Constantine, Episode 3 “The Devil’s Vinyl” Broadcast on November 7, 2014
Written by Mark Verheiden & David S. Goyer
Directed by Romeo Tirone
Chicago, Illinois, outside the dilapidated Moonrise Studios a woman enters. Dead squirrels hang on the wall and behind a door recently skinned larger animals hang. A recently killed dog still twitches its foot. A pentagram on the wall points the location for the woman to dig. She makes her way through the wall and pulls out a bible. Within the holy book is a record. “Oh my God. It’s real,” she says to herself. She then goes to a modern recording studio to see her friend Bernie, whom she wants to scan the record, but not listen to it. A cellphone call causes her to leave the room. Naturally, Bernie can’t resist. He’s enjoying the blues music until over his headphones he hears something else. He begins to scream in pain. Done with her call, the woman unravels an ancient looking parchment with four images, the first of which disappears before her eyes. This occurs just as frost begins to coat Bernie’s studio. He pulls the headphones off, screaming, “Don’t make me do it!” He grabs a screwdriver and rams it into the side of his head. Cue opening title sequence.
At John’s supernatural hideaway in Atlanta, Chas pulls a rifle on Zed in her car. She found their location because she drew it, just like how she found John in last week’s episode. They find their leader inside, naked in a circle, covered in blood, dancing strangely, spouting Latin: he’s learning a new spell. Chas takes Zed on a tour of the place. Once Constantine has finished his practice he shows Zed the stigmata map with “supernatural brush fires,” with the wettest being in Chicago. The recently departed Bernie was a friend of John’s and he doesn’t believe the man would ever suicide. Zed has a vision of a field of jasmine that suddenly grows cold. John and Zed leave for Chicago, but not before he tells Chas to dig up what he can on her. Once in the Windy City, the pair sneak into the morgue to find Bernie’s corpse. John uses a spell to momentarily raise Bernie, but it expands unexpectedly. Cue first commercial break.
This episode sounded like it was going to be absolutely hack material with a story focusing on a record that contains the First Fallen’s voice–aka Satan’s voice. It was much, much better than I thought. Helping immensely is the first appearance of long running character Papa Midnite, played by Michael James Shaw. Midnite is sometimes an enemy and sometimes an ally of John’s, and in this episode he’s an obstacle. It was neat to see his headquarters and his dialogue with John was spot on. I’m looking forward to seeing him return in other episodes. Also back is Harold Perrineau as Manny the angel, with his first appearance being the best because it was all about Perrineau’s acting and not the dialogue. The story was okay, with some excellent use of music by The Sex Pistols, which John would love listening to.
The good: Papa Midnite, Michael James Shaw, a candle that will now be sold at comic book conventions until the end of time, Manny, Harold Perrineau, excellent use of music, Matt Ryan getting a terrific scene with The Sex Pistols, John had some excellent lines to show what an SOB he can be, Chas gets to do something major, and a really nice effects shot of the floor of the college radio station.
Fun lines: “I do want to hear you. I do,” and “That smug tosser!”
The bad: It’s difficult to watch a show about an Englishman use two major Doctor Who accouterments without acknowledging their similarity to Doctor Who. If anything, John would feel smug about bringing up the similarities and the Americans don’t get it. What are they? The supernatural sanctuary is established as being exactly like the TARDIS, as it’s bigger on the inside than the outside and its interiors are always changing. Plus Constantine has a magical playing card that will turn into anything the viewer thinks it’ll be, just like Whovian psychic paper. I can’t believe this wasn’t acknowledged. Really disappointing.
The final line: Much better than I expected and fun. Looking forward to more. Overall grade: B
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.