It’s hard to fault an episode of ‘Constantine’ that focuses solely on the titular hero. The supporting cast has always been the issue and ‘A Whole World Out There’ manages to magnify the problem while also being the series most successful episode to date.
The episode begins with four would be victims. These college kids attend Ivy University (Sorry, Arrow fans no Ray Palmer here) and manage to send themselves to an alternate plane of existance. John is cuaght wallowing in the death of Gary Lester, and not doing much else. Conveniently, Zed and Chas are doing thier own things.
Constantine travels to the university after one of these college kids drops dead. He begs his old friend Ritchie Simpson (The always incredible Jeremy Davies) to join him in his inquest to explore other realites. Ritchie is cautious and doubtful, but his brilliance is just want John needs to succeed.
Ritchie and John’s relationship provides the entire drive of the episode. The younger college kids prove to be the fodder for the mirror killer, but they really serve little purpose other than a body count. It’s nice to see someone who has some real chemistry with Matt Ryan on this show. As Davies effortlessly shows his strained relationship with John.
Once things get interesting, we’re treated to an assortment of creative deathes using mirrors as a gimmick. It’s an old gimmick, but it works relatively well here. I think most haunting of all was seeing the blond victim do ballet and as she spiraled down the mirrors the killer loomed closer and closer witch each succesive shot. It was staged brilliantly to create a real sense of danger.
The other most successful sequence of the night came with Ritchie and John trying to save the two students as they were slashed to ribbons by the killer. I loved seeing the defensive wounds spring to life.
Finally, when Ritchie and John finally project themselves into the othe dimension we are treated to a team that actually fufills each other in interesting ways. Whereas Chas and Zed seem like reactionary characters every week, Ritchie felt like he was driving the episode more than John at times. I loved the final conversation they share in the ideallic projected reality. A projected reality that was some of the worst green screen effects I’ve ever seen. I mean I could build a more convincing reality with a 14 year old iMac and a green screen made from construction paper. Come on, NBC, let’s give Constantine some of that that Law & Order money.
It was touching to see John’s concern for his life long friend, and Ritchie’s attempt to get out. It was a nice nod to Ritchie’s fate in the comics, which is something worth mentioning if only as a missed opportunity. Ritchie becomes a tech demon in Hellblazer something that seemed completely foreign at the time, and now seems right around the corner. I’m baffled to see the direction of his story here.
But I digress. Overall the episode proved that the problems really stem from having secondary characters that we know nothing about. It shows that they offer so little to the show that they can be written out of a week’s episode with as little as a line, and the show is better for it. I don’t know what that means for the fate of the show, but I sincerely hope that this week was a taste of things to come. I would love to see John on more solo missions, or at least paired with people who have a role to play in the story.