Constantine Season 1 Review “The Darkness Beneath”

Constantine episode 2 The Darkness Beneath (9)

After a shaky, but promising premiere, it fell to “The Darkness Beneath” to give viewers a better idea of what we can expect from Constantine on a weekly basis. And while this is true of most second episodes, there was the additional burden of introducing Constantine’s new partner Zed, played by Angelica Celaya, making this feel a bit like a second pilot.

Right off the top, I was excited to see this episode was written by Rockne S. O’Bannon, creator of Farscape and a longtime veteran of genre television. He’s proven himself not only as a master of monster-of-the-week stories, but of being able to work a lot of great character development and dialogue into such episodes. O’Bannon did just that here, introducing Zed and establishing relationship with Constantine with great ease.

It’s clear that there’s a lot to this character that would’ve been a part of Liv if she hadn’t been written out of the show. In particular, her ability to have psychic visions fills the same role Liv did in the pilot. That said, her interactions with Constantine are much more adversarial, which adds a nice edge to the mentor/mentee relationship between them. It’s also nice that Zed has secrets of her own, which makes it so we’re just as wary of her as Constantine is.

The episode also gave a better idea of how Constantine handles himself in his investigations. Though he was kind to Liv because of his connection to her father, he mostly approaches situations with a cocky, smartass attitude. He’s a volatile force, one that’ll cause a scene at a wake rather than try to play it cool. Again, this is true to the comics, and fits the world Constantine lives in. Playing around with the dark arts is, at best, a zero-sum game, where you’re best case scenario is just avoiding eternal damnation. And, when it comes down to it, Constantine will damn someone else if he has to in a heartbeat.

Another plus for the episode is that, from the shadow figure to the bony hand drowning a man in his own car, the creepy imagery and visual effects were much stronger this week. It also allowed for some great sight gags, such as Constantine nonchalantly strolling down the street covered in mud. I appreciate that the show is willing to lean into gallows humor, giving it a darkly comic edge.

Really, the biggest fault of this week’s episode is that the main plot just wasn’t that engaging. It made for some creepy visuals, but the secondary characters of the week were just dull. However, I’d say this wasn’t a big deal, as the focus fell where it should, on introducing Zed. In that regard, the episode was a huge success.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!