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#312: The team discusses Netflix’s Midnight Mass and find it to be full of great conversation starters – family dynamics, religious trauma, forgiveness – and some pretty good monologues!
Josué Cardona 0:04
Welcome to GT radio on the Geek Therapy network here at Geek Therapy. We believe that the best way to understand each other and ourselves is through the media we care about. My name is Josué Cardona. And I’m joined by Lara Taylor.
Lara Taylor 0:10
Josué Cardona 0:10
and Link Keller.
Link Keller 0:11
Josué Cardona 0:11
Right? I think it’s Lara’s turn?
Josué Cardona 0:14
It is my turn.
Josué Cardona 0:15
What are we what are we talking about?
Lara Taylor 0:16
We’re talking about Midnight Mass,
Josué Cardona 0:16
what is Midnight Mass?
Lara Taylor 0:17
It is a, I guess a limited series is what they’re calling on. Netflix. It’s by the same person that did. Haunting of Hill House and Haunting of Bly Manor. Lots of spooky, creepy things. Not exactly like. It wasn’t scary, scary. It’s one of those things that it wasn’t to me wasn’t super scary. And then you get toward the end. It’s like, oh, shit, things got things got creepy. But I think I heard a lot of buzz about this from friends. And a friend of mine who is deep in the Catholic Church was asking for his friends opinions on like, how they represented faith in the show, and most actually said, except for one person pretty accurately. And that it did a good job. And I was like, Huh, that’s interesting. So I watched a show. And there’s, there’s that’s a that’s a piece of representation. We don’t talk about too much. But there’s other things in there so many good pieces about family and mental health struggles, and I don’t know, everything gets creepier when things that are supposed to be safe supposed to be in quotes, like, you know, children, religion, family, like those things when it gets creepy. It really is scary. I don’t know.
Josué Cardona 1:06
Yeah, yeah. It’s, it’s been I mean, things like Netflix. Right. Like, it’s like a blip in time. But I think the reviews have been so good. From what I can tell that, you know, I think I think it’ll have some longevity. I think people will keep coming back to it and talk about it for a while. And people seem to like it more than then. Hill house is my, my, my take from, from what I’ve what I’ve read. But yeah, no, let’s let’s get into where do you want to start?
Lara Taylor 1:28
Where do I want to? Well, I want to I want to get your all’s impressions of what what you liked about it?
Josué Cardona 1:30
Link Keller 2:26
Um, I enjoyed it. It definitely fits in with Hill House. And Bly Manor. I think I liked Bly Manor a little bit better. And that may just be because of the queer stuff. I’m willing to admit that. I thought there’s some really cool visual elements. utilized in midnight mass. There was a couple of really cool scenes that um, if we get more into spoiler territories, like, obviously, I’m sure you guys were like, oh, links gonna like this part, because I did! I had I had some discomfort. I don’t know that it was so scary for me. But I think a big part of that is because of my relationship with religion is has always been distanced from Christianity. And so a lot of the Christianity and Catholic related stuff is like, I I’ve always had that space where it’s like, I’m aware of it, but it is not happened to me. So while I definitely find Bev to be absolutely terrifying as a character, maybe the scariest character in all three seasons, three series, but um, yeah. Oh, overall, I enjoyed it. I it was a it was enjoyable, spent spooky time.
Link Keller 3:36
And this is the first time I’m ever going to be able to use this. And one of these episodes, although it’s something I talk about whenever we do trainings and workshops that you don’t you, sometimes you it’s impossible to actually watch a whole thing, because you don’t have the time. And therefore, there are wonderful YouTubers who will give recaps of everything that happened. And there’s Wikipedia and you can read about stuff and you can still learn about it and which I wanted to do, because I wanted
Lara Taylor 4:04
Josué Cardona 4:05
But it matters to you. So it matters to me. I couldn’t make the time to see the whole thing. But I but I, but I did my homework. And so
Lara Taylor 4:11
and that’s all we can ask for right?
Josué Cardona 4:14
Look. I think I think it’s a good tactic. Always remember that listeners, you can’t you can’t watch everything, you can’t read everything.
Lara Taylor 4:19
You can’t, I have a list on my desk of things that clients have suggested that I watch. And I cannot commit to watching all of them. I can watch some of all of them, like a few bits and pieces. I give me your best moments, your best, whatever. And I will I will What strikes a chord with you and I’ll watch that. But I get that.
Josué Cardona 4:37
I do that with my sister. She’s like, Oh, I’ve been watching this all day. Like you gotta you gotta just tell me the best episode like you get a watch an episode. I can’t watch the whole series from the beginning with you. I’m sorry, I just can’t do it. When I after learning about the show, I really wanted to watch it. Like I was I was kind of bummed that I didn’t actually watch it. And then we had an extra week to watch it. I still didn’t have enough time to now you know, I’m adding that to the to the other 1000 things on my backlog. But I would I would definitely like to actually watch the whole series. But yeah, there’s a lot of stuff there that I’m I’m looking forward to hearing you talk about. And yeah, yeah.
Lara Taylor 6:08
It’s interesting, because I think a lot of I talked about this on another episode, I don’t know what like, this idea of existentialism, or like looking at not even just that, but like, faith in and like what we believe happens when we die. And there’s a scene that I loved there that I was like, I don’t know, if where I fall on the spectrum between the two. But both of the descriptions were beautiful as to what happens when we die. And I don’t like to think about it, I think because like most people, I am terrified of dying. But, um, I think that, and we get another scene later on that it kind of goes even in more depth about what happens and what these people believe happens. And it was really nice to see that portrayed that like, this guy’s fall from grace and fall from and separation from his faith, and then he’s still able to come up with a meaningful belief about what happens even though other people might see it as not meaningful. You know, I’ve had friends who are like, well, when you die, you die. And that’s it. That’s the end. And his description is like, Well, no, but we also become part of this. And part of that, and I can’t put good words to like they did in the scene, but like, I almost I wanted to believe both of them. As to what happens, you know, it was it was beautiful.
