Constantine, Season 1 Episode 3 Review: The Devil’s Vinyl

(Beware, spoilers below!)

As I continue watching Constantine, I start wishing I was less receptive to scary moments. I’m sure a more seasoned vet of horror or just someone less able to scared won’t find this episode scary – but I’m not one of those people. This source of that horror comes from a vinyl that has the recording of the Devil’s voice on it. It starts off as an innocent enough bluesy tune but soon turns into a nightmare. Whoever listens to the record dies, from curious record managers to innocent people at a club.

When the episode starts, we can see the record being found – and of course it’s behind the sealed up wall of a very creepy place (dead animal bodies strung up and the like). Zed meanwhile has used her smarts to find where Constantine is. He’s at the house seen in the Pilot, and we soon learn that it’s a house that seems bigger on the inside than the outside. There’s a room Constantine orders Chas not to show her. “I’m not ready for that, mate,” he says.

Zed manages to get John to take her on one of his trips out and it’s just as well. She’s proving herself an asset to helping him, saving him from a homeless man (it’s a little more dramatic that it sounds) and she’s able to speak sign language too. We soon find out that the vinyl was procured by the woman who sold her soul on behalf of a man named Papa Midnight. He turns out to be a voodoo priest with just as many occult trinkets up his sleeve as Constantine.

To be honest, that’s pretty much all that’s in this episode. It’s a predictable ending, but in fairness to it we go through some interesting twists and turns to get there (juddering corpses in body bags, anyone?). Soul brokers are introduced to us: they go to hospitals where there are dying people and find people who are willing to make deals in exchange for their soul: the woman under fire this episode sold hers to save her husband dying of cancer. In order to get this deal reversed, the broker literally has to eat his contract.

There are some holes in ‘The Devil’s Vinyl’ which I think anyone can point out. The husband (known as Ian Fel) is quick to believe his wife, their daughter had creepy eyes from listening to the vinyl, which seemed like an anticlimax. Why wasn’t the wife (Jasmine Fel) under the same impulses to listen to it (especially as she had been around it so much)? There are loose ends like this at stopped the episode being as good as it could be, though it improved over last week. The introduction of Papa Midnight is sure to bring some more fun into the show and right now I’m interested as to his motives, given that he’s being set up as an enemy of John’s. It was also great seeing Chas do more this episode, even though he seems now like a relegated sidekick.

So all in all, I’m keeping with Constantine, if it’s just to see what happens next. It was a much needed move to make this episode better than the previous ones, but I can only hope this lasts.


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