Constantine Review by John Keegan

Constantine 1.03: The Devil's Vinyl

Constantine 1.03: The Devil's Vinyl

Written By:
Mark Verheiden and David S. Goyer
Directed By:
Romeo Tirone

You have to give credit to the writers: they were willing to put a villain with the name Papa Midnite in the third episode.  I mean, when one knows enough about what such a name denotes in voodoo lore, it makes a lot of sense.  Thankfully, it works a hell of a lot better than it should, and part of that is the dynamic that having a solid antagonist brings to the table.  This isn’t just a darker version of Warehouse 13 or a riff on that old gem Friday the 13th: The Series, after all.


Some are already crying foul at the notion of walking stereotypes when it comes to the Romany and now voodoo, but let’s face it, that’s the source material shining through.  John Constantine himself is a walking, talking British cliché.  That finally comes across in this episode, even if Matt Ryan is still not quite finding the right cadence for John’s snark when it comes to the accent.  But when he shoves in the earphones and cranks “Anarchy in the UK”, who wasn’t sneering and head-bopping along?  The Sex Pistols make everything better.


The show is still operating a bit on the notion that John can just pull a magical solution to a problem out of a hat, though it must be noted that he actually needs someone else (Papa Midnite, in this case) to give him the chance to apply the “if I can’t have it, no one can” resolution.  And Constantine was in over his head more than once, which helped to demonstrate why having Zed and Chaz around is a necessary evil, from his point of view.


If there’s still a big piece that needs a bit of work, it’s the lack of a clear set of motivations for John.  The writers want us to understand that he makes questionable choices that make him less of a hero and more of someone who pursues self-interest with a preference for minimal collateral damage.  This episode came closer to that point, but John is still framed as a bit of a hero.  I’d like to see something a bit less black and white in the portrayal going forward, to drive home the point that John is doing all of this for his own reasons.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • This feels like the first “real” episode, and it’s all the better for it
  • Papa Midnite is a silly name, but a great antagonistic presence
The Bad:
  • John’s motivations need a bit more development to show his anti-heroic side

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 - 11/10/2014 1:08 PM251 views

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