it will eat the years they’d have had. “This place could be a feast,” Natsuki says of Brightcliffe.

Perhaps Natsuki’s proper. Perhaps Stanton actually is feeding the Brightcliffe youngsters to the ghosts in alternate for some type of profit or life pressure for Julian.

Is ‘The Residing Shadow’ Dying?

Or might or not it’s Julian?

Perhaps Stanton managed to maintain Julian alive due to the Paragon’s strategies, nevertheless it got here at a value: Julian now exists as a form of in-between being. Each Anya and her ex-roommate Rachel talked about seeing The Residing Shadow shortly earlier than their deaths. The parable of The Residing Shadow has been handed down by means of generations of The Midnight Membership, its presence felt so long as there are sufferers round to doubtlessly preserve it and the opposite ghosts nicely fed.

Or possibly, in the long run, the shadow actually is the manifestation of the children’ premature ends.

Why does Ilonka have visions?

Is it as a result of her drugs is making her “see stuff” as Kevin says in episode 3? Or is it as a result of the home and its ghostly residents are calling to her? “I hear issues. I see issues. These whispering voices … [are] virtually screaming at me,” Ilonka tells Kevin. She initially thinks the voices are her personal instinct spurring her to research Julia Jayne’s previous, however possibly it is actually the ghosts reaching out to a brand new sufferer to feed on.

A young girl in a school uniform holds her hand up in a creepy way with dark wispy smoke covering the bottom half of the screen

Natsuki (Aya Furukawa) within the first story we hear from The Midnight Membership.

Eike Schroter/Netflix

Any Easter eggs?

You guess! Flanagan likes to pepper in satisfying Easter eggs all through his exhibits and The Midnight Membership — co-created with The Haunting of Bly Manor producer and author Leah Fong — is not any exception.

  • The cool slanting graphic design of The Midnight Membership’s title card seems to be impressed by Christopher Pike’s novel, aka the supply materials. One of many editions makes use of an analogous font for the title on the entrance cowl.
  • The Lasser Glass, a possessed vintage mirror that featured in Flanagan’s 2014 horror Oculus, will be seen within the basement room in episode 4 a bit over a minute in, partially hidden below a material cowl. This Easter egg additionally seems in Flanagan’s 2021 horror collection Midnight Mass.
  • This is not actually an Easter egg, however a enjoyable truth: Episode 1 of The Midnight Membership broke the Guinness World Document for “most scripted leap scares in a single tv episode” with 21 situations of the traditional horror trope.
Adia as Cheri Ian, Igby Rigney as Kevin, Annarah Cymone as Sandra, Iman Benson as Ilonka, Aya Furukawa as Natsuki, Ruth Codd as Anya, Sauriyan Sapkota as Amesh, Chris Sumpter as Spencer all sitting around a table, in a library, next to a fireplace

The Midnight Membership convening within the library.

Eike Schroter/Netflix

Is The Midnight Membership based mostly on a real story?

Sure! The story of The Midnight Membership is predicated on Christopher Pike’s younger grownup novel of the identical title. The tales the members of The Midnight Membership inform one another are drawn from Pike’s different novels, together with The Depraved Coronary heart, Gimme a Kiss, See You Later, Witch, Highway to Nowhere and The Everlasting Enemy.

Pike drew inspiration for The Midnight Membership from a real story. In 1993, a younger most cancers affected person requested him to put in writing a narrative about her and the children in her ward, who had began a “Midnight Membership.” “They might meet at midnight and focus on my books,” Pike mentioned in a Netflix press launch. Pike gave Ilonka Pawluk a Polish title in honor of the younger affected person, who additionally had a Polish title. Sadly, regardless of his finest efforts, Pike was unable to complete the ebook earlier than she died.

Is Brightcliffe Hospice an actual place?

The Brightcliffe home itself would not really exist. Whereas a portion of the home’s facade was arrange on the filming website in Pitt Meadows, Vancouver, nearly all of the outside was created by means of VFX magic. In response to a Netflix press launch, the Zoic Studios results workforce scanned a home in Maine because the VFX foundation for Brightcliffe’s gothic exterior.

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