Constantine: Danse Vaudou
November 22, 2014 6:41 PM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

John teams up with Papa Midnite in New Orleans to exorcise some ghosts.
posted by Small Dollar (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Featuring appearances by Sister Cedella's skull and Detective Jim Corrigan (aka the Spectre).
posted by obloquy at 11:39 PM on November 22, 2014

Another good episode, doing a solid job of world building and delving into the characters. The ambiance fits the Constantine mythos, a bit seedy and dark, from the setting in Nola, to the causal practice of voodoo and murder. Note how John establishes a connection between the psychic map and Zed, without asking her permission to do so. He just does it and she willingly, eagerly follows him without question. Just like Gary did, last episode. This is the character of John that really sticks with you, a charming bastard who manipulates people so easily, they and you the viewer don't even realize it for a while and by the time you do, it doesn't matter. You're enjoying the ride and want to stay, even if you suspect it's going to end badly.

Matt Ryan contains to absolutely nail it as John, while Angélica Celaya brings the acting chops as the intelligent and resource Zed and Charles Halford is a solid secondary character with the mysterious character of Chad.

Zed is just a fantastic character and foil for John. She shows real signs of delight in discovering her powers, with refreshing lack of fear. Plus she has fantastic intelligence mixed with common sense that enables her to get information in ways that John or Chas don't think of. There's a lovely sexual tension between and John, one that doesn't promise to go the usual route, let alone even being fulfilled.

The plot is deliciously more complex than the monster of the week formula, even as it's obviously rooted in the trope. The normally confusing breakneck pace of past episode works well here to pull us in, especially with the shabby and tired character of Jimmy Corrigan, a New Orleans detective who has a run in with the spiritual forces John is investigating. He's another character from DC comics, called The Spectre. I don't know anything about him, but Corrigan comes off as great character to keep around. He adds to the dark mood.

All this and Constantine was smoking! The series is getting better and better as it finds its way. I still worry about Friday time slot it inhabits, which often forces me to miss it and not catch until Saturday or Sunday. But damn if it isn't worth it.

It's worth noting that these this episode and the previous were noticeably better and both had Papa Midnight in them. I'm torn between wanting him in every episode and realizing that's it would be gimmicky to do so. Just keep the character around as the frienemy of our three magicteers, ok?

Still wondering what the rising darkness is though, glad to see the longstanding arc being carried forward a bit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:48 AM on November 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm glad we got more facial expressions out of Zed. And something for her to do other than float along and not react. I haven't been sold on her before, but this episode gave her a little more on her plate, and the actress brought a little more to the table.

I did think it was... honestly, like an episode of Fantasy Island (the old one) at the end when all the guilty parties were brought in at the end. In that they all had their fantasies fulfilled for cash, and the three of them being trotted out at once felt like a FI getting off the boat scene. Very cheesey staging there. I mean, did they all go out for coffee and a cry after? How weird was it for them to all meet? Did they compare how much they'd paid? Ask for a refund? Weren't squicked out that the remains of their loved ones were singed in a pile there?

Guess I'm not completely sold on the writing yet. Constantine still spits out exposition constant(ine)ly and we, as an audience need to be understanding what's going on internally with him. Why the hell is he going to forgive Papa Midnight for almost killing him... because ghosts? At least we got a little bit more from Zed this episode, I thought, but the writing on this show needs to improve.
posted by Catblack at 12:55 PM on November 23, 2014

I'm still enjoying this show despite its hokeyness. I liked Papa Midnight's criticism of Constantine's magical techniques, though I kind of wish they'd kept him as an antagonist for a bit longer before they broke out the whole "fight a common enemy with my own former enemy" bit. I did like that an episode I thought was going to be "monster of the week: stop the ghosts" wound up being tied in to the series-wide plot and backstory after all.

I was a bit iffy on the Spectre. The actor was a little bland, and the character's presence makes me nervous that the show as a whole is going to go in a Justice League Dark direction rather than a Helblazer direction. I'm also not really sold on the whole Chasverine thing, but maybe something good will come out of it.
posted by whir at 2:51 PM on November 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Between the Louisiana setting and the vaguely southern accent, I thought maybe they were trying to make Jim Corrigan over into some kind of a pseudo Rust Cohle. It's not a bad idea, even if it (I'm sorry) has about as much to do with the comics Jim Corrigan as the brightly-lit, cavernous alleyways of Atlanta have to do with the French Quarter of New Orleans. Which, holy fuck, if they shot this show in New Orleans, it could be the same exact show and be a million times better based on sheer atmosphere. Please film this show in New Orleans.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:44 PM on November 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I can't believe they are stopping production on Constantine. It seems like it is a better version than a lot of other shows with a supernatural element. Hopefully they will still renew it next year.
posted by cfoxhi at 11:41 AM on November 25, 2014

The actor was a little bland, and the character's presence makes me nervous that the show as a whole is going to go in a Justice League Dark direction rather than a Helblazer direction.

They also showed us Dr. Fate's helmet in the first episode, so I wouldn't be surprised if they go in that direction. It would be more consistent with the flavor of other comic book shows on TV these days.
posted by homunculus at 11:41 AM on November 26, 2014

NBC is stopping production on Constantine

Well shit, just as it was finally starting to hit a stride. I thought last week's episode was a lot better than previous ones and only really suffered from Gaz's cliched redemption at the end, and this episode was okay.
posted by homunculus at 11:43 AM on November 26, 2014

I am really sad that they are stopping production. I really enjoy this show, and it really does seem to be finally hitting its stride and settling into itself.
posted by biscotti at 6:05 AM on November 29, 2014

Well, it doesn't mean it's cancelled outright, so there's still hope for a second season ?
posted by Pendragon at 4:28 PM on November 29, 2014

Those are examples of what the Cancellation Bear calls Fan Excuse Bingo.
posted by phearlez at 11:59 AM on December 1, 2014

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