When last we left our curmudgeonly British anti-hero, he was dying in a Mexican sewer known as the “Friday 10pm time slot.” Will he survive the move to the 8pm Friday time slot, now that he is armed with the knowledge of the group behind the Rising Darkness?
Spoilers: of course he will, because he’s the title character, which kind of saps the dramatic tension out of an otherwise suitably creepy Exorcist homage.
With a bullet in his gut from an ex-lover-turned-nun and an Invunche mere moments from devouring his face, we meet John Constantine in the most dire of straits. Desperately in need of healing, he allows himself to be possessed by the demon Pazuzu—he of Exorcist fame, and whom John had summoned at the end of part 1 of “The Saint of Last Resorts” to take down the demon Lamashtu.
So the good news is that John survives the Invunche and is rescued by Chas! The bad news is that John is possessed by a demon, and in true Constantine style, he’s a bit overconfident in his ability to control it. Whoops. It’s like Newcastle all over again, except that this time—for better or for worse—John’s only gotten himself in trouble. Furthermore, Manny the Angel is quite displeased with John’s willingness to commune with demons, reminding us that John likes to play both sides against the center, and refuses to be a pawn for either fascist Good or Evil (Manny is, however, glad to know that John was able to identify the Brujería as being behind the Rising Darkness).
Evil-John escapes from Chas, kills a Mexican gang, and winds up in jail. Fading in and out of control of his own body, he tries exorcise himself with the resources at hand, and a little help from Napoleon Dynamite’s Pedro (now a criminal going by “Julio,” though I assume that the events of Napoleon Dynamite are still in-continuity with Constantine).
Meanwhile, Zed escapes from the Resurrection Crusade just in time to field a phone call from Chas, who catches her up on Constantine’s condition. She literally catches a cab from Atlanta to Mexico, where she and Chas find and recruit Annemarie back to their cause of helping John. Annemarie of course is less than enthusiastic about this—after all, she did just shoot him in the gut and leave him dying in a sewer not a day or two earlier—but she ultimately agrees once she learns that Constantine has been communing with an actual angel (this is called “Dramatic Irony” because we the audience know that, as far as agents of Heaven go, Manny is pretty cryptic and useless, but Annemarie doesn’t need to know that).
The rest of the episode deals with various attempts to break into the prison (Zed by pretending to be a prostitute there for a conjugal, Chas by punching a guard in the face, and Annemarie by…being a nun) in order to rescue and exorcise John, and then break him out of the prison (Annemarie uses her “projection” powers to distract the police with her naked immaterial form!), all while contending with the evil Mr. Harsh, an agent of the Brujería with some creepy snake-head-y-thing-powers going on. There are some great scenes (if we ignore the fact that they keep taking cabs between Mexico and Atlanta, including one with a convict in a body bag which apparently has no problem at border crossing), but none of them are ultimately very important because the end of the episode is a foregone conclusion right from the get-go. Of course John is successful exorcised (in a well-done remake of The Exorcist that stops just short of head-spinning and vomiting) the ol’ fashioned way, thanks to Annemarie and a little help from Manny.
The episode ends with a nice tender moment of reconciliation (not necessarily the Sacrament) between John and Annemarie. Also Zed tells Annemarie about her past, and Annemarie, in turn, encourages her to be forward with John about the Resurrection Crusade and her recent kidnapping. We might get to this next week, when we also finally meet Chas’s daughter (and possibly get some answers on Chas’s un-death abilities).
While not the best episode of Constantine, I still ultimately enjoyed “The Saint of Last Resorts” two-parter. I was particularly intrigued by the assertion of the Catholic Church’s doctrine as truly having some special power or influence over the forces of evil—although I myself am a Recovering Catholic, it was nice to see the Church presented in a way that wasn’t fascist or pedophillic, and yet, not as pedantic propaganda either. Now that the Rising Darkness has become a tangible / comprehendible enemy beyond “Vaguely Defined Season Big Bad In The Background,” I’m particularly eager to see where the last few episodes will take us. On the downside, it’s looking increasingly likely that these next 4 episodes are all that we’re going to get.
For now, all that we can do is hope that the Brujería have some evil magical scheme for television renewal as well. In the meantime, I leave with this short adventure of Claymation Constantine trying to save himself from cancellation:
Thom Dunn is a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist. Thom enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (especially when they involve whiskey and robots). He is a graduate of Clarion Writer’s Workshop at UCSD, and he firmly believes that Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” is the single worst atrocity committed against mankind. Find out more at thomdunn.net.