Constantine Season 1 Episode 5 Review: That Voodoo That You Do!


. DANSE VADOU . A. <p class=.

Now you’ve done it, John Constantine.

You’ve gone and made a bloody addict out of me – I’m a huge fan of this show, even though it currently appears to be one of the show that NBC is considering dropping after this season.

What can save this show?  A strong finish, both in terms of its storylines and its ratings.  Did episode five, “Danse Vadou,” build off of the momentum that episodes three and four built?

Plot Summary:

A New Orleans detective named Jim Corrigan (hold that thought!) witnesses a vicious murder in an alley – but when he empties his gun into the assailant, he is stunned to see her act as if nothing happened, and then vanish completely once she turns the corner.   Later, when John Constantine begins snooping around, exhibiting a bit more knowledge about the crimes than the average person should have, Corrigan confronts him, only to have his eyes opened to the reality of the world around him.

As it turns out, there are not but three spirits roaming New Orleans, wreaking havoc with the unsuspecting living.  All signs point to rituals performed by voodoo priest Papa Midnite, who is raising the dead – unintentionally?

I’d like to get on your hotline to hell, find out about this rising darkness. The rule book’s been thrown out. I want to know what I’m dealing with.

What I Liked:

For starters, I like it when a series builds a world in which past events continue to hold meaning from one episode to the next, and in which characters other than the protagonist continue to appear.  Sure, this series is still using the monster-of-the-week approach, but it has quickly created a universe that feels real.  I think back to some of my favorite shows, such as The X-Files and yes, Supernatural.  Eventually, both of those shows started to incorporate meaningful story arcs that pulled individual episodes together, but not this quickly.

Constantine already has an integral story arc built into its season, tying all of these episodes together, especially the last three.  That sense of purpose, and the fact that the show is not simply pulling out characters such as Papa Midnite and (apparently) Jim Corrigan for one-and-you’re-done plotlines, makes the world of John Constantine that much more interesting and well-developed.  Whether or not these characters become allies in Constantine’s fight to stop the rising darkness, or his enemies, is one of the mysteries that I look forward to unraveling as the season moves ahead, especially the rivalry between Constantine and Papa Midnite, which is not as set in stone as it first appeared back in episode three, “The Devil’s Vinyl.”

It was also nice to begin to see the bigger picture surrounding the mysterious Zed, although I have to admit it was a bit of a cheat, having Detective Corrigan providing us with a piece of her backstory.  If Zed did run away from her family in New Orleans, it’s questionable whether she would be so willing to return home, for fear of being recognized.  Still, that chapter in her life happened years prior, so it’s not a glaring plot hole by any means.  I enjoy how Zed is gradually being put into play by Constantine, since he still questions her motives, a fact that he was reminded of at the conclusion of the episode, when he was warned that someone close to him would betray him.

And clearly it doesn’t hurt that the story was just plain interesting, with a neat little mystery behind it.  If you don’t already know, the show was created by David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, among others) and Daniel Cerone (Dexter), and a few episodes have already been directed by Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent), so it’s no surprise that the plotting and character development are strong this early in the series.

That’s three smashing episodes in a row for this series!  It has found its footing quickly, and it deserves to live another day, so make it a point to tune in or DVR it so NBC will pull theirheads out of their arse and renew it for Season Two!