Josué Cardona 7:59
There’s an episode of Otaku Ryōhō that we recorded, where we talk about how the the, our beliefs around death, right can inform how we live our lives? I don’t? I don’t know. A lot of people think about that all the time. I do. Definitely. So like, what was your take on on how, you know, the people who believe different things? And like, you thought they were both cool, right? But like, how? How would they? How would the different possibilities? Maybe like how did it affect the different characters? And like, how do you think, like, would they influence you at all, if you like, if one was real or like if you knew or just believed? Right? I think that’s the that’s the bigger point. Right? It’s about what you believe.
Lara Taylor 8:48
I think it’s interesting because the both of them come to this conversation having from different perspectives, but both having a experience with death in different ways. One feels at fault, and that is how is that fault. And so that is how he loses his beliefs and shifts things and the other one is a more personal, I don’t want to spoil things, but I guess we can spoil it like she’s she’s, I guess she might also at that point, she is unsure of whether she did something wrong or not. And wants to believe that there is a place where there is peace and a place where you can be in a warm, loving embrace and that people are together. Like her definition of Heaven is not what a lot of people might say Heaven is heaven is just a place where you’re loved. And I think I could get behind that. And the way she described that made me think because I’m someone who came from a family where my mom was raised Catholic and decided to bounce from that when she became an adult, and let her children choose. And so I didn’t really grow up with any I mean, obviously, majority of America, Christian values, whatever. We always celebrated Christmas in my house, Easter, that kind of thing, but I never really had religion in my home. And so I’ve always kind of thought of myself as someone who like, I’ve never really formed these thoughts and thought about these things until I’ve, I’ve watched shows that kind of depict this thing. And so thinking about what I believe, and I want to believe that, I don’t know, I really don’t know. Which is why I like the other person’s perspective. He talks about how there is meaning even in the simplicity in the science and the quote unquote, coldness of death and that like, when we die, we propel things going on. So I don’t know. I don’t know if they’ve even answered the question you asked, but
Josué Cardona 11:24
I’m not sure. no you did I think I think you did. I think I mean, you You talked a lot about the religious piece. I grew up yeah, my my parents bounced from one religion to another to another and different churches. And I have a very long list of religious traumas that I’m not to talk about at any any time, just let me know. I bring them all the time. And but that is so separated to me still from the like, it doesn’t really inform my thoughts on what happens after you die. It’s a, I guess, because I’ve wanted to separate myself from from a lot of the different religious ideologies. Yeah.
Lara Taylor 12:19
So then there’s people like Bev in the show, who make me very glad that I never had any religious upbringing. And that I didn’t have to deal with with people like that she was… something else.
Link Keller 12:36
Josué Cardona 12:37
I think it is. I think it’s true that a lot of people do you have, or have had positive experiences as being part of like a religious community. I hope it’s possible. But
Link Keller 12:50
that is a big part of why this show sort of engages with is the idea of like, okay, so this show takes place on a small island, called Crockett, and is a small island and
Lara Taylor 13:08
the crock pot,
Link Keller 13:10
the crock pot, it’s very cute. But it is a small town, everybody knows everybody, everybody’s all up in everybody’s business. There is only one way on and off the islands, the main source of income is fishing. And there is a history of this town suffering due to an oil spill a few years prior to when the show is mainly taking place. And so it is reflecting this idea of the church is the community’s backbone, the community doesn’t survive without the church because the church is the glue that is holding this small group of people together. And how it fails to provide the things that they need. That they need. Except it provides community and that is something that we desperately need. And so it is constantly balancing this idea of like, needing those relationships with people, your neighbors to people, you spend your time with the people who you coexist with, who you share resources with, and also the unbelievable harm that can come from those kinds of spaces where there aren’t other opportunities. A main plot point is Riley, the main character is going to AA as part of his probation and he has to take a ferry off of the island to go to the mainland to go to his a meeting every week. And it is this thing where he is literally leaving to go to a meeting. And the priest of the local church says look, I’ll open up an a meeting here on the island for you so you don’t have to go anywhere. And it’s in this framing. It’s like wow, that is so thoughtful. You’re really saving him trip you’re you’re giving him a whole day unity except he’s the only one there. And it’s not anonymous, it’s very much not anonymous, that A is completely ditched.
Lara Taylor 15:10
It’s just A,
Link Keller 15:11
it’s just A meeting.
Lara Taylor 15:15
that’s the title of the episode,
Link Keller 15:16
you know, through these through, you know, there are several scenes where Riley is talking to Father Paul, about, you know what, what they talk about in AA meetings and is set up where is this seesaw of being like, this is not what Riley needs to help him stay sober and find purpose and meaning in his life and readjust to his new status quo with his family and his neighbors. But also he doesn’t, he doesn’t have any other choice really. And and you can see that there. In some ways, these conversations are helping him he is having some introspection. And so it is this back and forth of like, yes, we can see the benefits. And yes, we can see the harm. And it’s like how, how do how do people deal with that? How do you deal with that cognitive dissonance of someone being like, yeah, if a storm turns out the power we have cots in the in the church, rec room, and everybody is welcome to come. But also, I will poison your dog if I don’t like your dog. And it’s like, Oh, damn, how do I reconcile that? It’s like, a lot of times, you can’t and people are just having to sort of deal with that discomfort. Because there aren’t other options. There’s not another church on the island you can go to if you stop going to church that has social repercussions,
Lara Taylor 16:40
like our poor sheriff and his son who are Muslim. And the son feels the pressure to fit in with everybody and just wants to be with his friends and go that’s because they go to church on Sunday. One of his friends, his friends are the altar boys like that’s what they do. So I want to go to the nightly mass and hang out with my friends. That and there’s a whole
Link Keller 17:04
as someone who’s gone who has gone to mass before, which also, this is probably revealing some ignorance on my part. I didn’t realize there were rules about taking a communion communion. Yeah, I’ve taken Communion before and I’m very much a Jew.
Lara Taylor 17:23
Uh huh. Uh huh. And you didn’t burn on the spot?
Link Keller 17:27
I did not I did not
Lara Taylor 17:28
no lightning came in?
Link Keller 17:29
No. And nobody was like underhanded mean to me about it either. It was very interesting. Have that moment watching that first episode and being like, that’s a thing?? oops
Lara Taylor 17:39
Yeah, that’s my friends Catholic wedding. And I was one of the first people that was supposed to go up for communion. And because I’ve taken Communion before, but not in the Catholic Church. Lutherans are a lot more liberal about who can take communion. So I had to cross my arms and be blessed and walk away. But I Yeah, it’s a it’s a I don’t know. It’s a weird thing. But not a weird thing. It’s one of those things, you don’t have the context. So you don’t know.
