Constantine, Episode 5 “Danse Vaudou” Broadcast November 22, 2014
Written by Christine Boylan
Directed by John Badham
New Orleans, Louisiana. A man staggers out of a bar. He stops to urinate in an alley, ignored by the woman who walks by consumed by her cellphone conversation after he flashes his badge. The woman bumps into an odd woman wearing a surgical masks who asks, “Do you think I’m pretty?” “No, I think your crazy,” comes the reply. The strangely dressed woman produces a pair of scissors and stabs the innocent woman to death. The cop zips up, pulls his gun, and fires: the bullets ripple through the attacker who runs off and disappears into the ether. Cue opening title sequence.
In Constantine’s Atlanta hideaway, Zed isn’t getting any signals from the stigmata map. Looking into a mystical zoetrope that belonged to Queen Victoria, Zed is transported to a woman teaching a boy to fire a pistol. Out of the trance, Zed reveals what she saw and Chas notices that the map is now bleeding. The three go to New Orleans and wind up in the alley where the killing occurred. John straps on a massive bracelet whose jewel glows blue, revealing a spirit was recently there. The drunk police office shows up, introducing himself to be Jim Corrigan. Zed realizes that he is the boy from her vision. Constantine gives Corrigan his business card, “Be nice to have an ally in blue.” Forty miles out of town a young hitchhiker is picked up an older man. Young Philip says he’s cold, so the driver strokes his knee. “Maybe we can get you warmed up some.” Back at Zed and Constantine’s hotel, an elevator opens to reveal a highway to Zed, still under the effects of the zoetrope. She sees a scar on a tree before a car appears behind her. Back in the car, Philip disappears and reappears before the car, a broken, bleeding boy. The driver swerves to avoid hitting him, but plows into a tree. “You said you would get me to the city,” Philip says before leaving the injured driver to die. Cue first commercial break.
A major “Holy cow!” moment was the introduction of Jim Corrigan. If you’re not familiar with DC Comics, this is the human form of its most powerful mystical entity The Spectre. Emmett Scanlan played Corrigan as a beaten, lost man, making him very susceptible for what will, hopefully, soon be happening to him. Loved how John’s bracelet went blue before he appeared, and the line “Be nice to have an ally in blue,” brought up. Good foreshadowing. Only Dr. Fate, whose helmet is in Constantine’s Atlanta location, can fight the Spectre. There’s a quick glimpse of Corrigan’s future and I need to see more! Also in the episode is the second appearance of Papa Midnite. He’s written exceptionally well, being just as arrogant and confident as Constantine, and Michael James Shaw plays him to perfection. His scenes with Matt Ryan were the highlight of the episode. Watching two powerful, but completely different, mages work their mojo was outstanding. I really enjoyed their commentary on each other’s techniques. Charles Halford gets more than a token appearance in this episode as he’s out on his own assisting in the case in his own unique way. It was good to see Halford get an opportunity to have Chas stand out and be in action, with his scene with the scissor slayer being fun. Some of Zed’s past is ominously eluded to, but nothing is specifically stated. It was neat to see who recognized her.
The good: Emmett Scanlan, Michael James Shaw, Charles Halford, Constantine and Midnite’s scenes, a taste of the Spectre, and the ever growing threat of the coming darkness.
Fun lines: “Now you know who not to arrest,” “How do you live with it?” and “Voodoo’s nothing but a magical excuse for a party.”
The bad: Once separated from Constantine, Zed was just boring, and Angelica Celaya played her like she was half asleep.
The final line: Solid episode with Constantine and Midnite being great foils and one of the most powerful DC characters introduced. Overall grade: A-
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.