Saturday, January 17, 2015

Constantine: Season 1, Episode 9

Episode Title: "The Saint of Last Resorts, Part 2”
Channel: NBC
Director: Romeo Tirone
Writer: Mark Verheiden
Genre: Fantasy, Horror
Runtime: 43 min
Rated: TV-14
Original Air Date: January 16, 2015

Constantine returned from a month long hiatus with the conclusion of a two parter. This episode picked up exactly where the first part left off, with John shot and the newly introduced Invunche preparing to make a meal of him. As a last resort John allows the demon lord Pazuzu to possess is body. The demon heals his body and the countdown begins; how long can John remain John before the demon takes complete control and wreaks havoc?

I was a little disappointed that his episode didn't reveal more about the Rising Darkness. The previous episode had finally gotten the ball rolling regarding the major arcs that the audience had previously only had glimpses of. Besides the Rising Darkness, Zed's past had finally caught up with her. She had been captured and was in transit back to her father, for whatever insidious purpose he might have. All the work of the proceeding episode was undone in mere minutes as Zed escaped and jumped back into the fray to rescue Constantine. So instead of learning anymore, it revealed the purpose of the previous events to be for a cliffhanger's sake only.

Putting that disappointment to the side, “The Saint of Last Resorts, Part 2” delivered on every other level. Firstly, this episode felt very focused, and didn't suffer from the pacing issues that some of the others have. The entire team was together, with the addition of Anne Marie, and the interplay between the characters hit all the right notes. The dialogue was deadly serious when it needed to be, and managed to lighten the mood just enough when necessary. The real highlight of the episode though was Matt Ryan's performance. He didn't hold anything back as he raged, literally foamed at the mouth, and writhed as his friends tried to save him from the demon's grasp.

There was one odd decision, from a storytelling perspective that left me scratching my head. The audience is briefly introduced to a man named Vicente, who is revealed to be the tempter; the serpent from the garden of Eden. One would imagine that an entity with that kind of resume would have the potential to really make some waves at some point. Instead, no sooner is it revealed exactly who the character is, he is dispatched with what seemed like casual ease. I believe that we'll see him again, the opportunities that the character presents are too interesting for him to go out so quietly

Conclusion: Although “The Saint of Last Resorts, Part 2” didn't pick up the main story arc threads that had been present in the previous part it did manage to tell a very compelling story. Getting more insight into the Anne Marie character and watching Matt Ryan got all out during his possession scenes were aided by much improved pacing to deliver a great episode.

Rating: 8.25/10

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