Josué Cardona 18:10
I’m either 90% wrong or 90%. Right about this. If you don’t complete your catechism, then when the priest blesses the the, the the the wafer and the wine it? I guess it’s not.
Link Keller 18:30
It doesn’t undergo the transformation?
Josué Cardona 18:33
Link Keller 18:33
so I was just getting snacks,
Josué Cardona 18:35
basically. Yeah. Yeah. I think, again, I’m either very wrong or very right about about this. It’s been a while some time,
Lara Taylor 18:43
we’ll believe it.
Josué Cardona 18:44
Link Keller 18:45
Yeah. I mean, that’s, that’s really the thing, right is like religious is filled with so much ritual that is meaningful within context. But if you take that context away, umm, what??
Josué Cardona 18:59
That the the community part is, is so important, because I used to. At times, I’ve been a purist about different things. And I was like, I can’t even go to church, like you don’t even know, like, what your church believes, like, you don’t know the difference between the Catholic and the Lutheran church and, like, Why do you call yourself a Catholic or why do you call yourself this? And I don’t I don’t do that that much anymore. Kind of, and, but, but the thing is, like, they’re not there for that, right? They’re not a lot of people. Aren’t there for the, the study of it. Right? Or for or for that piece? It’s it is the community, it is the activity piece. And you mentioned that on the island
Link Keller 19:41
that’s the purpose it serves, right? Like ideally, that would be it is supposed to be for community building to serve our community.
Josué Cardona 19:50
No, no, a lot of I mean a lot of churches that the intention is to like save your souls so that you don’t, you aren’t stranded on earth when something happens to people On the religion every religion has like different purposes. But you were saying that on the on the island, there isn’t another church, but it sounds like there’s also isn’t like another community center there isn’t like, oh,
Link Keller 20:12
Josué Cardona 20:13
no, no, not anything, right?
Lara Taylor 20:14
There’s they don’t even have a hospital they have a doctor who has a doctor’s office with limited equipment in her home.
Josué Cardona 20:21
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. But yeah, so you know, just re emphasizing that idea that it’s sometimes it’s all you have, right? And then so how do you? How do you deal with those, those different parts of it?
Lara Taylor 20:35
Their public school is even. Also, I think church property, like it’s, but it’s a public school. And Bev is one of the teachers and brings the Bible in. And even the other teacher, Miss Greene, who Erin, she disagrees. She’s, she’s very much part of the church and strong in her faith. She’s the one who was talking about what heaven was in the scene that I talked about earlier. And she was like, No, the Bible doesn’t have a place in our, in our school. It’s a public school. It was very, these are conversations I’ve had with people over over time, and it brought me back to them good debates. Knowing that I’m right. They’re wrong. At least as far as public school. I mean, I went when I went to high school we had sophomore year, we had a book that we had to study that was the Bible as in literature. So literally, we took Bible verses and read them as like, fiction stories. And just like any other book that we read,
Link Keller 21:52
just like any other book,
Lara Taylor 21:54
Mm hmm. Just like any other book.
Josué Cardona 21:57
This is super relevant to the episode, I don’t think but sometimes when I do the Geek Therapy workshops, I ask, I was trying to ask, what does everybody into right, like, what are your hobbies? What are your favorite things to do? It isn’t a surprise, it isn’t always comic books, video games, board games. It can be other things too. And sometimes there are groups that that like, they don’t seem to be like, understanding when we’re talking about. And so I’ll usually default depending on where I am. But I’ll you know, if there’s just people who grew up, you know, in a, in some kind of religion, I’ll bring up the fact that like, your religious texts, your Bible, right, like, there are stories there. You use those metaphors to learn things and to do all these sorts of things. Like some people, that’s, that’s what Batman is for them. Right? Like, they can use that to learn that’s what a movie is, like. And that’s what Midnight Mass is for, like, some people not the mass at midnight, but the show on Netflix. And and it helps explain that because again, also sure it’s a religious text, but like when you’re a kid, those are just stories. You know, and I think and I think they can be just just stories for for many people, especially if they’re not, you know, if they’re there for the for the community, the the food and the music and not for
Lara Taylor 23:19
not for the Scripture the
Josué Cardona 23:21
or the salvation
Lara Taylor 23:22
our father’s Hail Marys, all of it.
Josué Cardona 23:25
Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Lara Taylor 23:30
Yeah, it’s, I don’t know, the show was very interesting in that. It made me think about a lot of those things. And then also, there’s this like theme throughout of forgiveness. And people offering forgiveness people trying to work for forgiveness for things they’ve done. People giving up on forgiveness there. I mean, it’s, it’s a scary show. It’s like a creepy show that’s got like, I don’t know, I don’t know how to describe it. It’s just it’s got fantastical. It’s got fantastical elements to it. And so people are having medical miracles happen to them. We have like, girls who have been paralyzed, they’re they’re able to walk again. I really liked the scene. She was paralyzed because the town drunk shot her and she couldn’t walk she her her legs were paralyzed from from she was paralyzed waist down. And he would avoid her and avoid what had happened and just would kind of hide from it. So now that she could walk she goes to confront him and gets to spew her anger and You did this to me and there’s you didn’t there’s no remorse. There’s no you didn’t say and I’m trying to think of like, there was something about her. She, she forgives him. She says all these things that are like, I hate you. You did this to me it hurts. I could I couldn’t walk, you took my childhood from me and then, but I forgive you.
Link Keller 25:23
She’s like, you took a future from me that I didn’t even know I had yet that I didn’t have yet. And she talks about hearing her dad’s screams at her get like she says, like, I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t feel anything. And then I realized I didn’t feel anything. And all I could hear was my dad screaming like a wounded animal. And I want you to suffer that I want you to feel that way. And then she gets to this whole thing where she’s like, Look, I I forgive you. And according to our scripture, beliefs and our community’s beliefs, God forgives you. So the only thing standing in your way is you and really forces him to come to terms with the fact that he has been, yes, avoiding her, but also making his entire existence about the guilt he feels about what he did. And her basically being like, you should address that.
