The Midnight Gospel Season 1, Episode 3 recap: Hunters Without a Home

The Midnight Gospel - Courtesy of Netflix
The Midnight Gospel - Courtesy of Netflix /

Episode 3 of Netflix’s The Midnight Gospel has Damien Echols and an ice cream-puking unicorn.

Episode 2 of The Midnight Gospel had themes of death, clowns, and lots of meat. Like that story, episode 3 is not very easy to summarize, as it blends freewheeling philosophical discussion with bizarre visual storytelling at breakneck speeds. As far as the character storyline goes, Clancy (Duncan Trussell) gets a new subscriber named Daniel Hoops (Doug Lussenhop), who is in the middle of an “ice cream drought.”

Clancy ends up mistakenly going to an “A** Cream” Planet (instead of Ice Cream), However, he does meet a fish-man named Darryl/The Captain (Damien Echols). Along with his cat crewmen, he assists Clancy in his quest for ice cream. Along the way, they discuss philosophy, meditation, magic, and even the notorious Aleister Crowley.

The Midnight Gospel: The philosophy beneath

Clancy and Darryl variously encounter things like weird fish with human heads, an organ-playing cat, and a sleeping giant named Barry (Trussell). Barry and Darryl fight, after Darryl transforms into another giant. Ultimately, Clancy does bring Daniel ice cream, but it’s vomited out by a unicorn.

Many parts of Darryl’s conversation with Clancy seem willfully esoteric. Right from the start, Darryl says “Magic is what I am,” assuring us that meditation is magical, that it trains the mind, and that magical stuff is in code. They discuss tantra, how one life differs from many philosophically, and Rinzai Zen.

Of course, Darryl/The Captain is actually Damien Echols, who was released from prison after many years in the so-called “West Memphis 3” case (where 3 youths were incarcerated over some very flimsy evidence).  Echols grew up in Arkansas, where he had little exposure to Eastern philosophy.

As the characters embark on their strange adventure, they also mention Hanuman, a monkey god, and how ceremonial magic is known to originate in Mesopotamia. They also discuss how the Knights Templar imported some ideas into the West, which helped establish the Golden Dawn of Aleister Crowley. Irish poet William Butler Yeats was also interested in the occult (though Yeats did write celebrated works, it’s debatable to what extent he was spiritually enlightened, as he was authoritarian.

Soundwaves and oral tradition

The Midnight Gospel does present more interesting ideas, though they might get lost in the panoply of visuals. They also discuss how “oral tradition” extends from soundwaves conveying information. To some that might sound like gibberish, but it’s a potentially profound spoonful of food for thought.

On that note, Damien (or “Darryl”) also suggests that the Bible is an oral tradition and a book of magic. Regarding spirituality in general, you can only convey “the current” if you have it. In terms of “spiritual sustenance,” it’s suggested that a “curriculum” approach is less profound than master to student, which is more individualized

Thankful for imprisonment?

Damien (or “Darryl”) actually says he’s thankful for his time in prison. He had to find ways to help himself cope with mental and physical anguish. The conversation gets a little more complex again, as they discuss astral projection, solar consciousness, and physical and “etheric” death. Let’s not forget that ice cream puking unicorn, either. What would enlightenment be without one of those?

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