Constantine S1x03 “The Devil’s Vinyl”
WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS!
Constantine once again proves that it’s quickly growing in quality with a pretty good third outing, one that managed to offer its own take on the ‘haunted object’ plot device that seems to be used so commonly in supernatural dramas like this one. Whilst even though Constantine himself may have a richer history than the likes of Supernatural and Grimm, this TV series doesn’t feel like it’s found its groove quite yet. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but it is quickly establishing itself as a fun, entertaining ‘monster of the week’ series with some great potential to become something more. In case we forget, Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s first season was fairly weak, and well, look how highly regarded it is now. If Constantine can be even half as good and last even half as long as Buffy, I’ll be very happy indeed.
Once again, Constantine seems to be going for the action approach with there not being much of a big scare factor concerning an old vinyl, which in this case happens to be haunted. But I think what this episode is going to be more notable for is the highly anticipated appearance of fan-favourite character Papa Midnite, who makes a pretty awesome introduction as the show establishes hims as a recurring problem for John. Michael James Shaw, Midnite himself, allows for an intimidating presence and the reference to the “First of the Fallen” was great to see as well. There were plenty of comic book treats in this episode, making it great fun for Hellblazer fans to try to pick out the references.
There was more time with Chas in this episode, but so far both he and Zed aren’t quite interesting enough when compared to Constantine himself yet. There hasn’t been enough time to flesh them out as characters that we really care about, and although we don’t exactly get behind Constantine either at this early stage, Matt Ryan has made the character exciting and fun, and from the first episode alone it’s a very clear difference from the Keanu Reeves character, which is very welcome indeed.
Whilst the exposition is pretty much over with now, there are still some lurking problems that Constantine needs to clear out. So far, he’s constantly come up with a solution to the plot within seconds, with a convenient amount of knowledge or spell-work needed to solve the problem. Whilst this hasn’t yet become too big of a problem, hopefully we’ll see the writing team come up with a different way to tackle the way that the monster of the week is stopped. Also, I would appreciate it if they took the occasional break from having John, Zed and Chas simply go to a location because the Map told them so. Maybe have something interesting happen outside of the Map for a couple of episodes, because at the moment it still doesn’t feel very effective.
So whilst Constantine was not perfect, it was pretty fun. The introduction of Papa Midnite is a welcome one and hints at possibly more to come from the villain in the future. The haunted Vinyl came with it some blues references that were fun, reminding me of an earlier episode of Supernatural that introduced the Hellhounds and focused on Robert Johnson. Whilst it suffers from a few problems here and there, this show remains pretty entertaining and it’ll be interesting to see whether it can become something more as episodes continue to come.