Constantine 103 “The Devil’s Vinyl”

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Well, that’s bloody more like it, no? After three “pilots” we finally get to the meat of it, something more akin to what we can expect from a monster-of-the-week episode of Constantine. And you know what, I’m okay with it. Granted, it still has a ways to go, but all the promise I sensed in “Non Est Asylum”, but felt was lacking in “The Darkness Beneath”, finally showed up with a bit of that old devilish spark in “The Devil’s Vinyl”.

It’s still not “The Dresden Files”, but it’s hewing pretty close and can certainly surpass that show’s charm if the writers become more emboldened.

Charles Halford is being sorely underused so far, but I really dug Harold Perrineau’s brief scene this week and think keeping him in small doses adds to his mystery and presence. More Chas moving forward, however, would be a good thing. Unfortunately, I’m still finding Angélica Celaya’s Zed to be the weak link in the ensemble and hope she can turn things around.

All that being said, the much anticipated introduction of Papa Midnite is the centerpiece of “The Devil’s Vinyl”. It was a solid story, riffing on the Robert Johnson legend (with a nice track to back it up), with plenty of Constantine backstory to keep us Hellblazer fans happy. Michael James Shaw’s turn as the aforementioned Midnite took a solid story and helped dial it up a notch.

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I hear the grumblings from the PC crowd and I’m not discounting their ire. Last week we had the Gypsy Curse. This week Constantine took a swipe at Voodoo. All I can say, as a person who has walked through these worlds for the past three decades, just because it’s a stereotype doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Heavy-handed? Insensitive? Sure. John’s “white” magic up against those more “ethnically-flavored” is not going to win any brownie points. It may be an easy shorthand, but that doesn’t make it any less than lazy writing.

Of course when you’re saddled with telling a story in 40 minutes, well you’re going to end up with a bit of wank now and then.

Hopefully they’ll get better.

All in all, I like the direction Constantine’s headed in. So far it’s batting 2 out of 3. Hopefully “A Feast of Friends” will build on last week’s momentum.

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