Lara Taylor 26:24
Go to therapy, bro. Yeah, maybe a therapist on the island?
Link Keller 26:29
Can we get Yeah, can we export Bev and import a therapist for this island? Because for reals.
Josué Cardona 26:38
And a lot of communities the peace, Priest, Pastor, preacher is the therapists.
Link Keller 26:46
bing bing bing bing bing! The show is addressing that is like,
Josué Cardona 26:53
yeah, he’s he’s a counselor, right? He takes on that role.
Link Keller 26:57
He’s the guy you go to when you have problems, whether they’re like, emotional, social, religious problem, if you need a place to do your AA meeting, he’s there for you. He can do he has so many hats. So many hats he can put on for you. Yeah. Is he good at any of those things? I could not tell you I could not.
Josué Cardona 27:23
I, when I was doing my master’s degree, there was someone in my class who was a pastor. And we had a heated debate argument one day over lunch. Because basically, like he was saying, homosexuality is a sin. And there’s like, what was it that he said? Look, it just is it’s like when I see you know, like, when I see a tree that I see the leaves are green, the leaves are green. That’s just the way it is. So it just is a sin. And I was like, at that point, I got up and left. I was like, Okay, there’s no reasoning with this person. But what concerned me was that, you know, like they were, they were getting the same degree that I was, and the university was going to let them get that degree. And they were going to go out into the world with that counseling degree, and that belief mentality. And it was something that kept coming up over and over again, I’m sure it happens in tons of schools, right, like you have someone who’s going to the practice, in a position like that, where their beliefs override, you know, any kind of like, ethical responsibility and doing harm. And, yeah,
Lara Taylor 28:47
I mean, I went, I went to a Catholic school for my graduate program. And we did have a pastor we there used to be a pastoral counseling degree, and then it got downgraded to a certificate because not too many people were going for it. And, honestly,
Josué Cardona 29:04
because it wasn’t making money,
Lara Taylor 29:05
because it wasn’t making money, but honestly, I think, because I live in the Bay Area. It was fairly, like, open and inclusive. I do have friends that who went to school with me who are Catholic, who, when we were in class, identifying what kinds of situations we might have a hard time with. One of them said that they could not work with someone who would, and they recognize that and weren’t going to try and influence somebody but said, I couldn’t work with somebody who was trying to get an abortion. And I was able to acknowledge like, that’s good that you know that you couldn’t do that and that you would refer out rather than try and pressure this person. But that was because it was their personal beliefs. They didn’t want to push their beliefs on someone else. I think that’s it. way better than Bev,
Josué Cardona 30:03
Link Keller 30:04
you can appreciate the self reflection required for that.
Josué Cardona 30:08
But also like the case on the show, right? Like, there’s only one person who could possibly fill that role. And what if that person that you fall into the list of things that they they can’t help you? Or they’re not willing to
Lara Taylor 30:24
exactly. you gotta go get on the ferry and go off the island and take all day? Right? Like, someone needed a second opinion on something medically needed to go take a whole day’s trip to go get that checked out by a doctor? Where for us it would maybe be half hour? And then an hour, maybe doctor’s appointment a half hour back, you know?
Josué Cardona 30:49
Yeah. Again, I mean, it’s like how that all everybody’s beliefs fall on top of all these other things, and how they affect everything.
Lara Taylor 31:02
Yeah. And in the show, we see like, how this community, like, for better or for worse, do depend on each other. And it’s like, toward the end, we see oh, this is a really bad group project.
Josué Cardona 31:20
What do you mean by that?
Lara Taylor 31:21
Um, well, I don’t know people.
Josué Cardona 31:27
Like a bad group project in like it’s a bad group, or like, like they’re unsuccessful?
Lara Taylor 31:31
a bad group project where a few bad apples, right, or a few people who don’t pull their weight, end up screwing everyone over. And then in the end, they kind of get screwed over too themselves, but I mean, the island ends up basically like fighting each other. When if they could agree on something. They might have had a better chance. But there’s someone in power who has fooled them right essentially, with, like, his own, from his point of view, well meaning perspective, he wasn’t trying to do harm, he was trying to help them trying to save them. And going against a lot of his own beliefs from previous from before. I’ve seen things a new way we have to do it this way. And it we will all be better for it. And then so many so many people die.
Josué Cardona 32:51
So definitely issues of belief. Death, dealing with guilt, all these things are touched upon. You said there was family stuff,
Lara Taylor 33:05
family stuff and like realizations in a family like Riley’s the main character right. And there’s he’s got a younger brother. His parents he goes off to jail for what this is all in the first episode. He was off to jail for a while
Josué Cardona 33:20
is jail on the island or do you have to?
Link Keller 33:23
they don’t have a jail on the island
Lara Taylor 33:24
they don’t have a jail on the island, the sheriff out of the general
Link Keller 33:29
they have like a drunk tank for their town drunk. They just take him home?
Lara Taylor 33:34
No, no, no, he had it. There was a he had a cell in the back of the Okay, that one cell like just like one of those old timey old timey westerns, right where there’s one cell in the saloon or whatever, in
Josué Cardona 33:47
the general store
Lara Taylor 33:47
in the general store
Link Keller 33:48
the back of the store.
Lara Taylor 33:51
Um, and so the this main family that we were introduced to it first, like, you can tell things are, everyone’s distant. Nobody’s happy. Riley’s. He moved off of the island to get away from everything. He has a DUI, he goes to jail. He comes back. In his DUI, who actually killed somebody. comes back, He lives on the island. feels lost. He has no purpose. He’s trying to reconnect. His mom really wants to be close. And he’s like, Mom, I’m not that person anymore. I’ve changed I’m not the kid that I was before. Dad wants nothing to do with him. Brother doesn’t seem to really want anything to do with him either. And it just seems the
Link Keller 34:44
I got the vibe that is his brother. Warren? I think it was warren
Lara Taylor 34:49
Link Keller 34:50
Was was happy that his brother had returned but because of his relationship with his father felt that he had to take his father’s side. Not that any of this was expressed out loud, but you know that you know, you know that family emotional shit where you’re like, Yeah, Dad, you’re kind of being unreasonable. But like, I don’t want to get grounded this weekend. So yeah, I’ll just stand behind you and not say anything.
