This review contains spoilers.
1.8 The Saint Of Last Resorts (Part 1)
Religion again takes centre stage during an action-packed mid-season finale in which Constantine’s dark past and not-much-improved present collide.
Constantine is visited by a vision of Anne-Marie, an old flame and member of the guilt-ridden Newcastle crew, who reluctantly asks for his help stopping a creature that killed a woman and kidnapped a baby. In response, Constantine heads to Mexico, bringing Chas along but leaving Spanish-speaking Zed behind because he doesn’t feel like taking her, or something. I can’t keep track of this show’s BS reasons for getting its characters in and out of the picture. The real reason she stays behind, of course, is that Constantine and Zed need to be separated so her own plotline can move forward.
As usual, the episode is chock-full of magical artifacts and obscure mythical creatures such as Lamashtu (sister of Eve and goddess of hell), Pazuzu (a demon who doesn’t like Lamashtu), la Brujería (a nasty group of witches from Chilean myth), and the Invunche (a demon made by the Brujería from babies). The latter two of these appeared in one of Constantine’s early stints in Saga Of The Swamp Thing. It’s a whole lot of mythical jargon to keep track of in the midst of fast-moving action, but one gets the gist of it by the end. The Brujería and their Invunche cronies are behind the Rising Darkness, which we learn is a plot to break the barrier between Earth and Hell.
None of this is terribly original, but it’s tense, it’s scary, and it looks good. The real strength of the episode, though, is in the introspective moments John and Anne-Marie share. Both are ridden with guilt, and tied up in one another’s guilt, too. They deal with it in different ways, and look on one another’s life choices in the wake of Newcastle with a mix of scorn and understanding. Like when Gary Lester returned into his life, Constantine is drawn into the past. But unlike Gary, Anne-Marie is a strong personality who doesn’t let John use her guilt. She calls him out on his own transgressions. This is the first character we’ve met who could do that without it ringing hollow, and it makes for some interesting soul-searching for our hero.
Meanwhile, Eddie the hot nude model is ready to spring a trap on Zed, but a vision tips her off. Zed winds up in a fight/chase with members of the Resurrection Crusade, who call her “Mary” and plan to take her back to her father, by force if necessary. She puts up a good fight, but is eventually drugged.
On a side note, Zed also discovers a door in their hideout that opens into a bottomless void. She handles this discovery quite well, and even uses it to knock off one of her pursuers.
The flashes to Zed’s adventures interspersed throughout the episode work well. They aren’t as rich or creepy as Constantine’s side of the story, but they serve as a nice way to build up tension while preparing us for what looks poised to become a major plotline.
The episode leaves us to stew for a month with a classic cliffhanger. Having been shot by Anne-Marie, who is looking to protect the babies, Constantine lies helpless as an Invunche approaches. Though it’s doubtful we need to fear for his life, Constantine can get into some pretty horrific situations, and the Invunche is properly scary. Plus I quite enjoy seeing the cocky magician cut down to size… so long as he then squirms his way out in the cleverest and most underhanded way possible.
We’ll have to wait until January 9 to see what he’s got up his sleeve this time. In the meantime, keep up the tweeting and such. Ratings were up 25% this week, and the folks involved with the show have made encouraging comments on the surge of social media activity.
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