[Review] - Constantine, Season 1 Episodes 8 And 9, "The Saint of Last Resorts Parts 1 And 2"

Courtesy of Warner Bros Television
Due to my negligence before the holiday period, looking back I discovered that I never got around to reviewing the Constantine midseason finale. Which turned out not to be that big an issue, since episodes 8 and 9 are an excellent pair to review together. Both focused on Constantine's past, and on his larger personal failings as a person, as well as his rare selflessness.

However, it might not be a great sign for the series that, as episode 9 began, with a month since part one was broadcast, I had largely forgotten the particulars of what had happened. I recalled John getting shot, but little else. It all came back as the episode progressed, mostly due to the fact that the episode saw fit to recap the previous goings on in several instances of of exposition. Still, the episodes managed to move the "Rising Darkness" story forward a touch, while focusing primarily on the characters.

Hit the jump for the brief review, which contains spoilers that need a stronger dose.

If Constantine has had one slightly disappointing aspect, it has been the protracted nature of the "Rising Darkness" plot. They mention those words a few times an episode, but haven't really done a lot to suggest that this Darkness is rising any faster than the tide. In fact, it mostly seems to be the waiting darkness, content to send one evil up to the surface at a time, so that Constantine can dispatch them in due course. Like in an action movie, where a dozen goons attack the hero one at a time rather than just come at him all at one. Episode eight seemed to give a answer as to what is causing this Rising Darkness, though it still remains somewhat confusing. The Brujeria are apparently the cause, and they are using the primordial evil invunche, whom angels are unable to see, to orchestrate it. The whys and various specifics still remain unknown, like who these Brujeria are, and what, other than looking incredibly creepy, what the invunche are capable of.

These episodes dug into the deep past of both John and Zed, or at least one of them focused on Zed in a frustratingly vague sort of way. Her father, a "magician" leads a doomsday cult (likely belonging to the Brujeria) who have been hunting her in order to bring her back into the fold. In episode 8, she spent most of it running through the labyrinth which John calls an HQ, dispatching them in various horrible ways, a plot line that was utterly left behind in episode 9. I'm all for caginess when it has time to unravel at a natural pace, but with only four episodes left in this first (and potentially only) season, the show would due well to just come straight out with some of this stuff. They don't have enough time to beat around the bush.

John meanwhile, got coloured in considerably, as his first love and the person who originally introduced him to magic appear, now a nun, attempting to make up for her sins in Newcastle. Anne Marie was a great character to have around, as she was essentially the road that John didn't take. Both were exposed to the same things, felt the same guilt, but responded to it in vastly different ways. These two episode made it clear however, that both are willing to go to exactly the same lengths to achieve their means. A nun telling John that he is too far gone is all well and good until she turns  a gun on him. A nun willing to shoot a man to save a child is getting a big too technical on the fine line between righteous and willfully obtuse.

The ninth episode, which saw John willingly allowing himself to be possessed by a a demon in order to survive a gun shot, was about the notion of survival. When Manny forsakes John entirely, John is left on his own. Allowing a demon to take yourself over to survive one fatality, only to then risk having your soul consumed by said demon, or die during the exorcism, is a pretty strong comment towards John's selflessness. Self sacrifice is usually a noble quality in fiction, and despite John's reticence to be the hero, he isn't as far gone as the angels have declared him to be. It also provided an excellent sequence when John is fully in the thrall of the demon, allowing the being to speak some truths previously unknown to the audience, about Zed especially. More revelations would have been nice, and I hope that they spend the final four episodes really digging into the cause of all this demon hoisting, rather than just spinning their wheels until the finale.

Chas was elaborated on in no way.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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