Lara Taylor 35:19
But the dad sees Riley as like, the screw up in the family, right? And that he’s too he feels like he’s too good for them. And there’s a good moment later where they have a conversation and the dad’s like, I’m sorry that I wasn’t the dad you needed. And it’s after a lot of like stonewalling. And you should do this for your mom, and you need to be a better person. And there’s a good emotional moment there. And I think that for somebody who’s dealing with any kind of distance, or in, like, I guess smothering or, you know, wanting to be close, and just not knowing how this is the could resonate, you know?
Link Keller 36:07
Yeah, I really, I really liked that scene. It was nice to have the dad, you know, he’s so closed off in the beginning, and he’s exuding this anger, but does not express it. And it’s when he finally opens up and is like, I resented you, I, I resented my child. And you’re not supposed to do that. And I know you’re not supposed to do that. And, and how that that relationship that was Rocky, you know, when he’s a teenager, dads and teens don’t tend to get along super great anyways, but you know, they’re on the small island. Riley is starting to do normal teen distancing stuff you distance from your parents, you individuate right, he is distancing himself from religion, as he is distancing himself from his family. And then he leaves from their perspective an abandonment of the family of the community. And then he does something that is unforgivable. I’m doing air quotes unforgiveable. And the dads like, you know, when terrible things like this happen? The question always is like, okay, like, the parents have failed this child somehow. And your mother is a fucking saint. So it must be me. And he, you know, he leads from that moment to that I resented you. And, and really opens up of like, you know, obviously, you are responsible for your own actions. You’re an adult man and everything, but I apologize for what part I played in, in the events that have shaped our current relationship. And I don’t know, I don’t know if it was, you know, a happy moment, but it was an emotionally satisfying moment to have them finally, be open with each other. Well, mostly from the dad’s direction. Unfortunately, Riley saves his emotional openness for later in the series. Ah, but yeah, I did. I did really like that, that scene with with the dad.
Lara Taylor 38:28
And I like your point about it being maybe not a happy moment, but emotionally satisfying moments. So many moments in therapy. breakthroughs are not happy moments, right? But they’re important things that do lead to satisfaction and realization and healing, right. That might not have been a happy moment. But we do see moments later where the data is happier. And it seems like they get to an okay place. Before it appears that Riley has fucked up again. And then immediately dad is like, oh, yeah, I knew I knew he would do this again. He just runs off and
Link Keller 39:10
right and you can you can see him. It’s not it’s not just a disappointment that your kid fucked up. It’s that we had this moment we had this connection moment and then you turn around and do this. Like I thought we I thought we were getting somewhere and he’s so angry about it.
Josué Cardona 39:28
I thought we fixed everything. I thought we had thatone good moment
Link Keller 39:31
his poor brothers? Just like Dad, please? Oh, dad. I don’t want to say you’re overreacting because that’s gonna piss you off even more. But [whispers] you’re overreacting.
Josué Cardona 39:45
Yeah. I think about the resentment i That’s got to be you know, universal, right at some point. Right. So many parents. Feel that right, even if just for a second. And I, I don’t know, I’ve always felt that that’s not represented and like, at least in TV and movies, right? It’s one of the things that you never actually I think about this movie all the time I call the hours where like, that’s a big part of the of the movie. And it’s always stood out to me because it explicitly showed a mother who resented like, having to take care of her kids and just leaves. I was like, damn, I, you know how many women I’ve heard say that. Like, I wish I could just leave. I wish I could just like, I wish I could just drop everything and go or hop in a car and not come back. Right? Like that thought crosses your mind because you’re tired. But you can’t say that out loud. Right? in quotes again, you can’t say that. Right? Like, that’s something that is you keep that inside. And too. I think that seeing that at all, even
Link Keller 40:50
you keep it inside and you turn it into shame.
Josué Cardona 40:53
Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Link Keller 40:54
then you Direct it back at yourself.
Josué Cardona 40:56
Lara Taylor 40:58
Interesting, because I just finished playing. Life is Strange: True Colors. And there’s a moment that’s similar to this in that game, where in that game, you can read people’s thoughts. And there’s a moment where this mom is like, I shouldn’t feel this way. This is so wrong. I hate my son. I hate what he did. Because someone died because of it. I hate him. And I shouldn’t this is I’m a monster. And there’s it’s so good that that game is so good. And I want to talk about that another time.
Josué Cardona 41:34
Yeah, I think I think you’re showing that I think it helps normalize it a little bit. And if we can get people to talk about those moments. I’ve thought that I didn’t know other people thought that
Lara Taylor 41:45
a lot of people think that. I talk to a lot of people. People think that yeah,
Josué Cardona 41:51
yeah. Again, like, like, you know, in in the therapist chair, right? You hear a lot of things that other people don’t hear or don’t hear it as often. Right? Like, maybe because that’s the other thing if we don’t, if we don’t know that other people think about it. Let’s say you, you feel that way. You admit that to somebody that you’re close to you. If it’s not, if it’s not normal for them, they, they may come like and Just Judge you immediately right and be like whoa, and then make you feel worse. And then then you bottle it up even more because he can’t tell you no, you won’t tell anybody else. And doubled. That’s what happened. That’s what happened. Right? That cycle is, is there. So yeah, I wish. Yeah, we saw it. We saw this in more stories. Again. I don’t I don’t know which medium is doing this more. We now I now have one movie, one television show one video game of the list that I can think of. But it still feels very rare. And I’m glad to hear that. You know, there was a there’s a meaningful scene. You know, many folks, it was a meaningful piece of the of the show. Of a popular show.
Lara Taylor 43:03
Yeah. very timely, popular show.
Josué Cardona 43:07
Yeah. I love it. It’s a horror show. And you’ve kind of mentioned that people have died. But like, it just sounds like a family drama like small town. We haven’t talked about vampires or
Lara Taylor 43:21
Link Keller 43:22
for our listeners. If you have not seen Midnight Mass and would like to see it now is the time to stop this episode and go watch it. Because I would like to get more into the spoilery stuff. Also, content warning.
