two midnights

Back-to-back watching is always one of my favorite things.

It’s my belief that the texts you engage with can speak to one another and engage in conversation within you. In my own recent viewing, I’ve found that the limited horror series Midnight Mass pairs exceptionally well with Duncan Trussell’s The Midnight Gospel.

While these two things may not seem to have much in common (apart from featuring the word “midnight” in their title), they both wrestle with the hardest question of all: how do we live with a knowledge of death?

In the final episode of The Midnight Gospel, Duncan Trussell interviews his mother, Deneen Fendig, who is dying from cancer. “The closer I get to physical death,” she tells him, “the more alive I feel, and the more present I feel and the more real I am. And I realize that I have no idea what lies on the other side of physical death, but there is so much aliveness that’s building in me, that I can’t help but think that there is some connection between that and the movement toward physical death.”

This speaks to one of the most beautiful moments comes in the final episode of Midnight Mass. A group of characters are suddenly confronted with the knowledge that they won’t survive the night. But at the same time, one of the character recognizes the importance of their last hours of life.

“It isn’t about us anymore,” she says, gearing up to confront for story’s forces of antagonism. “It’s about everyone else in the world. Dying for people we haven’t even met. No greater love than that. What the Good Book says, isn’t it?”

In this moment, that swelling aliveness Fendig describes is present in the story, at once awe-inspiring and terrifying. But more than anything else, it’s remarkable to know this feeling–being gripped by pure reality of your own demise–it something all of us will grapple with eventually.

That’s good story telling.