And then there was one! NBC’s Constantine is the sole comicbook adaptation on the airwaves this holiday season. Tonight’s “The Saint of Last Resorts” was the first part of a two-part mid-season finale. The strengths at the core of this show – creepy creatures, dark motives, and heartfelt character connections – continue to deliver, but I fear that the show’s occult focus prevents it from finding a broader audience. If you enjoy Constantine like I do, and if you like its exploration of religious mythologies from various cultures, then make sure to talk it up while you have the chance. I mean, where else do you get to see human fruit bleeding as it hangs from a tree, and an ancient vampire demon fleeing into the sewers with a blood-filled chicken?
Hit the jump for our Constantine recap.
Zed’s up to her old drawings again, this time conjuring up images of a particularly vicious demon. Right on cue, a mysterious young woman appears in the middle of their magical stronghold, asking for Constantine’s help. It seems that our title antihero owes her a favor, so he plans to join up with her in Mexico to investigate a supernatural creature that’s clawing babies out of their live mother’s wombs. Fun!
Zed asks Constantine why he’s not taking her along, especially since she’s fluent in Spanish. Constantine reveals that the woman, Anne Marie, was a cohort in the occult with him, and the last time they saw each other was in Newcastle; she threatened to kill him if she ever saw him again. Should make for a fun reunion, right?
Turns out that Anne is a nun at the convent where the attack took place, currently overrun by police. Anne’s still holding a grudge against Constantine, and rightly so; she took a vow of service in the convent to repay her debt for her role in damning a child’s soul. She may be a sister in the Church, but she’s far from ready to forgive Constantine. He takes the cold welcome in stride and settles into the case. After another sister pays a visit to them, thinking El Cucuy (the boogeyman) has returned, Constantine casts some crystals and reveals evidence of the evil creature that was recently there. He needs a sample of the baby’s tissue, and Anne leads him to the graveyard where the mother’s placenta is buried. This seems like a perfect opportunity for her to bring Constantine’s past transgressions back into the light, but before they can resolve them, Constantine plucks a fleshy (as in human skin) fruit from the tree and stabs it. It bleeds, as do all the other bits of human fruit hanging around them. The resale value of this particular plot of land plummets instantly.
Constantine explains that the placenta buried under the tree is connected to the baby’s soul, and tells them that he’s still alive but surrounded by some terrible evil. Constantine surmises that one of Eve’s (yes, that Eve) sisters has taken the baby, and his arrogance in this investigation irritates the good Sister. They best get over their issues because another baby has been taken, and this one is connected to the same family as the first abduction. Constantine believes that someone is targeting the patriarch. (Chas does a great job of keeping up the Bro Code by trying to explain John’s motivations to Sister Ann. Good Guy Chas!)
Meanwhile, Constantine plans to summon a nasty critter at the fountain when Sister Flirtacious interrupts him. He deduces that she’s trying to keep him away from the fountain for some reason. He rattles off a list of ancient names, finally guessing the right one before she attacks him and tries to drown him in the fountain. He manages to stab her, but she flees before he can finish the job or get any more intel on the missing babies. Turns out that this creature is Lamashtu, Eve’s youngest sister, who feeds off the children. This revelation leads them to pay a visit to the elder Mrs. Lopez, who is clearly afraid that a band of powerful warlocks – the Brujeria – have returned. The abuelita isn’t the only one who’s afraid, as John realizes that not only is he powerless against the Brujeria, but that they’re behind the Rising Darkness.
John’s not out of tricks yet though! He plans to fill a dead chicken with the father’s blood in order to lure the ancient demon in the hopes of it leading them to the babies. Since John already tried to kill Lamashtu, Anne will make the exchange. Just in case Anne doesn’t make it out alive, she makes somewhat of an apology to John for introducing him into this spiritual world at a young and vulnerable age. He grants her a protective talisman and kisses her goodbye. She kisses him back, rather passionately for a nun, but that is the power of John Constantine after all.
Lamashtu arrives for the sacrifice, but the idiot father chases after her, firing his gun. They catch up to him in time to prevent him from doing anything else stupid. John, Anne, and Chas head into the sewers to save the babies and defeat Lamashtu. They succeed in the first part, but Lamashtu catches up to them, demanding the young brujo. Constantine figures out that she’s working for the Brujeria because they’re going to break the boundary between Hell and Earth, expanding her domain exponentially. John threatens to kill the baby in order to get the intel out of the demon, and then uses the talisman of her ancient enemy to defeat her with blue fire. They start to run, but another baby’s cry draws them back into the depths of the sewer. A horrid, malformed creature climbs its way out of the sewer and starts climbing the walls. John doesn’t know how to defeat it, but Anne figures out a way. She shoots him, reminding him of his words that no price is too high to protect the innocent. While the creature homes in on the wounded Constantine, Anne makes her way out of the sewers with the babies, safe and sound…
Meanwhile, Zed’s tripping out back at the house, and it sure seems like something creepy is about to happen to her. She ventures down the house’s passageways, nearly falling into a misty abyss. Then, while shopping for art supplies, she meets up with Eddie, the nude model from the previous episode, who we all know to be a rather nefarious individual. Over drinks, she touches his hand and sees a vision of a white wall with an all-white vault door slamming closed behind him. She invites him back to her place, to interrogate him, of course. She easily takes him down, but not before he calls her by her real name – Mary – and says that her father wants her to come home so he can talk to her. Zed then reveals that she spent most of her childhood in a locked room, which was apparently because she was the salvation of their group, the Crusade. A man and woman enter the house and draw their guns on Zed, who tells Eddie that he has no idea what they are.
The man shoots Eddie dead before he and the woman chase Zed throughout the house. There’s a pretty nasty brawl between the women that ends abruptly when Zed throws her into the abyss. The man comes after her with a syringe full of a knockout drug, sneaking up on her and taking her down (seemingly).
Things don’t look great for either of our heroic leads at the close of tonight’s episode, so it’s a good thing this mid-season finale is a two-parter. While the promo for next week’s conclusion doesn’t shed too much light on the well-being of Zed, we do get to see Constantine survive his ordeal by sealing a demon within himself! Will he be able to stand up to the Rising Darkness when that darkness lives inside his own skin? Tune in to find out!
Odds & Oddities:
- Anne: “You can’t even turn it off around a woman married to God.” Constantine: “What, you mean Sister Flirtacious?”
- Anne: “Evil wins when it destroys our faith in the power of good. Believe me, I know how hard it is.”
- Anne: “Whatever stands in the way of God, make way for John Constantine.”
- Constantine: “No price is too high to save the innocent.”
- So for fans of the Hellblazer comics, how important is this Crusade group? Methinks very important.
- Anne: “You are my greatest failure, John.”
- Constantine: “I guess that lady friend of mine just discovered her baby is just a bloody chicken.”
- This first part of the mid-season finale was okay, but next week’s conclusion looks absolutely insane. Very much looking forward to it, and I hope you’ll join me!