Warning: Spoiler Alert
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A teen-aged girl walks into an abandoned fairgrounds…. Ok, just checking. A creepy old man sneaks up behind her to say, “You’re gonna die”. Before it gets too creepy, a group of what look like similarly aged girls scare away the creepy guy. With the way the group of girls is acting, they may have just swapped one creepy for a different creepy. All of these girls are married (at what looks like no older than 14) to “the Man”. Somehow after hearing this, the first girl is also interested in marrying “the Man. The man in question then chokes out a security officer after offering to jump the man’s truck.
John picks up the clues pretty quickly that our old friend Detective Jim Corrigan is passing along. A fellow detective was killed pursuing a missing persons case. Three girls, 6 months apart in age.
The Man has taken the nice officer and locked him in his own house. The Man walking around like he now owns the place. Even claiming that the officer made him miss his wedding. Or at least the prospective newest wedding. John, Zed and Corrigan go to the burial site of the late detective. While there, a corpse sits up. Gary Lester’s soul accessing that corpse to convey a message.
Soul of Gary Lester: I had to warn you.
Constantine: I’m all ears Gary.
Soul of Gary Lester: There’s a price on your head.
Papa Midnite is the one offering the prize for John Constantine’s head.
The young girl in question has awakened and moved to investigating the strange home she finds herself in as well as all of the strange marking on the walls. Vesta (the girl) is met by the other three wives. She’s slightly put off but apparently not enough so to get out of dodge.
John, Zed and Corrigan follow-up with the missing girl’s mother. John and Zed sit in the girl’s bedroom. Zed is drawing a complete blank. She is stressing about something though. Then she tells John that she saw Jim (Corrigan) dead in her vision. Corrigan walks in and Zed storms out.
Downstairs, Zed indulges a little small talk with the mother. Manny appears. Zed’s mood instantly changes. She says in disbelief that, John says you never come right when he calls you. To which Manny replies, he doesn’t ask as nicely as you do. Zed has the ability to subconsciously call for Manny based on her relative need to see him. Even if she doesn’t actively do so. She also, has the enviable gift to choose whether or not to act on her visions. I’m getting the feeling Jim Corrigan is about to get some bad news.
With Zed’s visions turning up squat, John elects for a different approach. He puts hair from the girl’s hair brush and her toothbrush in his mouth than electrocutes himself on purpose. The Tibetans call it, “Piercing the Vail”. DNA plus cardiac arrest takes him on a spirit walk through the girls memory.
This whole ‘Sister Wives of the Damned’ thing is almost too much to deal with. Vesta suddenly remembers that her mother doesn’t know where she is. The tragic thought of inviting her mother to a wedding to a man she’s never seen who has already been married three times before to three other girls of similar age, didn’t seem weird at all?
A man pleads with Papa to help him. He killed the mother of his child when only scaring her was the idea. He pleads with Papa to help him. So he does. Papa puts a very large knife through his chest. Now the man is awake. His mouth stitched shut and his eyes are completely white. The man lashes out in a carnal rage, but the raising of Papa’s hand reels him in. Papa took this man’s life in order to give him a different one.
Papa Midnite: You exist now for one purpose only. Reduce John Constantine’s life to dust.
After ‘piercing the vail’, John seeks out what he saw. In the fun house he is attacked by Papa’s new toy. A zombie like creature that he can control like an Avatar. The fight is not going John’s way when Corrigan shoots the creature a couple of times. In that moment John impresses upon Zed the importance of getting a vision this moment. John needs an address.
Zed’s vision shows the officer who was strangled. He is bleeding out slowly from multiple wounds. He is writing something in blood. Back in reality Zed asks for something to write with. The something he was writing was a street address backwards. 4 Delano St.
After collecting himself, Papa Midnite looks to another creature. A crow. He blows the ‘essence of John Constantine’ dust on the crow and lets it loose.
The good guys pull up to an old house. The crow is already there. This is the house from Zed’s vision. They follow a noise up the stairs. They find the officer essentially crucified. Constantine looks through the window of that room and sees the Crow.
Constantine: You two need to leave here right now. There’s trouble brewin’ here and I can’t risk it following us.
Zed: What kind of trouble?
Constantine: The bounty hunter kind, now go.
Papa arrives at the house with a shotgun in tow. He’s in the house ten seconds when John turns the corner. Papa doesn’t hesitate and he puts a slug in John’s chest. John quickly explains the situation he walked into. Plays up the ‘stain on your soul’ bit which Papa is not buying for a second. The bounty is worth it. John’s life to restore Papa’s sister’s life. A life for a life. John realizes there is only one power strong enough to that. It’s the same power behind the rising darkness.
John begins to present a counter offer when Papa shoots him in the head. You can hear the body fall to the floor. Papa’s face reveals a reaction that is not a ‘satisfied’ one. The body he shot and has been talking to what that of the dead officer. John used a reanimation spell combined with a glamour spell. Not impossible but brilliant for the moment.
