Before we get to this week’s episode, NBC sent a jolt through fans of Constantine this week when they announced that they were cutting the show’s first season from 17 to 13 episodes. Does this signal the potential for cancellation? Do they not love the show as much as we do? NBC says that this isn’t a precursor to the axe – that it has more to do with the show’s premiere having been delayed to October, and not starting with the rest of the fall shows. Ratings have increased over the past few weeks, and the producers (at least outwardly) aren’t worried. This week’s ratings dipped a little bit, but here’s the tweet that producer Daniel Cerone sent out yesterday:
There’s already a Save Constantine movement, perhaps a bit premature, but producers and writers would like all the fans to make a point of letting NBC know how much we love this show – certainly can’t hurt! Tweet to @NBC and @NBCConstantine! You can use #SaveConstantine and/or #Hellblazers to show your support.
John’s occult occurrence of the week takes us to Birmingham, Alabama, where a spirit has inhabited children for more than 35 years, causing them to kill their parents before passing out and on. This episode was actually planned to be the series’ second installment, scheduled to air around Halloween, but producers decided to move the introduction of Zed up a little closer to the beginning of the series. Thus, the slight holiday and time displacement. But what is Constantine anyway, except a whole series of Halloween episodes?
Working in Jasper’s treasure trove of stuff, John and Chas look for the tools they’ll need to expel the spirit. John is understandably worried about dealing with a child again, after the disaster of the Newcastle incident with Astra.This concern is much more understandable, since we’ve learned a lot more about that evening in the past episodes, than it would have been had this actually been episode #2. And it was good to see more of the dynamic between John and Chas, even if he does seem to be John’s dogsbody. At one point, Chas picks up a sword. He starts talking about wife, Renee who left him. “What’s this do?” Chas asks. “Put this down, that can’t help us,” John replies. “That’s not what I asked. I asked you what it does. But you’re too self involved to hear me, like always. Like Renee. She’s gone, and I’m afraid I wasn’t enough to keep her from leaving. Can’t bring myself to tell you about it, though, not that you’d hear me anyways… ” John grabs the sword – “This is the Sword of Night. Empowers the holder to speak the truth. Anything you … want to talk about, or…?” Chas is an interesting character – Cerone and Goyer tell us that we’ll learn more about his backstory later on in the season, including his ability to come back to life – that will be a good story.
Mapping out the locations of murders they believe are connected to the spirit, John sees that they all follow the same path. “Ley lines are a psychic railroad,” he says. “Easy for a child’s spirit to follow.” They trace the incidents back to one man, still alive but catatonic, and missing fingers. The newest host for the spirit, a young boy named Henry, is already beginning to be revved up by the murderous spirit, causing things to fly toward his feuding parents, light bulbs to explode, and in front of John, who has come to try to remove the spirit, Henry causes severe injury to a classmate who taunts him on the playground. John ends up in jail after he tries to convince Henry’s unbelieving parents (well, father at least) that the child is possessed, and there, Manny the angel visits him.
“I made it through my life without any help from you,” John spits at him. “Are you sure about that? How do you know I wasn’t by your side when your father burned you with his cigarette? Or saved you from suicide when your sister left you alone with him? You didn’t have it easy, John. If you want to save a child, just remember what it was like to be one.”
Henry’s mother realizes that she’s dealing with something beyond her, and accepts that John can help. She sedates Henry so the spirit will be calm. He leads her into a seance at the home where the spirit possessed the first child, and John’s concern for dealing with a child keeps him from understanding at first what has to happen, so the seance is ineffective. But after chasing Henry into a haunted house (remember, this is a Halloween episode), he finally realizes that this is not a demonic spirit – it is the soul of the first killer, the catatonic man with the missing fingers, and he finally is able to get the soul to return to that body.
You learn all kinds of things by watching the live Twitter feed during the show:
Want to go back into that haunted house?
And what of my rotten inner child? If Humanity is what can save us, then overcoming the damage and weakness in my nature may be the part of this battle I dread most. I don’t have all the answers. I only know that there is a darkness rising, and unless I can stop it, the world will change… forever.