Warning: Spoiler Alert
John decides to start going to work on the map. First stop is a mining town south of Pittsburgh. A miner mysteriously died in his shower. Chas will not be joining John on the PA trip as that would violate a warrant out for Chas concerning a train derailment and a succubus.
In a strange town, a woman repeatedly sketches John Constantine from visions she experiences. The sketches are not exact and one could deduce that she has actually never met Constantine. As she continues, she draws actual events in real-time. Then John and this woman actually bump into each other. Literally. Physically. Her reaction is wonderment. His more like the way you react when someone asks for money after you were asked, “hey man, can I talk to you for a second?” John pulls the slip on her.
John places himself in a bar where a ‘lazy’ Irish style wake is taking place. John suggests to one of the patrons that the death may have been caused by actual dragons. Another patron interjects that the death(s) over the last year were peculiar. Then he mentions the knocking. There was a knocking just before it happened. John decides to investigate the mine itself.
First sign is when the loose rock covering the mine floor begins to follow John. He walks deeper into the mine and finds a spot. There he gently takes his rock hammer and taps the rock cluster three times (very quietly). A moment passes then the mine knocks back. Then begins to shake and John has to book it, to get out in time.
At the home of the widow, people come in bringing home cooked food items while John brown a microwave dinner. Just in an effort to slide in undetected. He immediately searches for the part of the house that reads “Family Only”. He finds the shower head that killed the miner and gets a sample of the black ooze from within it. The wife comes in and they engage in small talk. But she’s clearly hiding something. She doesn’t seem distraught in the least. She begins to come onto him (which also feels put on), then when he pulls back, she starts yelling for him to leave.
Outside, the owner of the mine and his goons take shots at John and John lets them. He gets a few shots in first, but John could waste these three if he wanted to. After the initial punching, John and the owner share a cryptic back and forth. Then John leans in
John: You heard it as well, didn’t you? The knocking.
The sketching woman, is waiting in John’s ‘honeymoon suite’. The conversation and search for answers doesn’t exactly go the way Zed (the woman) would like it to. She reaches out to a shirtless John Constantine and can feel what John has been through. John is intrigued. He tells her to ‘park it’ and he begins to send her on a spirit walk, but first he asks her to close her eyes and hold out her hand. Then the puts a small amount of the black ooze in her palm. She then sees what the dead man saw before he died. She comes to, and John tells her that he’s going to change his clothes they ‘they’ will get to the bottom of this. Then he gives her the slip, again.
John follows the clues from Zed’s vision to a small church. Where two young people are doing the deed inside the church. I’m not one to push theological convictions on anyone, but who doesn’t know better than to get naughty in a church? That’s just common sense stuff. He chases the kids off but notices a black man/demon like image painted black on the wall.
In his bag, John pulls out a large thermos full of water. He cuts his own finger and leaves a drop of blood in the water. He then recites an incantation and dumps the water on his head. As the water trickles down he can see the actual representation of the creature painted on the wall. The new lifelike image is smaller but very real.
John is passed out on Zed’s couch when she arrives home. She immediately takes to kicking him out. John turns around and flips the tables on her. Inquiring as to why a woman of her appearance and age is slumming it in a small mining town. He then starts in with the seduction of demons and taken souls. She does not waver.
Back at the mine, there is an explosion billowing out from the mine shaft. John grabs a random miner and asked about the knocking. Then he swiftly jumps in the passenger seat of a truck that has the owner’s son at the wheel. Then the truck locks itself and begins to fill with that same black ooze. It almost consumes them both, but Zed comes to the rescue by way of crow bar popping open the door. Zed goes to check on the driver. Dead.
John: They are the spirits of dead miners. They knock on walls to warn of danger.
Zed: They’re protecting the miners. They warn them of danger instead of causing it?
John: That’s right. Traditional Cob-lanai, they never rise to the surface. And they certainly don’t murder.
Zed: So what’s the explanation?
John: Could be the rising darkness. Something is forcing evil to the surface in waves. Changing the rules. I’m sensing a bit of the human touch.
Zed: Like someone’s calling these spirits up?
John: Nothing says revenge like death by demon.
We’ve been casually recapping, but NJATVS is nothing if not forthcoming. We want to share the journey, so I’d like to insert something here. I was very critical of the first episode. Focusing a great deal on the imagery. This particular story is only as good as how it’s presented. And while I think it’s not there yet, this episodes has made some significant strides. Imagery wise, there were a few scenes where John loses the red tie and goes to the black one. The show is still too bright, but when in doors we see more of the darkness around John. The second big thing is this particular story (while it still just feels like a monster of the week) is more intriguing than what we faced in the pilot. And third is what I’m about to see.
He is putting her in the chair in order to use her visions as a tool. Very similar to Keanu’s John taking the spirit walk into hell to see if Isabelle really killed herself. It’s not enough to accept that there are things that go bump in the night. We need to see what that looks like. Do not underestimate the value of the imagery. Otherwise, take away the British accent, give him a blue tie and wings, because this might as well be Supernatural without all of the things that make it Supernatural.
John induces a vision from Zed that allows her to describe what she sees as they try to locate the preacher. It works seamlessly. They follow the directions from the bartender. When they see the preacher, John starts in with an incantation. The preacher is un-phased. And almost as if to mock, begins lazily reciting the same incantation back at John. The preacher adds some clarity and informs our new duo that whatever is doing the killing is not killing the miners. It’s killing the bosses. Leaving one left. The owner.
The owner goes down with what I assume is his youngest son. He wants to investigate before the men come back to work. Bad idea. It doesn’t take long for the first of the spirits to come after the owner. John and Zed arrive to see the spirit choking the owner. John instructs Zed to paint (with spray paint cans). Then John begins speaking to the spirit. The owner is dead, but the son is not. John decides the mine needs to be closed for good. Zed calls on the preacher.
John: Sometimes the appeals of faith needs some time to be answered. Care to do the honors?
Preacher: For my son.
John to Zed: I need your car keys.
Zed: What for?
John: To do the hard part of course.
John goes back to the widow’s house. She claims to have guests. They guests that have been doing the killing. He tries to talk some sense into her, but she drunk with her own gypsy power. She orders them to kill him. While John is being taken down by 3 spirits of dead miners, he raises a valid point then a spirit. These spirits she’s controlling are the spirits of dead miners. She murdered a minor. Then he summons the spirit of this house to seek his revenge. The spirit of her dead husband comes to pull her underground.
Side note. Let me be clear. I accept the lore. I don’t pretend that I believe 100% of this (or any % of it really) is real. I accept the lore. And it takes a lot more than saying the words “I summon” to in fact summon a spirit of any kind. Look at the Constantine movie. Look at Supernatural. Look at any show, movie or book that deals with the lore of summoning spirits. You can’t do it by simply saying the words. Creative license or making it up as you go, this was a pretty big eye sore for me tonight.
John returns to his honeymoon suite where Zed is lying on his bed wearing what appears to be more delicate than a t-shirt and jeans. John tries to chase her away with things like “I work alone” or “people who put their trust in me end up dead”. Zed’s not giving up that easily. There are questions to be answered but the only one of any interest to her is, “Are we going to help each other out or not?” Then John passes out.
Interesting voice over to close out the show. John says, “some things pray for you and some prey on you, and no matter how careful you are, you just can’t tell the difference.” And in that final instance we see John passed out on the bed. And on the word ‘difference’ we see Zed slowly turn her head toward John.
If that were not intriguing enough, next episode marks the introduction of the element that in my opinion will make or break this series.