Constantine - The Devil's Vinyl
Now that is what you call a police procederal.
Constantine is three episodes deep into it's first season and it still hasn't quite found it's footing. Entertainment Weekly had given a B- rating to the show after previewing these first three and I can see why.
And this after I declared the series saved once they brought Zed on!
Constantine may not have found it's footing but you have to hand it to them for their sense of the macabre. It's little things like reanimating a corpse for precious information that makes the show fun. The above picture shows John Constantine using the "Hand of Glory" to get information out of the dearly departed Bernie. The clues may have been cryptic but at least they were pointed in the right direction. (Man, there were some bad puns in there!)
So where did "Constantine" go wrong? Well, wrong might be a strong word. Maybe "safe" is more apt. "Constantine" followed the formula of the family in danger, the innocence of youth, the entitled Rocker and the damsel in distress. It was a nice little twist to see Joelle Carter's (Justified) Jasmine Fell be the one who bartered her soul to preserve her marriage. She unwittingly endangered her daughter though and she didn't put two and two together when her husband assured her that cancer fighting science had advanced over the last twenty years.
Constantine managed to get himself in and out of trouble rather easily too. The funny thing was, when I saw John strapped to the grating I thought to myself, "Why doesn't Manny just appear and free him?"
Staples button. That was easy!
I've never read the Hellblazer comic but I figured having an angel around would come in useful. He didn't free John himself but it wasn't long before Zed showed up courtesy of some Paduan nails.
That's the problem though. You lack a little dramatic urgency when the solutions are so easily at hand.
Not to worry. I'm sure "Constantine" will get itself pointed in the right direction. There is a treasure trove of material to work with and once we get all the characters sorted out I'm sure the right amount of dramatic weight will be found. The stakes just have to be raised a little.
Odds and Ends
So it was a big deal that "Papa Midnite" was introduced. Hellblazer fans must be pleased. There wasn't much dramatic urgency for we neophytes but I guess that will come. Any character that has been cursed since the time of Slavery and uses his dead sisters head has to be fun.
I've read that Midnite is an off and on ally of Constantine but judging by the end scene of this past episode I'm guessing they are in their enemy phase right now.
The beautiful Angelica Celaya got a few moments as Zed. Her dream state vision into the fate of Jasmine was pretty cool but her closing scene with the Cross was tantalizing.
I'm not sure of the significance of this totem but Constantine has his reservations about her so this must be a clue into her secret past. (Secret to we non Hellblazer readers that is.)
"Constantine" returns with "A Feast of Friends" for the next episode but it's the episode "Danse Vaudou" that I am looking forward to. Jim Corrigan will be intoduced and you know who that means!