Episode: Danse Vaudou
Original Airdate: 11-21-14
Here we get to find out a few things about our characters that don’t go by the name John Constantine, and also get a life lesson in letting go of the guilt we may still harbor for the loved ones who have left us too soon. There’s also a much more subtle way of introducing a future DC character than the way that Gotham often does. Here we get an early glimpse into detective Jim Corrigan who will eventually become the spirit of vengeance known as the Spectre. Something that the show doesn’t tip off until the very end, unless you’re a Spectre fan already and simply recognize him by his name alone. He is also the mirror into the past of Zed, someone he recognizes as a previous missing persons case. Apparently she left home when she was young and quickly became a bit of a petty criminal, though he doesn’t actually mention what her real name is, only that he knows it. There’s also a nice bit of forced teamwork between Constantine and Poppa Midnight who tried to kill him just a couple episodes back and still remembers the fact that Constantine cost him a valuable artifact. It’s a great strained relationship where the two of them have a common goal, but by no means do they like each other or the fact that they have to work with each other in the first place. The actual ghost story felt a little bit on the heavy handed side as a story with morals and a deeper message rather than just a bit of a horror story. It also ends by sowing the seeds of distrust in both Constantine and the viewer when Poppa Midnight shares the revelation that the Rising Darkness is coming whether Constantine likes it or not. And besides that, someone close to him will betray him which obviously points the finger directly at Zed, but she is not the only possibility from the audience’s perspective. Overall, it was a nice bit of character and world building even though the ghost story was on the weak side of things. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.
Episode: A Feast of Friends
Original Airdate: 11-14-14
This is another episode that treads on some pretty dark elements though it still never feels like horror. The show revisits one of the important aspects of the Pilot episode that has only vaguely been brought up since: when the failed exorcism of a young girl named Astra caused her to be drug into hell. This time one of his friends from back then comes back around. He was, and still is a drug addict that has yet to hit rock bottom, but still wants a chance at redemption. A chance that Constantine isn’t quite ready to give him. It’s also through his friend’s actions that released a powerful hunger demon out into the wild. The concept of the hunger demon is somewhat interesting where it takes the form of a swarm of beetles which enters a person and causes them to gorge on any food that they can find until they die and it moves onto the next host. There’s an interesting aspect where the real world views it as being an exotic and deadly disease and tries to quarantine the areas where the demon attacks have taken place. But the greatest aspect of the episode really shows what steps Constantine is willing to take in order to do what is necessary to hold back the spawns of hell from causing disaster in the world. Ultimately, the demon can only be taken care of by essentially giving it a human sacrifice, trapping it in a human host where its only recourse is to devour the human and eventually devour itself. It ends up being the ultimate form of atonement by his friend, but it’s also a moment of darkness for Constantine as he essentially manipulates his friend into the situation, though it is his friend who ultimately makes the final decision to sacrifice himself. It’s a great bit of depth and darkness that we don’t often get to see in the types of television shows that I’m used to seeing while still keeping Constantine a likable character. Reaslly one of the better episodes so far, if only because of the ending. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.
Episode: The Devil’s Vinyl
Original Airdate: 11-7-14
This episode is very much a stand alone story that really plays up the horror elements of the show. There’s an acetate that was recorded back in the 30s or 40s by a blues artist who had sold his soul to the devil. And the devil came to collect during the session resulting in the voice of the deceiver being burned into the disc. And I should probably clarify as very few people are likely to even know what an acetate is aside from being a certain chemical. In this instance, it’s a specific type of album used to record music sessions that aren’t specifically made for mass production as it can actually be played immediately after recording on it. And as it has the recording of the devil himself on it, it also has the evil power within it that tends to make people desperately want to listen to it and play it so other people can listen to it. This episode is also notable for introducing Poppa Midnight who also made an appearance in Constantine. There he was mostly helpful, but slightly annoyed at Constantine’s antics, here he is only slightly agreeable, but mostly antagonistic. Especially when he thinks that Constantine is after the same thing he is, so much so that he basically strings him up and leaves him to die in a rather tortuous way. It also has a lot more of Zed becoming part of the team and I’m very quickly beginning to like her as a character almost more than Constantine himself. Even though there is quite a bit of blood in this episode, there still isn’t much of what I would call scares, it continues to have a feeling of a macabre murder mystery combined with the occult and some dark humor. I’m still on board though as they mesh quite well, though I’d be happy if they did have a much more scare oriented episode.
Episode: The Darkness Beneath
Original Airdate: 10-31-14
After getting interested in this show through the pilot which introduced us to a female lead that has gone away, this episode almost feels like a secondary pilot as it introduces the actual female lead through the rest of the season with Zed. Honestly, even though I only got the chance to see each character through one episode. An episode where they were both introductions where they each have a mystical power that can help Constantine with his investigations, and he can help them control and/or understand their powers. I have to say that I like Zed much better than Liv. Even though Liv gained some confidence by the end of her episode, Zed starts off the episode with much more confidence and charisma than Liv ever did. Even though Zed doesn’t fully understand her powers or have full control over them, she isn’t a complete novice when it comes to what Constantine is doing and already feels like she is helping him rather than slowing him down. As for the episode itself, it’s hard to tell if it was actually trying to go for a real scare or not, as the actual horror portion of the show did feel a little weak. But I also didn’t think that hindered the show too much because the overall tone feels like it’s more of an action show than a horror show. Or technically, it feels a bit more like a supernatural procedural where Constantine is solving the mystery of the supernatural element in a way that Gotham feels like it should be doing. While the solution to the mystery was a little bit unfulfilling, especially as Constantine’s deduction was all pulled from clues near the beginning of the episode though he didn’t play his cards until the very end. But he did have a great moment as he turned the woman’s own dark magic against her in an ending reminiscent of a Tales From the Crypt episode. I’m honestly a little tired of the talk of the coming darkness already, but I suppose it’s one of those necessary story elements to help explain the premise of the entire show. It’s still fun, and I am glad that they went with Zed over Liv.
Episode: Non Est Asylum
Original Airdate: 10-24-2014
The last comic book show of the fall season is upon us and it’s definitely not the Supernatural ripoff that some people think it might be, it’s also not a spin-off of the Keanu Reeves movie from a few years back though it shares the same name. Instead, it’s something inbetween the two. It’s based off the John Constantine Hellblazer comics from DC’s Vertigo line and from what I understand this plays it much closer to the source material than the Keanu movie ever did. But at the same time, since I am familiar with that movie, I do see a few similarities for the uninitiated. For the most part I thought it was pretty good, and it got kicked up a notch during the climax.
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