Constantine, Season 1 Episode 2 Review: “The Darkness Beneath”

(Beware, spoilers below!)

This new episode of Constantine marks the début of Zed Martin played Angelica Celaya. Zed had a small role to play in the comics as John’s sidekick of sorts and it appears here in the show will she take an even bigger role to the fore. In fact interest in her introduction, as well as an intriguing chemistry between both John and Zed make this episode worth watching.

Constantine sees a fresh blood spot of the map Liv left behind for him and he journeys to where it leads: a sleepy mining town in Pennsylvania. I have only a complaint or two about this week’s plotline: it’s pretty obvious who has been doing the killing. The really intuitive of you might see it from the very first scene, but for sure will you work it out by midway through the episode. I hope the coming episodes of Constantine don’t continue in the fashion – the show will become increasingly less fun if we can easily figure out who dunnit before the super experienced lead does. Furthermore, the easy resolution also takes away from the show. Much like last week (but to a lesser extent), this week’s episode still scared the bejesus out of me, but by the end of the forty minutes, it was all gone. Why? Merely because there’s no convincing point you believe John is in danger. At no point is whatever ‘battle’ against the darkness look like a bigger long term foe.

That aside, the introduction of Zed this week was a little compelling, even though this seemed a little odd and forced in moments. However, where this was concerned, the good outweighs the bad. We first see Zed sketching pictures of Constantine and after unexpectedly bumping into him, desperately trying to find out who he is. What makes their dynamic interesting is the fact that their skillsets are different: Zed sees visions, John does not. She’s able to help and add to what he’s doing, as opposed to some kind of apprentice or lesser copycat. The character benefits much from Angelica’s acting. She makes Zed into a sassy character with secret which seem interesting (as opposed to Liv). Her progression to working with John makes a little more sense (even if this is just because we don’t know the reasons yet), and the two actors have a good rapport going on between their characters. There are times when this seems ridiculous, but I blame that on overly directed moments, perhaps setting the wrong tone in  places. It’s not perfect, but it’s good.

I said last week that I hoped Constantine would be able to up it’s game in order to keep up with its superhero competition. If Constantine did it this week, it was with baby steps. Any redeeming qualities held by Zed and John’s storyline were hampered by this week’s demon mission. Since I’m determined to like this show I’ll take what I’m given in the hope that my faith isn’t misplaced (those of you who watched the episode may laugh at that phrase – I promise it wasn’t intentional), but unfortunately many people will not be amongst that number. No show needs to be perfect to be likeable, but Constantine is competing with better shows on both the horror and superhero accounts. Succinctly: it needs to up its game to survive. Whilst this week might have been a good start, I don’t know if it will have been enough.

To the people in charge of Constantine: get the show in gear (their good actors deserve it at the very least)! To the viewers… let’s hope the demon John confronts next week isn’t a reminder of the show’s problems…

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