This article contains spoilers for The Midnight Club season 1.The Midnight Club season 1 ended with a dramatic reveal, as viewers learned the secret of Dr. Georgina Stanton. Mark Flanagan’s latest Netflix horror TV series, The Midnight Club is based on the 1994 novel by Christopher Pike. It is set at Brightcliffe Manor, a hospice for teenagers who have received a terminal diagnosis. Dr. Stanton seems a benevolent figure, determined to give the kids an element of agency as they face their imminent deaths, but she is concealing a dark secret.
The cliffhanger ending of The Midnight Club season 1 saw Dr. Stanton settle down in her private bedchamber, where she removed a wig she’d been wearing on her head. The camera panned around her head to reveal a tattoo on the back of her neck, the emblem of the Paragon cult that had operated in Brightcliffe Manor years ago. It was only a single shot, but it dramatically reinterpreted Dr. Stanton’s character and motivations. Even more disturbingly, this was accompanied by the revelation she kept framed newspaper clippings of the Freelans, the couple who built the estate in the first place – and whose specters had been manifesting to haunt Ilonka and Kevin.
It had always been clear Dr. Stanton knew a great deal about the Paragons, but this had seemed to be explained by her earlier dealings with Julia Jayne (aka Shasta). The overturned hourglass on the back of her neck revealed she had once been part of the Paragons, however, and it is even possible she still believes some of their lore. The tattoo is in the same place as one seen on Athena, daughter of the woman who had founded the Paragons.
Dr. Stanton’s True History In The Midnight Club
In The Midnight Club episode 4, Ilonka discovered a journal left behind by a teenager called Athena, daughter of Regina Ballard, founder of the Paragon cult. Ilonka explained the story to her friends, and viewers were treated to a flashback showing Athena herself – and confirming she had an unshaved head and an overturned hourglass tattoo on her neck. According to Athena, Regina Ballard established the Paragons at what would become Brightcliffe Manor in 1931. Regina Ballard initially intended to establish “a naturopathic alternative to the medical establishment,” but she became increasingly obsessed with Greek legends. This ultimately led to a sacrificial ritual in which Regina seems to have tried to grant herself immortality with the deaths of her sisters. Athena did not support her mother in this, however, and went to the police.
It seems Athena never left Brightcliffe Manor, however, instead establishing her hospice there under the identity of Dr. Georgina Stanton. She has been no friend to other Paragon cultists; Shasta lamented that she wasn’t welcome on the grounds, for example, and Dr. Stanton interrupted a ritual that would have led to Ilonka’s death. Still, there’s something deeply suspicious about the framed newspaper clippings of the Freelans she keeps in her room; the old man and old woman haunting Brightcliffe appear to be the Freelans themselves, and it’s possible Dr. Stanton is in an alliance with these beings.
The Freelans Add Another Dark Twist To Dr. Stanton’s Story
The Midnight Club strongly implies that the Freelans are in fact the Eaters of Years, legendary beings who consume the lost years of dying children. Until the final episode, viewers had simply assumed the Eaters of Years had found their way to Brightcliffe, drawn them by a rich feeding ground of teenagers with terminal diagnoses. Instead, though, the cliffhanger endingsuggests Dr. Stanton happened to establish her hospice on a site already associated with them – which seems far from coincidental. There is presumably some connection between the Freelans and Dr. Stanton, a concept that could potentially be explored in The Midnight Club season 2.
The symbol of the Paragons is an overturned hourglass, with the blackened out portion at the top – representing death pouring into life. It is entirely possible Dr. Stanton has formed an alliance with the Freelans, and they aren’t the only beneficiaries of the teenagers’ lost years; she could potentially be extending her own lifespan as well. It’s easy to miss, but one floor of Brightcliffe Manor is never shown; the basement itself, the morgue, were the bodies are kept. The teenagers are understandably reluctant to explore that particular level, but that could well mean there are even more secrets contained within it. Hopefully Netflix do indeed renew The Midnight Club, so the truth can be revealed.
The Midnight Club season 1 is streaming now on Netflix.