‘The Midnight Club’: Natsuki’s Story Explained

Halloween is only a few weeks away, which means there’s plenty of new content to scare us on Netflix. Mike Flanagan’s The Midnight Club, based on the book by Christopher Pike, premiered on Oct. 7, and it gives us 10 episodes filled with individual spooky stories. However, each one has an underlying meaning. Here’s the hidden meaning in Natsuki’s story in The Midnight Club.

[WARNING: This article contains detailed spoilers regarding The Midnight Club and Natsuki’s story.]

The Midnight Club. Aya Furukawa as Natsuki in episode 102 of The Midnight Club. Cr. Eike Schroter/Netflix © 2022

Natsuki’s story in ‘The Midnight Club’ is based on another Christopher Pike novel

In The Midnight Club, each night, the members meet to tell creepy or unsettling stories. The original novel by Pike only features a couple of stories that lean into horror, so Flanagan chose other works by Pike to pepper in as the stories told by the Midnight Club in the series.

Natsuki’s story comes from Pike’s novel, Road to Nowhere. The tale revolves around a girl named Teresa, who decides she needs a break from everything one night. As she’s driving, she almost runs into a hitchhiker who calls himself Freedom Jack. Free, which is what he goes by, needs a ride along with his friend, Poppy Corn. Teresa agrees, and Free climbs into the passenger seat while Poppy takes the back. They tell Teresa they’re in a rock band, and soon after, they begin to ask Teresa all types of different questions. Poppy notices another person walking down the road, a mysterious hooded figure. Free and Poppy begin to argue about whether or not to pick the person up. This soon becomes a theme – Free and Poppy continually bicker about everything and always take the opposite stance on everything.

Teresa begins to smell something while driving the car, and once again, Free and Poppy start giving opposite opinions about what to do. Poppy insists Teresa pull the car over while Free encourages her to keep driving. The three of them continue to drive, and Free’s stories start getting eerier and more violent.

Symbolism for depression and suicide

Natsuki’s story continues, and eventually, we learn that Teresa never pulled out of her garage that night. That odd smell came from the exhaust fumes filling her car. The road she was traveling on was really just symbolism of her journey to the other side.

Suddenly, we turn to Poppy and Free, but they’ve become rotting corpses. When Teresa asks who they are, Poppy confesses that both of them represent her. While Free badgered her to keep driving, don’t worry, and commit suicide, Poppy continued to try to convince her to stay.

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Natsuki’s story in ‘The Midnight Club’ depicts her own experience with clinical depression

Teresa turns the car off and manages to open the garage door, symbolizing her decision to keep living. However, when Natsuki wraps up her story, she admits to Amesh that she once tried to kill herself. Before her cancer diagnosis, Natsuki believed she suffered from depression, but she tells Amesh her mom thought she acted out for attention. When she attempted suicide and ultimately chose to live, she noticed other symptoms. This is what led to her cancer diagnosis and sent her spiraling back into depression.

Flanagan masters the art of combining horror with emotionally charged material, and he continues to do so with The Midnight Club. Pike often wove deeper meanings into his novels, and Flanagan takes his work to an entirely new level.

Check out all episodes of The Midnight Club, exclusively streaming on Netflix.

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.