Constantine Season 1 Episode 8: Blasts From The Pasts



NBC’s Constantine aired its mid-season finale Friday night.  Seems kind of strange, calling it such, since the entire first season is only going to contain thirteen episodes.  Still, ’tis NOT the season for demon hunting, chain-smoking, and tales of the occult, so it makes sense to pause the story of John Constantine here and resume it in 2015.  The question is, did episode 8, “The Saint of Last Resorts,” do enough to want to make viewers remember to mark their calendars for episode nine?

Well duh – just look at my grade.

Plot Summary:

Episode eight opens up in a convent near Mexico City, where a couple is celebrating the birth of their son.  When the husband leaves the nursery in search of a drink of water for his wife, the wife dozes off, only to wake up to find a hooded woman standing above her baby.  Seconds later, the mother’s throat has been ripped open, and the baby has been carried off into the night by the hooded figure.

I always figured that one of us would flee to Mexico, but I thought there’d be tequila involved. Or skinny-dipping.

Soon, our man John Constantine receives a visit from an old friend – Anne Marie Flynn, one of the Newcastle crew and former lover who is using astral projection to alert Constantine to the situation in Mexico City.  Constantine and Chas head down south, only to realize that Anne Marie has become a nun in order to atone for the sins of her past, and that the evil that is haunting the area is none other than a twisted sister of the mother of all humans, Eve herself, who has been released from hell by an ancient cult who is responsible for the rising darkness.

Meanwhile, Zed, who has been left in the states in order to recover from their encounter with a fallen angel in Kentucky, finds her own past demons have come back to haunt her, in the form of members of something called the Crusade, who want Zed back . . . except they call her Mary, and don’t seem all that friendly.

What I Liked

In my preview of this episode, I wondered whether thirteen episodes would be enough to inform viewers who or what was responsible for the rising darkness.  Well, this episode does just that by introducing the Brujeria, a cult that Constantine thought had been wiped out during Biblical times.  While we don’t get to meet any members of this mysterious and extremely powerful cult, we find out that the Brujeria plan to break down the barriers between hell and earth, literally creating hell on earth and driving humanity into hiding or worse, extinction.  While I thought it was a little too easy for Constantine to find out that it was the Brujeria behind these events, the scope of the conflict is massive, apocalyptic even.  I can only hope the remaining episodes of season can accurately convey the despair and desperation of Constantine’s situation.

It’s always nice to get glimpses into the past of John Constantine, especially when it shows us a   But why provide one back story, when you can provide two?  The questions surrounding Zed’s history – why did she change her name to Zed?  who or what is she running from? – have been hovering over her character ever since she was recognized by Detective Jim Corrigan back in episode five.  Now, we finally have some answers, and a whole new set of bad guys, as well.

Talk about a two-fer!

What I Don’t Like

It was far too easy for Constantine to discover that the Brujeria is behind the rising darkness – he literally discovers this very important secret by sitting down and having a conversation with a character’s mother.  No ancient texts.  No gloomy setting.  No powerful spells.  Just a simple conversation.  It didn’t hurt the episode too badly, since it happened around the two-third mark, but still – there are way more dramatic ways to have John Constantine uncover the secrets behind the rising darkness.

Also, it sucks, having to wait and see what fates await Zed and Constantine, since the episode ended in a double-cliffhanger . . . but that’s the nature of TV, ladies and gents!

All in all, this was another gripping plot that held my attention from start to finish.  Constantine continues to impress me with its dark tone, interesting characters, and its ability to tell some really neat stories in what is still its infant stage.  2015 cannot come soon enough!