Gather round for this week’s Latin lesson, courtesy of Constantine’s latest episode, “Quid Pro Quo.” Tonight’s opening scene is nowhere near as shocking or violent as they usually are, though a sinister hooded figure conjuring child-abducting shadows from a rooftop is certainly creepy.
Elsewhere, John tries to put Zed’s fears to rest by beefing up security on their hideout. Zed’s not convinced, and she lets John know why: the Resurrection Crusade is after her and their leader – her father – won’t be dissuaded easily. (Their flirtatious back-and-forth continues to carry just the right bit of tension.) Spoiling the moment is a stigmata appearing on the map, sending the pair on a merry adventure.
Oh hey, a flashback! Chas is drunkenly dialing his … wife? He pays the bar bill while Constantine heads out with a girl or two after casting a drunken protective spell over Chas, handy when driving home after a few too many. Chas enjoys an impromptu performance by metal band Lillian Axe, who bring the house down … literally, because their pyrotechnics set the place (and a few band members) on fire. Chas does his best to get people to safety, but succumbs to smoke inhalation and a collapsing roof.
Back in the present, Zed and John are headed to Brooklyn to meet up with Chas. Chas is at his ex-wife’s house to pay a visit to his daughter … who just so happens to be the child assaulted by the conjured smoke in the episode’s opener!
Children are often an Achilles’ heel of sorts for Constantine, whose trouble with kids has roots at least as far back as the events of Newcastle. Still, this is Chas’ kid; he’ll do whatever he has to to save her. It turns out that her soul has escaped her body (as evidenced by “celestial burn marks”), and if it’s being used for nefarious purposes, she doesn’t have long. John plans to contact a medium for help. Chas’ ex, Renee, is no fan of Constantine and doesn’t want him anywhere near their daughter. She knows all about Newcastle, so I can’t say as I blame her.
We get glimpses of Chas’ past when he wakes up after the bar fire to find his wife and daughter waiting for him in the hospital. At this point in his extraordinarily durable life, he doesn’t seem to recognize his powers of invulnerability.
The gang arrives at an Army surplus store to talk to Fennel (Roger Floyd), a paranoid medium who’s none too happy to see Constantine either; he does seem to have that effect on people. Fennel attempts to contact Geraldine’s soul, and soon she speaks to them from beyond. While the flaming candles, levitating medium, and demonic voice would certainly convince even the stoutest of skeptics of the medium’s powers, Constantine has no problem shouting down the Hellish force. Too bad it leaves Fennel slightly roasted.
Apparently the rival spellcaster was actually the mage behind Geraldine’s current soulless state. Zed uses an item to attempt to track the antagonist to his hideout. Chas, who’s starting to unravel a bit more, drives the three of them to an abandoned railyard warehouse. John does a pretty neat trick to lift a cloaking spell from the facility. Inside they find a regular mad scientist’s lair complete with bubbling potions and burning candles. What dark dealer would occupy such a place? None other than Felix Faust (Mark Margolis)! (Ding, ding!) The old man certainly has enough power to cause John to treat him with respect, but not enough to cast out a demon that’s siphoning his power from him. For that, he needs John, and in exchange for his help, he’ll release Geraldine’s soul. They seal a blood pact to complete the deal, something Constantine has to agree to since the rising darkness has increased the mage’s power beyond John’s.
Complicating the situation is Chas’ overwhelming anger, so John sends him back to the hospital. Zed and Constantine set a trap for the demon, that is, if the demon doesn’t make them a meal first. There are some cool effects at play as John uses one of his trinkets to peer into the spiritual veil, trying to track the beast.
Chas’ flashback shows him confronting John about his experience in the bar, and how he managed to heal overnight. John’s quite pleased with himself since the mythical spell he cast on Chas (one that Merlin supposedly cast on Arthur and his knights) has apparently worked. It came with a cost, that of the 47 other lives who perished in the bar. Chas isn’t exactly immortal, but rather he can die 47 times before finally giving up the ghost. That explains a lot!
Meanwhile, John uses Zed as bait for the demon, but his lucky lighter fails to ignite when Zed proves too tasty a morsel. Luckily, the cattle prod comes in handy.
At the hospital, more people are falling into a coma. John and Zed gather up Chas to pay Faust a visit, but Renee is stubborn about coming with them; Zed stays with her to watch over Geraldine. Back at Faust’s place, it seems you can never trust a mage as he’s changing his terms of the deal. Although John dispersed the beast, he didn’t banish it to Hell, as per Faust’s orders. What exactly is he up to? You can bet it’s nothing good. Chas isn’t happy about John’s failure and decides to take matters into his own hands … by knocking John out, for starters.
Flashback again to Chas missing his daughter’s birthday for … helping John slay the Monkey King, of course. (How did Renee stick with him at all after a crazy-pants quote like that? Oh wait, she didn’t.)
Chas offers up 32 of his souls for his daughter’s, but Faust doesn’t believe he possesses more than one mortal soul, and threatens to take that one anyway. So Chas shows he’s not bluffing by cutting his own throat. A bold strategy; let’s see if it pays off.
Back at the hospital, Zed takes a gamble of her own, trying to talk to Geraldine with her powers. She manages to make contact, but is soon assaulted by Felix’s powers. While the doctors attend to Zed, Renee finds the address of Faust’s lair and prepares to make a poor decision.
Chas rises, impressing Faust, but possibly being in over his head. Faust wants all of his souls, including Chas’ own, in exchange for Geraldine’s. Chas doesn’t even think about it; he’s all in. Constantine tries to warn him off, but Chas makes the pact, tying himself to Faust with sinew from Achilles’ heel. Chas pulls a fast one on the mage, detonating a grenade that obliterates the both of them, but only one of them has the ability to come back (as far as we know). John tries to explain Chas’ abilities to the poorly timed arrival of Renee, who sees her ex blown to pieces. After that shock, she apparently still believes John’s reassurances well before Chas has knit himself back together. The point here is that there’s always a cost to what John does: Chas’ life, his relationships, and almost his family itself are but a few examples. In the final scene of the flashback, John convinces Chas to use his new ability to stand by his side and help fight evil, which he obviously chose.
Back at the Halford home, Chas is looking pretty good for being blown up. He gets to spend a little quality time with his daughter, and introduces her to a photo album of the 47 souls who died. Pretty morbid way to share a rare moment with your daughter, but hey, to each their own.
Zed recovers to find Constantine at her side. He warns her about expanding her powers too quickly, but might reconsider that advice as Zed was apparently able to contact his deceased mother in order to pass on a message.
While this episode didn’t exactly delve too deeply into the Rising Darkness mythology or the goals of the Resurrection Crusade, it did deliver a solid hour that was entertaining, chock full of heart, magic, and Easter eggs for comicbook fans. What more can you ask for? Oh yeah, how about a second season? #SaveConstantine
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Wait, Chas’ real name is Francis??
Tonight’s collection of John’s magical gadgets include a possession of the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley, and sinew from the heel of the famed Achilles, plus Fennel’s bottle of water from the River Jordan (an excellent spiritual lubricant, I hear).
Constantine: “Whatever took up residence here certainly harbors a dark side.” Chas: “They haven’t met mine yet.”
Faust: “You’ll never know my magic, Constantine. But you will know my pain.”
Chas (to an unconscious Constantine): “My family’s suffered enough because of you.”
Zed: “One more thing about your mother.” Constantine: “What about my mother?” Zed: “She said her death wasn’t your fault.”