“Constantine” hasn’t had a lot of growing pains as it’s largely avoided the pitfalls that cause most comic book-based shows to struggle early on so while it never needed to turn the corner or find its voice, the series already appears to have worked out the kinks and reward its audience. Last week’s episode, “A Feast of Friends,” was the first you could really hook someone into watching the show and tonight’s outing was a perfect follow-up.
You have to commend the writers for not immediately springing their occult-based character in New Orleans so the timing of this week’s trip to The Big Easy seems just about right. A police officer is relieving himself in an alley, but he’s made a poor choice as a murderer is on the loose. Fortunately for him, the murderer — a creepy woman wearing a surgical mask armed with scissors — goes after a woman who walks past the officer. The stunned cop is helpless as his gun’s bullets go harmlessly into the masked woman who walks off.
For fans complaining about it, Constantine is smoking as he and Chas continue working to help Zed with her psychic connection with the scrying map. Zed’s tapped in to the New Orleans incident and the trio quickly head down and meet the cop – Jim Corrigan (Emmett J Scanlan).
Corrigan doesn’t like Constantine’s brash attitude — still an acquired taste for most Yanks — and scoffs at his master of the dark arts card. At their hotel, Constantine and Zed share a brief flirtatious moment that as usual doesn’t go anywhere. Not that I’m pushing for it as not forcing a romance between these two has been one of the writers’ smarter decisions thus far. Zed gets a vision of a car nearly hitting someone on a highway and Constantine calls Corrigan to warn him of a potential accident.
Meanwhile, a teen hitchhiker gets a ride from a man who wants physical payment for the trip to the city, instantly making it OK for us to root for something bad to happen to a complete stranger in this instance. And it promptly does as the hitchhiker, Philip, vanishes only to reappear in the road causing the driver to swerve and hit a tree.
Chas wanders down the alley in search of clues and encounters the masked woman, who slices him up quickly with her scissors and kills him. For the first time, we see Chas being resurrected and his body healing his wounds. I’m still thinking Chas is the show’s version of The Resurrection Man (Resurrection Man, Vol. 1).
Constantine and Zed do some digging with Corrigan’s help and learn the hitchhiker and the woman, Misaki a former model, both died and the road and alley have been the sites of numerous deaths/murders. Both, also have someone remorseful about their perceived role in their death and contacted a medium to speak with them. Only problem is that medium’s spell is bringing them back to life and turned them into killers. That leads Constantine to his old rival/ally Papa Midnite, who is helping another woman communicate with her dead husband via some witchcraft complete with blood and chickens.
Midnite is still ticked at Constantine for screwing him over in “The Devil’s Vinyl” and doesn’t buy Constantine’s theory that his spell is bringing the dead back to life. But just to be sure, Midnite gasses Constantine and visits one of his recent clients — the woman whose husband died, who is now sitting in their living room. Why the husband didn’t go on a killing spree like Philip and Misaki is the one plot hole.
The writers seem to fully appreciate what they have with Midnite — a wildcard who can be friend or foe that is at least just as clever, if not more so, than Constantine and Michael James Shaw gives Midnite a strong presence. The show is also utilizing Zed and Chas well and this week, they try and stop Philip and Misaki. Zed by traveling along the road and picking up Philip and Chas by confusing Misaki in the alley while Constantine and Midnite try a spell to release their spirits. While the first take proves unsuccessful, the spell does take hold after Constantine realizes the three guilt-carrying folks need to give their permission to the spell.
Corrigan returns to Zed and explains she looked familiar as she was listed in a missing persons report. It was a bit unclear if Corrigan discarded the file before encountering Constantine’s crew or if Zed was believed to be dead. As he offers his hand, Zed touches him and envisions Corrigan with numerous bullet holes before being enshrouded in a green light with a faint hood outline to foreshadow his transformation as the spirit of God’s wrath, The Spectre. Tied to his human host — in most cases, Corrigan — Spectre is arguably the most powerful character in the DC universe. Corrigan looks to have a lot of storyline potential for the show and I’m hopeful we see him in either incarnation again soon this season.
Midnite and Constantine have a brief bonding moment over their successful truce and Constantine uses the moment to have Midnite communicate with his sister, or more specifically her braided skull to learn more about the Rising Darkness. Midnite warns Constantine the darkness is coming and it will be led by someone close to him who will betray him. Is it Zed? Chas? Manny or someone we haven’t seen yet? Stay tuned.
“Constantine” is on the rise and if you’ve been on the fence about the show, it’s getting better each week and now is one if you don’t stay home late on Fridays to watch, you’ll want to make sure it’s on your DVR.