The Midnight Club episode 8 review, recap, and analysis: 'Road to Nowhere'

GamesRadar+ Verdict

'Road To Nowhere' tackles last episode's revelaation head-on – and ends with another that's equally shocking

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Warning: spoilers for The Midnight Club episode 8 in this review. Turn back if you don't want to be spoiled!

The previous episode ended with a game-changing revelation: one of the kids is in recovery, presumably as a result of the Five Sisters ritual. 'Road To Nowhere' tackles this head-on. Ilonka confronts Dr. Stanton and she quickly admits that it's true, though not yet 100% confirmed. She won't, however, reveal who the lucky one is and she begs Ilonka not to spread the news around Brightcliffe. 

Her justification here is quite sound. While it would be a stretch to say that any of the teenagers are happy, most of them do seem to have made a certain amount of peace with their plight. Raising the possibility that one of them might be miraculously getting better is simply going to stir up new anxieties, particularly in the wake of Anya's death. 

Still, Ilonka asks an obvious question: "Is it me?" "No," says Stanton plainly, though Ilonka thinks that she's lying. It's worth pointing out at this juncture just how good Heather Langenkamp is in this role. Here she plays Stanton with a ragged mix of anger, sorrow, and confusion. She knows how painful and confusing all of this is for the kids and she's feeling it herself. 

Ilonka agrees not to tell anyone but immediately breaks that promise by confiding in Kevin, who seems unconvinced. She then goes to see Shasta and tells her what's happened, accidentally giving away that she's started to think that she's the one who has been healed. Shasta, playing into this, shows her around the Good Humor compound - all creepy, silent hippies, enormous sinister cult vibes - and offers her a place, should she wish to join them. She wants something from her, though: the hourglass journal, which is currently in Stanton's possession.

Samantha Sloyan is doing a fine job in this most mysterious of roles, but it's starting to get a little annoying how Ilonka – smart, resourceful, determined Ilonka – isn't able to see that she's clearly mates with a villain. Shasta was obliquely threatening harm last episode and here makes it very clear that she harbors some jealousy towards Stanton over the magic that seems to be coursing through Brightcliffe. She describes this place as "a nexus point unlike anything else outside of Ancient Egypt," but says that Stanton won't share it. Given how haunted Brightcliffe is and the ill fate that befell the members of the Paragon, perhaps there's a valid reason for that. 

Elsewhere, Amesh and Natsuki's tentative romance is developing. She seems to be withdrawing into herself in the wake of Anya's death and Amesh assumes that she's trying to find a way to dump him. Rather sweetly he takes it on the chin and gently offers her an easy way out. In fact, that's not what she wants at all - rather, she's trying to find a way to let him in. Eventually, she does this by telling him the story that she had planned for that night's canceled Midnight Club meeting.

Her story has the flavor of a classic urban legend. A girl named Teresa – "tough, complicated, and not easy to know" – jumps in her car and decides to leave her old life behind. She's roaring down a lost highway in the dead of night but makes the mistake of picking up two hitchhikers, a man, and a woman, who start to increasingly creep her out. There's a mysterious figure at the side of the road, a possible gas station killing, and an increasingly bad smell. What could it all mean?

The answer is actually pretty predictable – Teresa has, in fact, locked herself in her garage with the intent of committing suicide. The bad smell is the carbon monoxide from her car and this whole misadventure is a hallucination caused by her dying brain. The two hitchers represent different aspects of her personality. The man is urging her to give up and die, the woman to hang on just a while longer. She chooses the latter, reaching out and slamming the button that opens the garage door and saves her life.

The purgatorial road to nowhere is an old trope and Natsuki fills it with stock creepy characters. It does, however, come with an important reveal: this isn't entirely fiction, Natsuki is telling her own story. She tried to commit suicide in her car (which retroactively explains the key that she "sacrificed" in episode 7) but had a last-minute change of heart. Her mother found her and took her to the hospital, where the doctors saved her life but also discovered the cancer that would eventually put her in the hospice. 

It's a bitter irony that, just as she realized that she wanted to live, Natsuki was condemned to an early death. Still, she's here among friends now and, in Amesh, seems to have found someone who genuinely loves her. It's a moving and satisfying conclusion to a slightly rambling story.

The episode ends with Ilonka in bed. She hears a noise and gets up to investigate, eventually following the sounds to the secret chamber. There she sees the ghostly woman once more, standing with her back to her. Angry, Ilonka chooses to confront her fears and demands to know what the specter wants – only for it to turn around revealing a confused and frightened Kevin. Whaaaaat?!

Brightcliffe notes...

The Midnight Club

(Image credit: Netflix)

There's a tender moment between Cheri (who still feels like a bit of an enigma) and Spence. He asks her directly if she is gay and she reacts with, "So what?" This is a bit of a shock to Spence, but Cheri says, "It wasn’t hard to tell my parents, because my parents don’t care enough". The two bond, along with Mark, and it gives Spence the courage to go and confront his mother who sits in shamed silence as he calmly and patiently tells her his truth, before saying that, despite everything, he still loves her.

On the jukebox

  • Pixies – 'Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)'
  • L7 – 'Pretend We’re Dead' 
  • Soundgarden – 'Fell On Black Days'

The Midnight Club is available on Netflix – keep with us for episodic reviews of Mike Flanagan's new show. For more viewing options, check out our list of the best Netflix shows available to watch right now. 

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