When last we saw the characters of Midnight Mass, Father Paul appeared to have performed a miracle. Young Leeza, who was confined to a wheelchair, was able to stand up and walk to receive her Communion wafer.
At the opening of Midnight Mass book 3, Father Paul is in an empty confessional, and he is about to tell one heck of a story. He says, “Bless me, Father, for I am going to sin.” He says he is going to stand before the parishioners and lie about Monsignor Pruitt.
His story starts with the confused old man on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He wanders away from the tourist group, and ends up walking through the desert.
Now we flash back to the church in the moments after Leeza stood and walked, we see Bev staring at Father Paul reverently, then Paul begins to cough, and stumbles to his house, holding his stomach. Old nosy Bev follows him inside as he coughs and spits blood into his bathroom sink. She stares shocked at a frame hanging on the wall, then turns to stare at Paul when he steps out of the bathroom.
Sarah checks out Leeza, puzzled at her ability to walk. She recommends that the girl use a cane to walk for the time being, because her muscles are understandably weak, and she wants the Scarboroughs to take her to the mainland for further testing, but they hesitantly confess that they don’t have the money. Also, “It feels wrong to interrogate a miracle.”
Later, Sarah finds her mother upstairs, stating that this is her bedroom, and Sarah scolds her. “You can’t do stairs!” We are starting to see a pattern here; Mildred can now walk up stairs, Annie’s eyesight is improving, and Ed’s back seems to be getting better.
At Riley’s AA meeting, he wants to talk to Paul about Leeza. He seems skeptical, maybe Paul just wants publicity, but Paul says no. He doesn’t want that, the important thing is Leeza. Riley says he can rationalize a misdiagnosis, but Paul had to know Leeza could walk, how did he know that? Paul says he doesn’t have an answer that Riley would be satisfied with, he just saw it, could feel it.
There is a small lovely scene at home with Annie and Ed, as we see her reading without her ever-present glasses. Ed puts on a record (Neil Diamond, naturally), and the two dance together, smiling and happy. It’s a warm, fuzzy moment in what will soon become a true horror story.
We see Leeza dancing outside of Warren’s window at night before he sneaks out, and the two run off to go out in the boat and kiss. Riley is making his list of people he needs to make amends with, but he looks up and sees the dead girl again, so he walks over to Erin’s house. The two sit on her porch and talk.
What follows are more snippets of life on the island, because Midnight Mass wants us to love these people. At St. Patrick’s, the church is full to the brim for Communion, and we then see Paul giving Mildred her own private Communion again. Hassan and Ali perform the Muslim ritual of salat, Joe wakes up in jail again, then shares a cup of coffee with Hassan. Oh, yeah, and we see Bev putting away another can of rat poison! What is she up to now??
At church, Paul tells Ooker and Warren that he will fill the wine cruets himself, and Warren sees him filling them from a flask. Paul preaches about rebirth, second chances and eternal life. We see the parishioners looking younger than before, with less grey hair. Paul himself does not look so great, he is sweating and mopping his brow as he talks about how there are plenty of mysteries, but miracles are rare. Then he collapses.
We go back to Paul giving his confession. He says that Pruitt wandered far into the desert, and was caught in a horrible sand storm. He sought refuge in a cave-like ancient rune that he discovered. Midnight Mass is teasing this story slowly, which tells us there is going to be a big reveal eventually.