What Have We Learned From the First 5 Episodes of Constantine?

John, Zed, Gary, Papa Midnite - Constantine

NBC premiered Constantine after the normal window for fall premieres, so we have only had 5 episodes so far. According to news articles I have read, NBC originally ordered 13 episodes and has decided to not order a back 9 for season 1. However, they have not canceled the show at this time, leaving the option for a second season on the table, most likely based on the ratings for the remainder of the first season.

I sincerely hope that Constantine does get a second season, since I have been enjoying the episodes so far and think it has improved each week. It is a well known fact that a show takes a while to establish its legs and get going, and I really wish that networks would give shows a fair chance before pulling the plug!

Some general facts about John Constantine are that he is snarky, self assured to the point of being cocky, and smart. He does want to do the right thing for humanity, but his pursuit of sorcery and danger frequently puts those around him in peril. He is definitely an anti-hero, which can be more dramatic than a traditional hero.

Episode 1 – Non Est Asylum
 

John - Constantine

This was the pilot episode, and introduced those of us who have not read the comics to the world of John Constantine. The translation of the title is “there is no asylum.” This episode did a good job of acquainting us with the people and beings in John’s world, including Manny – the angel, Chas – John’s immortal sidekick and taxi driver, and Liv – the daughter of a dead friend who could see the spirit world. Unfortunately, Liv was written out after the first episode when the creators decided to take the show in a different creative direction.

In the pilot episode, John is trying to protect Liv from the demon who is trying to kill her. During this time, John is forced to face down his future. You see, John’s soul has been condemned to hell after a previous and unseen event known as the “Newcastle Incident.” During the final confrontation, the demon appears to John as his future self, appropriately demonized, leading to this interesting exchange:

Fulcifer: How does it feel, Constantine, to lock eyes with your future?
John: It’s a bit unsettling to be honest, mate. It’s not my best look.

The Newcastle Incident has left John with a lot of guilt, as indicated by the following dialogue:

Ritchie: I wish it would have been you, John. No, really. I really wish Nergal just gone ahead and taken you instead.
John: That makes the two of us, mate.

Episode 2 – The Darkness Beneath
 

John and Zed - Constantine

In the second episode Zed was introduced. Zed has been having visions containing John.. When she actually sees him in the flesh, she is naturally curious about who he is and why she is seeing him. He pretty quickly realized that she was a clairsentient, or as John puts it in episode 3, “She’s a regular psychic smorgasbord, this one. Picks up impressions from tactile stimuli.”

This episode contains a lot of interplay between John and Zed, as they get to know to each other. John introduces her to his world, which results in some humorous but telling dialogue:

Zed: It’s you. You’re you.
John: That observation always ends in the same way and it’s never in my favor.

John: The truth is, I work best alone.
Zed: Me, too.
John: I always put myself first.
Zed: That’s the only way I’ve survived.
John: Everyone who puts their trust in me dies.
Zed: Okay, you got me.

Episode 3 – The Devil’s Vinyl
 

John and Zed - Constantine

The “Devil’s Vinyl” actually reminded me of the type of story you would see on The Twilight Zone. A musician makes a deal with the devil and lays down a track that assures him fame and fortune, until he is dragged off to hell… Years later, a woman finds the recording and death ensues for anyone who listens to it.

This episode continues to teach us about John and his ways. He is not above petty theft, and thus is skilled at breaking into houses. This leads to the following revealing dialogue:

Zed: What are you doing?
John: I’m breaking into the mansion.
Zed: Isn’t that illegal?
John: Almost everything I do is, luv.

Episode 4 – A Feast of Friends
 

John and Gary - Constantine

Episode 4 shows us some of the depths of the darkness John carries around. Not by any stretch of the imagination would you describe him as warm and fuzzy. In fact, quite the contrary. He is irritable, arrogant and downright dangerous to be around. When an old friend shows up asking for help, John does not welcome him. Instead he insults and derides him.

Zed, who acts as the show’s moral compass, tries to reason with him:

Zed: You know, I don’t see a lot of people lining up to lend you a hand. Maybe you should accept his help. People can change, you know.
John: Bullocks. We are who we are. Eventually.

Gary, John’s friend, has managed to release a very powerful demon while trying to help a man in Africa. In the end, however, John does what must be done to stop the demon by sacrificing his friend by trapping the demon inside him.

John: And you know what I always say, Gar? Everyone has the capacity to change.
Gary: I’ve never heard you say that before.
John: Exactly.

Episode 5 – Danse Vaudou
 

John and Papa Midnite - Constantine

So far, we have seen the character Papa Midnite in two episodes. Papa Midnite is a Voodoo Priest who has a capricious working relationship with Constantine. It is clear from their interactions that they really do not care for each other, but they do occasionally work together when they have a mutual goal. The dialogue below shows how Papa Midnite feels about John:

John: Yeah, well, I’m an exorcist, mate. I’ve spent half my life kicking demons out. Why would I want to invite one in?
Papa Midnite: You are a magpie of magic. A thief of tradition. You steal from other people’s cultures and beliefs to suit your own purposes.
John: Oh, yeah? Well, whatever works, eh?

In this episode, Papa is unwittingly raising people from the dead and those spirits are killing people. Once Papa is made aware of the situation, he works with John to eliminate the risen spirits.

 

Have you been watching Constantine? Are you enjoying it? Do you hope it gets a second season? Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!