Lara Taylor 43:35
it also if you want to watch 40 episodes, first two episodes animal lots
Link Keller 43:40
of animals death and trauma content warning on that if you are sensitive to religious stuff, content warning on that one too.
Josué Cardona 43:50
Sounds like Yeah,
Link Keller 43:53
yeah. I mean, also a whole Midnight Mass. I feel like that contextually, you can figure out there’s gonna be religious stuff here.
Lara Taylor 44:00
But that was named after a book. Yeah.
Link Keller 44:03
In the Bible. Yeah. Ah, yes.
Lara Taylor 44:08
What spoilery stuff you want to get into,
Link Keller 44:10
I want to talk about how I believe that the main concepts of this series,
Josué Cardona 44:18
Link Keller 44:19
that in in people’s desires, needs to avoid death and death acceptance. People make choices that ripple out throughout their entire lives, and ripple out through their entire communities. And because we don’t talk about it, because we don’t have conversations where we sit down like Riley and Erin do and say, What do you think happens when you die? without judgment without saying That’s stupid? Riley, you’re so stupid. This is like no, it’s just you speak for yourself. I loved that framing is like oh, I don’t anybody who says they know what happens after you die as a liar. It’s like okay, well what what do you think about your death? And I love that framing.
Lara Taylor 45:05
And I also love the framing Riley asking her asking Erin, what do you think happens? She said, speaking for myself and she was talking for what happened for her baby.
Link Keller 45:19
Whew, we sort of danced around it earlier but Erin has a miscarriage an unexplainable miscarriage. The baby just just disappears and all proof within her body that she was pregnant disappears. It’s very much a uterus gaslighting the rest of the bod.
Josué Cardona 45:39
But that’s horrific though, the thought of that happening is ugh
Lara Taylor 45:43
she went to get her second opinion and they’re like, You’re lying. You weren’t pregger? You
Link Keller 45:48
You must. You must be crazy a crazy person.
Lara Taylor 45:50
She’s showing a little bit too.
Link Keller 45:52
She was she was passed to her. She was at the 20 week mark. Yeah, you for those who don’t know, that’s the viability stage. Yeah, it was it was buckwild. But yeah, she she Riley says what he believes happens after his death. He is atheist. He is very much focused on the physics of decomposition, and energy transference. And then he asks her what she thinks and she redirects that to I don’t know about me, but what I want to believe about for my baby, I never got to meet that I was just beginning to like, imagine my life with and getting to know she’s gone now. So it’s like her, you know, processing that and him sitting there and just being present and listening. Like, loved that scene
Lara Taylor 46:43
with like a with like a sad smile. Yeah, nice. Right? Not like, Oh, you’re wrong, you know?
Link Keller 46:50
Yeah, absolutely. Beautiful. Really. My reasoning for this belief of being focused on the idea of death acceptance is Bev’s says later on in the show, she’s like, you know, we believe in heaven. Like that’s our whole fucking thing is we believe that Christ is like, our, our bro and we get eternal happiness forever for eternity. Why are we so afraid of dying? Why do we fight and claw and hurt the people around us just to try and avoid dying when we believe that we get just rewards. And I’m like, oh, and then the reveal that Father Paul is actually Father John, who was an ancient old man. Definitely had dementia, left the island to you know, basically like, you know, go visit the promised land before you’re definitely dead. And he has an adventure. And basically, through magical means reverts to his like, hot, 35 year old self,
Lara Taylor 48:03
what what they call in the show your ideal, it’s like your
Link Keller 48:07
your peak self.
Lara Taylor 48:07
So he could be not physical peak of being but just like the peak of who you are. Yeah.
Link Keller 48:13
And so it’s, it’s him coming out of, you know, in end of life, losing, you know, connection to reality through his dementia and everything. And basically being like, I don’t, I don’t want to die. And this magical thing is offering me up an opportunity to not die. And so I will take that. Yes, that does have some logical issues with my belief system. So I will do the very cool human thing, which is to shift my belief system to fit what my current situation is.
Lara Taylor 48:58
merge it a little bit. Oh, this is God’s miracle. Yeah,
Link Keller 49:02
Lara Taylor 49:03
God’s changed what he wants for us this is a new covenant. Yeah,
Link Keller 49:08
Josué Cardona 49:08
I mean, that’s how many religions are made. Someone needs needs a little needs a change a rule or two doesn’t agree with all the other stuff over here.
Lara Taylor 49:17
No, that’s how we got the Church of England.
Josué Cardona 49:20
That’s how we got all the churches literally all of them all of them.
Link Keller 49:27
Yeah, basically. Father, Father John Father Paul, his his choice to avoid his death led to spoiler alert led to basically everybody on the island dying
Lara Taylor 49:44
except for two people
Link Keller 49:45
except for two people. I don’t know if they ever show it
Lara Taylor 49:50
two very traumatized people
Link Keller 49:51
show a sign that says like, you know, Crockett Island or whatever, but does it have like a population number? I don’t remember if it did, I can’t imagine that there’s more than like 150 people on this island
Josué Cardona 50:01
it’s two. two is the population
Lara Taylor 50:02
I think they mentioned on the show that I think
Link Keller 50:04
it’s two now,
Lara Taylor 50:05
well, no, they’re gonna get off that
Link Keller 50:08
population. I don’t know, probably some birds?
Lara Taylor 50:12
they mentioned something about like, I think they said it was around 150 people 130 100 Yeah,
Link Keller 50:19
something like that. But yeah, so basically, yeah, he
Lara Taylor 50:23
minus two minus two. That’s how many people that died. Yeah.
Josué Cardona 50:28
Yeah. Do they do they touch on? Right? But these discussions about, like being afraid of death? In the religion aspect? Do they talk about how, like, they have the rules for them? Right? If they follow these rules, they would they would go to heaven? Is it that they feel that they haven’t followed the rules? Like, do they feel that they are bad? Like, do they ever explicitly talk about the idea that they’re afraid to die? Because they’re not sure if they’ve been good enough to get into to heaven?
