[Warning: This story contains spoilers for Friday’s midseason finale of Constantine, “The Saint of Last Resorts.”]
This fall TV season has been jam packed with quality shows that makes keeping up on each one a full time job. One of the most anticipated and well received shows has been Constantine, based on the DC comic book series “Hellblazer“. Producers Daniel Cerone and David S. Goyer developed the show for NBC with the intent to bring a faithful adaptation of one of comics most beloved antihero’s; John Constantine into our homes, and succeed they have. Handcuffed by the constraints of network TV, the show pushes the boundaries of acceptable television, while making sure that the core fans stay engaged and coming back each and every week. With this weeks midseason finale taking the show to its darkest place yet, the moment has come for John and his associates to meet their toughest test to date.
John Constantine (Matt Ryan) is a demonologist, exorcist and self proclaimed, master of the dark arts, who spends his time battling the inhabitants of Hell who decide to make their presence known here on Earth. John struggles with his past sins and looks to find redemption any way he can for his mistakes. One mistake he can never outlive, however, is the loss of a young child named Astra, who was drug to Hell right in front of John. The result of this incident drive Constantine away from his practices and deep into regret. After a series of events which concern John, he is reluctantly pulled back into the demonic world to protect the innocent by any means necessary. Aided by his oldest friend Chas (Charles Halford) and psychic Zed (Angélica Celaya), Constantine must stop the impending darkness that is set to befall upon the Earth.
This weeks midseason finale “The Saint of Last Resorts“, John comes face to face with his biggest test yet, an ex girlfriend named Anne Marie with ties to his Newcastle days. Ann Marie has become a nun in an attempt to make amends for her part in the loss of Astra, but her supernatural has crept back into her life when young mothers are killed and their children abducted. John and Chas travel Mexico to aid Ann Marie in the abduction case, but upon arrival, learn that a second baby has been abducted and the demon may actually be one of Eve’s sisters (yes, that Eve…from Adam and Eve lore), who chose power and eternal damnation in Hell rather than marrying Adam. John quickly realizes that one of the nuns is his suspected demon and confronts her. When Constantine’s theory is confirmed, he begins to establish a plan to vanquish the demon and save the missing babies.
Meanwhile, back at Constantine central, Zed is discovering that the house may have more to it than meets the eye. After some exploration time, the young psychic heads out to get more art supplies and runs into Eddie, the nude model she was drawing from last weeks episode. She quickly realizes that not all is what it appears with this young love interest and she decides to find out the truth. After it is revealed that the young man is actually working for Zed’s father to return her to him, Zed becomes surrounded by two others who were sent to collect her and she is abducted. John and Ann Marie lure Eve’s sister out and successfully interrogate her to find out the truth as to why she is on Earth. John finds out that she is working for an ancient order of warlocks, the invunche, and that the darkness is closer than he thinks. As we close, Ann Marie shoots John leaving him for dead, as one of the invunche approaches.
What an extremely entertaining start to the season! The first eight episodes were jam packed with interesting characters and cleverly written storylines that allowed for hardcore Hellblazer fans and novices alike to enjoy the show equally. Matt Ryan is superb in his portrayal of the titular character and the supporting cast of Charles Halford, Angélica Celaya and Harold Perrineau has been nothing short of spectacular in their portrayals of these characters. The choice for NBC to only order a 13 episode season has been seen as a death sentence for the shows chances for a second season, but I disagree. I think the less is more approach for a new show like this might be a good thing! The limited run actually allows for fans to have a chance to digest the show in small quantities and not be overwhelmed by a full order season where it may tire out its newer fans.
The goal for NBC is to find the proper time slot to maximize its viewing capabilities. A prime time slot is out of the question due to the subject matter and content, but Friday night at 10PM EST may not be the solution. I know, for me, being home to watch the show at its normal spot is difficult and more times than not I am viewing it through DVR the next morning. NBC relies on ratings to assess their shows, but Constantine has been handicapped from the beginning. It’s time for NBC to trust in its shows strengths and push through to allow a clever and interesting show like Constantine to find its success.
All I can say is this:
If you’re not watching, you should. It may be the most inventive show you’ll see this season. DC is building an extremely intriguing television empire with Arrow, Flash, and Gotham, with each founding its way to engage its audience with recognizable characters, but Constantine does not have this luxury, but it does deserve its chance. The darker content will keep younger viewers away, but there are plenty of adult fans that will no doubt love the almighty crap out of these characters. They deserve to be loved and you deserved to be entertained…Constantine could just be your match made in Hell.
Check out my interview with Charles Halford aka Chas as we delve into the first half of the season and what we can expect moving forward.