Short Review: Constantine (S1/E2)

Not Bad, NBC. Not bad.

After a poorly-written exposition between John Constantine (Matt Ryan) and friend Chas (Charles Halford) and a not-so-cute meet-cute with his to-be companion Zed (I mean, they literally ran into each other. Come on, it’s 2014. You’re better than this), we finally ease into the good storyline this week. Granted, I’m sure they had a better way to start the episode had Liv (Lucy Griffins) stuck around. But her leaving was for the better, and I’ll forgive them for that start. But that’s where the forgiving ends.

Our storyline takes us to Heddwich, Pennsylvania, where coal miners hear a knocking sound in the depths of the mines, in which a miner usually ends up dying afterwards. All in different ways, but we first witness a man burned to death…through a shower head. Yeah.

No big deal. Just almost drowned in a CAR FLOODING WITH MUD WITH A DEMON DRAGGING HIM DOWN (Source: Screen Rant)

Which Constantine finds unrealistic, so he believes there’s a demon affecting these events. Turns out, they’re actually protective spirits, made of miners who died in the very same mine. And as it turns out, it’s not the miners who are dying; it’s the bosses. You see, the mine is technically tapped out and deemed unsafe for mining, but the CEO wanted to continue digging, further risking his employees’ lives. So what do protective spirits do when their own are about to be harmed? Kill the bosses arranging that harm.

So we’re introduced to a host of people: the wife of the recently deceased miner, the former priest, Ellis, who quit after his son died in the mines, the CEO, and, of course, Zed. Let’s talk about Zed.

I like Zed. She wasn’t introduced well (a pattern from the last episode), and I still felt like the show rushed the first 5 minutes. But immediately after Zed “bumped” into John, Zed developed into an interesting character. Besides thinking she’s a stalker with her drawings, John finds out Zed can have visions, which helped him find clues. She also drew what came to mind, which came in handy when the spirit had the CEO in a chokehold as John did a specific ritual. In actuality, without Zed, John would be quite lost on what was happening and where everything was. And he’d also be dead (by drowning in mud. Mud inside of a car. A car which was on solid land. How cool is that?). So while Zed doesn’t understand what’s going on (she’s not a master of the dark arts), John couldn’t perform his job without her. Which is funny when he states at the end of the episode he does this alone. To which I say hog-wash. John might take the ball, make some awesome moves, and get a touchdown. But Zed hands him the ball in the first place. I’m sorry. It’s Sunday. Football is right in front of me.

Angelica Celaya (Zed) performed well for her first go-round. Zed not only has visions, but also draws what comes to mind. Exhibit A above (Source: Global TV).

By episode’s end, while John and Zed blow up the coal mine so no one could become a victim of the spirits again, John figures out the human who called upon these spirits to kill: the wife. Throughout the episode, we found out the recently deceased miner was incredibly mean. So the wife, who reveals at the end she’s a gypsy, used her power to bring these miner spirits to do her will. And upon commanding them to kill him, John reminds the wife the spirits are mainly protective ones and calls the husband’s spirit to seek his revenge. And it did, dragging the wife down to hell.

Oh, and for the sake of the season-long story, gypsy power typically isn’t strong enough to do this. But because of someone pushing the demons up to the surface across the country, her powers were stronger than she realized it should be and was changing her.

This episode was a solid one, once the show settled down and didn’t rush through the details. I hope Constantine gets a fair shake, it’s well worth the watch. The episode was good, Angelica Celaya (Zed) had above average start, and Constantine was quite alright himself. Hopefully episode 3 is a slam dunk though. No more errors here on out.

But what did you guys think? Was the episode better or worse than the pilot? What do you think about Angelica Celaya’s performance? Is Zed alright by you or do you mourn for the one blissful day of Liv? Is Matt Ryan right for the role, or should someone have been given the title role? Talk to me.

Things I Noticed:

  • It’s bad to have sex in a church. It’s worse when even Constantine is like, “hey…come on…”
  • Angelica Celaya is the most beautiful women. Oh, and she’s rightfully cast for the role. Give her a episode to settle.
  • I gotta say, I have seen very little shows involving coal mines, so I have to give some kudos to the creative team making it interesting.
  • I hope this show ends up like Bones (FOX) where the characters don’t get together until the end. Or close to the end.
  • Car drowning by mud on solid ground? So wicked awesome.
  • The whole “lock out the world” thing with Zed having visions will get tiring over time. Hopefully she’ll just know to do it in later episodes.
  • There’s some similarities between Constantine and Doctor Who (BBC America): the main guy knows what’s he’s doing (Constantine/The Doctor) but needs a companion (Zed/Rose thru Clara) to give the main character something they don’t think they need (an invaluable asset to his adventures…or prevents them from doing stupid things).
  • Constantine doing all those ritual chants is still weird to me.

Previously: Pilot Review
Following: Episode 3 Review

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