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A tale of two Constantines.
If you’ve listened to our podcast for this week’s episode (Blessed Are the Damned), you know that this one didn’t wow me the way some of the others have. I’ve been mulling it over, trying to determine what exactly it was that left this one, and the previous episode, feeling a bit like soup gone cold.
For me, this show really started turning into something I was dying to watch in Ep. 3-The Devil’s Vinyl. Sure, the introduction of Papa Midnite didn’t hurt. But more than that, TDV was the first episode that really seemed to lock into a universe I could invest in. The focus of the episode (a diabolically-powered record) was something I hadn’t seen before, and something that didn’t present easy solutions. With Papa Midnite, we saw the series start to veer closer to the comic. Some interesting questions were raised, and the show made it’s first major step towards being something more than a supernatural procedural.
Then came A Feast of Friends. That was the one that hooked me but good. Riffing on a story lifted significantly from the comic, we see much more of John’s past, we see just how far he’s willing to go to do what he thinks needs doing, and we find ourselves in a no-clear-victory scenario. John “saves the day”, but the victory is pyrrhic at best.
Next came Danse Vaudou. Don’t even get me started on how much I loved Danse Vaudou. Voodoo/hoodoo magic goes awry, Chas and Zed are BOTH in the episode, and a major player from the DC universe makes a spectral appearance. John is forced to work w/ Papa Midnite to solve the problem, we get a glimpse into their thorny relationship…there was nothing I didn’t love about that ep.
So why have the last two episodes left me a little “meh?” Here’s the best I can figure: we’re back to being a supernatural procedural. Not that that can’t be fun, but I’ve seen it. What made Constantine really start to shine (for me) was when it became less about John using a little magic to solve weird problems and more about John being part of a larger supernatural world, full of fascinating characters. When the stories feel like a small part of a greater whole, I’m more interested. When we really focus in on John (learning about his past, watching him work his cons, etc…), the show sings. I feel like I’ve seen the “good-preacher-gone-bad” thing 100 times. Same with possessed children. That’s not to say you can’t revisit a classic; I’d just argue that if you do, you HAVE TO make it your own. These last few episodes just didn’t feel like they lined up with where Constantine was going. Am I worried? Not in the slightest. Even the best shows ever have hiccups. And next week starts to dive deep into the mystery of Zed, which could really help flesh out their universe again.
So have I abandoned all hope by entering here? Surely not. I’m merely voicing my hopes and thoughts. John will rise again, just like the Darkness. And I’ll be watching when he does.
PS: Let us know what you thought of this episode, and answer our Question Of The Week at the Feedback Page!
PPS: We discuss the Psycho Pirate in this podcast. Here’s a picture, and a link for more info!