If you were waiting for Constantine to come into it’s own, then wait no longer. “The Saint of Last Resorts” is a riveting adventure in line with the best issues of Hellblazer, that raises the stakes higher than they’ve ever been in the show, and pushes John to the absolute brink… and let’s talk about that cliffhanger.
The evolution of Constantine from a mere monster-of-the-week paint by numbers ordeal has been a slow one to be sure. But, after this week I believe the show has fully embraced its source material in new and interesting ways.
Zed’s mysterious past takes a few interesting turns and develops quite nicely. As does her relationship with John. It’s not about sexual tension anymore, and oddly enough this makes their interactions much more interesting. They seemingly don’t want anything from one another anymore, and that pushes John to keep Zed grounded at the… fuck it… House of Mystery, or at least that’s my take after this week.
I don’t know how I feel about Zed’s past. Perhaps I’m ambivalent at best. Which is all well and good because she’s the least important part of the story this week. Instead I’ll turn my focus to John.
He receives what amounts to a distress call from an old colleague. This old friend is one part of the infamous Newcastle crew, Anne Marie. She’s so deeply affected by what happened she became a nun. I buy that; her performance is great as her expectations of John come to define each and every scene.
John and Chas search the convent for something that’s stealing babies. Now that I’ve watched the episode twice I see an incredible amount of foreshadowing in the first act that shows exactly what is going to happen in the final moments.
So finally, Constantine takes the darker turn we’ve all been craving. I know that for some of you this won’t be sufficient. I know that this show is on NBC, and could perhaps go further, but for the sake of what we’ve watched previously this is a giant leap in the right direction.
Matt Ryan’s performance in the sewer is nothing short of stunning. Week after week his mix of ineptitude, blind confidence, and actual skill (I know that’s a strange combination) have proved captivating. But his willingness to drown the baby in an effort to goad the demon into playing his game was pure Constantine. He knows the stakes, he knows what he is doing is wrong, but he pushes because he can’t help it.
There, he’s left to bleed out in his own filth betrayed by the last person who you’d absolutely think. Going into this week I was sure that Chas was going to do something to sever ties with John, but it looks as if Chas will be his best mate through and through. We get to see a little more of how he figures into the group dynamic, and how really Chas holds John together at his worst moments.
This week Constantine fully embraced the rich tapestry of it’s source material and managed to create a compelling monster of the week case that begins a serialized push that doesn’t let up when the show returns in the New Year.
What happens next is simply stunning, and pushes the show to a whole new level. I can’t wait for everyone to see what happens next, but for now, you’ll just have to keep reliving those final moments in the sewer. I will say this… pay very close attention to the beginning and end of this episode. They’ll tell you a lot about what’s going to happen next.
That’s it! See you in 2015, with Constantine’s best episode yet.