Constantine: Rage of Caliban (1×06)
Synopsis: Constantine and Chas must find a child possessed by a parent-killing spirit before it can do it’s thang. Zed goes to art class.
Welcome back to another Constantine Recap. This week’s episode is “Rage of Caliban.” Before we get into the nitty gritty just some details that will help in understanding this week’s show. “Rage of Caliban” is set during Halloween (just in time to be late for Thanksgiving!) and is missing Zed. This is all explained when you understand it was shot second after the pilot, and meant to air in that order. For whatever reason the powers that be decided they needed to get Zed in as fast as possible after ditching the original female lead so “Rage” got put on the back burner for a bit. There’s a line early on that was added in to suggest Zed had to go to Art Class. With that in mind leeeeeet’s go!
Opening shot of Halloween decorations outside a house. We hear a commotion inside, breaking glass, you get the deal. Bad juju is afoot. Inside the camera moves over a woman buried under rubble from a partially demoed wall, blood everywhere with handprints on the ceiling. A man is held in place inches from the ceiling hovering, he begs, “Please, no more…” He drops. His body hitting the floor, a little girl is seen crouched next to a wall and looking not how you’d imagine a scared child would.
Emergency personnel show up and begin to take the girl into custody. A minor squabble takes place between two police officers and the girl’s eyes go black as a mug of coffee explodes on the counter. Surely that’s something worth looking into right? Good thing she’s about to get medical attention. I bet they’ll take care of that eye thing no sweat!
Constantine is up to his usual tricks again! We meet up with our favorite exorcist as he’s fleeing a lover’s bed, her boyfriend pounding at the front door. Back at the Magic Hermit Cabin, the fellas are hard at work trying to find the next bit of Darkness to defeat using the ol’ Map-Covered-In-Blood-Dots. It’s a science ya see? It leads them to Birmingham, Alabama.
Constantine breaks into the house of the murders. Licks a wall, reacts about how you’d expect a person would, when Manny the Angel shows up. As usual the two have words. A nice exchange. John, tired at the chaffing of the Angel, asks, “What makes me special?” And Manny replies,”Nothing.”
Elsewhere, new soon-to-be-possessed kid, Henry, is scared of something. His parents come in and do the usual talk down. Cue Ghostovision as we enter the PoV of the spirit getting into Henry’s room. Scary ghost-kid-being behind curtain! I was legit startled. Surprised me, being that surprised. More screams! The parents come to check on him again and he says,”Feelin’ much better, you’ll see.” WHAT! Come on ominous kid demon! Try not to be so obvious with your weirdness!
Constantine meets up with another one of his web of contacts. INFODUMP. These are the previous cases like this, these are the victims, here are the survivors, and off Constantine goes to meet with the first survivor of such a case, a man named Marcelo. Finding no luck there (Marcelo is full on catatonic), he moves on trying to track where the next victim will be. Using ley lines and some magical censor and smoke, the boys find their way to Henry’s house.
While this has been going on, Henry’s been up to some Damien-level weirdness. Sending birds to kill themselves on the glass doors of his house, removing all the light bulbs in the house, and tricking his dad into stepping on them (who then believes his weirdo son way too quick about not knowing what happened. He showed up with a flashlight! He knew what’s up!).
Constantine tries a number of methods of getting near the boy and figuring out if he is, in fact, possessed by a spirit. This week’s shenanigans adds hanging outside of a playground like a weirdo and pretending to be a school counselor to gain entrance to the home before shoving a mandrake root in the kids face to the growing list of ‘less than stellar’ options. Oh Constantine, you so subtle. The father responds… in an understandable, but maybe too strong, manner. A solid hook to Constantine’s face.
Ol’ Johnny Boy ends up in jail where he has a crisis. Manny shows up and offers a damn convincing argument for his help. Luckily, stuff got even weirder at the home so Henry’s mom bails Constantine out and they start working on a plan. Perhaps my favorite moment of the episode, at coffee Constantine pulls out crime scene photos of dead parents to show the mother. Homie has no social graces.
Claire, the mother, being a doctor, is able to steal some strong sleeping injection for Possessed Henry and it’s revealed that ghosts really dislike going to sleep. While the boy is out, Claire meets up with Chas and Constatine (man there are a lot of C-names in this show) and the trio go to hold a séance to trap the spirit in the home of the first killings. It’s convenient the home of the original victim is still looking blood covered and beat up. Guess they didn’t have Sunshine Cleaning back in the day. It doesn’t work out.
It’s Halloween Night! What better night for an exorcism? Henry bolts from the house and heads off into a haunted house, with Constantine and Chas in hot pursuit. Poor Chas gets himself pinned between cars, that guy never catches a break. Constantine avoids the jump scares of the haunted house and eventually finds himself face to face with ax-wielding Henry. It clicks. Marcelo is the spirit possessing the boy. John grabs a hold of Henry and forces the spirit to return to its rightful place. More smoke ghost magic!
The episode ends, as all good Constantine’s should, with our hero pulling at a bottle and lighting up another cigarette.
All in all, this episode was perfectly fine. Nothing great, but it has the basic structure for what I think most great Constantine stories should have. It would be nice if it seemed Constantine had less of a handle on his magical abilities, he is often saying how he doesn’t like to put on airs, but so far he has yet to truly get through by the skin of his teeth. This episode being out of original order also messes with the series’ momentum. Hopefully next week will recover. With only seven more episodes left in the season (and possibly series) we should be getting into a climactic stretch here soon.