Link Keller 51:03
I don’t I don’t think that they’re ever
Lara Taylor 51:05
i think the priest might have had some because he’s, he comes to like this like, Well, no, what have I done moment. But Bev doesn’t. And when you mentioned Link, but the client, we’re clawing our way and all of that I had a moment I was like, I didn’t remember her saying that. Because with the last thing we see of Bev is literally her trying to claw her way into the Sand to bury herself. So she doesn’t have the sun hit her. Because these things that happen, the sun hits them and they die. It’s things that happen. These things that happen. They are the vampires, the angelic vampires.
Josué Cardona 51:42
I’ve never thought of it this way. But when people talk about imposter syndrome, right? I think I think it’s, like, in in religion. There’s a there’s a version of that. Right? Where where it’s like, oh, like, they’re telling me how I’m supposed to be and I’m not sure that I’m actually that like, I’m never meeting those expectations.
Link Keller 52:06
Yeah, there’s a there’s a whole scene we’re before the de-aging of Father John is revealed. So we’re just seeing Father Paul, who we do not realize is connected to anything yet. Well, you do but he he
Lara Taylor 52:22
you do. But you don’t. It’s not explicit.
Link Keller 52:24
Yeah. The the timeline part hasn’t quite made itself apparent. But he does. Solo confession, which I didn’t realize is that a thing? I don’t know.
Lara Taylor 52:35
But, but it must be if there’s nobody else is talking to another to take your Yeah.
Link Keller 52:41
But he does a confession and basically you get to hear him rationalize why his sin is okay. He’s like, Yes, I’m doing a sin. Lying is a sin. I shouldn’t do a lie. It’s bad. But I’m only doing it because in the long term, it’s going to be good for everybody in the long term. It’s God’s God’s plan for all of us like it’s very much you know, the ends justify the means. Rationalization having happening and it’s it’s very funny because
Josué Cardona 53:12
that’s why solo confession isn’t a thing.
Link Keller 53:14
You get to see him the person who is supposed to be the spiritual leader of the island and also like low key, also kind of just like the the leader, like they have a mayor but the mayor very much,
Lara Taylor 53:27
but the mayor is very he listens to Bev and whatever Bev says he because he because he and his wife and his daughter are very much like they’re the only ones that show up to mass during the week.
Link Keller 53:39
Yeah. Yeah, but yeah. And so it’s like getting getting to see the way that he justifies what he is doing. Like, like in that moment, it’s like you right, like, he knows, he knows that one, he is making an active choice, he is choosing this path. And to he recognizes that harm will absolutely come from it. He just is like, well, I’m pretty sure that God wants us to be harmed in this case.
Josué Cardona 54:10
This reminds me, tangential to but it reminds me of a conversation I had recently with Woody Harris, host of Rolling for change, and about the role of a therapist, basically. Right. And it was an interesting debate. But this reminds me of like, I think it’s so funny that the the the father is going and doing like a solo confession, right? And like he’s rationalizing and thinking about all these things. There’s nobody there to challenge him to kind of check in to see like, well, you know, actually it’s bounce this off. You know, let’s let’s talk about this a little more. Because if it’s just you, there’s nobody else to challenge you nobody else to to kind of help you think through it. Then yeah, that rationalizations like well, nobody said no. So makes sense to me.
Link Keller 55:02
Nobody told me that my my main, like my main argumentative point, which is that in the Bible, it frequently says that angels are scary. Therefore, a scary thing that I saw. That’s an Angels. It’s an angel raising basic logic. You guys, everybody’s on the same page as me right? no Answers? I’m right!
Josué Cardona 55:26
Yep. Thank you. Yep, you have 3 seconds two one. Okay.
Link Keller 55:29
Well, god didn’t smite me in the booth. So I must be a Okay. On this plan. Gonna say that I got approval stamped on that one.
Josué Cardona 55:38
Yeah, I mean, it’s one of the things about support systems that we we don’t talk about, I don’t think like, explicitly, right? The fact that like, just just sharing an idea that you can get some feedback off of that. Because I think we talked about just like, getting something off your chest and like, you know, and the other person being a good listener. But a huge part of that is I also like
Link Keller 56:02
but also, somebody be like, say that again, listen to yourself, say it
Josué Cardona 56:06
to good. Did you just say, you just said what I think You said?
Lara Taylor 56:11
It’s why therapists of therapists and therapists have consultation, and they talk to other people who will can be like, No, that’s a fucking horrible idea. Don’t ever say that to a client. You know, that kind of thing. But I can see it. Well, before telehealth was a thing. I could see it being a problem in a rural space, but I’m like, Can priests do tele confession? Like find someone off the island have a phone call? You know,
Josué Cardona 56:39
yeah, in the in the, in the context of the of the therapy and the conversation? I was having with woody. It was about like, yeah, like, I can read up about a condition. I can read up about how I’m feeling. And then but alone, yeah, I’m rationalizing it. I’m coming up with all these new rules. I’m rewriting reality. And, and I can, you know, I can start working with a therapist and they’re like, oh, okay, no, okay. Okay, help me understand this. And then you could stop, and then just kind of, you know, roleplay be like, oh, yeah, okay. Okay. You think that’s okay. Nobody said that. And then just going in, like, everything you said about, but the, the pastor, right? It’s the same. The same that we’re for father, John Paul
Lara Taylor 57:25
father, or Monsignor Pruitt.
Josué Cardona 57:29
Lara Taylor 57:30
last name is Pruitt’s.
Josué Cardona 57:32
Yeah, yeah, that’s my
Link Keller 57:33
monsignor is a step up from Father.
Lara Taylor 57:36
Mm hmm. But below Bishop, I believe.
Link Keller 57:39
I only know that because of American Horror Story: Asylum.
Lara Taylor 57:44
Link Keller 57:45
TV teaches you so much
Lara Taylor 57:48
you’re learning about religion around about Catholicism through horror movies and shows. It’s okay. Yeah,
Link Keller 57:56
I mean, that’s probably where 90% of my knowledge of Catholicism is from the horror genre.
Josué Cardona 58:04
It’s either 90% Right, or 90% wrong.
Link Keller 58:06
90% Right, 90% wrong.
