“Constantine” returned this week with a mismatched hour. “Danse Voudou” spread its focus a little too thin. The main trio of John, Chas, and Zed all had their own storylines and we had the introduction of comic book character Jim Corrigan (played by Emmett Scanlan) and the return of Papa Midnite. While Jim was a pretty fantastic addition to the show, he wasn’t quite the character we know and love from the comics, but John’s quest against voodoo was a fantastic highlight in an otherwise okay episode.
John, Zed and Chas are in New Orleans battling some bad voodoo when a few deceased individuals make startling reappearances. We’ve got a hacked up model in an alleyway who just wants to show people her scissors. A wayward hitchhiker who causes people to kill themselves, and a dead husband who’s returned to comfort his wife. When Det. Jim Corrigan witnesses a brutal murder in the alleyway (while pissing none the less) he’s tasked with spearheading these bizarre occurrences.
Constantine and Jim don’t get along right from the beginning. Their huge personalities don’t make for the best partners. When the other occurrences randomly rear their heads the group decides to part ways. Zed and Jim take off to investigate the hitchhiker, Chas deals with the model in the alley, and John goes to confront Papa Midnight.
The whole Chas storyline felt awfully forced to give the poor cab driver a storyline for the week. He’s been reduced to a marginal supporting role up until now, and it just seems that they have no idea what to do with him. His storyline amounts to “hey look! This guy can’t be killed!” as he heads into the alleyway over and over to deal with the murderous model. We get a brief backstory to justify her existence and a strange resolution to the story that wasn’t fulfilling at all. However, the scene of Chas painfully dying was a delight. I cringed more than a few times when he was being stabbed with the scissors, especially the final blow in the kidney. But it did little to display why Chas is currently an asset to the team. His big moment was finally asking the model “Do you think your pretty?” which low and behold, stopped her dead. Great detective work, Chas. You’ve really deduced something special.
I was sad to see Corrigan and Constantine split so quickly. But again, their personalities don’t allow them to jive too well. So naturally after Zed’s weird come on about hotel rooms is shut down by John, she takes off to look for the hitchhiker. She leaves herself on the side of the highway trying to prevent another person from smashing their vehicle into a tree. It’s a noble enough cause if it wasn’t so boring. Luckily, Jim rolls up and offers to help her out. You can tell he’s uneasy about the whole experience. It’s put him on edge and you can see it in his eyes. His interplay with Zed is a little flat, if only because Emmett Scanlan is taking his time to settle into a complicated character we’re bound to see more of.
Without diving too deep into spoiler territory. The finale of this storyline made the whole thing worth it. Zed caught a glimpse of something all of us comic book fans were waiting for, and while it wasn’t enough, it has me longing for the next time we’ll see Det. Jim Corrigan.
The real meat of the episode came with Constantine’s uneasy alliance with Papa Midnite. It was excellent to see Midnite’s voodoo not going the way he wanted it too. You could see how he felt about a loss of control, but he wouldn’t concede to John. There was a little bit of competition between these men, and you really felt like they were equals who had different ways of approaching the dark arts. There was a certain vulnerability in either performance that allowed both men to rely on one another to complete the job. It was compelling and all-together awesome when John’s plan didn’t work. It would have been a great I-told-you-so moment for Papa Midnite had it not been for Zed’s solve.
The conclusion to all three storylines had a deceptively simple answer. There was something about it I really loved, in that it was a primal feeling of loss that kept these people around. That the people who lost them couldn’t give them up, and therefore they couldn’t move on. It was a little classic in terms of explanation but it was interesting to offer it after all the work being done in terms of magic and voodoo to try and explain it. It was a nice red herring albeit a complicated one to reach a conventional explanation… perhaps that’s its magic?
With the exception of Chas’ ridiculous conclusion, the episode ended on a really high note that sowed seeds of betrayal in John’s future. We already know about his past failure, and we’re constantly reminded of it. Hopefully John can make a huge mess of this rising darkness before the winter break hits and we’re treated to a major game changer.
I’m still not sold on Zed. So I really hope she’s the one that comes to betray John, or at least John offs her in an attempt to save himself only to be screwed by someone else.
What did you think of Danse Voudou?
What did you think of Det. Jim Corrigan?
What the hell was that Chas storyline… seriously?