“Who knows who he talked to all night. Who knows what else he has done to deprive others of God’s graces, Judas was part of God’s plan too. Judas was part of it. the Acts of the Apostles.” — Bev Keane, Midnight Mass
Just when we thought that we could not hate a character more than You’s Joe Goldberg, Netflix waltzed its way into our lives with a brand new epitome of vile and monstrosity—the devout Catholic Beverly Keane from Mike Flanagan’s brand new limited series Midnight Mass.
After The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, Mike Flanagan amassed immense popularity due to his sensitive and delicate handling of the mysteries behind death, addiction and horror in general, having mastered the prowess of accentuating the spatial and psychological horror.
Midnight Mass is heavily packed with religious symbolism, imagery and allusions, have far too many monologues for one’s liking. It is difficult to sit patiently through the nearly seven-hour long series that could have been cut short by an episode or two. It is torturous to see the characters engage in deep retrospection, laden with intellectual jargon, as they ponder over life, death and the purpose of God. God’s will and faith play a major role in the series.
Experimenting with evil, morality, darkness and faith, however, the filmmaker exposes the dark side of submitting to God without questioning him by subverting the same trope. Somewhere, he gets lost and carried away. It seems almost impossible to see characters engage in long-drawn deep discussions while bloodthirsty commoners wreak havoc in the background.
The series boasts incredible performances, including Zach Gilford, Hamish Linklater, Kate Siegel, Henry Thomas, Rahul Kohli and Samantha Sloyan. However, there is one particular character portrayed by Sloyan by the name of Bev Keane, who is the most hated character on the show due to the sheer brutality she hides behind a facade of spirituality and kindness.
Let us first consider how Bev Keane is a woman of incredible power who can manipulate absolutely anybody into believing what she is trying to convey. An orthodox believer, she has great faith in the power of the Church and the Lord. She is one who would cite religious scriptures effortlessly to cover up for murder. She is a blind follower of Christ and even Father Paul’s confidante. She feeds his vampiric self and serves him with utmost devotion. Bev Keane is a cold-blooded woman who is the epitome of everything wrong with religious institutions and blind faith. With a character like Bev Keane, Flanagan tries to uphold the elitism and sheer ruthlessness some of these institutions hide.
Keane is a closeted Islamophobe. She constantly regards the Muslim Sheriff warily and tries to be too sweet to him to conceal her thoughts. During the parent-teacher meeting discussing the downside of teaching the Bible in public schools, she is very clever in her insults against Allah and Islam. She doesn’t even hold back from calling him a “terrorist” in the final episode, which shows the amount of hatred she has in her heart and how far she is willing to go to preserve the will of God. The darkness inside her heart is the one that resides within humanity and clouds all hope and faith. It is in direct contrast to the all-white garb she wears that is supposed to be an emblem of peace and transparency.
Let us never forget how she murdered an innocent dog, Pike, just because she thought he was a “menace” and very conveniently covered up the same. In the final episode, when Riley’s mother, Annie, tells her that she is not a “good person”, we are glad that someone finally managed to echo our thoughts and say the same to Bev. Bev is very afraid. She is crippled by the fear of the unknown yet guided by her Priest’s words. She is hateful and vile and a character whose sneering smile sends chills down our spine.
Her eerily calm demeanour, even while she is standing in a pool of blood facing a blood-drenched Father Paul, is something that should never go unnoticed. An instigator, a stone-hearted murderer and an intolerant religious woman, Bev Keane is surely a formidable character.
With Sloyan’s powerhouse performance as this unsettling yet magnetic character, Beverley Keane is, in our opinion, one of Netflix’s worst villains.