Lara Taylor 58:08
Well, and on my friends thread, who was asking for opinions on how faith was portrayed in the like, the person they were talking about, that is a horrible person that you should not aspire to be was Bev. But for the most part, they said, things were pretty accurate. And I’m like, ooh, some of that’s a good thing. And some of that’s not a good thing. Right. Like, I appreciate that some of the people have this faith and are able to draw on it and find strength in it, and community and all of that. But then there’s people like Riley or Joe the the town drunk, who are ostracized, or even the sheriff who some people did want him there and appreciated him, but you could tell that a lot of people were he’s an outsider, he’s not from there. And he practices a different religion that I don’t understand. And it’s weird.
Link Keller 59:08
Yeah, yeah, I was a little apprehensive when they introduced Ali and Officer Hassan that’s Ali, his his his his son, dad, a dad and a kid moved to an island very very small group of people and getting to see their relationship and them practicing and everything that was that was really cool. I was I was definitely when they entered I’m like, oh God Is this gonna be really uncomfortable? And it was but in the way where the discomfort was very much pointed at like mostly Bev because she was
Lara Taylor 59:49
she should be discomfort yeah
Link Keller 59:51
that you should be discomfort discomforted by her racism. But yeah, yes.
Josué Cardona 59:59
But I mean, when it comes to representation, I think the same things apply, right? It’s like no one represent no one portrayal can represent an entire group or or experience. Right? And if even if you’re just talking about Catholicism, like, I’ve met very different types of Catholics, and, and whether whether someone’s a good Catholic or a bad Catholic or even the experiences and also it depends when you’re portraying it, right? Like, what, 50 years ago, maths was always in Latin. Right? They weren’t even like, they all were in the in the main Catholic Church, I think. Yeah, experiences are very different, different countries, they’re still different. There are cultural differences. And again, there are good ones, and there are bad ones. And we know that there’s all sorts of to the full spectrum. And so it’s about I think, any types of any type of representation I think, I think it’s, it’s always good to remember that that’s like, this doesn’t represent all of it. And there’s good and bad and keep that in mind. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. And closing any any closing thoughts?
Lara Taylor 1:01:12
This show makes you think,
Josué Cardona 1:01:13
apparently, yeah, we talked about all sorts of stuff is good. Lots of conversation starters. All sorts of stuff.
Link Keller 1:01:20
And if you need a monologue for your theater class, this show has so many you can choose from.
Josué Cardona 1:01:29
We got solo confessions, we got solo phone calls, we got solo everything. Okay,
Lara Taylor 1:01:36
we got a lot of monologue, like voiceover monologues and, yeah, about forgiveness and faith and everlasting life and all kinds of things. So,
Josué Cardona 1:01:51
my biggest takeaway is that, uh,
Lara Taylor 1:01:53
that you should watch it
Josué Cardona 1:01:55
that you don’t like Bev
Lara Taylor 1:01:57
oh, She’s She is. Devil Incarnate.
Link Keller 1:02:02
she’s very scary.
Lara Taylor 1:02:04
There’s a point where she’s like
Josué Cardona 1:02:06
a spoiler that she’s a devil incarnate?
Link Keller 1:02:08
no, they don’t actually usually include any devil stuff. I was super surprised. I really thought that they were gonna lean. You know, that’s a classic lean for Catholic adjacent poor and they really didn’t. They really did not. I was very impressed with that aspect.
Lara Taylor 1:02:25
But Bev is the kind of person who eventually gets decided she’s going to play God and decide who gets to live and who gets to die
Josué Cardona 1:02:36
Lara Taylor 1:02:37
wonderful human being. Because she is self righteous. I don’t like I don’t like last time we talked about I didn’t like I can’t I think I don’t. I don’t know. i There’s these horror movies and shows. There’s like, I really don’t I did not like Mimi. I did not like the kid. This one. I don’t like Bev.
Link Keller 1:03:01
Yeah, yeah. You’re really not supposed to like Bev, you’re supposed to a little bit like Mimi, or at least a little bit find her funny. Yeah, yeah. No, Bev Bev is terrifying. Um,
Lara Taylor 1:03:18
I really appreciated and this is an aside like i i liked watching on Hill House and bly manor. And this and being able to see different actors portrayed different parts. And I almost didn’t even recognize, I didn’t recognize Bev and I didn’t recog- I almost didn’t recognize Erin, who was Theo, in Hill House, and I just, I love seeing all of those shows have had things to talk about. And I love that they are their portrayals are amazing. One of my friends was like, they all deserve Emmys on this show.
Josué Cardona 1:04:02
Even because of the monologues or?
Lara Taylor 1:04:06
sure because of the monologues and because of the scenes like with the with the dad and Riley and Riley and Erin talking about death. I think those moments or even I can’t remember her name, but the girl who was shot in her forgiveness scene. That was amazing. So watch it.
Josué Cardona 1:04:30
That’s Midnight Mass on Netflix. Good discussion. For more conversations like this about different types of media, check out the GT network. we got tons of shows tons of content. And you can talk about it all at the GT forum. At forum that geek therapy.org There are links in the shownotes to all the different ways you can reach out, join our community spaces. Follow us on social media. For more Geek Therapy, visit geek therapy.org Thank you so much for listening. Remember to geek out and do good. we’ll be back soon.
Link Keller 1:05:16
Josué Cardona 1:05:19
Geek Therapy is a 501 C three nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world a better place through geek culture. To learn more about our mission and become a supporter, visit geek therapy.org
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Characters / Media
- Midnight Mass
- Haunting of Hill House
- Haunting of Bly Manor
- The Hours (2002)
- Life is Strange: True Colors
Themes / Topics
* Alcohol/substance abuse
* Cultural representation
* Difficult emotions
* Moral dilemma
* Sacrifice for others
* Taking responsibility for one’s actions
* Alcohol/substance abuse
* Health (Physical)
* Loss (other than death)
* New Life Event (New Rules)
* Religious Trauma
Questions? Comments? Discuss this episode on the GT Forum.
Links / Social Media
Check out the GT Network: network.geektherapy.com
GT Forum: forum.geektherapy.org
GT Discord: geektherapy.com/discord
GT Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/geektherapy
Find us at www.GeekTherapy.org | @GeekTherapy | Lara: @GeekTherapist | Link: @CHICKENDINOSAUR | Josué: @JosueACardona
Ask us anything through the Question Queue and we’ll answer on the show: geektherapy.org/qq
Join the Conversation!
What was your favorite monologue from Midnight Mass?