The Midnight Club is one of those shows where there’s so much going on that it’s hard to pick a favorite part. One minute you’re watching a story on a VHS player that has the impossible power to record the future. The next day, you are immersed for hours in a mystery about a welfare cult. But even during the darkest moments of this young adult thriller, there’s one budding star who shines brighter than the rest: Ruth Codd.
It’s impressive that Codd is the clear break of this series because The Midnight Club is her first big role as an actress. Before appearing on Netflix, Codd was best known for her now-deleted TikTok. An amputee herself, she used her platform to raise awareness in the amputee community (she is still on Instagram). Still, it’s hard to remember she’s a newcomer when circling around her peers, some of whom are well-known stars.
Anya’s character would be difficult for anyone to play. From Episode 1, Anya is a young woman defined by complexity. She’s biting and sarcastic, but even when she’s at her cruelest, she still manages to be funny. She has thorns. Even before Anya tells her story as a ballerina in Episode 2, it’s clear that Anya’s personality was built on layers of disappointment and self-loathing. She’s practical to the point of being callous, a personality trait that often puts her at odds with the ever-hopeful Ilonka (Iman Benson). And yet, in the tradition of young adult dramas, even though she is one of the meanest members of this group, she is also one of the most loyal. Typically, in ensemble thrillers, one person acts as the comedy relief while another becomes the emotional center. Like Anya, Codd had to do both.
Even though this role required Codd to play in a dozen contradictory ways at once, she makes it seem effortless. Codd’s performance is so strong that it almost single-handedly makes this group of teenagers feel united. Without Anya, disagreements between patients at Brightcliffe Home often feel awkward and slow. It seems possible that these feuds will end in permanent damage. But with her sharp tongue and knowing air, Anya de Codd elevates that whole dynamic, turning the little needle into something more like a fight you’d find in a family.
A good ensemble show needs each of its characters to function. But with his sincerity and blistering performance, Codd turns Anya into something more than just another necessary tool. Instead, Anya’s story becomes so pivotal that it’s the one that matters most. Hollywood, watch out for this newcomer. In the meantime, we wait patiently The fall of House Usher.