Corrigan found a hit in the police database. A man killed his wife on their wedding day because she wasn’t “the virgin bride he deserved”. The girl is finally terrified when she discovers that the wedding service follows the scripture and imagery of the devil’s variety. He goes to give her a ‘wedding ring’ with a large rope around her neck, and she finally bolts.
John makes it to the house of the man from 6 years earlier. Upstairs there is a dark room with a bed, and apparently a significant stench. He throws back the covers on the bed to reveal our three previous brides. Decomposing. Upon further searching, John bumps into Corrigan and Zed. They venture outside and John walks up on the Man dragging the girl by the hair like a caveman. John commands he let the girl go and the Man flees. Right into the business end of Corrianne’s gun. Then Zed proceeds to be the tar out of the Man with a shovel.
(Corrigan handcuffs the Man)
Constantine: Tell me, what would happen to a man like this, with all the children he’s taken, murdered, what would happen if he tried to run away?
Corrigan: He’s no demon or ghost, he’s a man.
Constantine: A man? Is he Jim?
(Corrigan pauses and removes the cuffs, then draws his sidearm)
Corrigan (whispers) Run…
(Zed and the girl hear a gunshot)
John goes back upstairs to the bed of the decomposing sister wives and completes a spell that releases their souls from the bodies they were bound to. Police arrive at the house where Papa attempted to kill John just as Papa woke up. Zed is compelled to explain to Corrigan why she couldn’t look at him. She saw him dead. He decides to take advantage of the moment and ‘make every moment count’. Corrigan leans in to kiss Zed and she doesn’t stop him. With John watching from the doorway.
What happens next is what all Constantine fans have been waiting for. An indication. Something found within the context of an episode that shows a commitment. This version of the Constantine story started of weak. The second episode redeemed itself to keep interest. By the third episode, we were off to the races. By the fifth episode, most of us who have a context for what is expected vs what was being delivered believed wholeheartedly that Constantine deserved to be renewed. Yet once again, NBC has hidden behind the fear of inconsistent ratings of a great show stuck in a horrible time slot. Tonight we got an indirect ‘indication’.
With seven minutes left in the episode there are any number of ways they could have taken this. There was an opportunity to end the episode in a way that suggests that was it, story concluded. There’s a way to finish the episode with no commitment to any sort of future. And then there’s what they did. Manny walks up on John urinating under a bridge. John is having trouble accepting that the evil tonight came from a mortal man. Manny inquires about John’s commitment to the cause. John comes back with the gem, “I don’t play if I don’t think I can win”. John finds himself monologuing to Manny about what they can do and what they will do. This was a subtle call to arms. This was John Wooden in the huddle. This is Leonidas telling his men that they will dine in hell. It wasn’t arrogant. It didn’t reveal anything specific. However, if NBC was going to let the prospect of Constantine Season 2 just fade away and die, this was most certainly not the play you call. It may have only been an indication of what might be on the horizon, but it was an indication.
Then there is a scene change. Papa Midnite rolls up in the back seat of a police cruiser. Now this is the moment I’m yelling at my television. I’m blown away that John walking off into the distant rain is not the end of the episode and season 1. Then my wife says, “They need to leave it on a cliff hanger”. I reiterate that they’ve already done what I needed them to do. They didn’t bring closure on the big picture story arc. They didn’t kill John Constantine. And furthermore, John and Manny just told us that it’s not over. Short of NBC calling a press conference or tweeting, “Constantine Season 2 is official”, I’m good. Then once again, as men tend to do, we sit back and watch our wives proven right.
Bear with me as I do something I try not to do. Throughout any of my recaps on NJATVS, I will transcribe moments that I think show a certain quality of writing. Could be dialogue or it could be a detail important to the future plot. But generally I try to keep them short. For the reasons I’ve mentioned and because I think my brain jumped out of my head and is sitting on the carpet next me, I’m going to transcribe this final scene on the off-chance you the reader, didn’t have an opportunity to watch the episode. My transcript will not do it justice, but it is worth noting.
(Time has frozen to a stop)
Papa: What is this?
(The car door unlocks and opens freely)
Papa: Who is it? Who’s there? Reveal yourself.
(The sound of Manny’s arrival is heard)
Manny: You are in no position to be making demands.
Papa: Who are you?
Manny: Your savior. (He gestures with his hands and the cuffs fall off)
Papa: So that’s it? I’m free now? What’s the catch?
Manny: You’ll never be free. You gave up any of that when you went to work for the Bruharea.
Papa: What do you want?
Manny: I’m cancelling the contract on John Constantine. You understand? He is off-limits.
Papa: You work for the Bruharea?
Manny: No. The Bruharea work for me.
(Manny flies away)