Constantine Season One, Episode Two Review: A Case Of, “Meh”


<p class=. . . THE DARKNESS BENEATH . C+

After watching the first episode of NBC’s new series, Constantine, I was eager to hop back in the saddle and see what the second episode had to offer.

The bad news: this episode, entitled “The Darkness Beneath,” was a small step back compared to the series premier.

The good news: this episode flashed glimpses of the potential this show possesses, and still entertained me enough to make me want to drop a few bucks on episode three over at

The Plot:

Having agreed to assist the angel Manny in a quest to determine exactly what in the hell (get it?) is causing supernatural activities to flare up around the country, John Constantine heads to a coal mining town in Pennsylvania to investigate a series of deaths that are claiming the lives of several mine bosses.

While there, he runs into a mysterious woman named Zed, who has been experiencing visions of Constantine.  Despite being skeptical of her intentions, Constantine uses Zed’s powers to battle normally benevolent  ancient spirits that are being summoned by someone with less than benevolent intentions.

For there are those who pray for you . . . and there are those who prey on you.  And no matter how careful you are, sometimes you just can’t tell the difference.

What I Liked:

John Constantine.  Or should I say, Matt Ryan?   Or to be truly accurate, Matt Ryan as John Constantine?  Ryan has this part down, and watching him play the character created by none other than Alan Moore and Stephen R. Bissette themselves is an absolute blast.  If NBC cancels this show before it sees a second season, the peacock will be depriving us of one of TV’s most interesting characters, and most electrifying performances, to boot.

What Needed Improvement:

A few things.  First, we just got done meeting a female character (Live Aberdine) with psychic abilities in episode one.  Logically, it would have made sense to have her become the third member of Constantine’s crew . . . but instead, she chose a different path, leaving us with a second extraordinary female character to get to know here.  I don’t mind the show trying to be different by making us think we were meeting Constantine’s newest ally in Liv, only to have her take a pass . . . but if the writers were just going to wind up playing it safe by giving him a female side-kick (of sorts), why take two episodes to do so?  It really should have been Zed, not Liv, who found herself in danger in episode one, “Non Est Asylum.”

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Second, while the show is attempting to bring a nice, dark tone to broadcast television, having a plot that centered on ancient spirits who try and keep miners safe was nowhere near as dark as the story could have gotten.  When we first hear miners discuss hearing a knocking coming from deep within the mines, I assumed something terrible and demonic was about to burst from the depths of hell.  Instead, I got some murderous ghosts being controlled by a Gypsy.  Not terrible – but not as terrifying as the initial setup would have had me believe.

All in all, it wasn’t a terrible second episode, but it felt like the writers were playing it a bit safe, which isn’t the approach I feel will keep Constantine on the air for a second season.

Next: S1 E3: The Devil's Vinyl