Constantine: Danse Vaudou (1×05)
Synopsis: The gang goes to Nawlins to solve a rash of slashings, find a hitchhiking ghost, team up with another DC hero and maybe learn a little bit about themselves along the way.
Readers, you may have seen the article we posted Friday about the possibly fate of our favorite Petty Dabbler of the Dark Arts. It looks like NBC has decided to end the first season with 13 episodes, and it is unclear whether or not it will make a second season. How can we all help? Talking about it. The more buzz and attention Constantine gets (and it deserves!) the higher our chances are to get that second season. So tweet, post, and tum…ble(?) about it and let your nerd brethren know: Constantine is a show worth a second season.
We open in New Orleans, the Saints Go Marching is being played on a horn somewhere in the city. A man wanders into an alley way to relieve himself. A woman begins walking past talking on her cell phone when the man shows his badge over his shoulder. The woman shows a look of disgust and continues walking. She bumps into another woman in a dress wearing a surgeon’s mask. “Do you think I’m pretty?” asks the woman in the mask. Cue violent shear based slashing!
Back at Base Dark Arts, Zed is staring over the blood map, looking for where the next case will be. She’s having a bit of psychic’s block it’d seem. Constantine fixes up a zoetrope and shows it off to Zed. She enters a trance state and has a vision of a young boy being taught to shoot a gun by an older woman, presumably his mother. Chas notices the map has spurted a new spot of blood. It appears Zed and the map now have a psychic link of sorts, just what the gang hoped for!
The Constantine Crew goes to investigate, using a doohickey with a gem that glows based on otherworldly presence. Think Mood Ring for the Soul. There, they run into the cop from the opener: Jim Corrigan. DC fans may have just heard an Oa sized bell go off in their head. That name it’s… familiar isn’t it? For those not in the know, you’ll hear more about it later.
Constantine and Zed book into a hotel and have a bit of character development. There is some serious tension between the two given their whirlwind of a time knowing each other since episode two. The two go to the elevator to part ways when what should strike? Another vision. Zed is on a road in the middle of what seems nowhere. She sees some damage on a tree before being “run over” by this ethereal automobile. She tells John what she saw and we cut to the actual events of that stretch of road.
A young male hitchhiker getting picked up by an older gentleman, asking simply, “Can you take me to the city?” If you don’t already have awkward vibes from years of awful hitchhiking stereotypes well, just wait about five seconds. The man offers to “warm up” the young man and of course, in case there was any confusion, grabs his thigh. Heebies are jeebied. The boy vanishes and then reappears in the middle of the road causing the man to lose control of the vehicle and crash into a nearby tree.
Constantine and Co. (I’m really running out of good team names, ‘good’ being relative of course) find the scene of the crime. Constantine gets picked up by Corrigan at the scene of the accident, Corrigan proclaiming that the only people who report and accident before it happens are murderers. Constantine goes willingly and has Chas and Zed go about the investigation.
Chas going after the surgeon mask wearing and shear wielding ghost while Zed investigates the history of this hitchhiker. Chas goes about the city with the earlier mentioned magical device and warns people out of alleyways to protect them from harm. The ghostly woman asks if Chas thinks she’s pretty to which he answers a dutiful affirmative before being slashed to ribbons. If you’ve been following the show, you have an idea about how this’ll go.
Back at Nawlins’ Central, Constantine and Corrigan have a little detective face time and Corrigan shares the details of the previous cases. The woman seems to match up with a suicide from five years prior, a former model named Misake. A competing model slashed up Misake’s face, leading to her suicide. The boy? Well he was a runaway by the name of Philip who, three years prior, was hitchhiking into the big city and wound up dead in a car accident.
Back in the random alleyways of New Orleans, EMTs show up on the scene and check out Chas who doesn’t have a pulse, but of course, the tender loving touch of a human jump starts his magical self into healing. The EMTs are reasonably weirded out when the man they just checked vitals on asks for a spare shirt.
The other two of our triumphant trio, John Constantine and Zed, split up and follow the leads on the two cases. John tracks down the villainous model and Zed the grandmother of the hitchhiker. They both seem like they are noticeably better off than you’d expect. The model went to prison, and now desperately seeks redemption but mentions with every good deed she asks Misake’s spirit for forgiveness. The grandmother says she just wished she hadn’t tried the tough love on Philip. Then the two blast both barrels. They’ve been able to find closure through the help of a man: Papa Midnite.
On the heels of the adversary the gang goes to intervene Papa Midnite, who is raising the dead unknowingly. Obviously, the two sides are a bit heated and maybe don’t use their words as best as they could. Papa Midnite shuts it down and blows zombie dust into John’s face. Now, I’ve read The Serpent and The Rainbow so I know what’s going down. Constantine just got a face full of zombie dust! Or not. Nope, looks like he’s fine now. Well that was anti-climatic!
Elsewhere Zed and Corrigan decide on a really sketchy plan to stop the hitchhiking ghost from causing any more accidents. Rather than guiding people away from picking anyone up, they decide they’ll just give him a lift first. Chas is still off chasing down Misake and we get some fun interaction when he realizes how to prevent her from slashing him up: ask HER questions. He’s amused and it is great.
Enter the second great buddy section of this episode. The previous was Corrigan and Constantine being real detective bros, but now it’s John and Midnite, Buddy Sorcerer’s Extraordinaire! Ok, extraordinarish. Alright, well… they try.
Constantine and Midnite combine magical talents, burning the corpses of those brought back to life through Midnite’s dangerous and uncontrolled Loa powers. At first, this looks to fail but, with the energy of those who wished to bring the spirits back, is ultimately successful.
Corrigan clears Zoe’s missing persons report and her record, freeing her from what she’s been running from. Zoe sees a vision, Corrigan is shot up, covered in blood but he has a green aura swirling about him, hinting at his ultimate fate. She shakes her head clear and tells him everything is fine. Elsewhere, Papa Midnite and John share a drink, Midnite explaining that their truce ends at the bottom of the glass.
All in all, another really rad episode. I’m so happy the show has taken this road trip approach and not stayed stuck in Georgia, (though no doubt they still shoot there, just pretending its somewhere else helps). The other thing that this show consistently does right that Gotham does horribly wrong, in my opinion, is the way it goes about world building. Gotham throws everything at the audience to see what sticks. Every character is name dropped in multiple different ways but here we get the additions slow and with purpose. I hope Corrigan continues to be a piece of the Constantine world moving forward, much like Papa Midnite pops in and out (so far).