On the D/L – Constantine
Season 1 Episode 13 – “Waiting for the Man”
So there we have it, Constantine brings an end to the first -and possibly only- season. For the final episode we are given three stories in one that actually manage to hang together pretty well.
The main story involves a young girl who has gone missing and finds herself tranced into marrying a psychopath by 3 girl ghosts. It seems a fairly standard Constantine episode just from that but we also get the return of Jim Corrigan and some foreshadowing towards his future identity as Spectre.
Having the antagonist who is human with no powers or supernatural qualities was really effective and unsettling. He didn’t feel like too much of a threat but maybe that was the point. The shock value was in there being someone terrible enough in the world without some kind of supernatural intervention.
I liked that this cleverly tied into the Rising Darkness through stating that when it comes into contact with the worst of humanity you get something like what happened here. Matt Ryan handled this scene really well with a certain melancholy to his performance in that scene suggesting that the potential evil of humanity is something that has only recently occurred to him.
Jim Corrigan’s connection to the story was done really well. On the surface he was the catalyst that gets John and Zed involved in the case but the episode did a great job of setting up his future identity as Spectre. Naturally it’s one of Zed’s visions that sets this up. She sees that he will die and is naturally worried about him because that’s the sort of person Zed is. It doesn’t help that her vision is really vague but that’s because she’s not seeing his death as such, she is seeing what he will become.
Jim makes a significant step towards that identity when John asks him what will happen to the man that they have captured if he were to try running away. I loved the moment between them where they silently agreed that this man is a monster and Jim killed the man in cold blood. It could be argued that it’s what he deserves after what he’s done but it’s still a really harsh thing to do. It’s interesting to note that John Constantine sees what he does as being outside the normal world but isn’t willing to have the blood on his hands in this particular instance.
I’m not sure I bought the hints at romance between Zed and Jim. The two actors don’t have all that much chemistry between them and it felt a little forced to have them put together by the end. It might be a symptom of her abilities to have a deeper connection with those who are in her visions but their budding relationship didn’t work for me. I understand why they’re doing it thought, it’s to give an extra layer of emotional connection when he inevitably makes his transformation.
Connected to that there’s John’s apparent jealousy that absolutely makes no sense. There has been sexual tension between the characters throughout the show but it felt more playful than anything else. Seeing John jealous of them kissing made no real sense for his character since he’s never shown that level of interest in Zed before. This show apparently isn’t immune to the curse of the love triangle!
The third story was concerning Papa Midnite trying to cash in the bounty placed on John’s head by hell and actually try to kill him. I liked this plot though it did fade into the background at points. It’s good that there was a more substantial story going on with the main plot having a bit of a 1 dimensional villain.
Papa Midnite has been a recurring character throughout the season and served as a continual thorn in John’s side so their conflict in this episode already had weight to it. Papa Midnite always gives us some cool spells to look at and this episode was no exception. We also had the fact that he constantly underestimates John reinforced which ultimately led to his -temporary- downfall. In many ways John seems to be more skilled than he is or maybe he just thinks more laterally so can take Midnite by surprise.
Now onto the twist reveal. It turns out that all this time Manny was evil and apparently in charge of the oft mentioned Brujeria. Does this twist work? I’m really not sure, I’ll need to watch the season again -and I will before I do my season round up) to see if there are hints leading to this. I suspect this was always the intention of the writers to have Manny turn out to be the villain but I really can’t say if it all fits together based on current information. For the purposes of this review I’m going to assume that it does make sense and in general I did think it was an effective twist and I hope we get to see how it all turns out. Please don’t go Constantine, please don’t go! Side points, if this is to be the last episode of this show then it’s a shame that Chas didn’t appear for the final outing. Final side point, I liked that this episode showcased John smoking as well as have him directly mention it. It only took all season to have it be a casual part of the show but we got there.
A really entertaining episode of this show that might well prove to be the last one ever. I really hope not as I think this show is really good and want to see it continue.
The primary plot this week was a psychotic man who would marry and kill young girls for his own dark reasons. This story had a fairly 1 dimensional villain who didn’t appear to be all that threatening when all was said and done but maybe he wasn’t supposed to be. I like the message this story put across by showing John -and by extension the audience- that there is evil in the world beyond the demonic. Sometimes people can be monsters too. I liked the melancholy in Matt Ryan’s performance as this seemed to occur to him and how distressed this makes him feel.
Jim Corrigan returned in this episode and some work was done to set up his Spectre identity through Zed’s visions. His cold blooded killing of the man who was killing young girls was a brutal moment but it made sense for him to do so as arguably justice would never be found for such horrific crimes.
His romance with Zed isn’t something that made a lot of sense other than giving her something to mope about when he eventually dies and is reborn. Making even less sense was John’s jealousy at seeing them kiss. There has been no prior establishment of romantic feelings between these characters before so it doesn’t really make sense to start now.
Papa Midnite’s pursuit of John to claim the bounty on his head was really entertaining. The adversarial relationship between the two characters has always been fun to see throughout the run of this season. In lots of ways Midnite has seemed like the only legitimate threat to John so it was satisfying to see John outsmart him and bring him down for a brief time.
The twist reveal of Manny being the evil mastermind behind the Rising Darkness was a really interesting surprise. I genuinely don’t know if it actually works but I liked it anyway. I will have to watch the episodes again and see if there are hints of this throughout the season or whether it’s just coming out of nowhere but I am sure that the writers always had this planned. Of course it may never come to anything if the show never comes back but I like the idea.
I really hope this isn’t it for Constantine because I like this show and really want to see how things progress. Let’s save this show and bring it back.