Constantine Review by John Keegan

Constantine 1.02: The Darkness Beneath

Constantine 1.02: The Darkness Beneath

Written By:
Rockne S. O'Bannon
Directed By:
Steve Shill

Thanks to the decision between pilot and series to switch out the female lead, the second episode of Constantine feels like another pilot.  Or, perhaps, the second half of a pilot.  Most everything else is the same, but now a great deal of time is spent introducing Zed as Constantine’s companion.  Which is actually for the good; Zed is a far more dynamic character, and she has a lot more chemistry with John than Liv did.  Where they might go with that chemistry is anyone’s guess.


Elements still feel a bit awkward.  As noted in the review for the premiere, the biggest thing going against Constantine is that the lead character has become so iconic amongst creative types that the archetype has been used in several other properties.  One co-host for The Critical Myth Show immediately mentioned Castiel on Supernatural, and that’s a fair point.  By comparison, John Constantine seems a bit bland, lacking in additional point of interest.  He deals with dark supernatural threats with his thorough knowledge of the mystical arts.  How is that different than what the Winchesters and others do on a regular basis?


In some respects, Constantine is suffering from a lot of the same challenges that Angel or Grimm faced in their first seasons.  The cast needs time to settle in, while the plotting seems like it’s going to quickly settle on a “case of the week” format, all based on that blood map that Liv helpfully provided before rushing out the door.  Grimm didn’t find its footing until the deeper mythological elements began filtering in, and I suspect the same will be true of Constantine.


Since the point of the episode was to continue familiarizing the audience with John while introducing Zed and her extremely vague connection to him, the case itself was a bit mediocre.  It was basically a magic-laden procedural, which is not what this series needs to be to distinguish itself.  It definitely doesn’t need to allude to dragons in mines and such, when that’s clearly not going to happen on this show’s budget.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Zed is a much better companion than Liv
The Bad:
  • Constantine remains an oddly bland central character
  • The case was a bit too procedural in nature

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Constantine by - 11/4/2014 7:37 AM245 views

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